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MD Forum Leader Interview with 8-Time Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray

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  • #46
    Yes I did listen! I listened to it a day after though... great interviews.

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    • #47
      August 2008 MD



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      • #48
        Great Interview

        I just adore Lenda Murray. She is such an inspiring woman for me and all the women in the industry.



        Originally posted by Gaoshang Xiongshou View Post
        Women's Forum Leader Gaoshang Xiongshou interviews Lenda Murray




        Members of MD.com, it gives me great pleasure to present to you an interview with the one-and-only legendary Lenda Murray. Lenda, thank you for agreeing to this interview. This opportunity has been an honor and privilege for me. And now, without further adieu...





        Gaoshang Xiongshou
        What have you been doing with yourself since retiring from the stage?

        Lenda Murray:

        Immediately after retirement, I closed the doors to the health and Fitness facility my husband and I owned and operated for 7 years, packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles. Being the sole owners of that facility was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was quite overwhelming. This experience motivated me to compete again and it gave me the courage to make the move to Los Angeles. I spent about a year chillin’ and rediscovering myself and my family. I now own and operate a group training facility named, Operation Boot Camp. We work with groups for 4 week intervals teaching a variety of military style training to get in shape. I also have high profile clientele that I work with one on one. Today, the project that I’m most excited about is promoting, The 2008 Lenda Murray Bodybuilding and Figure Championships scheduled for August 16, in Norfolk, VA. Competitors can go to www.LendaMurrayBodybuilding.com for more information.


        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        You were known for not giving many interviews. Any particular reason why?

        Lenda Murray:
        Actually, I very much enjoy having what I call an honest interview. Unfortunately, some of the magazines want to publish the same old sets, reps and chicken breast stories. There’s so much more to me than what exercises I do for back and how much protein I eat. I understand that this is part of what the readers are looking for….but it’s only part. Being a successful competitive bodybuilder takes a great deal of mental strength. If only the readers could hear about all the things that go wrong in our lives and how we recover and continue with the process to stand on stage in a lineup. These challenges are what’s truly valuable to an amateur competitor, not what I ate or what I do for back. I must say that I’m impressed with what Muscular Development has done in giving the readers the real deal. So, when you asked me to do this interview, I felt comfortable in knowing it wasn’t going to be fluff.


        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        In high school, you were a sprinter (record holder), and a cheerleader, even going on to continue as a cheerleader in college. Were you always an athlete, even as a child, or did you grow into it?

        Lenda Murray:
        Yes, I was always an athlete. Physical competition gives me an unbelievable high. It’s been tough lately, adjusting to getting older physically. I’m still able to lift the way I did when I was younger, but I have to take a different approach. I Spend more time warming up and being wiser regarding my off season diet. Oops, did I say Off-Season diet? I forgot……I’m not competing anymore. I meant my lifetime nutrition program. *Smile*.







        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What lead you to becoming a cheerleader for the USFL? What was that experience like?

        Lenda Murray:
        During the late 70’s the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders were hot. It was my goal to go to Dallas and audition after I graduated from Western Michigan University. In my last year at Western, I learned that a new professional football league, the USFL was coming to Michigan. (The Michigan Panthers) The organization drafted top athletes like, Heisman trophy winner, Hershel Walker, and Bobby Hebert and Anthony Carter. It was obvious that the USFL was a top notch league. So, I thought why not check it out and later audition for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I made the team and spent 1983 and 1984 as a Michigan Panthers Cheerleader. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life. There’s nothing like performing in front of 60,000 cheering fans at the Pontiac Silverdome. It was great to be part of an organization that truly respected it’s athletes.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        You set a standard for women's bodybuilding, that being the hourglass figure with broad and nicely capped shoulders, tapering to a dramatic, sweeping 'V' shaped torso, with an equally proportional lower body. How does it feel to know that you made this great of an impact?


