Where and when were you born?
I was born in St-Jérôme, a small town located 40 km (25 miles) from Montreal. I currently live in Montréal.
What is your profession?
I am a teacher who works with students with learning disabilities and handicaps. I love my job and I feel very valued helping these students to better succeed in their academic learning.
Were you involved in sports or fitness prior to bodybuilding and how did you get started with weight training?
(Julie: j'ai modifié la chronologie pour que ce soit plus facile ŕ suivre)
I am a very passionate person in everything I do. When I start something, I work very hard at it!
I started to be invloved in sports with more intensity at age 15, but I was not training with weights then. The first sport I was passionate about was swimming. My ultimate goal at that time was to swim the 42 km ( 26 miles) marathon. I discovered the feeling of well-being resulting from a good workout in the pool. I started weight training at age 18 because I wanted to lose weight. I was not totally happy with my body and wanted to improve my shape. At age 19, I started to lift weights more regularly to increase my strength and endurance in the pool. I became stronger but less flexible. I then discovered that it was very easy for me to gain muscle mass. Soon, my body was changing and it became progressively more difficult to swim because my muscle was becoming bigger even if I was not lifting heavy at the time. I also found that it was as easy to gain muscle mass as to gain fat if I did not watch my diet. The repetitive motion of the crawl created a joint instability resulting in frequent dislocations of my shoulder. At age 20, I had an operation to the right shoulder. The operation was very successful. At that time I was studying physiotherapy and was doing my own rehabilitation. The shoulder is now in perfect condition, without limitations of strengh or motion. After my shoulder was fully recovered, I started balancing my shoulder doing weight training. Gradually, I discovered the pleasure to push the limits of my body and the psychological limits of lifting weights. It was then that my pleasure and my passion for bodybuilding all started.
Was it a goal for you to compete in bodybuilding competitions right from the beginning or was it something that grew in your mind as time went on and you saw the progress in your body?
Never would I thought I would be invloved in bodybuilding competitions. I enjoyed too much the pleasures of life over the discipline to compete. Noting the ease at which I became strong and massive, I wanting to try my luck at this new challenge. At the age of 33 years, I did my first competition. Yes, I confess I started late, but I needed the time to reach a personal development, self-discipline and maturity required to cope with multiple challenges, sacrifices and tremendous efforts to go forward. I think I was not prepared to do all this before.
Can you give me your competition history?
My experience of competitions is relatively short since I started competing at the age of 34 years.
July 2009, Provincial Championship, Quebec, 2nd place, masters and 3rd place Heavyweights (160lbs)
September 2008, Canadian Championship, 13th place, Heavyweight, (160lbs)
July 2008, Provincial Championship, Quebec, 2nd place, Heavyweight, (153lbs)
June 2008, West Quebec Championship, 3rd place, Heavyweight (153lbs)
Which contest has been your biggest success; which has had the most meaning to you?
My first competition was the most meaningful experience. It was a personal challenge, a feeling of self-fulfillment and great satisfaction to have pushed the physical and mental limits of my body. I felt great and enormously relieved when I was leaving the stage after pre-judgment. I knew I was not in my best condition, but I gave everything I could to get there. I broke my fear of the stage and I acheived a great challenge. I was so pleased with me. My family was there to witness this event and it was the greatest emotional gratification of my life.
Please tell me something about your training routine (ie: how many days per week / training split /cardio, etc.)
I train 5 days a week, one muscle group a week. I train usually in the 10-12 rep range and working to failure, except for the legs that I train with lower weight but high reps when I get ready for a competition. Usually, in off-season, I do not get too heavy, always eat healthy, do cardio and try to stay in a semi-competition shape because of the modelling business that I have and I work with high intensity. The main differences between training off-season and training for a competition is that for getting in cutting shape I change the diet, train my legs with higher reps and also perform more cardio, any type.
What is your favorite exercise in the gym and which one you don’t like so much?
I like to do concentric curls for biceps, to feel the pump in it! I hate to do abs !!
Which body part is your best in your opinion?
My upper body is my best feature. I think my best body part is the shoulders. I love to train them, they are the first to bulk up and the first to cut. I beleive I also have a great back and I am well balanced muscularly.
