Interview with Figure Competitor Michelle Lin

Figure competitor Michelle Lin

Figure competitor Michelle Lin

We’ve got a sleeper from the Pacific Northwest in figure competitor Michelle Lin, who just completed her national level debut at the NPC USAs. This is only the third year of competitions for the Seattle local, who didn’t place in Las Vegas but continues to make impressive gains since her debut in the bikini division two years ago. The adorable 23-year-old (she turns 24 in October) has plenty of time to polish an already striking overall look.

Michelle got into weight training during high school as a way to improve in team swimming, but had to try another sport after the considerable muscle she added made her too bulky for the pool. That transition led her to the gymnastics floor for the first time, where the extra strength, along with athleticism and natural talent helped her quickly ascend to the Varsity squad. Later, in college, she starting heading to the gym more consistently and developed a deeper passion for working out. When she attended her first NPC show, things became clear—she realized her next goal was to be up on stage competing.

For her first show in 2011, Michelle tried bikini but quickly realized she needed more time to prep and that figure would be a better fit for her improving physique. She was right on both counts and ended up placing in the top five in figure at her next two shows. She continued shaping her look and stage presence the following year, earning a national qualification after finishing second in her class at the Washington Ironman and solidifying herself as a future star.

I was fortunate to catch up with Michelle for an interview this past week and quickly found her as engaging intellectually as she is impressive physically. In addition to being pretty, friendly and kind, Michelle is very bright and wise beyond her years, especially discussing her subtle, lead-by-example approach to inspiring her family to eat nutritious foods and embrace a healthier lifestyle.

As for future plans, Michelle talks about enjoying the posing and individual expression of the physique division and with a little bit more size could be headed in that direction. More importantly, once the determined Michelle sets her mind on a goal, this rising figure division shortie doesn’t stop short of achieving it.

* * *

Dean: What kind of sports did you play growing up and throughout high school or college? Are athletics what led you to compete?

Michelle’s stats—Age: 23; Height: 5 feet and ¼ inch; Hometown: Fremont, California; Currently: Seattle, Washington.

Michelle’s stats—Age: 23; Height: 5 feet and ¼ inch; Hometown: Fremont, California; Currently: Seattle, Washington.

Michelle: I swam competitively from Junior High through freshman year of high school and started weight training in the hopes of becoming a stronger swimmer. I thought stronger shoulders would help improve the race times of my favorite stroke, the butterfly. After lifting weights regularly, I soon realized I was getting quite ‘dense’ and less buoyant.

During sophomore year of high school, I decided to join my school’s gymnastics team. I had never done gymnastics as a child but wanted to learn to tumble after watching some performances by the team. I competed in gymnastics for the rest of high school and made it onto the Varsity team despite not having a previous gymnastics background.

After graduating high school, I started going to the gym regularly, and continued to lift weights throughout college. I didn’t have a set routine and mostly benched and squatted since those were the exercises I saw performed most commonly among the gym-goers. During my third year of college, I attended my first NPC show, and although I only watched the bodybuilding divisions that day, I knew I wanted to compete one day and made it a goal to step on stage within the next year.

Dean: Could you give some of your contest history? What shows are you planning to do next?

Michelle: I competed in the bikini category at my first show, the Contra Costa in 2011. I prepped for about two weeks, and thought I was ready to step on stage. Looking back now, I realize I wasn’t lean enough, wasn’t dark (tanned) enough, and was not wearing an appropriate bikini. (I wore a store bought bathing suit for a bikini.) I can definitely look back and laugh about that learning experience now. I decided after that contest that I saw myself more as a figure competitor and decided to compete in the NPC San Jose Bodybuilding championships about two months later. I felt a lot more comfortable with the figure posing and felt that it suited my physique better. That year I also competed in the NPC Washington Ironman and placed 4th at both contests.

Back in Focus: Michelle's signature shoulders, started by years of swimming, have improved since she started competing.

Boulder Shoulders: Michelle’s signature shoulders, started by years of swimming, have improved since she began competing.

During my second year of competing, I entered the NPC Emerald Cup, the NPC San Jose Bodybuilding championships and the NPC Washington Ironman once again. I placed 2nd at the Ironman and became a nationally qualified competitor.

