Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Third Trainer - Huong

A while back I wrote about my first two trainers, and now it's time for trainer #3, Huong Arcinas (now Huong Ho), who is an IFBB Figure Pro. She has even been on the Olympia stage! Here we are at my second show, before I took first place in Masters! Dang check out my hair, there is lots of it huh?!

I worked with Huong at the same time as working with SC, so I may flip back and forth between the two of them, and we trained together for about a year I think.

It was very early 2009 and I decided I was going to hire a nutritionist because I was busting my butt, but not seeing the results I really thought I should be seeing.

I consulted with Kim Porterfield, from The Institute of Eating Management And Relapse Prevention Center in Texas and she developed a diet for me, a diet I could live with, in fact, a diet I have lived with now for almost 3 years!

After I started Kim's diet I went from 13% bodyfat to 8% in 4 weeks. Now 13% is not shabby by any means, but I wanted to be ripped. I looked great! I had already told SC that I was planning on competing so I needed someone to help me, I knew nothing.

SC was no help here, he supported my decision but thought Figure and Bodybuilding was dumb and not a true sport. He is a Strength Coach, "posing" is stupid in his mind, it has nothing to do with any sport. Except the sport of "booty". I suppose he is right, it doesn't technically seem like a sport, yet that is what it is! He would get in my face and say "I hate bodybuilders", then in the same breath help me to train the body parts I was working on to grow. 

I found Huong on the Internet, and recalled seeing her picture in a magazine somewhere...

I emailed her and she called me so we could talk about my goals and we arranged a time to meet. 

I had told Huong I was at 8% bodyfat, and unbeknownst to me, she was thinking "Yeah, right, they all say that" (she told me this later) and when we met she had her fat tester in her hand, it quickly disappeared, she could see I was indeed at 8%, just where I said I was (SC had tested it).

It was March and I told her I wanted to compete in the San Jose show coming up in July. Her response? "Hell no, you look great and you will compete in the Contra Costa in May!"

And I did. 

I had 8 weeks of prep for my first show and I took 2nd in Masters and 14th in open B. I was scared to death. 


It's easy to train hard and feel like you look great, and you do! Then you walk backstage and are suddenly surrounded by a sea of beautiful, tanned, hard, rippling muscles. It's easy to start feeling inadequate. Huong was there for me, nudging me and making sure I kept believing in myself. 

I would train with SC on Fridays, doing the things I loved to do and I would train with Huong on a weekday evening after work, doing what I needed to do to sculpt the body for Figure.

Huong has quite an eye. I would walk in and she would say "You are up a pound what did you eat the last couple days?"  She was right, my weight was up.

Or, she would look at me and say "What's your carbs at?" and I had better be able to quickly give her my daily total.  She would tell me to adjust it here and there according to what I looked like. I would go into training each week praying under my breath that she would say to me as I walked out the door "go eat a burger!"...

We mainly worked on upper body, she helped me to learn to train my back and shoulders to get the much coveted V taper needed for Figure.

Huong and SC would have conflicting ideas of training, but then their goals were totally different so that is to be expected. I wanted to compete, and therefore needed to listen to Huong, she was (and is) the expert there. But I loved the tough stuff, the sleds, the deadlifts, the sledgehammers, the loud music and sweating. The chalk. That's what I got with SC. Down and dirty, my kind of training. Blood, dirt, sometimes grease. 

I felt sorta bi-polar at times. 

Huong was there for me at the shows, supporting and gluing my suit on. That is one thing I have never really gotten used to. The promoters do not allow trainers or friends backstage to help the competitors, but there are those in the industry, who are well known enough that are allowed, Huong was one of those, being a Pro competitor herself. It was great for me then, but now, when I don't have a trainer who is in the industry, it makes me a little miffed, so some women have an advantage by having that help backstage. Believe me, you need it! 


I chalk it up to the fact that many of these trainers help to maintain a steady supply of competitors to the shows, thus making money for the promoters, so the promoters allow them to do this. Double standard but that's life I suppose. I built my bridge and got over it, I know dance upon it.


Ever try to glue the butt of your suit on yourself? Pretty darn hard to get it straight. I have gotten used to doing a very goofy looking squat and glue dance, and who gives a damn who is watching. It can be pretty funny when the guys and gals are in one big room though. To be honest though, most competitors are so caught up in themselves at the time you could be standing stark naked next to them and they wouldn't notice you.

I do know that if she were backstage she would certainly help me still though!


Here we are with two of her other clients, Natalie and Stephanie. This was backstage at the San Francisco in 2009 I think.




Huong taught me to look at myself with a very critical eye, and to be conscious of my posture, my core, my abs, how I walk and my facial muscles. I would make faces when I would train. She would stop me and tell me - "Look at your face, look what you are doing". I would learn to relax my face.

Huong suggested stripper or pole dancing classes, I opted for Pussy Cat dance class, it was cheaper! ha ha.  Pole dancing caused bruises I heard, so some day I will do that, but at that time I didn't want to chance it. Stripping was more expensive. Classes are at Sedusa Studios in Campbell. They won't give you their location until you pay for classes and they speak to you, the last thing they need are lurkers...they offer everything, lap dancing, pole, strip, chair, you name it, they teach it! It's a fun place, very comfortable and close by my home and gym.


Her thought process was correct - most of the women who do this look stunning, their conditioning and physique, so you need to stand out, you need to bring personality to the stage, you need to have fun (or at least look like you are), you need to feel and look confident, you need to be able to seduce people from afar and draw the judges to you. You must make them want you and like you. It's all quite a game. You need to learn to entertain on stage.

It took me a while to learn, I was scared to death the first time and it shows all over my face. I also got down lower in weight than I ever have been, and I prefer my weight 1 to 2 pounds higher. 


As far as the actual weight training, Huong taught me to vary my reps and sets as we moved closer to competition time. It doesn't always stay constant. She advised on how much cardio to do. And when I was tired of it all and just wanted to stop, she would ask if I want to quit or wanted to win.


I am not a quitter.


Huong trains at Ray's Built Tuff Gym in San Jose, here is the gang again, Ray and all the competitors from the gym (and a couple trainers). Ray was the guest poser. He asked if a couple of us could put his pro-tan on and we pretended it would be an awful mess, but secretly I was dying to do it! Somehow he finagled a spray tan instead so we all felt cheated!






Huong taught me all the ropes, what to expect, what to bring, how to register, what not to do, how to pose. She measured me for my suit and we selected colors, I had a beautiful suit made by Celeste Harsa  of Suits by Celeste. Later I would decide that I wanted an even smaller bottom, so Celeste made a new bottom for me. It's pretty darn small too. 


Huong shared her many years of experience with me, there is no way I could have been as successful at competing as I have been if I had never trained with Huong. In fact, she once told me that the majority of women who decide to compete get close, and never step on stage, or they only do it once. She made sure I wouldn't be one of those women. 

Please see the links below if you would like to read about my first and second trainers.

My Second Trainer - SC


My First Trainer -Baz

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