Having earned back-to-back wins at the prestigious IFBB Pittsburgh Pro and the IFBB Powerhouse Classic, it’s clear that Gennifer Strobo has found a recipe for success in the Figure division. However, if you know Gen, you know that her prowess as a Mom and Coach far exceeds all that she has accomplished as an athlete. Eager to learn a few pointers for stage, training and life success (and to get our hands on one of her amazing recipes), Team FitRx caught up with Gen after this past weekend’s win in Detroit. Here’s what she had to say…
FitRx: With back-to-back wins at the prestigious IFBB Pittsburgh Pro and the IFBB Powerhouse Classic, you now have five IFBB wins. How does it feel?
Gennifer: It is still crazy to think that I’ve won an IFBB Pro show, much less 5 of them. I think it does go to show that even after years of training, you can still continue to make improvements. I feel blessed to have made it to the top in a sport that I enjoy so much.
FitRx: Every athlete has ups and downs in her/his career, but the key to success is how one responds. Despite any challenges you have experienced, you have always pushed forward with tremendous tenacity and grace. What advice can you give to other athletes to keep them pushing and persevering?
Gennifer: Yes, all sports come with triumphs and downfalls. When trying to make changes to my physique with my coaches, we’ve found things that worked and didn’t work. There have been times that we would spend months fighting with my body to cooperate. You can either let the process wear on you or you can see it as exciting. I just stay focused on how each training session, meal plan or upcoming competition will help me to be a little bit better than my last show. The excitement of anticipating progress really keeps me motivated week after week.
FitRx: What is the most important lesson that you have learned from competing?
Gennifer: I think it took me MANY years to learn what I finally did over the past year and a half. I’ve learned balance. I’ve learned that balancing my competition career with my everyday life makes for a more successful and pleasant life in this sport. Not stressing over every detail, every second of the day has made me enjoy the journey to the stage that much more. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be my best at all times. However, I keep my perspective and don’t freak out about making mistakes, unforeseen schedule changes, curveballs etc. This has brought about peacefulness in my demeanor that I didn’t have before being a Figure competitor.
FitRx: While earning your fifth win is certainly an amazing feeling, I know that being a Mom tops that for you. How have your daughters inspired your fitness and life journey?
Gennifer: I think my daughters have inspired me throughout my life. Kids seem to do that to all of us. My daughters have inspired me to strive to be my best and to push myself daily, as I want to be a good example for them. Also, in this sport, I’m blessed that I can help to inspire other women to want to be better as an athlete and as a coach. I think when my daughters see how I am able to change other women’s lives by helping them gain more self-confidence and to believe in themselves, they also gain strength. They understand how powerful and life changing this sport is and their belief in and support of me continues to energize and inspire my journey.
FitRx: You are also known for your amazing healthy creations in the kitchen. Share a quick and easy recipe for our readers that the whole family will love.
Gennifer: We love our “create your own fajitas.” I season sliced grilled chicken or steak with my own no-sodium fajita seasoning (see below) and then sauté the meat in a pan with about ¼ cup of water to keep the meat moist. For our tortillas, we use either whole wheat wraps or large romaine lettuce leaves. I put out individual dishes filled with diced tomatoes, grilled onions and peppers, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, 2% shredded cheese and fat free sour cream. Then, my family can walk down the “buffet” and make their fajitas, however they choose. No matter how they choose to eat it, it is healthy and wholesome for them.
We will also spray several of the whole wheat wraps with non-stick olive oil spray, sprinkle them with a mixture of equal parts cinnamon and Stevia and bake them in the oven until crispy. Then, we break them up and enjoy a little something sweet at the end of our fiesta!
Gen’s No Sodium Fajita Seasoning:
Onion Powder – 1/4 tsp
Garlic powder – 1/4 tsp
Cumin – 1/4 tsp
Chili Powder – 2 tsp
Paprika – 1 tsp
FitRx: You are a former skinny gal who has worked her butt off to build muscle, especially in your legs. What are a few of your tips for developing shapely and tight quads and hams? Share a few of your favorite exercises.
Gennifer: EAT, EAT, EAT. As women, we’re taught that food is our enemy. It took me many years to learn that in order to build tight round muscles, you need to EAT. Make sure that there is a good amount of essential fats, complex carbs and protein in your daily diet. When any one of these is lacking, your muscle growth will suffer. In addition to getting the proper nutrition, lifting differently each week helps to keep the body guessing and progressing, which has been important for building my legs. Some weeks I lift slow and heavy, while other weeks, I do fast supersets. As for exercises, hack squats and stiff leg deadlifts are my favorite exercises for quad and hamstring development.
FitRx: Is there anyone that you’d like to thank?
Gennifer: I’d like to, of course, thank my family, Aaron and my daughters—they are my foundation. Thank you to Team FMG and J.M. Manion for always looking out for me. And, I could never thank Shannon Dey and Team Bombshell enough for all they’ve done for me my entire career in this sport.
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