Laurie Murphy Makes a STUNNING Natural Female Bodybuilding Transformation
“I look hard! I have striations in my shoulders without flexing. Vascular as hell – even veins show on my upper chest some of the time. Freaky. I’ve never looked better in my life. I saw my NPC coach friend this past weekend and he said I looked amazing and that you really know what you are doing.”
In just 12 weeks Laurie lost 19 pounds of sheer body fat. She WON her weight class in the Open and Master’s Divisions and Overall. Good work!
Let’s have a chat with Laurie…
Congrats Laurie. So tell us, what got you involved in general fitness and bodybuilding?
For years, I did hours and hours of cardio. I tried so many diets, but it just seemed like no matter what I did I could not lose any weight. I picked up a book called Body for Life and started the program. It just clicked for me. Suddenly, I found the weight began to come off and I could eat more food without gaining it back. I loved the way weight training made me feel about myself.
Amazing how you can make food work for you. How long have you been fitness and/or bodybuilding?
I began bodybuilding 5 years ago and have loved every bit of it. I didn’t begin competing until 1 year ago right before my 40th birthday. I wanted to see if I could do it. It was great. I loved the challenge of it.
Awesome goal and challenge. What is your competition weight and off-season weight?
Ha! My off-season weight has been a little on the high side at 150. I am 5’4”. I would prefer it not to go over 135 and will work to maintain that goal this year. Each time before a show, though, I have managed to put a fair amount of mass on. My competition weight has been 131, but with your help I was able to go to 123.4 for my last show.
I would always have a very productive off-seasons and was able to improve every comp year. So, what motivates you to keep in shape?
I love the challenge of training and continuing to set new goals. I help inspire others in the gym to keep going so we feed off of each other. I love having energy all day and the way my body looks which is something huge for me because I’ve had body image issues all my life. I like knowing I’m taking care of myself and teaching my daughter how to be healthy, too.
It’s great to be in the gym to have that support group. What is your goal setting process?
I basically assess my own body, and decide what I want to work on. I want to continue to tone my butt and legs so I have set a goal to work on them as well as upper chest for this year. I like to try new things, too, so I’m going to give yoga a try to elongate my muscles and work on flexibility. There are so many things you can do – it’s like a candy jar full of surprises. I’d like to be able to bench 185 and squat 300, but that may be a pipe dream . . .
Yes, you are like a kid in the candy store. LOL How do you stick to your goals?
Goals start with a decision. Once you make the decision there is no turning back. Routine and regimen is also a way to stick to them. When you do the same thing every day diet wise – it’s easier. I also like having a trainer like you, Karen to keep me accountable. Cheat days are a motivator for staying true during the week. Also, attitude is a must. I look at the things I can do, the things I can eat rather than what I can’t. Optimism.
Yes, I found routine food for the prep diet to be the easiest way to diet. What is your nutrition like off-season?
I eat pretty much the same all the time but with a little more creativity during off-season. I try to stick to natural foods like fresh vegetables and lean proteins. I don’t eat much dairy, bread or unhealthy fat. But I like to do things like have pita pizzas with turkey pepperoni and low fat cheese, oven-fried chicken fingers, turkey chili and garlic shrimp whole wheat pasta. I also limit my fruits a great deal. I have an occasional apple with natural peanut butter or fresh blueberries in nonfat plain yogurt. I love taking a favorite recipe and changing it into a healthy one. A day looks something like this:
Pre workout – whey with oatmeal
Post workout – whey with oatmeal
Meal 3 – grilled chicken with brown rice and asparagus
Meal 4 – turkey chili and cheddar rice cakes
Meal 5 – grilled chicken salad with lots of veggies and oil and vinegar
Meal 6 – garlic shrimp in tomato sauce with broccoli
Great off-season nutrition. What’s your contest preparation dieting protocol?
I respond well to a low carb diet that is cycled. You had me do 25 to 50 carbs for 4 days and 100 carbs on every 5th day. This worked well for me. I eat no dairy, whey or bread at all. I stick to sweet potatoes, brown rice and oats for my carbs. I keep my carbs centered around the workouts. If I wasn’t responding to the diet, I lowered my calories slightly. It was always important to drink a lot of water, too. I tried to get in 1 ½ gallons of water every day.
Low-carbs can work with a proper re-feed, and an occasional scheduled cheat meal. What’s a basic cheat meal for you?
This is funny! What is basic? I love a big juicy burger and fries with a milkshake or cheese enchiladas with chips and salsa and a margarita or a giant pizza. I also love ice cream! I always crave pop-tarts right after a show. I don’t know why because I don’t eat them any other time! I also crave ranch flavored rice cakes and peanut butter Captain Crunch cereal.
I would always want a burger after a show. LOL Are there any sacrifices? If so, how do you overcome them?
I guess the biggest sacrifice is not being able to do things with friends and family sometimes because the activities revolve around eating. I only have to do this around contest prep, though. At other times, it’s all about planning. If there is a luncheon to go to, I just have a bag of grilled chicken in my purse and I order a salad to put my chicken on. Things like that. I work out at 5AM so I never miss time with my daughter and husband. I get my workouts done early and have the evenings with the family. Planning is key. I also cook the majority of my food for the week on Sunday.
