Beauty and brawn
When Felicia Romero was a teenager growing up in Arizona, the last thing she was thinking about was ever becoming Ms. Figure Olympia.
She was too busy playing softball, volleyball and running track. Raised in a family of natural athletes, Felicia spent most of her time competing in sports. She made the varsity softball team her first year in high school. In college, she became a personal trainer to pay the bills and played outfield for Arizona State University, traveling across the country and to Paris and Greece, where the ASU team helped train Greece’s national team for the 2004 Olympics.
Felicia graduated with aspirations of becoming a lawyer, but her personal trainer business was booming. Helping others get fit was so rewarding, she changed her focus. In 2004, she entered her first figure competition – and that was all it took. She loved the mental challenge of training; she loved the competition, and the competition loved her. In 2006, Felicia competed in her first national pro show and took first place in her class.
And it was in 2009 that she took the crown of Ms. Figure Olympia.
Since then, she’s collected quite a list of pro-show wins and has been the cover girl for many a fitness magazine.
Last spring, Felicia partnered with fellow figure competitor Whitney Jones and opened AZ Pro Physiques (azprophysiques.com), a training studio in Gilbert. Felicia also has a separate business called Team AFD, a contest prep team based out of AZ Pro Physiques that trains national and pro-level competitors in figure, fitness, bikini, and men and women’s physique.
We caught up with Felicia between workouts …
You have competed in figure athlete and figure model competitions with much success. Do you still compete? I still compete at the pro level. I compete in the figure division, which is a marketable, mainstream look – athletic, tone body, but not overly muscular. The body has to be symmetrical.
How do you prepare for a competition? I usually start my contest prep about 12 weeks out from a show. I train five days a week, do cardio every day and stay strict with my diet for three months. I stay mentally focused and consistent leading into the show.
What have you won lately? Most recently, fourth place at the Figure International, which puts me at No. 4 in the world at what I do. I also placed fifth at the Olympia, the biggest competition of the year. I have four pro wins under my belt as well.
Is the dark tan mandatory? Yes, competitors must be very tan. A tan body shows muscle better onstage. It also highlights tone and shape.
Do men compete in figure athlete and model events? Men do compete. The National Physique Committee (NPC) just introduced a men’s physique division. This allows men to fitness model and compete.
What do you like most about your work? Who is your client? I love helping people get into the best shape of their life. It is so rewarding to see them make a lifestyle change for the better.
My clients are women of all age groups wanting to tone up, lose weight and looking for a lifestyle change. I train both men and women, but I typically train more women. About 30 to 40 percent of my clients Latino/a.
Next professional goal: To place in the top three in the next Olympia and to become a bigger name in the fitness industry.
Is there an age range for women who want to become a figure athlete or model? There is no age range to become a figure athlete or model, but most women are in their 20s and early to mid 30s.
Any advice for future figure competitors? Have a goal and stick to it. This sport is very subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As long as you realize that and have fun doing it, this sport can be very rewarding.