This month’s interview is with Hanna Bushnaq. She participated in the same competition as myself, we even ended up standing in line next to each other waiting to get our spray tan on. It was very easy for me to look at Hannah and think “I SO don’t belong here” because of how amazing she looked as well as many of the other competitors. But all the girls made me feel welcome and equal.
In the end, Hannah took 4th place. Now, she talks about her experience, how she got involved in competing, and her plans for the future. Look out for her because she’s growin’!
Competition Weight: 121lbs
FFTF: When did you start to take an interest in fitness? Were you always athletic or were you a yo-yo dieter or were you just coasting along with diet and exercise prior to this?
I played basketball, volleyball and soccer as a kid and through middle school and would have continued in high school but stopped playing sports due to a heart condition and had heart surgery. I started dating my boyfriend who got me back into working out. I started lifting in September 2011 and completely fell in love with the gym I started with just the basics never pushing my limits or dieting but I was training 5-6 sometimes 7 days a week for at least 2 hours. As I began to workout more and more and learn more, a friend of mine had a friend who did competitions and would tell me about them so I started learning about competitions. January 2013 I really started pushing my limits and lifting heavy and following a diet and regimented workout routine. Then, at about the end of February I committed myself to the Ohio Natural show for bikini and my competition lifestyle began. From April 2013 till October 2013 I put on 7lbs of muscle and competed in figure.
FFTF: Tell us about your very first competition – Did you hire a coach or do it all on your own? Highlights? Low points along the way?
For my first and second competition I did all my own diet and training and never plan to hire a coach until I stop seeing gains and results. I was happy with the way I looked for the first show although looking back bikini is not my thing at all and now feel I was too skinny and bikini held me back from my full potential. Standing next to Jay Cutler was pretty cool because of how wide he is. Low points of any competition I think is the last few weeks are just draining and exhausting.
FFTF: Did you find that people were supportive as you dieted for your first competition? Did you encounter any resistance from people who you’d like to share or would you say overall everyone was supportive?
A lot of people thought I was kinda weird for dieting the way I was and it put a hindrance on my relationship with my boyfriend because he thought I was too thin and we couldn’t enjoy going out to dinner or anything like that.
FFTF: What was your friends/family reaction when you told them you wanted to get on stage and take part in a bodybuilding competition?
For the most part everything thought it was pretty cool and interesting and supportive. I am not a fan of the whole stage aspect of competing and especially hated the posing for bikini. When I did figure my boyfriend understood competing more and more and he was very supportive and excited for me to do it.
Is chocolate covered Oreos a meal? If not, then I had Steak ‘N Shake!
FFTF: Would you recommend competing to anyone or do you think it takes a certain type of individual to engage in this “strict” diet and workout regimen?
FFTF: What’s your typical gym routine like?
My typical gym routine is fairly simple and similar to a bodybuilder/powerlifter type of routine. Normally, I’ll do one body part a day, sometimes I will combine 2 parts but ill always keep my body guessing because it adapts very quickly. I like to train hard and heavy all year round and I’m typically at the gym 5-6 days a week for about 2 hours. Currently doing no actual cardio due to my issue of not being able to gain weight. My favorite day is back or leg day. I love heavy compound movements. I love squatting, dead lifting, and bench pressing.
FFTF: Anything else you care to share with some would-be competitors out there thinking about entering a competition? Anything you wish you would have known before you started this process?
If you are thinking about entering a competition my first piece of advice is to make sure you are healthy and have the proper help or knowledge to put your body through such rigorous conditions. Second and most importantly do whatever division YOU love the most not what anyone else whats you to do and have fun and love what you do. I definitely wish I knew more about the differences between body styles, I had never seen a competition before I entered one and I wish I did see one first.
FFTF: What’s on your Goal list now? Do you want to do more competitions? What about goals not related to fitness?
My main focus and goal now is to put on more muscle. If I do consider another competition it will most likely be out-of-state. And if I do compete I want to compete in the physique category. My other major goal is to graduate from college and earn my Bachelor’s Degree.