WBFF Pro Figure & 2x World Champion Emily Stirling

The Stats:

Emily Stirling

WBFF Figure Pro.

Published figure model and freelance writer

Personal Trainer, Movement Trainer Specialist, Nutrition and Wellness Specialist, Gymnastics Coach and Conditioning Specialist

Coach and Co – Owner of Team Stirling Online & Contest Training

2009 WBFF Figure Pro World Champion

2x WBFF Figure World Champion

Tell us about yourself, where did you grow up, what was life like for you as a kid, when and how did you discover the world of fitness?

I’m going to be answering this from my point of view as child, I’m sure my parents would differ! Kidding! I had a great childhood, as per what I can recall! I grew up a small town called Charing Cross. A typical low key crazy country girl! I guess had so much energy my parents had to put me into sports, they kept me in them to keep me out of trouble! This is what they told me! So it started at 4 with gymnatsics! Apparently I was handful, so they then enrolled me into the competitive program to see me less! (Kidding!) I stuck with competitive gymnastics until I was 18. I was always athletic in school as well, track and volleyball mostly. So onto the best part, how I discovered the world of fitness! I started picking up magazines when they first started coming out when I was 18. Oxygen was the first I bought I believe.  I also believe it was former WBFF Pro Monica Brant on the cover. I remember something about rollerblades over the shoulders and big curly blond hair. Shortly after that, I found out my cousin Mason was doing his first contest. It was only natural I attended, and ended up getting the itch to compete! A year later, I met my husband Matt, and in 2001 we entered into our first show together. My world opened up from the start. Matt was contracted through Lou Zwick of American Sports Network, aka Musclemania and was very successful for our age winning the Jr’s (under 23) for the Musclemania Canada, Musclemania World, and Musclemania Superbody. I’m pretty sure he won each main show any MM competitor could quality to win! Ha! He inspired me to want to compete again too! 2007 I entered into my first fitness show, and I won the overall, to become the first WBFF Figure Pro. Kinda cool! I’m still kinda discovering the world of fitness!!!

What are you most passionate about?

Truthfully…. Personal Training and Coaching.. aka work! I love helping people. Whether its through contest training, or personal training. I am most happy and passionate about in life is my profession. The people I work with, and the things I get to be a part of in life has my heart! I think 90% of my life if consumed with different parts of my career, from personal to professional.  I make sure that I try to make time to spend good quality time, and still try to enjoy a social life! Lets just say I have a great group of crazy fun loving friends, who love wine and food , and dancing just like myself! I love my “6 months out of the year social life!”

You’ve already achieved a lot within the fitness industry, what is one big dream that you have for yourself that you haven’t achieved yet?

Thank you Diana! I have a few dreams. Some are more realistic than others! I’ll share one with you though just to be fair. I’ve been pondering this the last few years, and I’m just waiting for right time to start launching it. I want to set up camps throughout the year for workshops and travel a little with it to different areas. As our coaching business is expanding, it would be nice to add another element to it. I would like to tag up with some different individuals and offer a full weekend camp eventually. I think it’s going to come sooner than I think! I haven’t smoothed out everything. It’s been in my 5 year plan!

Do you have any “aha” moments that were instrumental in change that you made in your life?

Yes! First “aha” moment was the first time I decided to give up a very social typical post college party life to compete in figure in 07. That was huge. Had I not competed, I would definintely not be where I am today! Second “aha” moment came from after the 2009 WBFF Worlds, when I realized I wanted to start coaching and making my own business out of training athletes for stage! In my mind it only made sense. I used to do gymnastics, then coached gymnastics. I started working with weights, now I train people with weights. I started competing in fitness/figure and now I’m coaching girls for stage. My life has been very dynamic. It is always changing, and mostly for the better! I have a few other “aha” moments to come, I’m sure!

You’ve got a great support system in your hubby Matt, the two of you are a dynamic power fitness couple, tell us about how the two of you got together and what it’s like to have a partner who is as passionate about fitness as you?

How we met! We actually met outside a night club. Not what you expected, I know! We were 18, I believe. He some how found out my name, and introduced himself to me. By introducing himself, I mean that he yelled out my name (aka “holla’d”) before I got into my friends car! First date, this is noteable! Three words, Donkey Calf Raises. I had previously commented to matt that my calves were bigger than his, I told him he could pick the workout. First exercise… DCR’s! Matt remarks me to “go first” because I was so sure of my calves…  I got into the machine, started doing the exercise, and turned my head back to question my form… to see him staring straight at me saying “yes… like that Emily” while shaking his head. I quickly realized his intent!! He was pretty sly with that one!

