Breena is a two-time IFBB Bikini Champion Bodybuilder. She won first place at Ferrigno Legacy in 2015 and qualified for the Olympia her very first year as a pro. She is also a top trainer for UFC and believes that fitness can (and should!) happen anywhere.
The One X Ten Interview:
1. Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I was born in San Jose, CA but was raised in Hollister, CA. Currently I reside in Concord, CA.
2. How did you get started in your sport and when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
Once I became a personal trainer, I decided that the best way to grow my business was to lead by example and gain the trust of my clients by practicing what I preach daily. Bodybuilding was a way for me to empathize and understand my clients better as well. I know what it is like to have to gain weight and build muscle and I also know what it’s like to have to cut weight. Everything I ask of my clients, I do myself and I believe that builds their confidence in me to coach them through their fitness journey. Truth be told, when I started bodybuilding, I did not even think past my first show. I had always participated in team sports, so I had no idea where it would lead. After winning first place in the E Class division, and being crowned the Overall Bikini winner in my first show, I didn’t even think about nationals and qualifying for a Pro Card. I decided I would do another show to see how it went before making the jump, just in case I just got lucky my first time. Once I received another national qualification at my second show I was ready to train for my national debut. It was during my prep for nationals that I started to dream bigger and visualize where I wanted to be....a professional bodybuilder on the most prestigious stage in bodybuilding....The Olympia.
3. What is the biggest setback you’ve suffered as an athlete?
A setback is an instance when a goal isn’t achieved, but I see those times as gaining experience. I haven’t always received the placements I’ve wanted, but that is all part of the process with bodybuilding. There hasn’t been anything that has held me back from being able to compete, but much of that is due to my mindset. Some people let negativity get the best of them. There will always be people that doubt your abilities and I have had my fair share of people that thought my early success in bikini was a fluke or that I wouldn't do well at the Pro level. I don't really see the negativity that people attempt to bestow on me as a setback though. The negativity is just fuel for me when my tank gets low and I am instantly rejuvenated.
4. Best piece of advice from women starting out in your sport?
Stepping on stage is more than just looking good in a bikini. Just as training, diet, and supplementation is key to a well balanced physique, posing is what brings it all together. Too many competitors wait until a few weeks out from a show to work on their posing and then their nerves get the best of them on stage. Posing should happen just as often as training and having a coach assist you with posing is crucial. The more you pose, the more relaxed you will be. The more relaxed you are, the more confidence you will have and that is honestly what determines your placement...how well you display your hard work.
5. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a female athlete?
I won't tip toe around it. Many think you need to get breast augmentations and use low doses of human growth hormones to be able to compete and do well. I do not frown upon those that choose that route but I don't want newcomers to believe that it is a “must do.” I have never used steroids, and I do not intend to ever get my breasts enhanced via surgery for the purpose of receiving higher placement. It is very common to lose cup sizes while on prep, but I combat that by having my suit designer add extra padding to my suit. Again, there is nothing wrong with getting surgery to enhance your breasts but it is not necessary in order to do well in the sport.
6. Whom in your sport do you admire the most and why?
I admire the moms in the sport. Janet Layug and Stephanie Mahoe are gorgeous, fit moms that do well in the sport and still manage to be there for their children. I do not have children yet and this sport takes up the majority of my time. I have a great respect for the mom competitors out there that are able to balance it all while keeping family a priority.
7. What’s in your gym/workout bag?
EVERYTHING!!!! I have resistance bands, my pre-workout from SNAC (Xpedite), my BCAA's from DotFit (Amino Boost XXL and Muscle Defender), 5 prep meals in a 6packbag, recovery tools for myofacial release, 3 sets of workout clothes, Sweet Sweat (a topical to help me sweat out additional water), my competition heels (I practice posing daily), phone charger, FitBit charger, and toiletries.
Depending if I am in-season or off-season I usually have oatmeal with flaxseed and either a scoop of Proglycosyn protein from SNAC or Whey Smooth protein from DotFit or 4 egg whites with 12 oz. of hot tea.
9. Favorite workout or workout tip?
I enjoy training my glutes utilizing a Sling Shot band (hip circle band). It’s a great way to activate muscles you wouldn't be able to hit with just squats due to the constant tension. I recently held a month long Booty Bootcamp in January and each participant received 10 booty workouts along with Sling Shot band to utilize. I am still receiving positive feedback regarding the workouts and the effectiveness of the band.
10. We define “The Wonder” as the state of reaching the truly extraordinary—the achievements that most people, including you at one point, could not fathom. What is your Wonder and what has it taken—or what will it take—to reach it?
Very few competitors get the chance to not only become a professional bodybuilder but also receive the honor of stepping on the Olympia stage. I am proud to say that I turned Pro after competing in 3 shows, earned my bid to the Olympia my first year, and now entering year two, I already have my qualification to return to the Olympia in September 2016. It has taken an abundance of sacrifice to be able to do so. There have been many times where I have had to say, "no thank you" or "sorry, I can't make it" to family functions, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and more. It’s unfortunate to miss those events, and it makes relationships hard to maintain. Some people understand, some don't. You gain friends and lose friends. Bodybuilding has often been referred to as a lonely sport, especially if you do not have a strong support system. I am blessed to have a supportive husband and an army of sponsors who are always willing to lend a hand and assist me with whatever I need. I work for an amazing company that allows me to pursue my dream of becoming a household name within the fitness industry. When competing, you have to be mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally ready. You are constantly challenged. You also learn a lot about who you are and what you are or aren’t capable of. You are constantly battling yourself to compete and endure rigorous amounts of training and constant dieting. The time required to figure out how to balance competing and "life" can be a struggle too. As tough as it is, I thrive on the journey and love every second of it because I see a new and improved me that was built rep by rep, meal by meal, day after day. My wonder is a relentless, fearless, work ethic and the insatiable desire to be a better me.