An Interview With Top Ms.Olimpia Figure Competitor AMANDA SAVELL

Enlarge funny picture

Enlarge funny picture

Enlarge funny picture

Enlarge funny picture

The figure division is one event that seems to be gaining in momentum with each passing year. Many women see it as a more realistic competitive option compared to bodybuilding and fitness, with both requiring higher impact training and arduous preparation practices.

A more glamorous event, figure allows the competitor to train hard without resorting to possible extreme measures that might sacrifice femininity, and to a certain extent, health. One competitor who is rising to the top in the figure division is Amanda Savell.

Amanda began competing in figure after an injury cut short a potential career in tennis, a sport she had played at the highest level as a child. At 21, Amanda’s body was “shot” due to a strenuous 15 years on the court.

At this stage, Amanda opted to compete in figure, as she was at the time an avid weight trainer, but did not want to put her body through gruelling bodybuilding-style workouts. She has not looked back. A relative newcomer to the figure event, Amanda competed for the first time at the 2005 Orange County Classic.

She won this show along with her class at the 2005 Emerald Cup. Showing promise, Amanda decided to step up to the big time, the 2005 NPC USA – she easily won her class here to join the pro ranks.

At the 2006 Arnold Classic – her first pro show – Amanda dazzled the judges to place third, a result she would definitely like to better in her next professional event: the Ms. Olympia. Amanda has the potential to go all the way, as her short competitive history has shown. She is currently working toward a top placing at this year’s Olympia, Olympia 2006. Her story follows.

The Interview

[ DR ] Congratulations on placing third at the 2006 Arnold Classic! How did you train for this show?

AS: After last year’s Olympia, I had four weeks off to plan what I was going to do, if I was to get invited to the Arnold. Kim Oddo (my trainer) and I knew we wanted to come in with a better package, so we started training like I only had 12 weeks until show time. For the Arnold preparation, I also used a conditioning coach three times a week.

[ DR ] What is next for you on the competition front?

AS: Right now I am taking some time off to rest my body and spend some time with my family and friends. I will be traveling a lot in the next couple of months for Pinnacle. So, between traveling and training to look my best at Olympia 2006, I will be pretty busy!

[ DR ] Describe your current training program. How does it differ from previous programs?

AS: Right now I am resting my body. That doesn’t mean taking time off, it means lifting with higher reps and lighter weight. I went through so much last year with eight shows that I have to make myself take time to rest and let my body recover.

I do track work and cardio and I also haven’t missed a day of training. I am just enjoying this time and having fun with my workouts.

[ DR ] Describe your diet both off season and pre-contest. What did you do in the final week before the Arnold, to appear at your best on stage?

AS: Off season for me doesn’t mean eat what you want; it means eat what you need. I always stay on a diet but it’s a variety of foods, and I allow myself to go out on the weekends with my husband and enjoy something I want.

The final weeks before stage it really changes with each preparation because it will all depend on what my body is doing. Leading up to the show I stay with chicken, fish and ground turkey. For carbs, I usually stick with oatmeal, baked potato, and all my veggies like salads. And I love turnip greens. I know, I know… who likes turnips… – but I guess being from the South I’m a freak like that. Ha!

[ DR ] What improvements have you made since you begun competing? What can we expect to see next time you step onstage?

AS: At the beginning of 2005, I was just working on getting my body into the shape it needed to be in, so by the end of the year my body just looked flat and tired. After getting some rest and having time to work on what was needed, I think I brought the best package thus far to the Arnold. I am looking to bring a tighter and fuller package to the Olympia stage.

ve Turnips!

[ DR ] What are your strong points as a competitor? Any weaknesses you would like to work on?

AS: I think my strong points are not necessarily what I bring to the stage but, rather, my work ethic. I train hard and I push myself to bring a better package. Kim always keeps me guessing as to what we will do for each show and I love that.

I have a picture in my mind and I focus on that one thing, day in and day out. I think, whether my body is tired or mentally, I am drained. You will never see me on stage without good conditioning.

[ DR ] What are your best qualities as a person?

AS: I would have to say I am very giving. I would do anything for someone if they needed it.

[ DR ] What has been your greatest competitive experience and why?

AS: This is a tough one because I would either have to say placing third at my first Arnold which was a dream come true, or being top five in the nation when I played tennis. Tennis was my life from six years of age until I was 21.

I moved from my family and lived at camps at the age of nine and was ranked number one in three different states. This was a great experience, and one I will never forget because I had to grow up early and learn how to deal with the competitive side of things. It got me a scholarship to Texas Tech University, which was something I was so proud of.