If you don’t mind would you give me some stats (best lifts and some body measurements)?
I achieved a new personal best in the hack squat with 720lbs for 6 reps and squat with 360 lbs for 5 reps.
What do you enjoy about training for competition....what do you enjoy about the 'off season'?
I love the weekly meetings with my coach Leo Di Fruscia and see the progression of my condition. I pose for him to see changes from week to week. These meetings are very motivating as we discuss strategies to improve my condition. I like to understand and explore my body in order to improve and bring it to the best possible condition for competition.
When the show approaches, it becomes time to practice the poses. I love this time because it means that the show is approaching and it is time to show the result of such hard work. Furthermore, this means that soon I can find a more pleasant and "normal" life style. I also love doing various photo shoots.
The off-season allows me to have more time for me and take care of myself. I appreciate not having this constant stress of a tight schedule. I appreciate not having to carry my ice pack everywhere and eating what I want when I want. I enjoy taking a good meal with a good bottle of wine with my family or my friends. I appreciate having the energy for different activities and be able to sleep in. In off-season, the simple and common things for someone with a normal life is very much appreciated.
Please describe a typical day in the life of Julie Bourassa.
In off-season, I get up around 6:30am. I have lunch at home and go to work from 8:00 to 3: 30. After work, I go to the gym for about 1 hour of weight training and 30 minutes cardio. I come home around 6:30pm. In the evening, I like to relax, watching TV and do some work for school.
During contest preparation, my days are much longer and strenuous. I get up at 4:20 to go to the gym before work (to do my weight training and cardio on an empty stomach). Then I have breakfast and I get ready at the gym for my day at school. After my workday, I go to the gym for a second training (weights and cardio). I arrived home at 6: 30pm. I'm exhausted at this time. So, I eat my dinner and prepare my gym bag, my school stuff and all my meals for the next day. I go to sleep around 9:30 pm.
Please tell me about what you do when you don’t work out (hobbies, what do you do to relax?, etc.)
My lifestyle is so active that I have little time for myself to relax. I like having multiple projects so it takes much of my time. When I have free time I like to relax watching TV or a movie. I prefer to stay quiet at home than to party in clubs.
I maintain my website myself. So in my spare time, I do the updates on my site. I'm also responding to multiple emails. I admit that it takes much time but I appreciate that my website is at my image! It also allows me to be closer to my members and my fans! ;)
What do you enjoy most about the bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle?
With bodybuilding I learn more about my body and I am able to explore and develop my personal limits. I love the feeling of knowing that I pushed myself to the end ... I've done everything I can to maximize my potential and my success.
The training helps me to live healthy and organized. I like the discipline and the routine required for preparing for competitions.
Training helps me to forget about the daily worries. When I'm at the gym with my MP3 on the ears, I forget the long and painful day that I might have had at school. The training helps to eliminate stress, tension, bad thoughts and live a more serene life. For me, the gym is the place where I can take care of myself ... it's egocentric time! Being a generous person, I often think of others before myself, therefore the training is the moment for me ... to think, to push iron and to eliminate stress!
I also love seeing my body change. It's motivating to see the impact of nutrition and intensive training on our body and see how the daily efforts allow you to obtain the desired physical appearance. Also, I like the discipline required by BBD. I like routines, therefore, BBD suits me very well. I like the day of the competition when it's time to step on stage and show the result of our efforts. I like the adrenaline and sense of accomplishment and freedom.
Tell me something interesting about yourself, something people may be surprised to hear.
I hate shopping for clothes because nothing fits. I am getting so frustrated ! So, I try to avoid stores! lol
What are your competition goals or personal future goals?
I would like to get my pro card within 5 years. I want to show an image that FBB can be feminine, sexy and intelligent. It is not just "look" that makes a woman feminine, but also the attitude and personality. People should learn to know the FBB before judging by their own personal standards and try to understand her passion for a sport unconventional for woman.
I want to thank Andy from AMG-Lite for the visibility he gives me and everything he has done for me and the female bodybuilding community. I am also very thankful to my trainer, to my fans, friends and family. I appreciate your support and emails. It keeps me going to do what I love the most and that is bodybuilding!
I DO NOT do sessions or wrestling of any kind. Please don't ask!!!