Another Arnold rookie prepares for the Figure International
February 28, 2008
You may not know the name Natalie Benson, but we're betting you will soon. Benson, who will will be taking the Arnold stage to compete in her first Figure International tomorow, will be looking to make a name for herself by cracking the top six in one of the most competitive contests the sport has to offer. Her performance in this past Olympia - her first appearance at that contest - where, she placed out of the top 15, might have skeptics thinking a top six finish at the Figure International is a longshot. But Benson, who placed second at the 2007 Europa Super Show, has best genetics in the sport, and is finding a look that should make her a force to reckon with in any show she enters - starting with the Figure International. Recently, FLEXONLINE had a chance to sit down with Benson and get to know this hard-charging Texan.
FLEXONLINE: Rumor has it your invite to the Figure International wasnÂt entirely expected: had you been dieting in hopes of getting an invite?
NATALIE BENSON: I started cleaning my diet up, but was still hesitant to eat bad because I had this feeling that i was going to be accepted...but I did have Christmas dinner! And that day I told myself I had a feeling that this was going to be my last bad mea ... AND IT WAS!!!
FLEX: What changes have you made to your physique since we last saw you on stage?
NATALIE: I've made changes to my lower body! IÂm trying to bring the legs done a lot more so that was my main focus this go Âround.
FLEX: Have you prepared differently for this show than for your previous contests?
NATALIE: Not really. Maybe just more days without carbs, since I [only] had eight weeks to get ready for the Arnold.
FLEX: What's your goal for the Arnold in terms of placing?
NATALIE: I really can't say, all I can do is come in shape. ItÂs up to the judging panel, but I wont make it easy!
FLEX: What's your biggest challenge when dieting for a show?
NATALIE: My biggest challenge is the last few days - when your body is craving for sweets. But my mind gets on a high to where I'm hungry for a win!
FLEX: Some critics say your shoulders overpower the rest of your physique. How do you train those big ol' shoulders?
NATALIE: I'm sorry, I don't even train shoulders. I love my shoulders and am very blessed to have them. Hey - what can you do about genetics!
FLEX: You've not only been preparing for the Arnold but also trying out for the American Gladiators. What will make you the next American Gladiator?
NATALIE: I really have a rough gangsta edge that people don't know about! All I know is, if you try me I will have you for lunch. Now that's major protein!
FLEX: You're known for your stunning good looks and poise on stage. Were you always the buff Halle Berry growing up?
NATALIE: No, I wasn't always buff. I just always had good genetics and sculpted my body from there.
FLEX: How did you get into figure competitions?
NATALIE: I started reading fitness magazines because I wanted to be a fitness model. I stumbled across and article saying the best way to be a fitness model is to do shows to get your face out there and boom, off i went!
FLEX:Did you compete in any sports before competing in figure?
FLEX: Who has inspired you in the fitness industry?
NATALIE: A lot of old school veterans like Lisa Lowe and Monica Brant. Lenda Murray had a great physique as well.
FLEX: Anyone you want to thank?
NATALIE: Yes, I would like to thank all my fans that believe in me. Also I would like to thank my lovely daughter for keeping me focused and suffering these last few days with me - I OWE HER BIG TIME! And Darrell Terrell, who helped me realize who I am and what I can bring and have brought to the sport.
To see more interviews with fitness and figure competitors who will be competing in the Arnold Classic this weekend, go to www.hardbody.com.