Thursday, July 7, 2011

Laurie Poole Interview

Once in awhile you will see may say something about how I was unfamiliar with a competitor but quickly became very impressed. That applies to Laurie Poole. Whats not to be impressed with? Great physique, in two shows a 2nd place and a 1st place, and a love and dedication to the gym and improving her physique. I expect to hear the name Laurie Poole a lot more in this sport.

Q: First, Laurie, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I have been married for 11 years and have 2 sons. My husband (Jonathan) and the boys are very special to me! I grew up in Western Maryland...a little town called Gilmore. When I graduated from college, I loaded up my car and headed south to Charlotte, NC and fell in love with it there.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: In high school I ran track for 2 years and my sister and I exercised quite a bit. We would take walks and do stretching exercises almost every night. I wouldn't say I was especially athletic though.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: In college (17 years ago) I had to take physical education classes for my major, so I joined "fitness center." They had a variety of weight machines and cardio equipment and to get an "A" in the class you had to sign in 3 times a week and work out for 30 minutes. I took the class initially just to get the grade, then I signed up a few more semesters just to have access to the class. That was my first real introduction into the gym. I did join the YMCA in college too and worked out with my boyfriend at the time who "guided" me on the When I moved to Charlotte I joined a large gym right away, but mostly hung out in the cardio section. I used to do a variety of classes, step, bodypump, whatever they had and continued these through both pregnancies. I stayed in fairly decent shape and started to venture out into the land of weights from time to time. Then a few years ago I finally hired a trainer because I wanted to see some real results...a few weeks into the training I found out I was pregnant for a 3rd time (unplanned), so that changed my workouts. 12 weeks into the pregnancy I found out I had miscarried....that was really hard. I didn't know what to feel or do at the time. The summer following that is when I decided I wanted to get serious and really change my life.

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I enjoyed lifting weights right away, so much more than doing any type of cardio. When I started lifting I saw results in my upper body and arms right away because for me that area responds quickly. It literally has taken years though to get my legs to respond and I have to credit having trainers for that. I never lifted heavy or hard enough before to stimulate my lower body.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: When I was a kid my sister and I would watch bodybuilding competitions on TV (they are never televised now). I remember watching Cory Everson! So, I always admired that physique. I have always wanted to be in great shape and have really muscular legs. I tend to carry extra fat weight in my thighs and glutes. I started looking up trainers on the internet and looking at women who gave testimonials and thought....if they can do it, so can I. In 2009 my husband and I took a beach vacation and in one of our conversations I told him I wanted to start seriously training and do a bodybuilding show. Plus by this point, my weight had started to creep upward....a pound here, a pound there. I felt so out of shape although I was in the gym regularly.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: Uh, my husband and friends immediate family no. They just don't really get it. They especially didn't get it the first time, they are a little better now.

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: Well, I had no idea what to expect. I thought I would be eating like crazy to gain a bunch of size and then dieting to get ripped! Not so, my trainers have kept the diet pretty large swings in calories. It was just a lot harder than I thought to get ready, especially the first time. I was surprised by how hard it was...and finally realized that after all these years of working out, it is just too soooo much more work than I ever thought.

Q: Can you share your contest history?
A: I competed 1st in June of 2010 in a U.S.B.F. show in York, PA and placed 2nd in the Novice Bodybuilding. My most recent competition was June 4, 2011 in Greensboro, NC and I placed first in the Open Middleweight. That was an N.G.A. show.

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I have always felt my chest is my best body part. It responds quickly, gets striated, and is easy to get a pump in the gym.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train or favorite exercise?
A: I love to train my back. Any type of row or pulling motion is good, and I am starting to love pull ups now that I can do them!

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep?
A: I like to be on a 4 day split...something like Chest/Back, Shoulders/Traps, Legs, Biceps/Triceps. I do mix that up occasionally, and am thinking of splitting my legs this year and see what kind of results I get. In the off season my diet is still clean with a cheat meal once a week, but the carbs are moderate and consistent. When I start dieting at about 12 weeks out I cut out most cheat meals, and at about 6 weeks out cut out bread and dairy, and start carb cycling.

Q: When someone sees your physique or hears you compete for the first time, what is the most common reaction? More positive or negative?
A: Most people have a positive reaction when they find out I compete. It feels good to have positive affirmation. It really gets on my nerves though when I get comments like "please don't get all hulked out and manly like those women I saw at (insert a show here)....." I hate that people have a negative connotation of women bodybuilders.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: I don't ever really get sick of any just gets tiring explaining to people what I do. A lot of people want suggestions on their own diets, etc...but I feel like it's a waste of my breath most of the time because they are not going to do what I say! Everyone has to find something they can live with and enjoy fitness-wise...that's what I tell them.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Women think that lifting heavy is going to make them big. You hear it all the time "If I lift too heavy my legs are going to get big so I am going to do light weight, high rep".....Hey..already been there and bought into that's a lie! I wish women would not be afraid to lift heavy and hard.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: The best part is the results I get, I love feeling strong and changing my body. The worst part is fitting it all into a work schedule and finding the time to be a good mom. It's very emotional too to be in contest prep mode for 12-16 weeks...compete...and then it's like "now what?" The weeks after a show are very hard not get down and worry about gaining weight.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I pretty much admire anyone who is willing to get out there and compete. I know it's alot of hard work and dedication.

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A: Mexican it! Cheesecake, brownies....

Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Lift heavy and hard, eat clean, and stay positive.

Q: Do you think its becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: Not in my experience....most women stick to aerobics classes and the cardio room.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I love the beach...sun and sand are two of my favorite things. Ironically I love to cook! I am addicted to collecting recipes. I also like to read.

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Laurie Poole.
A: It's pretty normal....get up early, help get kids ready for school, then head to the gym! In the evenings we sometimes take the boys out to throw baseballs or play tennis (well, TRY) to play anyway!

Q: Describe Laurie Poole in five words.
A: Honest, Trustworthy, Strong, Happy, and Healthy

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I think most people are just surprised to find out that I compete in bodybuilding. I secretly want a tattoo someday, and I once considered joining a roller derby league.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: I plan on competing again later this year in another natural show. Next year I may take a year off and really focus on gaining some strength so that I can enter some weightlifting competitions.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: As far as products, I have used some really good ones, but I don't have any official sponsors. I would like to give a plug to my former trainer, Karen Sessions. She really knows her stuff!

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Laurie Poole the athlete and competitor?
A: I would love to have some sponsors! They can email me at I can say that if anyone would sponsor me I would definitely give them the credit where it's due! I work hard and am very passionate about my workouts and physique.

Q: Laurie, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: I just wanted to say thanks for allowing me to do this interview and encourage women to get in the gym and lift heavy and hard! I love what you are doing with promoting women in the sport and giving us a voice!


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