Laura Sutton - Bodybuilder

I first got started with weight training at 17. Fiddled around in the gym, but was mostly into aerobics at that time. Hey, it was the 80's. I was always inspired by gymnasts' physiques. Strong, sturdy, yet, so fluid with their movements. Mary Lou Retton was one of them.

I started weight training at 21, went to my first show at 22, and was on stage at 23. I didn't know much about dieting for a show, but was learning more about nutrition by reading and asking questions from the more experienced gym goers. IFBB pro Kat Sartor was my first coach, and she helped a lot.

My diet is generally pretty good all year. Being a type 1 diabetic keeps me from eating too much at one time, and certain foods. I allow myself (probably too much) treats on occasion, but never overdue it. I prefer lighter foods apposed to heavy sauces, or anything fried. This keeps my body composition relatively good in the off season. As for a diet that works for me? I try to have balance; including a variety of colours, organic when possible, lean meats, egg whites, etc. My trainer doesn't think I eat enough. To lose weight; simply cutting calories, fat and starchy carbs has always worked, but not for too long though, or I start to get lose too much. Depending on where I start; 16-18 weeks seems to have worked. Dieting for too long in the past has sacrificed what little muscle I already have. I can lose weight quite quickly if I don't eat regularly.

Training doesn't change too much in the off season. I'm very consistent and try to switch the routine up, so I don't get board. I train as heavy as I can without losing form. Form is crucial in isolating the muscles you are training. I do cardio 4-6 days a week as well, in the off season, because I enjoy it. Whether it's in the gym or outside hiking. Again, variety.

Self confidence comes with time, experience, and being prepared. I am quite shy, but if I feel ready, then it's easier to relax and enjoy yourself. Visualization techniques and positive affirmations work very well too.

My last show was the Canadian Nationals in Winnipeg. It was a very good experience being around all the athletes from the different provinces. It was a also a special show because I had the opportunity to share the stage with my trainer, Dawn Alison. I didn't look at it as a competition, but a privilege, to share with her. Back in the 90's, I was always terrified to be on stage with her, and here we were, 21 years later, still enjoying what we love.

Future plans consist of training to build and improve my physique for the Nationals next year, which I think are in BC.

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