We have become quite the power team with our business! We try to support each other as much as possible, during busy periods, contest periods, stressful periods and exciting periods! That’s a lot of periods! Ha ha! The process of having someone living the same life is just so much easier  to stay committed the process: to not to cheat off diets, skip workouts, and keep focus. Sure life is busy, and not a fairy tale, and we work at everything we do. We know we wouldn’t’ be able to live this life if we weren’t alike!

You have some insane training videos on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/emstirling), could you tell us about your training theory and what your favorite training techniques are?

The insanity comes from my trainer, who is always thinking up new things, and my willingness to do these insane things! I take that as a compliment, absolutely! My training theory differs year by year. Each body is different, and goes through different phases. My body has changed every year, hence why I have taken a different approach each year. In 07, I entered into my first show in years, and I had a very limited time to diet and train, so I specifically focused on fat loss. This would be more of the conditioning training I focused on. In 08 I wanted to gain some muscle back, so building was my focus. In 09 I wanted to get the condition to come dialed in, so I used both conditioning and buildling phashes. In 2010, I wanted my body to be lean, feminine and have the beauty female package, I over depleted my muslces by too much cardio and conditioning, so I didn’t have the hardness I did previously, I was ok with that thought. So I have accomplished each  year what I have wanted to. Now this year my focus is on hitting the same as what I did in 09, with the same presentation package as 2010. There has been no time off, there has been cardio in the off season, and lots of heavy weights. My trainer Jay is focusing right now on just muscle building in the upper body, and hardening of the legs. I love doing high intensity cardio intervals. I love doing heavy wieghts. I actually hate doing conditioning and long endurance steady cardio because it’s physically demanding on my system. I think a lot of people reference all my training to just conditioning training. I use conditioning training only 2-3 months out of the yaer, and that’s the last 8 -10 weeks of my prep, all pending on my current state!

What changes do you make to your nutrition and training on and off season?

I am a creature of life. I love food. I love all kinds of food. I love sugar, I love carbs and I love meat. I love big meals, healthy meals, wine and dessert! However, I only allow myself to keep in moderation in off season. Now, I am not going to lie here, and let you know that after the shows of 07, 08, and 09 Matt and I probably drank about a bottle of wine with dinner every other night of the week! I realized that it put my weight up quiet quickly! Who would have thought! Haha! So really Ive made a huge effort this year to keep things clean, and limit my wine and cheesecake consumption. Yes I love cheesecake. Not healthy cheesecake, the fat, twice baked and super thick crust kinda cheesecake!

Here are some off season guidelines I go by

1: Nutrition

* I limit myself to about 2 fruits per day

* My carb rule is that carbs are placed either early in the am, right before the workout and right after the workout.

* I eat red meat about 2x per week mx, and it’s usually the NY AAA cuts that we like to enjoy (yes also not the healthiest, but it’s portion sized and tastes good!)

* Water consumption stays up to about 3L per day

* We do enjoy to eat out once per week, in which usually I order a salad .. it’s perfect I love salad.

2: Training

* Training happens almost everyday. I never usually take an off day, just because physically and mentally I need the release of energy

* Cardio is almost everyday, but I’m not doing plyo, or conditioning! Basically stairmaster, jogging intervals, bike and skipping

* Weights are done by body part 1x per week, sometimes I’ll hit in 2x per week of the body part that is not sore, and that I can fit in. I also do sessions with my clients, I find they like it when I jump into their workouts. Its benefits me as well because I work out during work. Perfect!

What are you afraid of? How do you deal with or overcome your fears in life?

Truthfully, I am afraid of success and failure. Afraid of success a little more than failure because everyone has failed at something, I have found some success, but I always want more. I usually face fear head on. It’s all I know! The more I fear something, the more drive and desire I find in myself to accomplish it. I actually like people telling me I can’t do things. It hurts at first, however the hurt turns to passion.. and that passion drives me to think of what I’m not willing ot do to be successful. I have a great support system of friends and family. For the most part I’m pretty sure some of them think I’m plain out crazy. I dream big, I go for it, whether or not some people may like it, and I choose to do things that I have confidence. Sometimes I take on challenges I might not be ready for, and it helps to build a stronger person inside me.

In today’s society there are countless young women who struggle with self confidence and body image issues which negatively affect their lives in so many other ways. As a trainer and as an athlete what advice would you give to these gals that would help them improve their esteem?

