Emily Michelussi competed in her first physique competition last October – the 2011 SAF Fall Spectacular. Having no competitive experience, she had no idea what to expect going into the competition, but her outstanding physique and superstar looks earned her the runner-up spot in the Swimsuit Model category, which put her onto the SAF Elite Pro team.
Emily was obviously thrilled that she did so well in that first contest, and since then her stock in the fitness world has climbed steadily. Earlier this year, she posed for superstar photographer Paul Buceta for SAF's "Spring Collection" galleries. Then, on June 16, Emily competed again and was successful once more, placing fourth in the SAF Summer Elite Pro Challenge, which featured the strongest line-up of SAF Elite Pros ever. Afterwards she went on to win the Tier 2 women's muscular physique category in Physique Canada's inaugural event, the 2012 National Classic, which qualified her for Tier 1 Elite status in that organization.
Emily is a fast-rising fitness star with potential that could enable her to go very far. We caught up with her recently to ask her 15 questions and this is what she said:
SAF: How old are you?
Emily Michelussi: 23.
SAF: How long have you been training?
EM: About three years.
SAF: Do you participate in other sports?
EM: No. Currently I am just weight training.
SAF: What do you do for work?
EM: I am a personal trainer at "Greco Lean and Fit" in Manotick, which is near Ottawa.
SAF: You're relatively new to the competitive fitness scene. How did you discover SAF?
EM: Last September, I was training to compete in the novice figure category with the IDFA and I heard that the SAF Fall Spectacular was the same day – so I figured I should give it a shot in order to gain some extra stage experience.
SAF: You had a great showing at the 2011 SAF Fall Spectacular – you placed second. When you were on the stage, were you thinking you were doing so well?
EM: I had no real expectations going into the show because it was my first show. When I was on the stage, I could hear my friends and family calling my name and number – this made me feel great – but I did not expect to get second place.
SAF: You had the opportunity to shoot with Paul Buceta as part of a SAF photoshoot in the spring. How did that feel?
EM: It felt like a dream come true. About a year-and-a-half ago, I discovered how Paul is famous for his fitness shoots; thus, one day shooting with Paul quickly became one of my goals. I never thought that I would get a chance to shoot with him this early in my fitness career. I had a lot of fun at the shoot – it was definitely a day I will remember for the rest of my life!
SAF: Some of the pictures have already been published. Did it surprise you when you saw them?
EM: What I find surprises me the most is that the best pictures were the ones where I was able to "let go" on set and did not actually "pose." Those pictures turned out the most natural looking and the most memorable.
SAF: What's your best body part?
EM: My legs.
SAF: What's your favorite exercise for them?
EM: Any variation of a lunge!
SAF: Do you ever have trouble motivating yourself to train?
EM: I love training, especially when I have a goal in mind. So, usually, I do not have a hard time motivating myself to train. However, I would say that the days I find the toughest to train are days when I feel super-tired – everyone has those kinds of days. What I have learned in my past few years of training is that it is extremely important to listen to your body when you really don’t feel yourself. Sometimes all you need is a day of rest so you can go back to normal training the following day. Hopefully that day of rest will allow you to push even harder in your workouts for the rest of the week.
SAF: How do you motivate your clients?
EM: I track their progress and I consistently remind them of their goals. I also hold them accountable for their actions depending on whether or not these actions are bringing them towards their goals. Most important of all, I don’t just tell them to do things – I educate them and tell them why they must do things a certain way in order to reach their goals.
SAF: You just finished competing last weekend and placed fourth in the SAF Elite Pro Challenge and first in Physique Canada's Tier 2 women's muscular physique category. What's next for competing?
EM: On October 20 I plan on competing with SAF in the Elite Pro Challenge and with Physique Canada in the Tier 1 women's muscular physique category. The weekend following those competitions I plan on competing with the IDFA in figure.
SAF: What about after that?
EM: Well, what I do after those competitions really depends on my placing in each of the shows I mentioned. I believe that the winner of Physique Canada’s Tier 1 women's muscular physique is eligible to compete at the world championships in Bangkok. The top placings with the IDFA qualify to compete at their next competition, which is two weeks later. So, who knows? Anything is possible!
SAF: You're fairly new to competing, but you have some experience now. What's the best piece of advice that you can give someone who is competing for the first time?
EM: My best piece of advice is that if you are asking people for help with your training, diet, contest prep, etc., it is important to keep in mind that each person has their own way of doing things because it works best for them – but this does not necessarily mean that their way is the best way for you to do it. This also applies if you have a coach who is helping you to prep for your competition. Yes, your coach normally has the best intentions for you; however coaches do make mistakes as well. This means: listen to your body! If you have a gut feeling that the advice given to you is not the right option for you, then you must take the steps to find an alternative option.
SAF: Great advice! Thanks, Emily.
EM: Thank you.