Trinidad and Tobago native Laurelle Martineau had the desire to look great in her annual Carnival costume. Who knew that motivation would lead her to becoming a pro figure competitor? Laurelle chatted with Black Fitness Today on how important this lifestyle is to her and has advice for anyone looking to begin the journey to competing.
BFT: How did you get started in fitness and competing, all the way up to your recent successes?
LM: I am originally from the twin Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. We have an annual festival called Carnival. As part of the celebrations I often chose to wear one of the ‘sexier’ costumes. My motivation to get in shape stemmed from my desire to look good in my costume. I read tons of fitness magazines and was always testing out a new workout program or diet plan. Finally I decided to lift weights. I loved the changes that I saw in my body and with each change I wanted to see more. This eventually drove me to the competition stage. I found a great coach and he got me stage ready in less than 3 months. I placed 1st in my first competition and earned my IFPA Pro Card in my 2nd show when I won the Figure Overall title. My IFPA pro debut was not as successful as I placed 11th. This however fueled me to work harder. My determination led me to a 3rd place and 1st place Overall title on the IFPA pro stge. This year I wanted to try something new so I switched things up a bit and competed with a different association, NPC. In my first show I won the Figure Overall title which led me to my first Junior National show (NPC Jr. USA) where I placed 3rd.
BFT: Congratulations on earning 3rd Place in the Women’s Fitness/Figure Class B at the NPC Jr. USA’s! How does it feel to know that all of your hard work and dedication is paying off?
LM: Thanks! The NPC Jr. USA was the best package I have presented to date. My goal is always to be better than my last best but having some hardware to show for it is the icing on the cake.
BFT: How do you balance fitness with your personal life and what does this lifestyle mean to you?
LM: I have been into fitness for such a long time that it is almost as natural as brushing my teeth. Just as I find the time to take a shower and eat every day is the same way I view fitness. It is just part of my daily routine. Finding the time for it is rarely a burden. It actually helps relieve other burdens I may be dealing with. Fitness is my ‘feel good’ zone so I make the time for it just as I do everything that is important to me.
BFT: What you are up to at the moment?
LM: Where training is concerned, I am currently working on my next package. I am aware of my weaker areas so my focus is on bringing those up.
BFT: What is your training and nutrition regimen while training, and when you are in your “off season?”
LM:When preparing for competition I stick to my meal plan as much as possible. I measure out and prepare just about everything I eat so I know exactly what goes into my body. Workouts are carried up a notch as I increase my cardio. During my off-season, I am not as strict with my meals. While I still prepare most of what I eat I do not put as much focus on measuring out everything. My workouts are geared to improving my weaker areas.
BFT: Do you have any advice for others looking to start the journey of competing, as well as on how to reach their goals?
LM: Well first thing I usually advise a person is to “believe in yourself”. A lot of what goes into competing is mental. So having the confidence and discipline is half the battle.
BFT: What advice do you have for anyone looking to start competing?
LM: Once you have committed yourself, then I advise you do your research, read as much as you can on the industry. Talk to people around you who compete. They can offer some great advice that only comes from experience. Attend a show to see what the judges are looking for. It is a competition, though subjective, there are always distinguished features that can put you at the top of your class. Then, find a coach you trust. If you are new to competing it is sometimes hard to see your progress and know what you are lacking. This is where a coach comes in. They can provide that objective view and guidance to get you exactly where you need to be.
BFT: How people can find out more about you (website, social media links, etc.)?
LM: You can follow me on:
Facebook Page| XelleFit
Also a great video that highlights my last competition prep season can be found on my YouTube.