        Lenda Murray:
        This is really a tough question to answer. Honestly, I think that Kiki, Rachael, Cory, Kim and me, made a tremendous impact on the sport. Each of us brought something that most women bodybuilders need to be successful. Comparing me to Cory, I’d have to say that my package and era was different. I’m about 3 inches shorter than Cory, with a completely different set of parents. The look that Cory brought was truly amazing. There were other competitors in Cory’s lineup that had similar physiques to me, but had not yet evolved as far as conditioning and training. Anya Langer and Juliette Bergman are examples of this. The difference between an Anya Langer and a Lenda Murray is mostly conditioning and the time in which I entered the arena verses when she did. I, like many other top amateurs emulated what we saw at shows like the NPC Nationals, not the Ms Olympia. Although the Ms Olympia was our ultimate goal, getting past the top amateurs was priority one. The amateur women at that time began to master training and nutrition. Our conditioning and level of muscle was universal. I think that my impact was great in its own way, just different body, place and time. At the time of Cory’s and Rachel’s reign, they were considered to be very muscular and different. Each of us have different structures…………therefore a different look and a different impact.



        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        How do you think women's bodybuilding has evolved - for better or worse?


        Lenda Murray:
        Unfortunately, I don’t think that we are evolving as I expected. We’re just hanging on. I must say that I’m very proud of the warriors that continue to compete despite the hurdles. In my opinion , the sport has been set backward for both men and women. In the early 90’s the sport was regularly covered on ESPN. Today we’ve been replaced by Poker Tournaments. As far as better, I’d have to say that the women appear to be a little more united. Instead of working as individuals, it seems that they have come together more. Communication lines among them seem to be open. In the past when things were calmer, we seemed to be much more selfish.


        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What changes would you like to see?


        Lenda Murray:
        I’d like to see more prize money for the women. Basically, they took half the prize money from the women bodybuilders and gave it to the Figure competitors.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Who's your favorite current IFBB pro?


        Lenda Murray:
        Brenda Raganot. She’s the first person that comes to mind, because I love her physique when she’s in great shape. I love her package.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Thinking back to the days when you were competing, versus what the scene is like now, what is missing from women's bodybuilding today?

        Lenda Murray:
        The pool of quality women has drastically decreased. Women that have the natural genetics for bodybuilding that would possibly be interested, don’t know or understand the sport because the coverage is not there as before. My first introduction of women bodybuilders was a magazine I found on a bus in 1978. I thought…..interesting……I could do that. I’ve heard that women flock to Figure because it’s more appealing and acceptable. Let’s make something clear, the women that decide to be bodybuilders never questioned if it was acceptable or appealing to the masses. We do it because we decide what is attractive……..we’re athletes and need no one’s permission to be strong.







        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Do you have any tried-and-true contest prep ideas or strategies that you would be willing to share?

        Lenda Murray:
        12 to 16 weeks of strict dieting. No more than 150 grams of carbohydrates per day. Train hard….but smart. You’re preparing for a bodybuilding contest, not a marathon. One day at a time. If it’s not broke….don’t fix it. Get a plan and stick with it. Let your mirror be your true guide, not the scale.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What is your take on the current state of all women's physique sports, in general? How about women's bodybuilding speficially?


        Lenda Murray:
        I’m a strong believer in people being called to do what they are gifted at. Unfortunately, in both Bodybuilding and Figure we’re seeing women compete that really don’t belong on a physique stage. Women Bodybuilders who don’t have the genetics and abuse steroids and Figure athletes that think that just because they wear a size 2, they have the physique that looks good in a two-piece bikini. The size 2 people are the real reason that Figure is so financially successful to promoters. We rack up tons of entry fees, just because a female can slide in a size 2.





        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        If you had never stepped on a bodybuilding stage, what would life have held for you? Where would you be now, instead of an eight-time Ms. Olympia?

        Lenda Murray:
        Probably would have gotten married much earlier and had 2 kids. Relationships are very difficult when you’re a woman and competitive. It takes a secure man to deal with a woman that knows who she is. Possibly would have gone on to law school. I find politics and law, quite interesting.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        You were one of the more influential and well-known female bodybuilders in the history of the sport. What would you say to the present, and future, ambassadors of women's bodybuilding?