[ DR ] Why did you stop playing tennis?

AS: When I was 15, I began to play on the circuit, meaning I was trying to add up points to go pro and win some money. I drove around the state of Florida with my coach, hitting every tournament we could, but had to go back and train for the Nationals.

I drove to Atlanta and started warming up the day before the big event when I went for a backhand and my knee went one way and my foot went the other. The next day I found out I had torn my ACL (anterior cruciate ligaments) and had to have surgery on it as soon as I could so I could start rehab.

It took me seven months of rehab to get back on the court. When I started back up, something had happened, and it just wasn’t the same. I knew being 16 I had to work hard to get back to where I was, but that would take lots of time that I didn’t have.

I had to make a choice: do I go get a scholarship to college, or do I go with my plans that I had before and go for the pros? I ended up choosing to play for a school so I wouldn’t pass up a degree.

After four years at school, and playing tennis, my body was done. I was always injured and it got to a point where it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore, so I started focusing on training in the gym. This is where figure came in.

[ DR ] When did you begin competing in the figure division, and what made you want to pursue this?

AS: I competed in my first figure show in 2005 – at the Orange County Classic. After I won that show, I went to compete at the Emerald Cup. I ended up winning my class, and then decided to go further and compete in my first-ever National show: the USA’s.

After reading the magazines and seeing the pictures of the girls in figure, I knew this was something I wanted to try!

[ DR ] Why did you choose figure as opposed to bodybuilding or fitness?

AS: I chose figure because of the amount of muscle you needed in order to compete in bodybuilding. I thought it was just so beautiful the way the figure girls looked, and I knew girls would be able to look at that and see that it could be attainable. I love fitness, but my body wouldn’t be able to take bodybuilding. I tell people I would break something. Ha Ha!

[ DR ] Other than your career in figure, what else do you do?

AS: I run my own boot camp, and my husband and I operate a real estate business.

[ DR ] What other interests and hobbies do you have?

AS: I love to come up with dishes that are healthy. I always have my husband try it because I know if he likes it, then it must be good. I am into gardening right now because the weather is so nice here in Dallas – I love being outside.

[ DR ] You also do fitness modeling. How is this going? What are your goals in this area?

AS: It’s going very well. I have been to some great shoots, which should be coming out pretty soon. My goals in this area are just to show who I really am, whether it’s a workout shoot or a bikini shoot. I love when you are able to see another side to a person other then just seeing that person on stage.

[ DR ] What advice would you give someone wanting to compete in figure for the first time?

AS: I would say first you should research trainers to find what works best for you and what you need to achieve. I was lucky enough to find someone that worked best for me and who could help me accomplish my goals. I would then look up different shows in your area and find what date works best for you.

Be proud of your accomplishments because being up on a stage is a huge reward due to what it took to get there.

[ DR ] What would you suggest a female competitor do to lose weight and appear their best onstage?

AS: Cardio and eating right are the best things you can do to be lean enough. Everyone is different, so you have to find out how much cardio is enough for you.

[ DR ] What is it about figure you like most?

AS: I like the challenge of it, knowing you have only 12 weeks to get your body in the best shape possible.

[ DR ] What are your strengths as a competitor?

AS: I think my determination is my strength because it pushes me to want to always do better.

[ DR ] What is your favorite exercise and why?

AS: I love working out shoulders so I would have to say shoulder press with dumbbells. I think this is one of my strongest points.

[ DR ] Why exactly do you feel shoulders are strongest for you? What other body parts would you consider to be strong?

AS: Other body parts would be my arms (biceps along with the shoulders). I don’t train my biceps that much because of all the heavy lifting I used to do. I train my shoulders once a week pretty heavy, but I switch that up all the time so I don’t get shoulder injuries. I think my shoulders are so strong because of tennis – we used that muscle so much, especially with my serve.

[ DR ] How far would you like to go in figure? What are your long-term goals?

AS: I want to go as far as I can in figure; I would like to see how far my body will let me go. Of course, I want to win the Olympia or the Arnold, so this will be my drive when I am getting ready for shows. I am sponsored by Pinnacle, so I hope to be able to keep working with them in the future.

[ DR ] Thank you for your time Amanda. Is there anyone you would like to thank, or any sponsors you would like to mention?

AS: I first want to start off thanking my husband Greg and my family for sticking by me through everything I do. Thanks to my nutritionist, Kim Oddo. He is not just my trainer, but he is a good friend and someone that has stuck by me through everything. Of course my sponsor, Pinnacle, for taking me in and including me in the family!

Related Posts

Leave a comment

Leave a Comment