First one out is a talented IFBB Pro athlete and student from Orlando, Florida. At an age of 24 years, she’s already a true force to reckon with in the IFBB women’s physique division, with a promising future ahead of her.
So let’s welcome Dani “Lil Monstar” Reardon for a brand new interview!
Occupation: Personal Trainer, professional physique athlete.
Division: IFBB Pro women’s physique
RM: Dani how did you get involved in weight training and later on, what made you want to become a women’s physique competitor?
DR: I was about 15 and was cheerleading for my high school. The weightlifting coach (Coach Cass) recruited me for the girls weightlifting team. I went on to break three school records by the time I was a senior. Also, at the end of every year, the same coach held a Mr. and Miss Wesley Chapel bodybuilding contest for all the students to participate in. I was awarded best showmanship my first two years then I was awarded the overall title of Miss Wesley Chapel for the following two years. I was hooked… I went on to compete in figure, I did my first show when I was 19 and was competing nationally by age 21. This was the year they brought in women’s physique, I took one look and felt that division was made for me. I qualified for nationals at my first show in panama but kept competing in two more following that one. Later that year I was awarded my pro card at Nationals in Atlanta Georgia (2012). Now I am completely in love with the sport and have big dreams and aspirations for myself.
RM: How would you describe your training style?
DR: In one word, optimal. I try to work as smart as I possibly can. Aside from utilizing the knowledge I gained while in college I also listen to the people who I feel know what they are talking about. I really like to know the “why” or the reason things are done. I believe understanding the purpose behind why different variables are set the way they are makes it better for one to attain the desired physique. The field of exercise physiology is growing very fast and things like building muscle and strength are being investigated on a daily basis. The main hypertrophic training style that is the most widely accepted is sets of 3-4 reps of 8-12 and rest periods of 1 min to 1:30. The hormonal responses seen in this fashion of training have resulted in an optimal anabolic environment while creating an optimal fat burning environment at essentially the same time. This is what separates bodybuilders from power lifters, in performance and appearance. Something I am also a big advocate of is the connection between the muscle and mind during each rep. I see workouts sort of like posing practice. My cheerleading coach always told me to practice how I compete. Well when I’m on stage I am not being judged on performance but aesthetics, symmetry, fullness, leanness etc, so when I train I keep these things in mind, and even pose in between sets to make sure I am working what I am intending to work.
RM: What is the best thing about competing?
DR: Posing! In my opinion and for many reasons, posing is one of the best things about competing. On stage, I believe it is your chance to stand out amongst the other competitors during the lackluster mandatory poses. Posing practice I believe not only helps with conditioning and confidence, but perhaps most importantly aids in a better connection to the muscle. I pose in between my sets to make sure I am working the muscles I am intending to work (which is really what matters for bodybuilding). Then, the routine, I’ve always been a fan of showmanship and putting on a good routine for everyone to watch and hopefully appreciate. I can’t imagine anyone getting the chance to have the stage and spotlight all to themselves, and have the ability to do whatever they please to showcase their hard earned physique, and personality and then go and make up a boring effortless routine. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
DR: Well the only thing I can think of is the huge piece of chocolate cake that stares at me every time I open my fridge. Not sure why it even made it to the fridge but my roommate is waiting to it eat for some reason. Other than that, the typical premade chicken and green beans. Extra lean turkey and ground beef that can’t wait to be grilled up later this weekend. My drinks that I would be enormous without; diet sweet tea, diet soda (a&w) and crystal light. Then of course all my cooking condiments; Walden farms, spray butter, liquid aminos and hot sauce.
RM: Recently there were a fuzz about you in the local press which involved police arrests – would you like to explain what really happened?
DR: I will say this, what happened is certainly not what everyone is reading in the media. The so called “hit” was more of a flailing arm that made contact. It was not intentional. Yes, I made a mistake by consuming too much alcohol, yes things were out of control, and no it won’t be happening again. I am doing what I can to better myself inside and out. People can be so hurtful and full of hatred with their name calling and bashing and they have no idea what happened. I love Ian very much, and it just breaks my heart to read what people are writing about our relationship. What you all don’t realize is, he was waiting outside for hours on the bench for me to be released and fell asleep, then went back that morning with breakfast for me, and he was the one there to pick me up with open arms. We are now stronger as a team and couple, and I am very fortunate to have him to hold my hand through this. I just hope people think more before they begin name calling and passing judgment, maybe someone is crying themselves to sleep, and maybe the name callers are actually wrong.
RM: Would you like to describe what your training split each week looks like?
DR: Recently my training has been a little more laid back than usual, just trying to take a break from the rigorous schedule that happens when competing. Now that I know which body parts I want to improve upon I will be changing my schedule around so I hit my weaker points more times per week. Back, glutes and shoulders I will be trying to train twice per week or every few days. I am also starting to incorporate twice a day training sessions to bring up my week parts as well. I was splitting up legs into two days; one mostly quads, and the other mostly hammies. Right now I do save a whole separate day for arms. For me it’s good to save for a day I don’t feel like training. My arms are not in need of a lot of work and they get hit anyway doing most other things. So a typical week now may look like; Back, Shoulders, legs, off day, arms, back, chest and glutes, off day. I am a big believer in off days. right now I probably take more than I need to but I believe the body needs rest, especially from training. Even pre contest I take an off day every third day or so.
RM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
DR: It may seem cocky or arrogant, and I apologize and I don’t mean it to come off in that fashion, but I see myself as Miss Physique Olympia. Or having a few titles by this point. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be competing, I wouldn’t take losing so hard, I wouldn’t be always aiming for improvement and trying to learn new things. Isn’t that why we all compete, to be the best? I truly believe in myself and achieving great things. I also believe that’s what separates the competitors from the champions.
RM: In the round up, is there anything you want to add or someone you want to thank please feel free to do so:
I want to thank first and most importantly, my rock, my boyfriend, my other half, Ian. Then my mom, sis and best friend for all their love, support and always being there for me… Although far away my dad and stepmom always send their love and best wishes. Maybe the coolest thing is the fact I get to thank my fans and followers. Thank you all for your support and comments and likes and inspirations, through the best and the worst Dani. Its these positive people I feel I attribute a lot of my success and positivity to.
Thank you Anders for the opportunity to do this interview for you.
Right back at you Dani, we wish you all the best in the future. And when it comes to your potential and training momentum – I believe that there are no limits to what you can achieve as an athlete in the women’s physique division.
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