I just recently competed at the NPC USAs, which is when I had the opportunity to shoot with Krivs Studio. Although I didn’t place at the USAs, I had a great experience and enjoyed every moment! I do not have a specific future contest date in mind for now, but would like to compete in Women’s Physique one day. I love the posing, and would really appreciate the opportunity to perform a posing routine.

Dean: How has your training been going? Which improvements to your physique have made you most proud lately and are there any areas you are trying to tighten up?

Michelle: I have really enjoyed training more intensely now that my primary goal is not trying to get contest lean. I am most proud of my shoulders, since I’ve grown them significantly in the past two years after neglecting them for my first five years of strength training when I focused mostly on benching and squatting.

I would like to improve my hamstrings and glutes and work on developing the glute-hamstring tie in.

Dean: Have family and friends been supportive of your competitive lifestyle? What type of comments have you gotten?

Michelle: My family sees that I am very passionate about bodybuilding and fitness, but they do not understand why I love to work out so much. They also probably would not find the foods in my diet enjoyable or interesting. My family eats a lot of white rice and Asian dishes, which I grew up eating but now only eat occasionally. When I visit home, my family members are a lot more conscious about their nutrition and I make the effort to explain to them why I eat the foods I do and encourage them to try my meals. I’ve also been making exercise and meal plans for my family to help them achieve their goals. When they see changes in their bodies after following my recommendations, they are more understanding and appreciative of my lifestyle.

Making a Difference: Michelle has used what she's learned in fitness and nutrition to help her family make better food choices.

Making a Difference: Michelle has used what she’s learned in fitness and nutrition to help her family become healthier.

My friends who I grew up with have been very supportive; they seem interested in the process of prepping and competing and some have even come to cheer for me at contests. Bodybuilding and fitness communities seem very close knit and I love meeting awesome people through fitness!

Dean: What are some of your goals for working and competing in the industry? Do you have any role models in the sport that have particularly inspired you?

Michelle: I would like to inspire people of all backgrounds—not just fellow competitors, but also anyone interested in health and fitness. I aim to show people that being fit is achievable and does not require bland diets and endless amounts of cardio. I hope to demonstrate that fitness can be incorporated into everyone’s lives and that the experience can be enjoyed and shared with others. I want to encourage people who are just beginning to exercise to stick with it and be consistent. I often hear from beginners that they aren’t seeing change or making gains fast enough and they often get frustrated and give up, which I think is a shame. I want to ignite a passion in others so that they are driven to make improvements for themselves and are focused on becoming their best selves rather than comparing themselves and their progress to that of others.

I am inspired by many pros in the industry, and have had the honor of meeting some, but on a daily basis I am most inspired by the people I see at my gym who train consistently and often have to balance school, work, and family but still dedicate time for fitness.

Dean: Since competitors are in such great shape, it can often be a shock to the average person. Can you describe a moment when you surprised someone with your physique or strength?

Fit Philosophy: I hope to demonstrate that fitness can be incorporated into everyone’s lives and that the experience can be enjoyed and shared with others.

Fit Philosophy: “I hope to demonstrate that fitness can be incorporated into everyone’s lives and that the experience can be enjoyed and shared with others.”

Michelle: Frequently I am alone when I travel, and usually have 2 full sized suitcases, 50 lbs. each, along with my carryon items, and I often have to manage all these on my own. Sometimes I rely on public transportation to get to the airport and back, and end up hauling more than my body weight’s worth of baggage for a good distance. It can be a funny sight to see but it’s times like those that I really appreciate being fit and strong.

I have surprised acquaintances on occasion when challenged to push-up or pull-up contests, and am asked to arm wrestle sometimes. I don’t like to draw unnecessary attention to myself, but occasionally I will accept the challenge, especially if there are doubters around. 😉

Dean: Are you also a personal trainer? Please feel free to mention your website, social media links or anything else you want to use to help promote you!

Michelle: I am not a certified personal trainer but I do train family and friends in my spare time. I am currently in pharmacy school and my future goals as a pharmacist include educating patients about health and wellness, and empowering them by helping them make educated diet and lifestyle choices.

Visit these pages for more Michelle:

Facebook page:

Personal Facebook page:

Instagram: michellelin_cutlikediamondz




~ by Dean Sucich on August 14, 2013.

One Response to “Interview with Figure Competitor Michelle Lin”

  1. […] physique. She loves the posing involved in the division and talked about a possible switch when I interviewed her for the blog last summer. It certainly will be exciting to see what the 24-year-old stunner […]

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