Saturday, 21 December 2013

BikiniBrawn exclusive with newly signed Donna Breannan

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to interview Miss Donna Brennan. An amazing, young driven Irish athlete who is not only taking the Irish bodybuilding scene by storm but also representing Ireland as an internationally sponsored athlete. I was beyond excited to get an exclusive interview with her since her return from Budapest, where she just signed for international sports nutrition company Scitec Nutrition. Joining international athletes from around the globe. What is so special about this signing, is that Donna is still only at an amateur level which is very rare. At only 23, Donna holds two major Irish titles Miss Bikini RIBBF and Miss Bikini overall with NABBA. Being such a young and determined woman i was keen to ask Donna all about her story and of course opinions. She is kind enough to share some of her secrets and advise with you . Make sure to follow Donna's journey over the next couple of months as she prepares to take on Europe. All her links below.   

Name : Donna Brennan

Age : 23

City : Dublin

Occupation : Soldier

Sport : Anything  that involves lifting weight :}

What is your favourite part of your body :  has to be my back!!

Do you have any serious fears : Soooo many fears....but that's what keeps you motivated...right???!!!

Who is your favourite musician : Drake

If you could be a superhero who would you be : I would be a super- powered Pocahontas for sure!! 

Describe yourself in three words : Honest, Determined and Driven!!!

Donna thank you so much for speaking to us here at BikiniBrawn. Could you give our readers an insight into who you are. Tell us about your background, your character maybe a little bit about your past. We want to know who Donna Brennan is ? 

Hi, thank you so much for having me its a pleasure. 
Where to begin... I grew up in Finglas, the baby of 3 and only girl,  so i got the tough loving as a child. I was always the typical shy girl coming up through school and always had a selection of hobbies.
Since the age of 4, i have done ballroom dancing, gymnastics, line dancing, disco dancing, ballet, karate, bjj AND MMA!! The list is endless, but i just love being active and learning new things it keeps me sane :)

How did your journey into the Fitness industry begin? Were you always sporty or was it something completely new?  

Well ive always been a lil fitty fanatic. I started lifting weights when i was about 14, i remember my big brother brought me to his gym one day.... and i just fell in love !!

After my leaving cert i decided to persue a career in that area.
I went and studied fitness instructing and personal training at colaiste ide in finglas for 2 years and had an absolute blast! I loved the course and learing all about how the body works. After a lot of studying and hard work i got my diploma and was delighted, to me this industry is just a whirlwind of  learning and experimenting!!!
Some where along the way the army and being a soldier had some kind of appeal to me, so being the determined gal that i am who loves a challenge i decided to sign up and give it my best shot!

6 months of what can only be described as the worst 6 months of my life RECRUIT TRAINING!!!! I passed out as a 3 star private.

Could you tell our readers about winning First place in both NABBA and RIBBF Nationals ? Was it a complete shock, and how did you celebrate ? 

OMG there are simply no words to sum up how amazing it felt, 
overwhelmed doesn't come close.
I went into both shows thinking i wouldn't even get placed and then to win both was just such a shock to the system. I remember being backstage at nabba and looking around at all the girls who looked unreal. I just felt like i didn't stand a chance. I had a little breakdown and ran out to my coach Calin and wife Andrada, who had to try calm me down, i was such a nervous wreck. Winning these titles just means the world to me.

I sit and look at my trophies on my fireplace every night and just cant accept i won them. I am constantly turning to my boyfriend and saying ''im just waiting on someone to knock on that door and ask for them back, they gave them to me by mistake!!'' lol !!

You have just Signed with International Sports Nutrition Company  ' Scitec Nutrition' Tell us a little bit about that and how it came up ?

Well basically my coach Calin Brehaita contacted the company and gave them a little insight into who i was and what i had achieved this year. He asked if they would be interested in me, and luckily enough they were. Its such an awesome company, i am so blessed to have them on board. 

How does it feel to be signed as an official athlete as an amateur ?

Its all just a little bit surreal to be quite honest. Most athletes work years upon years to try get a good sponsor to support their training. For me to get this at an amateur level is amazing. I am so thankful for my coach having the belief and push behind me . Also Scitec Nutrition for giving an amateur like myself, a chance to come up in this industry and hopefully promote the sport in this country. 

Tell us a little bit about you're first Photoshoot with Scitec Nutrition, were you nervous, excited and What plans have you got with Scitec coming up ? 

I flew out to Budapest for 3 days to do the shoot, which was great. I had never been to hungry before and i was soooo excited to meet the Scitec team and also get to see a bit of the city too, I heard so much about it.
The gym we shot in was incredible, 'Flex gym' i just want to move there so i can train in that place everyday.

I am not too sure what my plans are at the moment but i am expecting a very exciting 2014 with lots of amazing things to come :)

What does your Scitec Nutrition stack consist of and what is you're FAVOURITE product  ?

My everyday stack basically consists of , protein, casein, preworkout, bcaas, multi vitamins , and pre-bed pack.
I love all scitecs products they are such good quality and the selection they have to choose from is enormous. I used Scitec all through my competition prep .
My coach Calin sells this brand himself so its all he ever recommended, and i just found it great. My favourite product has to be my isolate protein in the vanilla flavour, i could just live of this stuff. I also use it in my breakfast every morning, i make protein pancakes with it, that i just die for. 

