Interview with Laura (Coco) Cocoltchos
How did you get started?
I loved watching the Fitness & Figure Competitions on ESPN2 while I was in college. After college, I was still watching and thought "you know what, I could do that". In January of 2003 I began researching competitions, what I would need, and where to get started. Then somewhere on a message board I located the infamous trainer Cathy Savage from Savage Choreography.
I saw Cathy was holding a Fitness Preparation Camp and became interested. I ended up chatting with Cathy and discovered with no gymnastics background that it would be possible to put a routine together and be ready for The Fitness Atlantic in New Haven, CT at the end of April. We would focus on my strengths, which was more strength moves rather than dance or acrobatics. I decided to give it a shot, attended the camp, and three years later here I am.
What workout plan worked best for you?
Currently I am training for Figure competitions. I am working with heavier weights and medium to high repetitions (12-15 reps for upper body, 15-20reps for lower). In the off season I still use heavy weights but with low to medium repetitions for upper body (8-12 reps for upper body, 12-15reps for the lower body).
My Current split looks like this:
Sundays: Active Rest (get outside, walk, bike or take the dog for a run)
When I prepare for a show, I hit cardio (combination of elliptical/stepper & running) at 6:00am Monday-Friday for 45min minutes in the beginning, (this will go down to 30 minutes when my body gets leaner), and then after my lifting workouts in the evenings I'm doing an additional 20 minutes of light cardio: Recumbent Bike, or walking on an incline (this will be eliminated completely as I get closer).
In the off season I try to keep Cardio in 5-6 days a week for about 30 minutes. I really try and get too the gym to get most of my cardio in the off season by biking, hiking, or walking the dog and anything that will take me outdoors.
What nutrition plan has worked best for you?
I have found that I need to stay healthy pretty much year round with an occasional "treat" meal once a week in the off season. If I am able to keep my weight within 5-10lbs of competition it stays much healthier and is easier on me mentally and physically to get ready for a show.
Since I am currently getting ready for a show, I started cleaning things up 16 weeks out. This gives my body time to come down slowly and tighten up. I am eating 6-7 meals a day. This is what my daily diet looks like now:
6:00am: ½ scoop of whey w/ two scoops of BCAA's before Cardio
I do fluctuate high and low carb days to keep my body guessing. On the days I do not lift I incorporate no afternoon carbs but up my fat intake a bit. On the days I am doing more, for example: leg day, I will add more carbs in the later part of the day before and or after my workout.
What supplements have given you the greatest gains?
I like using Xtend by Primaforce which is BCAA's, I've found it extremely effective in preserving muscle and I love the watermelon flavor. I also use Primaforce Substance Whey Protein Isolate in watermelon, AST DGC for post workout, and glutamine.
Why do you love fitness?
I love taking my physique to a place where many others are not able to. It takes dedication, discipline, patience and a great support system to compete in this arena. I love the individuals I have met through competing; many have become my closest friends. I also love being on stage and the competitiveness that everyone exudes, it becomes contagious!
What are your future fitness plans?
Currently I am concentrating on Figure Events.
I'm looking to be on stage in the spring.
Also watch out for my Website in summer 2006 which is in the process of development!
What one tip would you give other fitness competitors?
Do not let anything stop you from achieving your goals. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in my first year of competition was the cost of competing. I was able to raise over $2,000 in sponsorships from local businesses before EVER stepping on stage to support my goal. Our team in Blacksburg, A X-treme Physiques ( bodybuilding, fitness & figure team) is currently raising funds through local sponsors and various fundraisers to fund this year's expense. You truly can make anything happen if you believe in yourself and what you are doing.
Who are your favorite fitness competitors/bodybuilders?
I also admire fitness Competitor Amy Huber who has truly been a great mentor and friend to me. Alicia Marie who is full of energy and whom I knew since we road the bus together in Naugatuck, CT on our way to grammar school and Wendi West, another great mentor who has helped me along the way. Amanda Weidner, a competitive bodybuilder who is currently expecting but plans to be back on stage before long. It also wouldn't be right to leave out one of my most positive influences & biggest supporter, pro-bodybuilder, Kurt Weidner (my boyfriend), who through ups & downs of competing (hi & low carb days), is always there for me.