Thursday, January 5, 2012

Laure Leckwold Interview

Q: First, Laure, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: You are most welcome, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story!

Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I am 42 year old, single with a 21 year old daughter. I am the oldest child of four and the only girl, so I grew up like one of the guys. I was born and raised in Oregon, spent four years in the Navy, and moved to Atlanta Georgia 20 years ago. I have a Bachelors degree in accounting and have been working in that field for nearly 20 years.

Q: Before the gym were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I ran track in high school, however from the time I got out of the Navy sport where not a part of my life. I loved being in the gym in high school and I can tell you that love is still an integral part of my life.

Q: What initially led you into the gym?
A: I had been going to the gym for several years prior to 2008 (when I finally got serious about my weight loss) and it was more of a social thing. At that time working with a trainer just seemed too far out of my financial budget. I had noticed a pattern of behavior, I was using food (and shopping) to deal with my stressful situations. In July 2008 I admitted that I am an emotional eater, I hired a trainer and started on the path to healthier life. Little did I know that my husband of 20 years was planning on leaving me (we are now divorced).

Q: Was training something you picked up fairly easy? How long before you started to see results?
A: I fell in love with strength training almost immediately. Working with a trainer gave me a good base to understand how important form was in my progress. When I first started working with the trainer I couldn’t even do a push up. Within four weeks I was seeing significant improvements in strength and I was down almost ten pounds.

Q: What made you decide to compete for the first time?
A: The trainer I worked with was a Nationally qualified figure competitor and I was fascinated at how she was able to sculpt her body. I had wanted to be a bodybuilder in high school, I looked up to Cory Everson and Rachel McLish in the late 80’s. I had revealed this desire to my trainer and she asked me if I wanted to give it a try. From there I stepped up my training and started on the path to competition prep.

Q: Is competing something your family and friends supported?
A: My daughter is a huge support and has even started helping me with the promotions aspect of being a figure competitor. My mother has accompanied me to my last two shows of 2011 and is a huge cheerleader. I lost my dad in June and one of my proudest moments of 2011 was seeing him in the audience at my first show of the season. I may not have won a trophy that day, but I did walk away the winner because he was there and so very proud of me. I feel like my dad has been watching over me this whole year!

Q: Was competing what you expected or did anything surprise you about it?
A: When I first got started I wasn’t sure what to expect. Learning to pose was way harder then I could have ever imagined. When I stepped on stage for the very first time and heard my friends calling my name, WOW is all I can say. I love being on stage, as nerve racking as it can be it is also one of the biggest highs I have ever had. There is nothing else that I do that compares.

Q: Can you share your contest history.
*2010 – Battle At The River, Chattanooga TN, 6th in Figure novice class and 6th in masters class
*2010 – Knox Classic, Knoxville TN, 5th in Figure open class B and 3rd in Masters
*2011 – Anthony Steward Memorial, Dalton GA, 3rd in open
*2011 – Jr USA, Charleston SC, Figure class C
*2011 - Battle At The River, Chattanooga TN, 6th in Figure novice class and 6th in masters class
*2011 - Classic, Knoxville TN, 3rd in Figure open class B and 5th in Masters
*2011 – NPC Nationals, figure class C

Q: As far as body parts, what do you feel is your best one?
A: I feel like my back is my best body part, however I have worked very hard this year to make my glutes the best.

Q: Do you have a part you most like to train?
A: I LOVE training legs (focusing on glutes & hamstrings). I train legs heavy one day a week with a plyo workout on a second day.

Q: What is your normal training routine and diet like and how do you alter it for contest prep
A: I have a 6 day split most of the time. The last few weeks prior to competition my split is 7 days.
Day 1 – Back & Cardio
Day 2 – Plyo leg (field workout)
Day 3 – Chest & Abs
Day 4 – Heavy Legs
Day 5 – Shoulders, Abs, & Calves
Day 6 – Arms & Cardio
I work with a nutrition/training coach, Ruben Sandoval of Fit To Be In Your Kitchen ( Ruben provides a meal plan that is customized for me and my body. These meal plans are consistent in structure and vary in content depending on the timing of contest prep. The further out we are the more food and variety on them, the closer to competition we are the variety narrows and we switch fuel sources. The basic principals are carb cycling with fuel source become fat as we get closer to competition. Additionally I provide weekly progress pictures and he provides updated menus that I follow to the letter (no deviations at all). Additional feedback is provided on workouts and splits based on progress and what areas need improvement.

