Strength, Beauty and Love is what IFBB Pro Fitness competitor Tanji Johnson credits her ongoing success. With over 15 years competing on the IFBB stages she has catapulted herself to the top of the pro ranks, holding the 2013 Fitness International Title….and gunning to capture the Fitness Olympia title.
You know Tanji…you have an infectious energy about you, whether I see you in person or just browsing your pages online. You are known for your “excellent spirit”, and your ability to motivate and give back to others - a unique quality. How do you maintain that, given the complexities of life while competing?
It all comes down to my faith and my relationship and the perspective I get from that relationship. God reminds me of what the real treasures are in life. So whenever I am struggling with anything from injuries, personal problems, the challenges of contest prep, He gives me the strength I need, and most of all, peace. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:37 “In all things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us”.
What do you do to prepare yourself mentally and physically, making sure you bring a better package each year? No doubt you have transformed your physique from year to year. What improvements have you made to your physique for the upcoming Olympia?
Mentally, I journal daily and spend time in prayer, meditating on what I want to accomplish and asking God for the strength, energy, and discipline to get it all done, or the grace for the times that I fail. Physically, I get in shape to “get in shape”. I have incurred injuries in the past from overtraining or jumping to high levels of intensity too fast, so I make sure I give my body time to acclimate as I raise my fitness levels. Over the past year, I have put on a little more muscle mass and plan to have a more detailed physique at the Olympia. I am also incorporating more "conditioning" workouts to ensure that I can sustain the stamina for the routine I have planned for the Olympia.
You have 9 Pro wins to date, holding the most prestigious titles of 2013 Fitness International /Arnold Classic and Arnold Classic Europe, ( now doesn’t that sound da bomb). What will it take for you to edge out Adela Garcia for the Olympia title?
This is a strong line up for me to compete in. I feel that my routine is key and has the same high energy that it possessed in past routines like my Stomp and Michael Jackson routines.
Tanji, you have seen the sport of Fitness change over the many years of competing, from black cat suits, one-piece suits, two routines to one routine...professionally speaking, what “era” of fitness have you most enjoyed. After all, you have competed with the best of the best from Adela Garcia, Jen Hendershot, Tracey Greenwood, and Kim Klein.
Honesty, I enjoyed having all 4 rounds, especially the short routine and the one piece. Those were my best rounds.
Evidently, with the emergence of the IFBB Figure and Bikini categories, there has been a decline of those competing in fitness. Having said that, tell us about your mission to “Save Fitness”, given the project you have at hand?
Well, I launched this campaign 8 years ago and plan to have more “How to train for Fitness” camps around the country when I retire. For now, I have devoted myself to several fitness athletes who are serious about pursuing fitness and mentoring them to the stage. It’s been an honor and every year over the past five years, I have coached women and helped them earn their pro cards in fitness, including both Overall winners of the Jr USAs and Team Universe. I love coaching Fitness! It is my passion. I have monthly fitness practices where I invite anyone from my team (bikini and figure included) to try Fitness. People are always amazed when they accomplish and learn their first fitness trick.
You have had an interesting upbringing, being an “army brat”. How has your military background help cultivate the person you are today?
Discipline, work ethic and time management…..oh and personal responsibility! That’s huge!
What do your training and fitness routine regimen consist of?
Four days of weight training, three days of Fitness training, and daily cardiovascular conditioning workouts. The fitness training ranges from hand balancing, gymnastics training, flexibility drills and strength progressions in my skills. It's super fun!!
Tanji, your success comes with a great team of support around you, who would you like to recognize and thank?
Pete and Apple Grubbs of CZ Fitness - Nutrition Coaches
Richard Pascale - Gymnastics and Fitness Coach
Steve Atlas - Hand Balancing Coach
Luka Hocevar - Strength & Conditioning Coach
Rosaline Hampton, Donnie Anderson, Safiya Johnson - Image Team
Cynthia James – Suit Designer
Brandon Bridgeman - ART and Chiropractic Care
Jan Tana - My Winning Color (especially Rhonda Huyn)
Isernios Sausage, Protein Cookie Co., P28 Bread, Quest Nutrition, Egg whites International - Sponsors
Family and Friends - Notably Zakiya and Safiya Johnson (sisters), and Debbie Salzman
And my Save Fitness Team for their amazing support!
Where can we find you online?
Facebook: Tanji Johnson
Okay now let’s get up close and personal with you Tanji…the fans want to know!
The person you admire the most?
The late Maya Angelou, a woman of great strength, courage and inspiration.
Three things you can’t leave home without?
iPhone, Liter of smart water and the right attitude :)
Your biggest pet peeve is?
Rude people or unfriendliness. Though I understand that everyone is not a people person.
If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be?
An amazing singer.
When you grow up, what do you want to be?
A wife, a mom, an author...and the rest I already am.
Thank you Tanji and we look forward to seeing you on stage! - FLEX