Karma Schopp is a pro figure competitor with the WBFF. She is also a 3-time silver medalist in Olympic style weightlifting with Team Saskatchewan, and has competed in kickboxing. Karma currently works as a freelance writer and personal trainer. For more information on Karma Schopp, please visit her website, www.karmaschopp.com.
Muscle & Strength: You've competed in Olympic weightlifting and karate. What was your childhood like? Were you very active? And how did you get involved with those 2 intense sports?
Karma Schopp: I've always been active. From the moment I can remember, I was moving! I played a lot outside as young child. Running around, doing various activities...I'm sure I drove my parents nuts as I also had no fear.
When it came to organized sports, I participated in swimming, T-ball/softball, jazz dancing, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, rugby, cheerleading and gymnastics. There were two sports though that I excelled at - Olympic style weightlifting and kickboxing. Why did I take up those two? First was the lifting. It started when I saw a picture of a girl in the local newspaper who had won an award at a competition. When I saw it - I said to myself, "I can do that...and I can beat her!" I started training with my hometown Olympic lifting club, and a short time after was a Team Saskatchewan member that went on to Junior Nationals winning 3 silver medals.
After a few years off from competing in any sort of sport - I decided to try kickboxing. Initially, I didn't plan on fighting competitively. I just wanted a way to stay in great condition at the same time learning some self defense. A few weeks after I joined, my Sensei asked me if I wanted to step in the ring for a sanctioned event. Never backing down from a challenge, I said sure! Boy, was I in for a surprise. Even though, I got a standing eight count in my first fight, I was determined to continue on.
Muscle & Strength: What are some of your favorite exercises?
Karma Schopp: Squats and leg curls for legs along with weighted walking lunges – all great for the lower body. Of course there are variations of the squat and walking lunges that can be more targeted for specific toning/building – depending on individual goals.
As for the upper body – shoulder press, push ups, dumbbell bicep curls (hammer grip as well), bench tricep dips, lat pull downs and dumbbell chest press are fundamental moves that beginners can start with.
Each person has a different body, goals and timelines to work with – the best approach is individualized and should take into account any previous injuries as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
Muscle & Strength: If you could change one aspect of the way competitions are handled or judged, what would it be?
Karma Schopp: The only thing that I would like to change about competing is the length of the shows. It can make for a very long day not just for the people in the audience – but also for the athletes who have to spend hours backstage waiting to have their time in the spotlight.
Muscle & Strength: Tell about any training or diet quirks you have that others might consider odd...
Karma Schopp: I actually do like dry oatmeal with steak mixed...add a dash of sweetener and some cinnamon....yum! Yes, sounds like a really odd combination. But, I enjoy it.
As for training, I have to do abs at the beginning of my workout rather than leave it to the end. If I wait until I’m done, I can guarantee that I’ll forget to do them. I guess I must get distracted with what I have to do when I leave the gym that I walk out and miss hitting the six pack!
Muscle & Strength: What are your goals for the next several years?
Karma Schopp: I have a variety of goals that I would like to accomplish. The first of those being marrying my fiancé James. This 2 year deployment has been a challenge at times and it would be nice to have him back. I want James to come home so we can have our life together on the same continent.
In regards to fitness, I want to get a job working with the Marine Corps training those who are enlisted. As well, I’d like to start a group training and one on one training system for Marine wives. This would act as a positive outlet and support group for the spouses who have their loved ones away serving their country.
When it comes to shows, my goal is to compete at the 2010 WBFF World Championships. I want to completely transform my physique this year. So, when I hit the stage in September, I will not only wow the judges and the audience – I will exceed my own expectations.