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: A lot of the time most people who I meet and tell them that I compete don’t really believe me or understand what it truly is. I am an accountant and work in an office every day, so much of the time I wear business attire and they don’t really see my physique. I do get comments on how good my arms look much of the time. And a lot of the time they are curious about my strict nutritional routine. In general the reaction is not negative or positive either way, it is mostly curiosity.

Q: When they see it that first time, what is the one question or comment you are most sick of hearing?
A: You don’t look manly at all! It bothers me that there is such a stereo type out there that women who strength train look manly!

Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who train and compete or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: Most people think that all women who choose to strength train (or bodybuilding as they put it) are not feminine, nothing could be further from the truth. Most people think that I am starving myself when I am in the final stages of contest prep, also completely untrue. If they were to actually look at my food bill and my fridge they would see that I am constantly eating. I spend on average $100 a week on groceries and that is just for one person.

Q: What is the best and worst part of training for you?
A: To me the best part of training for me is seeing improvements in strength and muscle size. The worst (and not really that bad to me) is the amount of time it takes, I don’t have much of a life between my day job and my training routine.

Q: Do you have any favorite competitors or any you admire?
A: I was fortunate enough to meet Ava Cowan and Erin Stern at NPC Nationals in November 2011. Both of these ladies are amazing. They were kind and generous with their time. Ava even gave me a few pointers (which meant a lot to me).

Q: Do you have a favorite cheat food?
A:I have found that after each competition the desired cheat food has been different. It has ranged from bread and cheese to sugary type foods. Peanut butter is my absolute favorite food, so after 2011 NPC Nationals I tore through an entire jar is about two days. The surprising part is peanut butter is part of my daily routine.

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: Strength training in combination with a healthy (clean) meal plan is essential. Hire a trainer and learn the basics of strength training. And most of all find someone to support your goals, having someone to hold you accountable is key to success.

Q: Do you think it’s becoming more common for women to use the weights as opposed to just doing cardio and things?
A: I would hope so! So many times I speak to women who are either scared of using weights or they believe that weights are only for men. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is my hope to focus on women’s training when I complete my certification.

Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I ride a Harley-Davidson Softtail Deluxe, I passionately participate in the Susan G. Komen 3 day for a CURE each year, I am actively working on my Personal Fitness Trainer certification, and I try to date when ever time will allow (which doesn’t seem to be as much as I would enjoy lately).

Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Laure Leckwold.
4am – Alarm goes off, coffee and head to the gym
5am to 6:30am – GYM time (weight training and cardio depending on split)
6:30 to 8am – get ready for work and prep all meals for the day!
8am to 5pm – Work day (Data management/financial accounting)
5pm to 7pm – social media and promotions work
7pm to 9pm – study
9:30 – lights out (4am comes around too quickly)

Q: Describe Laure Leckwold in five words.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Most people that meet me are very surprised that I am artistic. I can sew, crochet, make stained glass, scrapbook, etc. I made all my daughter’s costumes for various activities while she was growing up.

Q: Any set plans for the near future as far as competing or anything else?
A: My 2012 goals are to compete in 3 shows (one regional and two national) and to finish my Personal Fitness Trainer certification. Earning my pro card and being a fitness model are my ultimate desire and what I am working toward each and every day.

Q: Anything you want to take this opportunity to plug or promote?
A: My coach Ruben Sandoval and his company Fit To Be In Your Kitchen. He is an certified personal fitness trainer, a certified nutritional counselor, as well as a classically trained chef. His program includes everyday fat loss clients as well as an active competition team. I trust Ruben with my competition preparation and am grateful to be a part of his team.

Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so how can they reach you and what are they getting in Laure Leckwold the athlete and competitor?
A: I am definitely looking for sponsorships and fitness modelling opportunities!! Most people don’t realize the financial impact of being a competitor, sponsorships are key to being successful and building a brand. I can be reached at or via my facebook page – NPC Figure Laure Leckwold.

Q: Laure, again, I thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for letting me share my passion for my team Fit To Be In Your Kitchen, weight training, clean eating, and competition. I think the one benefit from all that I do and that I never expected, is being an inspiration to others. I have so many people approach me daily asking questions of how I did it and how can they do it to. I love being a cheerleader to my teammates and friends. I always want to be a positive role model to those around me.


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