TSJ talks to model and fitness competitor Shina Mitchell Dean about pumping iron, wrangling cattle, and girl crushes.
Also featured: A spread that would make the characters out of Sons of Anarchy pop a few wheelies. Or something.
The Smoking Jacket: Were you always super fit? Because you probably don’t just start to train hardcore all out of the blue, do you?
Shina Mitchell: Growing up, I was very athletic. I was a cheerleader and I also played soccer. So I was introduced to exercising as a young girl. It was very important for me to feel fit and strong. I loved being active when I was young, and I still do.
TSJ: What was it like to transition from normal working out to code red level, like?
SM: I started training more intensely when I was in college. I found my muscles started to shape nicely. I watched a Fitness America pageant on television one day and wanted to do what the beautiful fit girls were doing on stage. I grew up also competing in beauty pageants, so I figured with my experience on stage and athleticism I could do just that.
TSJ: How much do you need to exercise to maintain your ripped physique?
SM: I enjoy doing cardio first thing in the morning, and then training after work in the evening. So I train about 5 days a week.
TSJ: What’s the difference between fitness/bikini modeling and body building?
SM: Bikini is more of that toned beach body with slight muscle definition. Body building builds more extreme muscle striations and the body carries less body fat.
TSJ: What fitness or bikini models do you admire? Please tell us.
SM: I’ve always admired Mary Lado.
TSJ: What are the biggest misconceptions about fitness models?
SM: That they are all bod and no brains.
TSJ: Do you never eat carbs now that you’re a fitness model? Are you only drinking protein shakes?
SM: Hahaha, NO I TOTALLY EAT whatever I want. I never deprive myself of what I want. I just know I might have to work a bit harder the next day. I eat healthy/clean all year and give myself days where I can eat whatever I’d like, so I never get tired of eating clean.
TSJ: What else do you get up to?
SM: I love training for half marathons, hiking, canoeing, and helping my husband with the cattle on our farm.
TSJ: Tell us about the bronzed look. Can it get out of hand?
SM: I’ve never seen it get out of hand at a competition but I do have a funny story on a tan. The night before the National’s in 2009 I applied a coat of tan and woke up the next morning with a tan line across my face where in my sleep I pulled my arm up onto my pillow. See we never tan our face with tanner, only with makeup that matches the tan on our bodies. I got it cleaned off with baby wipes before the show but it was a bizarre look first thing in the morning!
Find Shina online here.