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Spending most of her life as an athlete all the way through college and then wanting more of a challenge after starting her career as a teacher, Marissa fell in love with the sport of Figure competitions after doing running competitions. Marissa has always been a front runner in all of her shows in Oregon and Washington and now she is testing the waters at the National level shows. Marissa has competed this year at Junior Nationals in Chicago and just recently at the Team Universe in New Jersey. Marissa is starting to really make a name for herself and is making the improvements she needs to get the IFBB Pro card.

1. When and why did you decide to start competing?
I have always been active in sports, playing softball and soccer through high school and continuing with softball through college. I began running road races as well during my freshman year of college, mostly just for fun. I had been introduced to figure competitions by a friend, Catherine Holland, but never thought I was cut out for it, or could commit to the time and diet involved. I made the decision to start competing in the fall of 2008. I actually had only intended to compete in one show. I had previously been running marathons after playing four years of softball in college, and had qualified for the Boston Marathon but didn't attend in 2008 as planned since I was also helping to pay for my wedding that same year. I had tried to re-qualify twice for Boston and missed by a few minutes each time. I was super discouraged. I had always been encouraged by one of my now current trainers, Catherine Holland, to give figure competitions a try. So, I intended to train for one show, compete and go back to running. Fast forward four years and here I am, 10 competitions later.

2. What makes you want to go farther in the sport?
Immediately after my first competition, I wanted to get better. It took some time for things to start to fall into place. I started working with Catherine Holland and Jason Phillips, who are now my current trainers. We had to completely rework my metabolism, and also I needed to commit to what has now become a lifestyle. I also needed to put on muscle and scale down quite a bit. Most of all, I was driven by the competitive aspect of the sport. I am a competitive person and this is a very competitive sport. I enjoy the challenges that it brings, not only physically but mentally. I love the lifestyle that this sport involves. I not only feel better, but I like to bring that knowledge to others. Those two things are what keeps me going to earn my IFBB Pro Card. I want to be a positive influence on the people around me through the choices I make in striving for a better me.

3. What type of training do you implement during contest prep and the in the off-season?
My training year round is high intensity. The type of reps and sets changes constantly, and all depends on my goals. I have spent my last "off season" building more muscle, but also staying within a reasonable weight compared to my contest weight to make prep go smoother. I lift 4-5 days a week, incorporating plyos and sprints to bring my legs down in size and define the muscle more. I lift heavy and moderate weights, high and low reps, it all depends and is always changing. My cardio is never at a unreasonable amount of time, usually around 30-40 minutes in the morning and if I am doing post weights cardio 20-30 minutes. My trainers really focus on keeping the diet in check year round, so that we don't have to rely on cardio to bring things down. My contest prep and off-season training are very similar and I enjoy the consistency. 

4. What is your favorite type of dieting meals and what is your favorite type of cheat meal?
I really like a lot of the foods I eat, either in the off season or in contest prep. It helps quite a bit, especially in making this a lifestyle and not just something that I do sometimes during the year. My favorite diet meals are oatmeal, almond butter and chocolate whey protein (mixed together and it tastes like a no bake cookie) I also really like flank steak, yams, asparagus and eggs (not all together, but I am notorious for mixing my food). My favorite cheat meal is a GOOD quality burger and fries, banana pancakes or a burrito from Chipotle.

5. Who are some of the people that have helped you along the way to get where you are now in life or in the sport?
I can't even list all of the people who have helped me get where I am. My parents have always been so supportive of me in all of my sports, and even though they didn't quite understand figure competitions at first, they still supported me and are a huge support now. My husband Matt is so incredibly supportive I can't ask more of him. He is there every step of the way, and often will pick me up when I am feeling down or frustrated about things. My trainers Catherine Holland and Jason Phillips have believed in me from the beginning and are so patient with me and available at any time when I need something. There are countless numbers of friends and family members who have supported me and continue to support me when at times I'm sure they think I am nuts. There is no way that I could have achieved what I have with out so many people in my life.

6. Who or what inspires you to strive for more in the sport?
I am inspired every day by those around me and who overcome challenges to get where they are. I have faced defeat and I have faced success. Both of which keeps me going for more. Every time I step on that stage, I bring the best that I can and better than before. That is what keeps me moving forward. Of course I have my eye on my Pro Card, but there will be ups and downs along the way, and I have to focus on the small goals to keep me reaching for the big.

7. What is next for you as a competitor?
I will be competing at NPC Nationals in Figure, in Atlanta, GA November 9th&10th.

8. What is your favorite memory good or bad while prepping or competing?
My favorite memory of competing would be when I won my figure class at the Oregon Ironman in 2011, and attending my first National competition that November, placing 14th out of 39 women. But honestly I laugh at when I  placed 4th the year before and got my tiara. Having never in my life ever expected to want to win a tiara, I was so giddy and happy, and it cracks me up to think about it.

9. Any website you would like to plug, facebook, twitter, personal site, etc...
Visit my Facebook page MarissaCardHein, also my personal blog at marissaheinroadtoprocard.blogspot

10. Anything you would like to say to all the visitors to NPC Oregon?

This is a great sport that provides challenges and change every single day. It will test your strength, not only physically but mentally. Give it a shot, you may love it and be hooked just like me.




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