Dannie, a 28 year old girl from a small town in Pennsylvania, took the time to motivate us, with her amazing story. She's living proof that a girl with ambition can accomplish everything. Let's share her dream as a nationally qualified NPC figure competitor!
~ If it doesn't light your soul on fire, it's not worth pouring your heart into ~
David: Hi Dannie, first of all, thanks for agreeing for this interview. Could you first tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from, how old are you?
Dannie: I’m from a small town in Erie PA but recently just moved out to the country in New York. I’m 28 years old. I’m a nationally qualified NPC figure competitor. One thing I think is unique about me is all the physical hardships I’ve overcome and I was still able to compete. I shattered both my elbows and had to get them both reconstructed. I had 2 fractures in my vertebrae and had to get a spinal fusion. I had to have 5 anchors put into my shoulder and I’ve broken both of my legs. (These were all childhood injuries and were not related to my training)
David: When did you start working out? What was your first goal to reach?
Dannie: I’ve been active my whole life. I used to be in gymnastics and play soccer and basketball as well as run track. I didn’t start training for a competition until 2013. My first goal was to put a little mass on my arms because I had gerbil arms.
David: Did you lose any weight? Do you only focus on fitness, or do you combine it with other sports?
Dannie: I actually gained weight at first. I was taking in more food, more carbs as I was building muscle. I went from 145 to 153. Then I started leaning out for the competition and my final stage weight was 128 lbs. I don’t cross train, though I do partake in the occasional 5K for fun.
David: Do you also pay attention on what you eat? What’s your favorite meal?
Dannie: I am on a very strict diet almost all of the time. Though I do not stray from for the 18 weeks prior to stepping on the stage. Right now I think my favorite diet meal is jasmine rice, tuna, squash, bell peppers and avocado. It goes well all mixed together.
David: What’s your training schedule for a week?
Dannie: I alternate cardio and training. Monday I hit cardio hard. 30 min fasted then 45 min after work and finish with abs. Tuesday I train every muscle group hard and break it up with 3 sessions of 15 min of cardio, I repeat that trend all week and rest on Sunday. (I’m staying lean for summer so cardio is higher)
David: What’s your guilty pleasure (in food)?
Pizza is and will always be my guilty pleasure.
David: When did you make the decision to start inspiring people through Instagram?
Dannie: I got so engrossed in my progress throughout my first competition prep. I had to take progress pics every week for my trainer then I started pulling them side by side to see my progress. I shared them out of pride and the questions started pouring in. I love giving guidance and showing people that changing your body to make you feel comfortable in your own skin is possible. Several people wanted me to keep them updated on my progress. But I didn’t want to annoy those who didn’t want to see my constant progress pics. So I decided to build my Instagram around my fitness journey. It’s there for people who need/want it. I am to inspire and possibly find sponsorship.
David: What would be your ultimate dream?
Dannie: My ultimate dream would be to get my NPC Pro card, earn sponsorship and get paid to do what I love: compete and inspire.
David: What is your biggest motivation to keep you going every day?
Dannie: I’ve always been self-motivated. My desire to eventually become an NPC Pro is my biggest reason for getting up and doing what I do.
David: Do you have a motivational song, a song that pumps you up, for working out?
Dannie: Hahaha, as cheesy as this sounds, Beast by Rob Bailey always gets me pumped up and ready to kill it.
David: If the whole world was listening right now, what would you say?
Dannie: I guess I’d pull a bit from my first answer and just let them know that if I can become a nationally qualified NPC figure competitor after breaking both legs, a collarbone, 2 vertebrae and a shoulder, than there is no reason they can’t follow their dreams too. It won’t be easy, but it’ll always be worth it. The worst feeling for me is failing and know that I could have done more. When you feel like you absolutely cannot do one more set, that’s when you do 3 more.
David: A lot of people start working out in January as their New year’s resolutions. What do you do after summer? Does your training schedule change? For example when it’s snowing?
Dannie: It all depends on when my competition is. But typically I start bulking after summer so my diet changes to higher everything, especially protein and carbs.
David: What’s your favorite work out exercise?
Dannie: Lat pull downs and lying leg curls are my 2 favorite exercises. I also love doing kickbacks with the lying leg curl machine. It does wonders for the booty.
David: You’ve had your share of bad luck, with a lot of injuries. What made you get up again?
Dannie: I was never fully down. I would always find some sort of way to keep active. For instance, after my shoulder surgery I trained only cardio, legs and gluten. I do not know how to give up and honestly, I’m not myself without my fitness. I used to always be down in the dumps and I feel that creeping up on me if I miss a few days at the gym. My training just kinda makes me whole. To me, going without it would be giving up a huge part of me and my happiness.
David: If Hallmark was looking for an inspirational quote, and you’d be the one to choose, what would your quote be?
Dannie: If it doesn’t light your soul on fire, it’s not worth pouring your heart into.
Thanks a lot for taking the time for the interview, Dannie! If you enjoyed this interview and her story, be sure to follow her progress on Instagram.