20 Questions with Cover Model Laura Marenco
1) Please introduce yourself? What makes you special? Who is Laura Marenco?
My name is Laura Marenco, I am a Personal Trainer, NPC Figure competitor and proud mom of a 2 and half year.
2) Please tell us a bit about your family, friends and surroundings?
I own a personal training studio. I train anyone from, stay at home moms, to lawyers. I also work for a supplement store called Point Blank Nutrition. I love being involved in the fitness industry, it is my passion and I love helping others. I spend most of my time (when I’m not working) with my 2 year old son Diego, he is very active and keeps me on my toes. My husband is an engineer, we live in Carmel, IN, a lovely suburb of Indianapolis.
3) How did you start competing in figure?
My first Figure competition was in 2007, I knew I wanted to compete for many years but the circumstances weren’t there yet, until after I graduated college and got married and worked full time I had more time to devote to dieting and training hard.
In 2008 I had my son, I gained close to 60 lbs and after being competition lean took a toll on me. As soon as I had the baby and recovered from the C section I got back on track, 2 months later I was down to 130 lbs. I decided to compete again, so competed again 12 months after giving birth and I was very proud to take 1st place.
4) What is your personal policy (not what the judges want) about conditioning and muscularity when coming into a show? Soft or hard?
I believe that I need to step on stage at “my best” improving from where I was the year before. I focus on better conditioning every time. I had the biggest trouble with developing quads at some point, that now has improved but I think I neglected arms in the process so now that is the challenge for this season. It’s really never ending, but that is what makes the sport so much fun; it is a long process, but I am always up for a tough challenge and this one is never ending seems like! Hahaha!
5) What is your idea of what judges want in a Figure competitor? Do you think judges are clear enough with competitors about how they want you on stage? It seems in Europe they are very clear unlike in the USA and now in Canada things are confusing.
I agree, it is very confusing, and that is why I simply try to look my best, you just never know who you will be competing against so you really have no clue what the competition is going to look like. So I simply have to compete against myself as a starting point. I think the judges are looking for girls who obviously have trained hard, well-conditioned athletes who have pushed the extra mile to get there.
6) For the next shows what do you think you need to work on physique-wise/conditioning-wise? If anything!
As I mentioned before, my arms are lagging behind, I think I just got lazy on arm day because I always seem to train them on Friday, so I need to completely change my training schedule and splits. I also need to widen my back since I tend to have a thick waist. And then of course, We all need more cardio! hahaha
7) What is your typical training routine in the gym (per day, include sets and reps!) How much cardio do you do before a show?
I start bumping up my cardio to 45 minutes 5 times a week 8 weeks out from competition. I tend to lean down quicker so I need to save my muscle as much as possible and don’t overdo cardio. I rest only on Sundays.
8) What is your pre-contest diet? (per day, 1 week before the show)
I drop my carbs the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before the show focusing on lean meats and veggies, and some oatmeal in the morning, and then I reintroduce sweet potatoes and bump up the oatmeal again on Wednesday through the day of show
9) How do you go about dropping your water before the day of the show? How much water do you drink the day of the show. Please be specific.
I taper down water on Thursday, Friday I just sip on water, same thing on day of Show.
10) What motivates you to train/diet and compete? Are there any competitors you looked up to?
I compete to stay in shape. To have a deadline, otherwise I lose my focus and my diet can become really sloppy. I want to teach my son a good sense of discipline. I try to push myself so that I can be a good role model to my friends and clients. There are many competitors I look up to, right now I am loving Erin Stern. I saw some photos of her before she started competing and she has completely changed her physique, it’s amazing.
11) Please tell us an interesting experience you had at a show recently, be it a fun thing or something rather not so fun?
12) What is your personal opinion about the figure, fitness, bodybuilding industry we are in? Anything you would like to see changed?
I think competitions are great, I believe the concept is excellent, as long as you don’t go to crazy extremes and end up hurting your health rather than doing something positive for it. I believe it is a great motivator and challenge, competing is what really has brought out the athlete in me.
13) What has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competing career?
Adjusting to changes is always hard, adjusting to children and completely turning your life after a baby comes is tough. I decided to compete right after having my son, so my schedule overall got pretty hectic. Another issue that I always battle is the post competition weight rebound. It still takes a toll on me psychologically, though now I have learned not to go crazy with food the week after competing.
14) Did you make any changes to your contest prep for your last show? Water intake, carbing up, etc...
I actually had more complex carbs than last year. I had more oatmeal and sweet potatoes as well as more healthy fats from walnuts. At first I wasn’t sure if I would lean down enough but surprisingly enough, my energy levels were up throughout prep, I didn’t starve myself and felt healthier over all.
15) What do you think of bikini division?
I think bikini is a very good option for women who really want to focus on becoming athletic overall and maintaining a toned physique. No one says that you have to become over the top muscular to have an athletic physique, and bikini is a good example of it. Especially if someone wants to move on to Figure, it is a great way to get your feet wet on stage and get a sense of what it feels like being up there and being judged.
16) What are your favorite foods to eat right after you compete on a Saturday night?
Whatever is available at that point. Haha! This last time it was late, my son was with us and had no other options but fast food. So I ate a burger with fries. It felt awesome!
17) Please tell us about how you were raised and did you have any interesting experiences while growing up?
I was born and raised in El Salvador. I grew up during a tough time in my country, while we were going through war. That made it very unsafe and harder than it would be for someone who has grown up in the US for example. I was always chubby growing up and never thought I would be able to get into the shape I’m in now. I moved to the US when I was 17 and began to workout at the age of 20.
18) Do you have an athletic background? Gymnastics, soccer, volleyball or what?
No, no athletic background.
19) What is a typical day in the life of Laura Marenco? From waking up to until going to bed?
Wake up at 7am and get my son ready, eat breakfast, feed him, then we go to the gym, he stays in the play area while I train for about an hour and a half. We then come home, I usually train 2 clients after that, then lunch, then I play with my son and make sure he takes a nap, then I train clients in the evening. On the days that I don’t train clients in the evening I am working at Point Blank Nutrition, which is a local supplement store in Carmel, IN. Then I come home, do some cleaning, eat my last meal around 10pm, get my son ready for bed, we end up going to bed around 11pm
20) What is your current occupation? Please tell us more about it, what do you specifically do in your job?
I own a Personal Training studio, I help clients with training and diet, I train anyone from beginners to girls who are getting ready for a show. I am also a nutritional advisor at Point Blank Nutrition in Carmel. I write articles on nutrition, exercise and supplements for two local magazines. All of the above keep me pretty busy.