BIKINI PRO CYNTHIA RODRIGUEZ BIKINI SWAG
Interview by Ben Yosef | Photography by Kevin Richardson
What is your ethnicity?
Can you break it down for me? Like from where?
My mother and father are from Ponce, Puerto Rico.
That’s cool. They met there, then moved to the states?
Yes, they both grew up on the same street. My father was In the military and brought my mother to the states.
And you were born in the states?
New York Bronx. My mother left NYC when I was just a few weeks old and moved back to Puerto Rico. I was raised in Puerto Rico until a few years later.
“My mother taught me to live always independent and never count on anyone.“
At what age did you arrive back in the states to live permanently? And did you land back in NYC?
I lived back and fourth between Puerto Rico and Silver Spring, Maryland until I was in my last year of high school. I was a young mother who got married at a young age. My daughter’s father was in the United States Navy. After he was finished, he and I decided to move to NYC. I was only 19 years old. I was a single parent by the time I was 21 and never remarried. I worked two jobs to raise my daughter in Brooklyn, New York.
Both your child’s father and your father were military men?
Yes. Most of my entire family were in the military.
Wow, so did all that military action add some toughness to you?
Pretty much. [laughs] And my mother taught me to live always independent and never count on anyone. Be a leader and not a follower because leaders don’t fall. Followers do because they are not real on the inside. Pretty crazy that til this day I remember her telling me this.
What effect does all this toughness and independence have on your training and competing?
“You have to find what makes you happy and working out is my medicine. “
Actually, it motivates me to better who I am as a person. You have to find what makes you happy and working out is my medicine. So I find time for myself whether it’s having to wake up super early or training late. I find time.
Even with meal prepping I set a day and time to shop and cook. Excuses are made for weak minds unless you are ill and even that sometimes is a petty excuse. I have clients who are going through chemo and suffer from Lupus and no lie, I see them every week, two times to three times a week. So if they have the time and energy to make it a requirement to fit a workout in so can I.
You seem to have great control over your body when it comes to posing and positioning yourself in ways that highlight your physique really well. How did you become so good at this?
I actually taught myself by watching videos, observing at shows, and asking questions. Also, both my parents were Professional salsa dancers in the 70’s and 80’s and I use a lot of their techniques on the stage to bring out more elegance and posture. So yes, I keep my Latina swag on the stage. Professional salsa dancers have a form of structure when posing during their dance routines which highlights the elegance of a female body.
“…female trainers are not respected as much male trainers. So yes…I have a serious tough face at all times.”
Nice. Well, it’s working for ya! [laughs] Are you currently involved in a relationship?
I am but I keep my private life private. From past experience people who were judgmental destroyed my happiness so due to my past with friends and even romantic relationships I remain quiet. My family always tells me never display your happiness because the people who matter are the ones who need to know and the ones who have hateful souls remain outside of your happy zone. With age comes growth. I am in a happy zone right now. I refuse to have my life on blast like Kim K. [laughs] People can be cruel and very hateful. Being a city girl you learn the hard way.
You are a spicy, independent Latina woman, with an incredible physique. I imagine that a package like that would intimidate some men.
That’s funny you say that because I get told that all the time. I’ve been a trainer since 1999 and in this industry female trainers are not respected as much male trainers. So yes, I have a serious tough face at all times. I can train anyone male or female. “Bring it” is what I tell anyone. It’s a confidence. It’s knowledge and many years developing skills. This is my career. I am a Personal Trainer and this isn’t a faze for me. I tell people all the time, “yes I am a Bikini athlete. I work hard and no one trained me. I did this on my own by giving myself some serious ass kicks.” [laughs] I used my own life experience, bad and good, and developed a form of talking to people by being tough. Many may take it personal but in the long run they love my honestly. Being a Personal Trainer we also become a life coach whether we like it our not. I develop friendships with my clients where they remain with me for more than a year. It’s because of my tough, no excuses attitude.
“My legs! I was in gymnastics as a kid then a cheerleader in Puerto Rico.”
What do you feel are your most impressive body parts?
My legs! I was in gymnastics as a kid then a cheerleader in Puerto Rico. So lots of flips, dancing, and my parents teaching me how to dance salsa. My legs were always strong. Til this day at my age I can still do back flips, cartwheels, and splits. It’s crazy what your body can do.
Seems like glutes should make the list…
Yesssss gluteus for days. I have developed workouts that focus a lot on my rear area. Believe it our not going to workout classes with Brazilian instructors that blast the rear area taught me how to train my rear. I did a lot of researching also. You can squat for days but there are so many different techniques to build the perfect Bikini rear. And the key is strong hamstrings as well. I wanted a full, powerful, muscular lower half like Serena Williams! Tennis legs!
The key is learning how to develop different routines. So investigating athlete’s workouts as well was my main objective. Not only Bodybuilders but athletes like football players and baseball players. They need powerful legs to run, and catchers need legs to hold a position for hours so that was one of my ways of developing leg routines for this years IFPA Pro Show.
“I do have a brick wall up because I have been let down many times, but I believe that laughter brings down any brick wall. ”
Let’s talk about your sweetheart side. It is my experience that with even the most powerful of women, there is always super sweet side within. Would you agree?
Yes there is and that’s my faith in God, and my family. I love my sisters and nieces. They are my everything. And my kid. Most of my family is in Puerto Rico and we are a very close family. I can have the most horrible day but my sisters are like comedians. They make jokes that would make the Pope laugh. I do have a brick wall up because I have been let down many times, but I believe that laughter brings down any brick wall. You have a show right around the corner and I wish you the best of luck. It’s my guess that you are going to Bikini Swag your way right to the top at this show and at each one that you enter.
There are a lot of girls out their that don’t have the confidence to “own” the stage. What advice would you gives girls to help them find their “inner Swag“?
Number one: Be yourself.
Number two: Find what makes you feel beautiful such as your favorite color on a bathing suit.
Number three: Work that fabulous hair style that shines your diva style.
Number four: Always smile because it will make you glow and radiate self confidence inside and out.
Number five: Always remember you worked damn hard to shine on that stage so walk likes it’s your stage. Own it. You deserve every second of that spotlight.
Number six: Make sure you have on the best makeup possible. Turn that gym doll into a Bikini knockout!
Click here to order this issue (April 2014) or a monthly subscription.