Planning, sacrificing, and consistency… What do you find to be the hardest part about getting into contest shape and how do you overcome it?
The hardest part of contest prep is the cardio for me. I just do it. Like I said, it’s a decision you make. I may have to take some caffeine to get through it, but I just do it. I visualize the fat coming off my body and it just makes me want to work harder than before. My Ipod helps, too! Dieting is also hard, but if my food is all planned out, and I have someone I am accountable to, it’s easy.
Good job on “doing what it takes” to get through… What is your training split like?
I’m not very conventional in my training. I change it about every 6 weeks. For about a year, I worked every body part 2X a week. It was Mon- Back (lat emphasis) & Bis (middle), Tue – Chest (upper emphasis) & tris (outer emphasis), Wed legs (quads) & shoulders (middle and rears), Thur – Back (middle) & Bis (lower and outer), Fri – Chest (middle) & tris (rear), and Sat – Legs (hams) & Shoulders (front and lats). Abs are thrown in every other day in between sets and calves are twice a week. I’m kind of a maniac. I like to do different workouts all the time. I train intuitively so I never write workouts down. I just know what I want to work. I love doing supersets, drop sets and pyramids. I also like to alternate between volume training and heavy low-rep sets. I switched to working biceps and triceps on the same day this year, and I really like it. I’ve found super-setting a bi exercise with a tri exercise to be very effective. I’m going back to lifting only 5 days a week now so I haven’t worked out my split yet. I was thinking of hypertrophy style workouts, but I’m not sure.
Good plan. I typically keep things close to the same for the most part and work on building strength. Do you track your personal best lifts and if so, what are they?
I’ve never tried to do 1 max reps before so I have no idea what they are, but my heaviest is usually at 4 reps. For me that has been 155 on barbell flat bench press, 185 on stiff leg deadlift and 245 on squats.
That’s about a 169 pound bench press with the 1RM. What is your competition history?
I competed in my first show August and won overall Novice. I entered my 2nd show in November and won overall Open and Master’s. I entered my 3rd show August 4th and won overall Open and Master’s as well as Nationally Qualified.
Quite the track record you have doing. Do you have any future competition plans?
I’m going to take at least a year off. I need to spend some time with my family and my 6 year old daughter. I will train for strength and mass. I need to work on my legs, too. My brother just started bodybuilding and wants us to do a show together.
How cool. You don’t see the couples routines too much these days. Do you use supplements? If so, what are your favorite supplements?
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey
Glutamine (5 g at least twice a day)
ZMA before bed
Multiple and extra Vitamin C and Calcium
VasoPro Ephedra HCL with 200 mg of caffeine for energy
Twinlab Yohimbe Fuel for energy when I’m not taking the VasoPro
Scivation Xtend or Xtreme Formulations Ice for BCAAs for recovery
Creatine Ethyl Ester powder when adding mass
Fish oil twice a day
Glucosamine liquid (NOW brand)
That’s an impressive supplement line-up. Does your family support your fitness endeavors?
My Mom and Dad think I’m killing myself. They support me, but worry I’m destroying my health. My mom has gone as far as to say I’m not allowed to bring my supplements into her house. LOL! My dad feels I should be eating a bowl of ice cream every night and just relaxing! My husband is very supportive. I could not have done this without him. My 6 year old says she wants to be a bodybuilder one day and is constantly reminding me of what is on my diet and not on my diet.
LOL Typical parents. What hobbies do you have outside of fitness?
I love to cook! I also like to play the piano and shop!
I can shop! LOL What advice would you give someone who wanted to get in such outstanding shape as you are in?
Set small goals for yourself. Know what your limitations are. If you need someone to be accountable to, hire a trainer. It’s worth it. Try to love your body because if you hate it all the time, it will turn against you. Eat 5 to 6 times a day and drink lots of water. Weight training is key. Don’t be afraid of it. Lifting does not make women big. Eating does. Cardio is overrated. Too much cardio will just burn up your muscles and keep you from losing weight. HIIT cardio is the bomb! Log your food in for the first 4 weeks on a diet. It will help you to learn how to eat the right foods, and it is a shock sometimes to see exactly what you have been eating. Plan ahead for every situation. Eat before going to a function where you know there will be bad food. Carry snacks with you. Be creative and think up your own recipes.
Plan, plan, plan… Gotta have an action plan.. How has fitness and/or bodybuilding changed your life?
I have always been a very shy and introverted person. It has brought me out of my shell and given me great confidence in myself. It has helped me to be assertive and more confident in my job. I have had positive effects on people around me to exercise, eat right and take better care of themselves. People at the office have stopped bringing in bad food all the time. It has shown me I am a person of inner strength, and there is nothing I cannot do. It has taught me to give myself a break every once in a while and not be hard on myself. It has made me feel I am a person with a contribution to others.
Thank you Laurie, and congrats on your winnings and total body transformation.
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