Bang on! I’ve been there! That’s how I started! I think anyone in the fitness industry has had some form of personal struggle with their self confidence. That is why we seek to change correct. Self esteem doesn’t come from titles, or badges or trophies, and though they may add icing to the cake, there is a inner system that needs to be addressed. First and foremost, a young girl or guy needs to value themselves. Whatever it takes for that person to learn to love and appreciate themselves, has to be found through trial and error. Having the right people, the right mindset and the right environment will be other only thing that helps someone build self esteem. Because I am a coach, a trainer and a former self-conscious girl myself, I know that it starts on the inside. I started working out because my brother was working out. I was the “muscular fat girl” as I call it. I remember being 10 years old and a former provincial althete from my club called me “butterball”. It’s over 18 years later and I still will never forget that. I chose to pick something that impacted me in my life, and turn it into something where I could excel. Really, the moment I found out I had abs, was the best moment in my life. I realized, WOW I do look good. WOW, I’m not fat and WOW I can actually make this body look good. So in a way I thank the people that hurt me when I was younger, as I’m sure they didn’t know it and mean for it to have an impact. As a gymnastics coach I realized it young that I never wanted a girl to feel like she was out of place, or fat, or ugly. People need good people that can help teach them how to get past incidents that cause them to feel insecure. Even my friends, who compare themselves to me, I have to tell to sit back and chill. They are gorgesous, they don’t have to look like me, I never expect them to look like me, and would never push them to. Embrace your body, your curves and just be healthy. I think everyone needs a good person in their lives to make them feel complete. I am very fortunate to have a few great people in my life.

Tell us a funny story about you, not necessarily related to fitness :-)

Diana!! Come on! I am Miss Irony! I have the craziest funny things to tell in my life. Ok. I’ll tell a few, some are NOT going public, and some I just laugh about still because I can remember them like yesterday! I am going ot have to send this to my friend who will totally remember it! Here we go… 12 years old, in Rondeau Bay with my long time, almost sister Maggie. So we’re out visiting her nan’s cottage in the summer, which was a typical day after gymnastics, and we were going out swimming at the beach. We biked with just our bikinis on a shirt, and took our towels. We used to bury each other in the sand and take pictures because we were goofs! We’d go out in to the farthest bank in the water and take off our bottoms to get the sand off. Well… when I took off my bottoms, they got taken away with the current. OMG! So Maggie had to go and get my towel from beach, and bring it to me. The towel was small… and my shirt just went past my hips! We had to bike back (me yes, bottomless with just a towel… picture that… I know you are) about 15 mins back to her nans. Of course, we’d see people out rollerblading as I’m trying to go as fast as I can with out my towel falling off embarrassing me more! There is so many more, however that is one of the funniest ones I can remember! Like I mentioned before, many more that stay locked up in this brain for a good reason!!

How can people find out more about you?

People can access me through many multi-media and social networks.

www.teamstirling.ca is our official Team Stirling website




www.emilystirling.com will be coming out in the near future (hopefully by the fall 2011)

Who would you like to thank who has been a part of your fitness journey?

Absolutely! First off, my husband and coach Matt. He helped me start this journey long ago. We have been through and seen a lot in this industry. He has stuck by my side, through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Second, my family. I’m sure up until last year they thought I was crazy, and really had no idea what I did. I think my dad really said it as “this is my princess. She competes in these muscle competitions and has to wear a bikini and 6 inch stripper shoes, and she’s won a few titles too.” Even though they were unsure of what I did til last year when they came to watch me, I know they respect all the time, effort, dedication, money, sacrifices that has gone along with it for the last 5 years! My family are my biggest fans, and I love them!

Jay Hallatt: My trainer over the past two years!

Performance Health & Fitness, this is our gym, and the home of Team Stirling

My friends! From the crazy social girl, to the girl who lives in the gym, my friends have always been supportive. You all know who you are!

Chantal and Justin from Gym Star Apparel www.gymstar.ca. These two have been a huge help in my contest prep! They supply all of my workout wear for my Vlogs you can find on YouTube.

Karen Philllips of KHP Designs. She is my suit designer, and a fantastic one of that!

John Schinkel of Schinkels Meats in Chatham. What can I say, this man helps us with the best quilaity of meat for our contest prep every year.. this is a huge advantage. I have a husband who eats 4x as much as I do!

The last and biggest group of people is my fans. Without the support of fans, no top athlete could do this!

Well there finishes off my Miss America acceptance speech! Thanks Diana and Micah for sending this out to  me! I value you two as friends and co WBFF Pro’s!

Getting silly with Emily backstage at the WBFF World Championships 2010!