        Lenda Murray:
        You’re no longer just a competitor trying to be the best in the world…….you are the best in the world. Whether you like it or not, you’re a role model. Make wise decisions in what you do and say. You’re a champion, so always carry yourself as one. Your approach should be different than Mr. Olympia. You’re a strong woman, not a strong man. When they chose you as Ms Olympia, they had you in mind and no one else. Please, don’t get a crazy urge to be bigger than you were when you won. If you want to train and look like Ronnie Coleman, then do us all a favor and retire.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What kept you going when contests were not going your way?

        Lenda Murray:
        Winning is important to me; however, doing my best is more. The majority of my Ms Olympia appearances, I did do my best. Actually, the second place finishes I feel I did my best considering the circumstances, so I was pleased. There were a few that I won that I was not as pleased with. The placing in competitions didn’t affect my psychological well being. Some of the prejudices against not being blond was much more difficult to overcome. When these things happened, I sought the advice of my family and friends. They gave me a new prospective and I just regrouped.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What do you feel is the most positive aspect of bodybuilding on yourself, and the population in general?

        Lenda Murray:
        The most positive aspect of bodybuilding is the physical and mental strength you aquire while going through the process. Understanding the importance of physical fitness was instilled in me prior to competitive bodybuilding. Going through years of preparation for shows has taught me to put one foot in front of the other. Regardless of the hurdles ahead, you just get over them until you reach the finish line. I owe my patience and stamina to bodybuilding.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What will it take for the current female athletes to take control of their sport?


        Lenda Murray:
        The women have to just continue to show up in shape for the love of the sport. Hopefully, these women belong there because they have the natural genetics and structure. Without genetics and structure, we have a bunch of misfits that give us all a bad name. I believe that part of the problem lies with an unregulated system. The sport as a whole needs to evolve as basketball, tennis, baseball and other sports have. Unfortunately, we have people in place that like it just the way it is. The powers that be need a higher authority that they must answer to.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Why do you think interest in women's bodybuilding took a decline, and what could be done to renew interest?

        Lenda Murray:
        Honestly, I don’t think the interest ever died. The decline was a deliberate and calculated attempt by a top official in the IFBB to make his job easier. The problem begins with people playing too many roles in this business. How can you be second in charge of the IFBB and also be responsible for promoting the Ms Olympia. I don’t think it was a job that he really wanted. It was much easier to promote men of muscle than women. Promoting muscular women is definitely harder, but it can and was done in New York. The numbers were there and the show stood alone. There was no Mr. Olympia or Figure. We were doing just fine. Basically, he decided…let’s combine them….and I’ll give half the bodybuilders money to a new tits and ass show. No disrespect to Figure competitors…just I know this was a male’s mind at work.

        How can you govern accordingly and have your hands in the pockets of others. Conflicts of interest run rampant in this business. A message was sent out from the top and we all like parrots repeated it over and over again. I remember when I did an interview for USA Today, where the reporter asked me to respond to an off the record statement made by the promoter of the Ms Olympia. The statement made was one that would never come from the mouth of a promoter. Look the word promoter up in the dictionary and you’ll find that that person only speaks highly of what he is promoting. No matter how bad things are, his job is to sell tickets, period. Can you imagine Don King telling anyone that Boxing is dying or that no one wants to support the sport.

        We have to remember that, female bodybuilders always had a difficult time with the acceptance of the mainstream. The first Ms Olympia was considered to be too muscular back in the seventies. The difference today is that our own have turned on us. Before, it was mostly people outside of the sport of bodybuilding. This stigma was not only put on the women, but the men as well.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Aside from various bodybuilding magazines, you have also appeared in Sports Illustrated, Ebony, Mademoiselle, and Vanity Fair... proof that female muslce is indeed marketable and worthy of a look. As you see it, where has that marketability and wanting for the look of a strong and confident woman disappeared to, and why

        Lenda Murray:
        Yesterday, bodybuilding was steadily, but slowly moving forward for both men and women. Today, with the major steroid controversies being covered in Congress and the Media, bodybuilders have taken a serious hit. In the late 80’s, early 90’s steroids were not as much of an issue. Basically, I think that mainstream media outlets are afraid to be promoting something that says…illegal. You however will still find some courageous publications, that think outside of the box and cover the extreme.



