Rich Knapp. First I would like to thank you for doing this interview. You are the first female natural wheelchair bodybuilder I have interviewed.
Let’s start with some background information to give readers a background on what created this lady of rolling muscle.
- Brandy McGowan
- Age: 34
- Height: 5’6″
- Born in: Providence, RI
- Live in: North Providence, RI
- High School: East Providence Senior High School
- Any post High School schooling? Yes, CCRI
Rich Knapp. Can you tell us what your childhood was like and leading up to your wheelchair bodybuilding?
Brandy McGowan. I had a great childhood. I was always involved in sports, you name it I have played it. School teams, outside teams. I guess you can say I’ve always been a active competitive person. If I was thrown a challenge and or told I could not do something I was for sure to prove that I could no matter how hard I needed to try or tough it was I did it.
As I got a little older I found a passion for boxing and kickboxing. I was always in the gym when I could, not so much bodybuilding – just weight training, cardio, anything to feel and stay fit and healthy.
Rich Knapp.What brought you to natural bodybuilding?
Brandy McGowan. On Sept 18, 2003, I was in a car accident. I don’t remember anything from that night. I woke up in the hospital days later with doctors telling me that I broke my back. I have a t-9 spinal cord injury and I will never walk again.
At this time I was a single mom of a 6 year old son. But with the never say never mindset that I had I was going to prove the doctors wrong and everyone around me that no matter what adjustments I had to live with for the rest of my life. I still would be me. Nothing was going to stop me from raising my son Devon and still doing everything I enjoyed doing.
So without the use of my legs I went to the gym. Everyone looking at me like I was a freak or something, but I did not care. I modified things so I could still be and stay active, and that is when I found I loved bodybuilding.
It was not only a way of physical therapy for me but a great mental healing that I could still be competitive with a love of sports. No limits, no goals too far out of reach as long as you have the want. All things are possible.
Rich Knapp. What keeps you driven as a female to pursue bodybuilding further?
Brandy McGowan. The biggest thing that drives me is the fact that I can do things that able bodied people don’t do, whether it’s laziness or whatever. The reason it’s a great feeling. I don’t get looked at as a person with a disability. I get looked at as a person.
And to be a female in a dominated male sport is drive enough to show others that no matter what you love to do or passion you have disability or not you put you mind and set goals you can do anything. Being a female should never be a issue. In life, go for what I believe in and ignore what others may say negatively, because that only fuels my fire and pushes me harder.
Rich Knapp. How many shows have you done?
Rich Knapp. How did you place?
Brandy McGowan. I placed 1st. Being the only female wheelchair competitor.
Rich Knapp. So what is your daily routine, day or night workouts?
Brandy McGowan. After I take care of my motherly duties in the morning. Then it’s me time. I eat a high protein breakfast along with my vitamins, and pre workout supps. Then I’m off to the gym no later then 9 am.
I would love to go earlier but kids need to go to school and things so I get there as soon as I can. 5 to 6 days a week. It’s hard to train day and night with kids so I try to get the best possible workout I can in the mornings.
Rich Knapp. What is your basic workout like, rep range and sets?
Brandy McGowan. To bulk up I go heavy weight less reps, sets. Then I switch to up my reps and sets starting low weight ending my sets with max weight. I’d full range mid and half in each set to burn out the muscle to max failure.
Rich Knapp. How many body parts per workout?
Brandy McGowan. I do two body parts per workout. Sometimes if I’m feeling a little more over the top I might add in a third.
Rich Knapp. When showtime rolls around, how do you plan out your weeks needed to start cutting?
Brandy McGowan. Depending on how my body is reacting to the workouts I take it from there. Sometimes my body puts on mass and cuts faster then other times. I have not figured out just why that is, but again, I’m new and still learning everyday how and what works best for me.
Being a female it’s a little harder to lose fat than a male. I have to adjust supps, and food intake. Trial and error. I’ve found every body type does not react the same. So you need to find what works for you.
Rich Knapp. Do you change your workouts during cutting?
Brandy McGowan. I do change to higher reps, and sets with less weight. I change my eating more on point with that, and water is also an important key.
Rich Knapp. What are your goals in competitive bodybuilding?
Brandy McGowan. My main goal is to show people that no matter what, as long as you have a passion and drive there is nothing you cannot achieve. Overcoming adversity, determination and most important keeping healthy. The competitive part is just a added plus to show all the hard work and dedication we put into ourselves. It’s the greatest felling.
Rich Knapp. Where do you see yourself as a competitor 2 years from now?
Brandy McGowan. I hope to be an inspiration for other females to get out there and not to be afraid of this male dominated sport. That we females can do as well ..
Rich Knapp. Do you think you will be able to hit your goals?
Brandy McGowan. I believe I will hit every goal I set for myself. The sky is the limit. If just one female can see me and get involved that’s a lifetime goal I will be proud to say I achieved. You can do all things that strengthen you!
Rich Knapp. I thank you again Brandy, very much for taking the time to do the interview. I hope everything works out for you. You have a bright future in natural wheelchair bodybuilding.