OH DONNA! DONNA SHEA 2013 IFPA YORTON CUP OVERALL PRO FIGURE CHAMPION
By Ben Yosef | Photography By Reg Bradford
I was at the gym training clients on Saturday, October 26th. Although I was unable to attend this year’s IFPA Yorton Cup, held on that day, I was receiving play-by-play text messages and photos throughout.
Many (perhaps most) thought the amazing Terri McBee would likely win her second Yorton Overall Figure championship this year. I surely did. Then, during prejudging I received a text stating something to the effect “OMG, there is someone else, and she looks incredible.” That someone else was Donna Shea.
In what may very well have been the most competitive Pro Figure lineup in the show’s nine year history, Donna Shea emerged victorious. With plans to defend her title in 2014, we may be witnessing the start of a new Donna Dynasty.
Ben: Hi Donna! Congratulations on your Overall victory at the Yorton Cup! You looked incredible! Coming off your Gaspari Pro win, you had some tremendous momentum. How were you feeling as the Yorton approached?
“I knew the competition was going to be fierce, so I really had to make sure I was my absolute best!”
Donna: Well, it’s the Yorton, so of course I was very nervous, but focused and excited at the same time. There were two weeks between the two shows, so my hope was to come into the Yorton with the same package and perhaps a little bit fuller than the Gaspari show. I knew the competition was going to be fierce, so I really had to make sure I was my absolute best!
Ben: Many people feel that the 2013 Yorton Cup was the most competitive ever, especially in the Pro Figure division. I have asked many champions if they have been concerned about how they might fair against certain competitors. The answer I often get is of the “I only focus on me” variety. Although I can respect that mindset, I do feel that this may be a knee jerk response. We are competitors, and I have to believe that competitive blood is pumping through the veins of these men and women, especially at the highest levels of the sport. So, I ask you, were there any competitors that you felt might have given you some trouble?
“Of course I was worried about Terri McBee, however she wasn’t the only one.”
Donna: I agree, it was clearly an unbelievable field this year, packed with top notch competitors. I’d have to agree with the other competitors, I also focus on myself, but not only myself. (laughs) If it was only about being better than I was before, well, I can do that without getting up on stage. It’s called a competition for a reason. Like you said Ben, to be at the level we’re at, we all have to have that competitive blood running through our veins. Of course I was worried about Terri McBee, however she wasn’t the only one. I never take for granted what a competitor is able to do in the off season with a show in mind. Take for instance the 2011 Yorton Cup Short Class winner, Katrina Roundtree. As soon as I saw her, I knew she had paid the price in the off season. In my opinion, the best I had ever seen her. And, this year, Sharmane Williams was the perfect example as to why I can’t focus on a single competitor when gauging the field. She does almost no self-promoting or social media, and shows up at the Yorton in phenomenal shape, taking second place in the Overall. So many of the girls came in at the top of their game. Just to name a few that I thought were amazing are; Sharmane Williams, Umo Collins, Terri McBee, Sue Phillips-Leclerc and Charina Fargesen. That’s just naming a few! So yes, this year’s Yorton was very competitive. Motivation and determination can be a very powerful thing; never to be underestimated!
Ben: What sort of things did you do to prepare yourself to go up against this caliber of competitor?
“What works for me is doing my homework before getting up on that stage…I have to know who I’m up against.”
Donna: Everybody is an individual, so different things work for different people. What works for me is doing my homework before getting up on that stage (meaning checking out my competition). I have to know who I’m up against. It makes me train harder when I know. It’s almost like it puts more pressure on me to make sure I come in just right. Also, I choose not to post bulletin board material but, I love it when other competitors do, because that is another motivational tool for me. When it’s all said and done, on the day of the show, that’s when I say to myself, “I did all I could do. I’m the best I can be.” But during my prep, you better believe I’m checking out the competition! Just being honest here. It’s funny because, in my gym, people would come up to me saying, “You’re going to win, you look amazing, you’ve worked so hard.” My response would always be, “My fellow competitors work just as hard as me. I’m just a little fish in a big pond.” That being said, you can never take any competitor for granted. You just never know who will be coming out of the wood work with their best package ever!
Ben: Well, even amongst some of the best natural Figure competitors in the world, you definitely brought in a package that just could not be denied.
You had a five year run competing as a bodybuilder in the late 90’s, then took almost a decade off, before reemerging as Figure competitor in 2009. What was your experience like as a competitive bodybuilder, and how does it compare to the Figure stage?
“I love being able to get all glammed up for that one day. To step on stage feeling fit, feminine, and beautiful is just amazing.”
Donna: Thank you! My experience as a bodybuilder was fantastic! I absolutely loved being able to get up on that stage to show what I worked so hard for in each pose called out. It was a lot of fun. In my opinion, as far as physiques go, Figure now is what female Bodybuilding was ten years ago. As for competing in Figure, I love being able to get all glammed up for that one day. To step on stage feeling fit, feminine, and beautiful is just amazing. And for me, I do prefer the look of the Figure physique over the Bodybuilding physique.
Ben: You came into your two shows this year with very impressive conditioning. What did you do to come in so sharp?
“…with a lot of hard work, and maybe a little bit of luck, is how I come in so conditioned and sharp.”
Donna: It’s basically what I do as a whole. Such as making sure my macros are right on, switching my resistance training workouts every 4-5 weeks, and making sure I don’t do too much or too little cardio. My coach (Joe Franco) thinks conditioning is my strong suit. So with a lot of hard work, and maybe a little bit of luck, is how I come in so conditioned and sharp.
Ben: What improvements, if any, do you feel you need to make to your physique at this point?
Donna: There is always room for improvement. For every competition, I try to improve every part of my physique. If I had to be specific, I’d have to say my rear delts and hamstrings can definitely be brought up.
Ben: Will you have some relaxing, down time this holiday season?
Donna: Absolutely! I think I’ve earned at least a little bit of down time. As far as 2014 goes, I’m hoping to do the Gaspari show in early October, and to defend my title at the Yorton.
Ben: Well, I think 2014 is going to be quite a year for the sport. There are so many incredible things happening. As the winner of two of the sports major titles, you are sure to be right in center of the action!
Donna: Thank you! Yes, it’s going to be very competitive. Off season is everything! So, if I can stay focused and do every thing right this off season, I’m hoping I’ll be in the mix.
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