“ I don’t talk about my plans. I just continue working towards them and let others see when they materialize. Grinding in Silence.”
Activities: Weight training and running
Social Media: @vytamin_c, @cylenceclothing, @officialcakefactoryfitness
Career: IFBB Pro Figure Competitor, Business owner
Career Accomplishments: 3x Olympia Champion (2017, 2018, 2019), Arizona Pro Figure (2017, 2018,2019), Figure International Champion (2019), Pittsburgh Pro Champion (2016), Chicago Pro Champion (2014, 2015) along with several other top 5 placings
Song: “Get Up Ten” by Cardi B
I have loved the world of Bodybuilding ever since I was a kid. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom, and making a beeline to the small magazine section in search of the latest copies of “Muscle and Fitness,” and “Muscle and Fitness Her’s.” I would flip through the pages and look at all the strong muscular bodies in amazement, because in Ohio, as a kid, I never saw people who looked like that in real life. Looking at those magazines, was my way of escaping into a world that I referred to (and still do) as the world of “the beautiful people.” At age 15, the opportunity for me to learn how to lift arose, and I jumped at the chance. I did it, because I wanted to be a better athlete, but I also wanted to be one of “the beautiful people.” I never thought that I would see a stage, that was never my goal. I just wanted to be strong, like the women and men, in the magazines because they were my superheros.
As an adult, my experiences with the stage were not that great, so I stepped away from the world for a while, but the things we truly love, we always find our way back to. Upon my return, I discovered Cydney Gillon and I was impressed. Her accomplishments in the world of body building are amazing. The fact that much of it was done while she was a student and varsity athlete, is phenomenal. but in watching many interviews with Cydney, and reading several articles about her, what stood out to me the most, is her sense of humility. That is why I reached out and asked her to be a part of MCBMI. People are inspired by those who accomplish much, and remain humble.
Thank you Cydney, for responding to my request!
Q: You grew up in Douglasville, Georgia. Do you come from a large family?
I was born in Decatur, and reared in Atlanta until the age of three. I’ve lived in Douglasville for the past 20 years. My family is small, it’s just my parents, my sister, and me.
Q: I know you ran track. When did you start running? In what events did you participate?
I started running in the “Turkey Trot” when I was in elementary school. In high school I ran the 4×1 and 4×4 sprint relays, along with the 100m and 300m hurdles. I participated in some relay events in college, but mainly focused on the 100m hurdles. I ran on a team from middle school to the end of college.
Q: Did you participate in any other sports growing up?
Growing up, I participated in several sports: flag football, cheerleading, basketball, cross-country and volleyball.
Q: At what age did you start weight training and why?
I started lifting weights at 10 but got serious about training at 13, when I decided to compete. I initially started lifting, because I wanted more muscle and needed to stabilize my spine in an attempt to correct scoliosis.
Q: You attended your first Bodybuilding show at an early age. How were you exposed to that world at such an early age? Who did you go to see?
I got exposed to the sport around the age of eight. My parents started competing in their 30’s so my sister and I went to the shows to support them.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to compete?
No, I didn’t always know, but after attending so many shows, I decided I wanted to; however, I planned to compete in the Fitness category. When the reality of my inability to tumble set in, I decided to compete in the new category that was just starting, Figure. At the time, I was only 13 and the promoter of the show asked me to wait another year, so I did. At 14 I competed in my first Figure competition.
Q: What bodybuilders did you admire growing up and why?
I didn’t truly know about bodybuilding at such a young age so the bodybuilders I admired were my parents.
Q: How many years into competing did you start working with a coach?
For the first eight years, my parents successfully assisted me in competitions. I initially turned pro at 15 with a smaller organization. Five years later, at age 20, I turned pro with the NPC. Crossing over into the IFBB pro show, I was guided for 2 years. After I competed in my second Olympia, I started working with the coach I have now, Damion Segovia.
Q: How did you find your coach?
I initially met him at the Olympia Gayla. He then reached out to me later.
Q: So you competed during college, ran track, worked two jobs, and carried a full load of classes. To maintain a load like that, you have to be a very focused, determined, and strategic person. How did your life experiences set you up for success on Survivor? Going into the game did you believe you could get far or even win because of your experiences?
My life experiences helped because I could continue being who I truly am, I didn’t have to be fake. I didn’t have ANY expectations, I just took one day at a time. My confidence increased, the longer I was on the show. After a while I felt I could make it to the end.
Q: When you decided to do Survivor, were you worried about muscle loss?
Yes I was, but realized it will grow back. After a period of time the muscle loss stabilized.
Q: What was your best experience on the show?
The best experience was the helicopter ride.
Q: Would you have done anything differently?
Strategically, no, I wouldn’t have done anything different. As for the practical aspect of the game, I wish I had practiced solving more puzzles.
Q: Did you compete in any shows the year you did Survivor? If so, how many weeks did you have to prepare?
Yes I competed in three shows that year, the Chicago Pro, the Europa, and the Olympia. The first show was seven weeks after Survivor ended. I was able to gain some muscle back, and fortunately it was just enough to qualify for my second Olympia.
Q: How many Olympia competitions have you competed in?
I have competed in six Olympia shows.
Q: How did your training and diet differ between Olyimpia shows in which you placed and shows you’ve won?
The main difference, I had a coach who tweaked my training.. For the most part, I trained and still train myself. He analyzed my body and how we should manipulate both training and diet to bring a better package to the stage.. He knew how much I should eat for the amount of muscle I carry, explained “real” HITT training, incorporated sprinting back into my workout, and told me how to gain full recovery. During the earlier shows, in college and high school, I didn’t have to worry about cardio because I was young and involved in sports and dance.
Q: You have stated you maintain a healthy balanced diet. Do you think that is the key to your longevity in the sport?
Yes, I do.
Q: What are your plans after competition? Is med school still in your future?
I don’t talk about my plans. I just continue working towards them and let others see when they materialize. Grinding in Silence. No, med school is not in the future; however, I use the knowledge I have acquired from medical research, sports medicine and physical therapy in my current career.
Q: Tell me about the scholarship program you have set up. Who is eligible?
The scholarship is for Scholar Athletes. Each year my board selects one deserving high school and college student. They have to be a senior athlete that has participated in a NCAA sport for four years in high school and currently participates at a varsity level in college. For the last two years I have given scholarships to four students..
Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
In my free time, I like watching Netflix and lying on the couch.
Q: Who is your biggest role model and why?
My mom has been one of the most inspirational athletes and people I know. She’s been through so much in her journey and continues to fight everyday for her dream life. To witness her plight up close, is the most inspiration I can have, to keep pushing towards anything I set my mind to.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for young girls to get involved in sports?
It’s important for young girls to get involved in sports because they provide: guidance, build self-esteem, teach the value of teamwork, and time management, and those are only a few benefits of participation. Sports will show you who you really are as opposed to who you think you are. They teach you NOT to tie losses to your self-esteem. Additionally, they teach the structure of leadership – to know when to lead, and when to follow. They promote health, dedication, and a willingness to get uncomfortable. SPORTS PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE.
Q: Why did you agree to be a part of MCBMI?
I agreed to be a part of MCBMI, because your mission resonates with mine.
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