Lee Cotter-Alves is someone who has just begun being a fitness competitor. Her road to her first competition is an amazing and inspiring one. She is also someone I get the honor of talking to from time to time, and as beautiful as she is on the outside, she is even more beautiful on the inside. This is my chance to introduce an amazing woman to people and show them the woman I already know.
Q: First, Lee, thanks for agreeing to do this. I have a great deal of respect for you, so it means a lot that you would do this.
A: Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for making me a part of your blog. It's nice to have been asked
Q: Let's start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, things like that.
A: I have to say that there's nothing really exciting to tell.LOL I have two children who will be 4 and 2 in March. They are a very big part of my world. I work in the I.T. department for a convenience store chain. I am from Oshawa, Ontario, a city just outside of Toronto.
Q: What first got you interested in competing in figure, and how long have you been training/
A: I first got interested in competing close to two years ago now. I had just had my son and needed a goal to get myself back into shape. I had seen other women around the gym training and how great they looked, so it was my motivation to get fit. I need something to motivate me, because I was trying to fight depression and had gained quite a bit of weight with my two pregnancies. It was a great goal to have. It allowed me to lose 80 pounds in a year for my first show, and gave me confidence that I had never had before.
I have been training for about two years now.
Q: Was it something your family and friends supported, and how do they feel now?
A: I was very lucky to have a husband, family, and friends who were extremely supportive of what I wanted to do. There were the occasional concerns about losing to much weight, but other than that, they all rooted for me. I had heard a lot from other competitors where they get a lot of flack from people in their lives, and I was very fortunate that I didn't really have to worry about that.
Q: Any people you consider influences or that you admire in the sport?
A: There really isn't just one person who influenced me or that I admired. I admire any woman who has the strength and determination go out and do fitness competitions. It takes a lot of will power, self control, drive, and bravery to even get onto that stage. My trainer (Tara Minaca) was very encouraging and never doubted that I would reach my goals. She was always there cheering me on and pushing me when I thought I couldn't go on.
Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: So far I have only competed in one fitness show. It was the IDFA in May of 2009. I had planned on entering two other shows, but didn't feel I was ready, so I decided to wait until May of 2010 to compete again. It gives me the time to build and become more confident in what I'm doing.
Q: What have you learned from competing, both about the sport, and yourself?
A: I have learned that it takes a lot of organization, determination, and drive. It's not as easy as just going to the gym and working out. Definitely a lot harder than it looks. The diet is what is the hardest. You have to have extreme will power to remain on a strict diet and it takes a lot of prep work to keep on track.
Q: What is your favorite part of it, and least favorite part?
A: My favorite part of competing is the training and watching the changes my body goes through. I never thought that my body could make the changes it did. My least favorite part is the diet. For the most part I can handle it, but every once in a while I crave the carbs. Or watching everyone else around me east whatever they want, and not being able to eat it.
Q: What is your normal training and dieting routine, and how does it change when you get ready to compete?
A: My normal training is a five day split of weights and at least five days a week of cardio for about 30-45 minutes. When I'm training, I will do weights six days a week and cardio seven days a week for 45 minutes. When it gets closer to a show, cardio increases to 45 minutes twice a day for seven days. It's pretty intense and time consuming, but I love it.
Q: If you had to pick one thing you most like about your figure, what would it be?
A: I really like my legs now. I have always hated my legs and would never wear shorts. When I first started training with Tara, she said they would be my best feature and I never believed it, but she was right. For the first time in at lest 10 years, I wore shorts and wasn't self conscious about it. They actually took on a nice shape and are muscular looking.
Q: Any body part or exercise you most enjoy training?
A: I love working out my legs. I just like the feeling when I'm done. I'm exhausted, but I feel like I've worked out really hard and I love the results.
Q: Do you prefer to do your workout alone or prefer a partner, and why?
A: For the most part I like to work out alone because I'm always on limited time and I can run through my program without interruptions. On occasion I do like having a workout partner because it allows me to push myself a little bit further then I could on my own.
Q: Is there anything people do at the gym that really gets on your nerves?
A: It really bugs me when people lift more weight than they actually can and put their whole body into their exercises and their form sucks. If you're rocking while you're working out, then you're lifting too heavy and you're just going to end up injured. Who cares how much you lift as long as you're doing it right. Form is way more important than how much you can lift.
Q: When people find out you train, is there one question that you get sick of hearing?
A: Not really because I don't really let people know I'm training. I'm still kind of shy about it so I keep it to myself. LOL
Q: Do you feel there are any misconceptions about women who compete in fitness or figure?
A: I think a lot of people don't really think it's a sport, and there's not a lot to the training. or they think that we're starving ourselves when its actual fact we probably have more meals a day than they average person.
Q: Any goals you set for yourself that you still hope to achieve in the sport?
A: My goal is just to constantly improve my physique and hopefully one day place in the top three. For now I just want to do better than I did in the previous show.
Q: Any hobbies outside of training or activities you enjoy?
A: I really just enjoy spending time with my kids. They are my biggest joy and there's nothing else I'd rather do than spend as much time as I can with them. When they're sleeping though, I do enjoy curling up with a good book.
Q: Describe a typical day in the life of Lee Cotter-Alves.
A: My typical day really isn't that exciting to be honest. I take the kids to daycare, work, hit the gym for about an hour and a half, spend time with my kids and then prep everything for the next day.
Q: Any plans for 2010 as far as competing or any other projects?
A: I plan to compete in the IDFA show in May. Other than that, I'm just taking one thing at a time. I would love to switch careers and get into personal training. I am certified, but with the economy the way it is, I don't think it's the best time to do it. I'm very passionate about training and would love to help other people reach their personal goals.
Q: If you were told you could only watch the movies of two actors, watch two TV shows, and listen to two musicians for one year. Who would you pick?A
A: Two actors I love are Robin Williams and Al Pacino, any of their movies I'll watch. Two TV show would be The Amazing Race and CSI. Two musicians would be Pearl Jam and Coldplay.
Q: Describe Lee Cotter-Alves in five words.
A: Geez, I'm not really sure how I would describe myself. If I had to guess, it would be Driven, Goofy, Good Hearted, Sensitive, and Hard Working
Q: Anything you would like to take the time to promote, such as a website, or training, or anything. Also sponsorship is very important. Are you looking for that, and if so, how can they contact you?
A: I would love to be sponsored. That would be quite an accomplishment and an honor. There would be nothing better than promoting something I believe in and enjoy. If they ever wanted to contact me, they could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q; I want to thank you so much for agreeing to do this. You are a total class act, and one of the nicest people I have ever met. I have the utmost respect and admiration for you. Is there anything you want to add before you go?
A: Thank you so much for being so kind. The only thing I can say is that if you believe it, you can achieve it. A friend of mine once told me that, and he couldn't have been more right. If I can change a lot in one year, anyone can.