IFBB Figure Pro Tanya Etessam Interview
With up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffering from an eating disorder in the U.S. people like Tanya are overcoming and inspiring others to conquer their battles.
Recently, I had the honor to interview Tanya about her wonderful recovery, her passion for fitness and what the future holds for this inspiring athlete.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Tanya, your story is truly amazing and a testament to the power of the human spirit. Thank you for opening up and sharing your battle with anorexia with us. Since your early teens you battled this eating disorder. How did you overcome and continue to conquer it today?
Tanya Etessam: Overcoming anorexia was a very long and slow process; it literally took years! Like anything else, it took a lot of time and persistence to battle the eating disorder. I have a wonderful family who was there to help and support me (and still does), along with a ton of therapy ha-ha.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Congratulations on overcoming and continuing to win this battle. I understand that as a contemporary modern/ballet dancer part of your disorder included over exercising. Can you share with us what you did back then and how your training is different today?
Tanya Etessam: When I was dancing my training consisted of just that… dancing! We would all dance for 5+ hours a day and then have rehearsals or performances. I also had my own extra obsession… abdominal training! I would do a series of 3,000 crunches/sit-ups etc… EVERYDAY.
My training now is 100% different. I focus on weight training and sprinting; my workouts are no more than 1 hr. per day.
Bodybuilding Blogger: So not only did you find a new passion and healthy approach to fitness but I heard you also overloaded on educating yourself too. Can you share what courses you took?
Tanya Etessam: Yes, I LOVE to research, learn new things, and most of all, learn WHY we do or don’t do certain things. To me, it is the worst when people become robots and just believe anything and everything they hear/read without knowing the reason why.
I have a B.S. Degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotions, American College of Sports Medicine Certification, Charles Poliquin Strength & Conditioning Certification, BioSignature Hormonal Body Composition Practitioner, TRX Certification, etc… I am adding more to my list on a consistent basis; you can never know too much!
Bodybuilding Blogger: Fantastic and so true! What motivated you to compete in figure competition?
Tanya Etessam: When I stopped dancing I needed another competitive/ performing outlet. I started working in a gym as a personal trainer and started training with a co-worker of mine. We decided to take on a new challenge (figure competition) and just go for it! We worked great together, trained really hard, learned a lot, and the rest is history.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Congratulations on earning your pro card at the NPC Junior Nationals! How does it feel to be a new IFBB Figure Pro?
Tanya Etessam: Thank you! It was great to get recognized and awarded for all of the hard work; however every competitor puts in their blood, sweat, and tears! Every single one of them should be acknowledged and respected for their dedication and commitment to their bodies.
Ultimately, we live in our own skin… the hard training and clean nutrition makes us stronger and healthier people; the competition aspect is just a bonus.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Well said! As a certified personal trainer at Just Fit Gym what is your approach with clients and what do you see people struggling with the most?
Tanya Etessam: My approach is to treat each client as an individual! Too often, I hear about other trainers giving each of their clients the same “cookie cutter” workouts and the same “cookie cutter” nutrition plans… what is personal about that?
Here is a sample of me doing barbell zercher squats.
Everyone’s body responds and adapts in a different way; that should be recognized.
Most of my clients struggle with fat loss and self-esteem issues. Nothing makes me happier than when a client of mine becomes self-confident and happy in their own skin.
Tanya Etessam: Train smart; don’t be a robot and listen to everything you hear without knowing WHY. Fuel your body, don’t stuff it with garbage, and most importantly LEARN your own body.
Bodybuilding Blogger: As a new IFBB Figure Pro how has life changed for you and what are your future plans?
Tanya Etessam: I respect everyone in the competition world; however becoming an IFBB Pro did not change my life one bit. As I mentioned earlier, competing is a bonus… I train hard and eat nutritiously for ME, not for the competitions.
If you get lost in the competition world you might forget and/or miss out on the other things in life that can really have an impact. My future plans are to continue to live healthy, continue to train hard, and to pursue my own personal business goals… stay tuned 😉
Bodybuilding Blogger: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring figure pro, what would it be?
Tanya Etessam: Do it for YOURSELF and don’t get caught up or pulled into things you don’t want to do… there are always two sides to every situation; stay true to yourself.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Thank you so much Tanya for sharing your time with us and for being such an inspiration
I want to personally thank my good friend Tanya Etessam for this interview. She is a disciplined, driven, hardworking athlete and coach with a passion for educating, helping and inspiring others. You can connect with Tanya on TanyaEtessam.com, attend one of her inspirational seminars plus view her pics on our Facebook fan page Bodybuilding Worldwide.
Photography by Carolina Gonzalez (photo 1,5) – email@example.com
Photography by Humberto Vidal Photo (photo 2,3,4)
Stay tuned for more inspiring stories, workout tips, interviews, and nutrition info from the pros.
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