Sue Strange has been a Myprotein Student Ambassador since April 2016 and Myprotein Writer Brian Kudler had the pleasure of interviewing her recently. Sue has over 11, 000 Instagram followers and has become an increasingly important member of the Myprotein Student team. After reading this interview you’ll find out all you need to know about Sue!
1. Please give us a little incite about your story and who you are.
My name is Sue Strange and I’m originally from Columbus, Ohio. I’m currently attending the University of Kentucky and pursuing a journalism degree. I am graduating a year early and hope to switch gears and work with Myprotein as much as possible. I’m very interested in lifting (obviously) but my other passions include spending time with my dog and eating Mexican food.
2. How did you get into the fitness lifestyle and what motivates you along this exciting journey?
I’ve always been an active person. I swam for 14 years, cheered for 7 years, played basketball on and off for 8 years, and ran track for 7 years. I originally was going to go to college for track (pole vaulting) but senior year of high school I hurt my back and couldn’t finish the season or really do much else. While doing track, I did a lot of weight training in the off season with my coach to stay in shape and get stronger (pole vaulting requires A LOT of upper body strength).
After I got hurt, I couldn’t cheer or vault and spent the summer before college casually going to the gym. When I got to college, I dreaded putting on the “freshman 15” and met a girl in my dorm who agreed to work out with me. I had some knowledge about lifting (and never liked cardio) so I emailed a friend who was a big lifter and he sent me some workouts. I did those and got pretty strong in my freshman year, but was definitely not living the “fitness lifestyle” and was still very naive about training and nutrition.
I partied a lot and ate whatever I wanted while still going to the gym 5-7 times a week. After freshman year, I spent the summer on and off going to the gym but never really fully committing to anything. Lifting wasn’t a priority; it was just something I sometimes “did”. Sophomore year came around and I was still going to the gym but there was really no method to my madness.
In October of 2015 was when Gabby Male started her fitness Instagram. She was a roommate with one of my friends from high school but I didn’t know her. I immediately wanted to know her “secret”. She was gorgeous, fit, and confident and everything I had aspired to be for so long. I emailed her and told her my story and struggle and she volunteered to workout with me and send me more workouts. From then on we became close friends. We would go to the gym together every chance we had and I loved it.
That Christmas break, bodybuilding.com was running a “transformation” challenge. I decided to join it and see what I could accomplish in 12 weeks. I didn’t really lose any weight but I completely changed my body competition. Each week that passed, I became more and more interested in “fitness”. I got stronger, I learned more, and I got better. Sometime after the challenge finished, Gabby became the first Myprotein student ambassador. Through her I got to try a ton of products and then ended up making my own fitness Instagram. We both fueled each other to become better and better.
Once I had a fitness Instagram, I started learning more and more about the crazy world of fitness (and became a Myprotein ambassador!) and learned about bikini competitions. After a lot of self-reflection, I decided I wanted to do one! Since then, I prepped for a show and am now in improvement season and trying to grow more muscle for the next time I step on stage!
Now motivation is a weird concept. A lot of people see you on Instagram and think you are constantly motivated but I’m not. Some days I just want to lay in bed and the gym is not somewhere I want to go. But in my opinion, motivation isn’t/can’t be a constant thing. Are you constantly motivated to go to school? Or to work? No.. but you do it anyway. Motivation comes from the inside. Fitness is what I want to do, it’s what I chose to do, and just because you aren’t constantly motivated to do something right now, it shouldn’t stop you from accomplishing your goals day in and day out. My excitement about my future is what fuels me.
3. How did you prepare for your first bikini competition and was it any different from your normal training/nutrition schedule?
It was quite different from my normal training and nutrition, but mainly because there isn’t a lot of room for error. I had to weigh all my food and calculate everything and all my gym sessions HAD to be 100% as well as my cardio sessions. There were no excuses. During this improvement season so far (3 weeks post show), I am still counting macros and training hard BUT if something isn’t “perfect” than it’s not the end of the world. I approached my prep with tenacity and with the goal to be irrefutable and I still approach my improvement season the same way. Prep is just much more strict.
4. Describe to us that feeling of stepping on stage for the first time. Could you go into what your whole experience was like?
Stage was CRAZY. I didn’t know what to expect at all. It was 16 weeks of incredibly hard work and the day had come. I wasn’t as nervous as I expected to be and I think that’s because I realized that the work had already been done and there was nothing else I could do at that point but enjoy it. Show day was a lot of “hurry up and wait”. I was rushed from getting my tan touch-ups to checking in to sit back stage for hours. When I finally stepped on stage I was just so happy and proud of what I had accomplished. I did it. I competed. I grinded for 16 weeks and I had won my trophy (my physique). And I knew I was finally going to get some good food that night so I was in a very good mood (haha). I loved being on stage. I’ve competed a lot through sports, but this was a whole new extreme and I loved it. I loved pushing my body to the absolute limit and then a few steps further. I can’t wait to do it again.
5. Would your approach change any differently if you were to compete again?
My approach wouldn’t exactly change but I do intend to bring a new package to the stage next time. I kind of completely jumped into fitness. Yes, I had always been active but once I started working out with Gabby I completely immersed myself in the fitness world and went all in and did a competition. If I were to “do it again” from the very start of my journey- I would’ve maybe waited a little while longer before I competed because the judges major critique was that I needed a better muscle base- but all in all I’m EXTREMELY glad I did it and am equally excited to grow more muscle and compete again in another year.
6. What advice would you give to others who are considering competing?
My main advice would be to be ridiculously truthful with yourself. Prepping for a show takes a lot – A lot of energy, time, money, and everything. It’s a mental game more than anything. Think about why you are doing it and what you expect to get out of it. Figure out if you are in the right place financially to compete. Make sure that you have a good support system or you really won’t get far at all.
Think about your relationship with food and if being in a severe caloric deficit is possible without having disordered thoughts about food. Are you in school? Working? Have kids? Will you have time for everything and be able to complete all your tasks with a lowered brain function? I think competing is amazing. You find out so much about yourself and you accomplish things you never thought possible but it takes a very strong person- physically, mentally, and emotionally and if I were to do it at a different time in my life, I might not have succeeded.
7. What are some of your favorite Myprotein supplements and products that you use on a regular basis?
The thing that actually helped me get through prep was protein waffles! I would make them with a scoop of Impact Whey Protein, an egg, and a dash of baking powder and sometimes add apple sauce to the batter. I looked forward to them every morning and they were THE BEST. (Fave protein flavors are salted caramel, cinnamon roll, peanut cookie, and chocolate smooth!)