        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Since Figure was not around when you started, do you think it has hurt women's bodybuilding? What do you think of the whole division?

        Lenda Murray:
        I definitely don’t think that Figure has hurt women’s bodybuilding. I think it’s a great addition to the sport. It’s put money into the pockets of a lot of promoters, officials, costume designers and publications that sell tits and ass to sell magazines. Now, the question is, how much money has been put into the pockets of the competitors in Figure. Unfortunately, I feel that the women in figure are being used. It’d be nice if they were making the money that other women in modeling industries make. The figure competitors initially don’t see it because they are so busy trying to get on a cover that they’ll do it for nothing and some sleep with anyone.

        If you really want an honest answer to how Figure is doing…..Don’t ask a promoter…….Don’t ask a judge…….Don’t ask an official, because they’re all making money and very happy. Ask an actual competitor that’s making a real attempt at success and you’ll get a completely different answer.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        How do you train currently since you have retired?


        Lenda Murray:
        I still train like a bodybuilder. I enjoy weight training and the results I get from it.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What do you enjoy doing in your down time?


        Lenda Murray:
        I absolutely love my quiet time. I love a great book and a good movie. I adore sports and love NFL football. I love being of service and spend a lot of time working with others. Oh yeah, I also love fine dining.


        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        Any plans to ever return to the stage, even for a guest posing?

        Lenda Murray:
        Oh no, you’ll never see me again on stage. I’ll hand out a trophy or Mc a show. I’ve hung up my posing suits for good. It was wonderful while it lasted, but I gladly pass the baton.

        Gaoshang Xiongshou:
        What advice would you give to the current up-and-coming female athletes?

        Lenda Murray:
        ]If you can, be honest with yourself first and foremost. Ask yourself these questions: Do I have the natural genetics and structure to be a competitive Bodybuilder? Do I put on weight quickly? Are my waist and joints small? If you’ve answered no to the majority of these questions, then you may want to re-think female bodybuilding. If you don’t have the genetics and natural structure and think a pill will get you these attributes, think again. Unfortunately, there are women that have tried to make something happen that’s just not there. Instead of getting the development they want in their shoulders, they get it in a place that’s not very pretty. Do us all a favor, and find the sport that looks good on you. I did not find the Ms Olympia, the Ms Olympia found me.


        1997 Ms. Olympia



        2002 Ms. Olympia


        Contest History:

        1985 NPC Michigan State - 4th
        1985 NPC Eastern Michigan - 1st
        1986 NPC Michigan - 3rd
        1986 NPC Ironwoman Michigan - 3rd
        1987 NPC Michigan - 3rd
        1987 NPC North Coast - 2nd
        1988 NPC Michigan - 1st
        1989 NPC Junior Nationals - 1st (HW and Overall)
        1989 IFBB North American Championships - 1st (HW and Overall)
        1990 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st
        1991 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st
        1992 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st
        1993 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st
        1994 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st
        1995 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st
        1996 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 2nd
        1997 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 2nd
        2002 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st (HW and Overall)
        2003 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 1st (HW and Overall)
        2004 IFBB Ms. Olympia - 2nd (HW)
        http://isabelleturellblog.blogspot.com/
        If you can DREAM it, you can DO it -Walt Disney

        Comment


        • #49
          Lenda, You're a Really an Inspirational Person, and also, A Hall of Famer in Women's Bodybuilding!! Keep Up the Good Work that You're Doing, and also, Never Give Up on What You're Currently Doing, Right NOW!! Stay Safe, Good Luck, God Bless, and, Have Fun in Life, and also, Beyond Happiness!!

          Thanks!!

          Sincerely,
          Joseph R. Villa (a.k.a. M.D.'sHUGESTFAN001!!)

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by mr.bell_85 View Post
            great interview GX...thats worthy of being hired bro. i see it in your future!
            I am inclined to think Per would jump at the opportunity to do an entire layout, as well as a cover, with Lenda.

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