Some people in Ireland see bodybuilding and lifting weights as anti-feminine what would be your response to that ?

That is completely untrue. Lifting weights doesn't turn women into men, it develops your curves, tones and gives you confidence.
People i find are just un informed when it comes to this sport.

What is the reality for a woman in the bodybuilding scene and how does it effect your life ?

It is a tough scene to be apart of, but also an extremely rewarding sport. When i am prepping for a competition it takes over your entire life, there's no more partying or enjoying meals out with your boyfriend. Its basically a life of tuba-wear and and spandex, but i wouldn't have it any other way.

What is it like backstage during competitions and is the bikini bodybuilding world of Ireland a bitchy industry ? 

The buzz backstage is crazy. I have never experienced anything like it in my life!! Its all about the tan, the oil oh and the bad carbs, aka chocolate.

Its not bitchy surprisingly enough, most people would think it would be. I met so many lovely girls at the comps who i still keep in contact with regularly and we all try our best to help and support one another. Us bikini gals stick together :) 

What is your favourite beauty product and why can you not live without it ? 

Without a doubt it has to be my Moroccan hair oil. I cant live without the stuff. My hair is sooo long and gets dry, this stuff is a life saver. It makes my hair so glossy and shiny.

Do you think your background in the Irish Defense forces helped you with being a competitive athlete  ?

I think in a lot of aspects it did help me. The determination and dedication it instilled in me, it really stood to me during the hard diet and long prep. Its not easy training for competitions you reach some really low points and its only then you really see how badly you actually want to do this.

Living a fit and healthy life consistently is very tough, have you had any bad falls and how did you pick yourself back up ?

It is and this year just at the beginning of my preparation my dad took a really bad stroke. The devastation i felt was just so bad, i thought my life was over. In a way my training gave me an escape from the hurt i was suffering and something else i could focus on. When i left his bedside in the hospital each evening it made me even more determined to succeed and make him proud of me. To see him smiling when i won NABBA just made all them 4.30am cardio sessions and weeks of diet so worth it.

During your weeks of preparation for RIBBF  how did you deal with the Diet, the highs and the lows and what were your hardest moments ?

I had some really difficult times during my prep, some days i would be so tired, drained and literally walking around like a zombie, i just felt like i couldn't go anymore. Then id hit the gym for my evening workout with my coach Calin and he would simply just say something so motivational to me and my mood would lift. He'd remind me why i am there and its all going to pay off. Which it did and the feeling i had being on that stage and making all my family , boyfriend and friends so proud of cant buy that happiness. 

What is your Favourite exercise technique and why ?
    Kickbacks for sure!!! I love working my butt and lets not forget bikini class is all about the glutes. 

    Could you give BikiniBrawn readers a rough guide to what your diet and training is like during competition season ? 

    During prep i am on 5-6 meals a day, consisting basically of protein, carbs and green veg. Its simple, nothing added for flavour  just keeping it clean. It can become boring after weeks of the same food, day in and day out but when you have a goal in sight you just knuckle down and eat for the fuel to get your workout completed.

    What is your opinion on the Health and Fitness industry in Ireland ? And would you change it in anyway ?
    Its still evolving in Ireland at the moment. We are miles behind other European countries and America, but we will get there i have every faith. We just need athletes to be promoted and the sport to be published more, so the public can learn about it and what the sport involves. I hope to have some input into doing this. I love this lifestyle and know so many other girls will to if they just have the advice and guidance.

    What are your long term goals and when will we see you competing again ?
    I am currently prepping for Europeans next year so you shall see me gracing the stage mid may of next year, all going well :)

    What advise would you give to young girls or woman suffering with self esteem issues possibly related to their Health and body ?

    Stick to a healthy balanced diet and hit that gym girlies, trust me you wont look back. You don't have to lift weights there are so many other things on offer at the moment in gyms like cardio classes, Pilates yoga ect and not to mention my new favourite way of getting my cardio done and in a fun environment  Kangoo jumps!! So much fun, everyone should check these classes out and not mention they burn a whopping 1ooo calories in just 45mins!!!!!

    Lastly is there anyone you would like to mention or give a shout out too ? 

    Firstly id like to thank my boyfriend who supported me throughout this whole experience and also pushed me to compete in the first place. He is my lil rock and he dealt with all my high's and lows so well! 
    My family who were behind me 100% and all of them together done everything they could to make the process easier for me. 
    Then to my coach Calin Brehaita who i owe all this success too. He told me from day one he would make things happen for me, just to believe in him and i did... and well... he kept his promise. Everyday he dedicated his time to training me and providing me with all the info and guidance i needed. I couldn't have achieved this without his help and his wife Andrada who was always on hand to help me with the struggles i faced along the way. Together they are the perfect combo! Finally to Scitec nutrition for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their great team. I am so grateful to each and every single person who has been apart of my journey, it means so much to me to have the support and the awesome people i met along the way. 
    And to all my fellow bikini chicks you rock girls and keep up the hard work we gotta keep bringing our SASSYNESS!!!! :)

    Make sure to check out Donna's Facebook page and Instagram ! 
    Follow her journey and training 

    Facebook :
    Instagram :

    Hope you enjoyed the interview, leave a comment below if you have any questions for Donna or maybe want to elaborate on a topic ?

    Kelly D 


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