Socrates once quipped
No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training...what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
Optimum Nutrition and Bodybuilding.com sponsored athlete Alicia Harris is one who won't ever wonder the beauty and strength that her body is capable of.
From a collegiate track and field athlete to a cover model to professional physique competitor. Alicia Harris has the beauty of a goddess yet the humility of a pauper but still one of the most underrated personalities in the fitness industry. It doesn't help her cause that she tends to be somewhat subdued. In this interview, we find out...at least try to find out who Alicia is , how she started , what motivates her...the works. Lets dig in!
Let's start from the beginning, What was life like growing up in the Harris household?
In the Harris Household, Sundays of Church and Football, Friday nights of Pizza , Athletic Events almost everyday, either my brothers playing football, running track, my own sports, basketball, track and field, My parents rollerblading and playing tennis… Just a busy household.
How did it all start? How did you get into weight training and competing on a national stage?
I ended my collegiate track and field career and was working at a gym. A bodybuilder at the gym had a show and I choose to come and watch, I saw some figure girls, expressed that I could do that, and I did it… I started. With each show I learned more, I met more people, I became more confident and I did 4 local shows and went to my first national show in my home city of Chicago! I always weight trained but competing allowed me to focus on specifics to change my body accordingly.
Do you have anyone that inspires you currently or inspired you in the past during various stages of your career?
I have many forms of inspiration depending on the situation and my emotional state. I look up to impactful people, ones that have found balance, impactful people who use their God given gifts to be an asset in others life. When I am down I would see some of the figure girls training, so that was inspiring when I needed some pumpin up! It just really depends on my state at the moment.
You recently just finished competing at the 2012 Olympia, how long have you been competing?
I have been competing for 5 years!
What has been the hardest obstacle that you had to overcome prepping for this Olympia?
Well… I had back issues. For 2 months I had pretty heavy pain, I did cardio and stayed on my nutrition to get me through. I did shoulders and some back but no high intensity (which I love) and no heavy pressure to my spine. It was annoying but I still trained! I am so blessed to have the genetics that I do to be able to have a modified training routine and still step on stage confidently in my own skin.
Is this the hardest obstacle you had to overcome in your life?
No back issue was not the hardest obstacle. My hardest obstacle would be a few years back when I moved to the west coast but wasn’t mentally strong enough to make the appropriate decisions for myself. It was a lost feeling I had and I just felt weak at that time and not confident in what direction I was headed towards. It happens… but I did get stronger with time and sacrifice.
What drives you to compete year after year?
The drive changes with the year. At first it was just something new so I did it. I did well so I kept doing it. I didn’t have a serious relationship or other responsibilities so I put my energy into myself and competing. Now things are changing and I choose to change and prioritize where I am putting my energy in to.
What future projects are you working on?
Well I would love to be more impactful and use my gifts to bless others more. I also have recently got engaged so…
What has been your proudest accomplishment so far?
Being able to use my God given gifts to inspire and motivate others. Its an honor and I am so grateful for the platform to connect with people and uplift.
What's it like when you are getting ready for a shoot and/or show?
Well I always do shoots during my contest condition. So preparation is the same as training for a show. Pictures show everything so I have to be just as small as I would on stage.
Do you take any supplements? What are the?
I take Multivitamins, CLA, Fatburners (sometimes), Gold Standard ON Whey, Amino Energy ON
What is your routine in the gym during a regular week...is it the same when you are getting ready for a shoot or a show?
My routine during a regular week begins with early morning cardio and if there is enough energy for weights I will do a quick weight workout right after. If I start getting hungry for breakfast I will leave and do weights later in the day. At the end of the day after work I get another cardio in and weights if I need to. Getting ready for a show that is the regular routine but when not training for a show I would only workout in the morning, less cardio and more weight training! I honestly do not have enough shoots to strictly just train for a shoot. Most of my shoots are around shows!
The 80/20 rule (pareto's principle) states that 80% of your results are determined by 20 % of your actions (in other words your "money makers") so the other 80% of your actions equals to the remainder 20% of your results. With this in mind, of all the exercises you do for your body which one would you say is your money maker (the 20%) for your lower-body ? ...which exercises is it for your upper body? Which exercise would you say is your money maker for your Glutes?
My Money Maker for my lower body would have to sprinting. It will lean out the muscle, it will work on your cardio, it will work on the fast twitch fibers but burn many calories while doing interval and sprinting workouts. Money maker for the upper body would have to be pullups! Sometimes if I don’t have much time I will do 80 to 100 pullups. I will switch up the hand positions and do increments of 15 pullups at a time. Pullups work your shoulders back, biceps and also chest and core! For my glutes would have to be my deadlifts. It activates many glute muscles and surrounding muscles to tighten and strengthen the lower body.
What do you listen to in the gym most of the time?
I have my Pandora on a Gospel channel. George Huff- former American Idol contestant Some Disney songs will pop up on that channel which makes me happy! Michael Jackson Pandora channel is listened to as well!
What's your go to healthy recipe when you have to make something quick fast and in a hurry?
Quick fast and a hurry is a protein shake ON (Optimum Nutrition)! More time I would just make an omelet with spinach and throw some chicken in it!
What's a regular day in the life of Alicia Harris like?
A regular day… I get up do cardio and weights if I am not too hungry. I eat breakfast and get ready for work. I check my schedule, answer some emails and head out to do Field Merchandising (sales) for Optimum Nutrition so I am driving around all day visiting accounts. After work I get another workout in after eating all day on my scheduled times then I come home get ready for bed eat some more and sleep!
What's an off day for you ...what do you indulge in. what you do when you just relax, cheat meals etc?
An off day I just have more time to get things done or go to a movie or just sit and watch TV! Cheat meals would be anything that is available or in my face so mostly sweets if they are around. It just really depends what cheat is available at the moment!
You have a lot of people that look up to you particularly women what advice would you give to a girl trying to follow in a similar foot steps as you?
My journey is my journey so someone shouldn’t strive for my foot steps. Making your own journey and gaining all the experience, meeting all the great people, being grateful for support that you learn that you have, the knowledge gained in the process of training for shows, there is so much to learn, be grateful for and grow as a person from. Have fun and when it is not fun anymore than you should think about a change.
Are you working on any projects that you will like to share?
Just trying to work on my website and find a direction for it. There are many opportunities that are coming to fruition but I will have to wait to see which ones follow through J
Favorite Book: Bible and any other Motivational, impactful, positive, Christian book
Favorite quote: Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Favorite movie: Sister Act II, Michael Jackson: the American Dream, love and basketball, I have a lot of favorite movies
Dogs or cats: Neither
Football or Baseball: FOOTBALL FOOTBALL
Car or Motorcycle: TRUCK
Would you like to add anything else?
I love to further my knowledge in the Lord and his word. Its a life journey but I am a bible enthusiast and Love the Lord :)
I AM... a scrapbooker!