Where and when were you born?
I was born in Hobart, Tasmania Ė Australiaís island state Ė on 28 April 1973.
What is your profession?
Iím currently self-employed as a public relations consultant, but I will start the New Year with an exciting new job Ė PR and Marketing Manager for a hospital in Melbourne.
What kind of activities/sports did you do before you started lifting weights?
I first joined a gym when I was 16 and did mostly aerobic classes, then gradually started working out with free weights. I also used to walk and jog.
How and when did you get involved into lifting weights?
I started going to the gym - but not very regularly Ė when I was 16. I did so on and off while I was completing my degree and then became more obsessive about it by the time I was about 20. By that time I had finished my degree and had started working full-time as a journalist. I became bored with aerobic classes and focused on weights. I also met someone very special who was a bodybuilder and later became my husband (Darren). He taught me the importance of training with weights and how I could shape my body Ė something endless hours of aerobics would never do!
Was it a goal for you to compete in bodybuilding competitions right from the beginning or was it something that grew in your mind as time went on and you saw the progress in your body?
When I started training with weights I donít think I even knew that bodybuilding competitions existed! It was only after I met Darren and his friends and saw them go through the process of preparing for a competition that I really thought about it. I competed in 1996 at a local show having NO idea what I was doing! I hadnít even been to a show before. I cringe at the thought of it now . . . but it did give me a taste for being on stage and made me hungry to win!
What was your first competition and how did you place?
I tend not to count my first competition in 1996 as itís something Iíd like to wipe from my memory! But as I mentioned, it did make me feel that I had something to prove and that I would do so much better next time Ė and I did. In 1998 I competed locally again, this time winning my division then competing in the novice division in Melbourne, where I placed second. I still didnít have much of an idea what I was doing, but I think I had good foundations and I remember the judges commenting on my shape. I do remember a few also telling me I should be competing in physique rather than figure, which I did the following year.
And which contest has been the biggest success for you yet?
A few competitions stick in my mind Ė not necessarily because of how I placed but because of how I looked or felt.
ō Placing second to my mentor and close friend, Sandy Jose, in 2002. I was really relaxed on stage and just had fun!
ō Winning the 2003 NABBA Victorian figure (class two) title.
ō Competing in the 2004 NABBA/WFF Australian Championships in front of a home crowd in September. I wasnít planning to compete as I was the organiser, bit I did it anyway and although I placed fourth I had a great time knowing that my friends and family were there and that I looked so much better than I ever had done.
Could you please add a history of all contests that you have entered so far?
1998: 1st - TABBA Ms Tasmania (Figure)
2nd Ė NABBA Ms Victoria (Novice Figure)
1999: 2nd - TABBA Ms Tasmania (Physique)
2nd Ė NABBA Ms Australasia (Physique)
2002: 1st - NABBA Ms Victoria (Physique)
2nd Ė NABBA Ms Southern Hemisphere (Physique)
2nd Ė NABBA Ms Australia (Physique)
2003: 1st Ė NABBA Ms Victoria (Figure)
3rd Ė NABBA Ms Southern Hemisphere (Figure)
3rd Ė NABBA Ms Australia (Figure)
2004: 4th Ė NABBA Ms Australia (Figure)
Please describe a typical day in the life of Laura Clements.
5:45am - get up and make coffee then eat breakfast (usually eggs and toast)
Read the paper, check my email and do some work.
7am - drive to gym and train from 7:30am-8:30am/9am.
9am/9:30am Ė get home, shower and start work.
My days vary Ė I may go out to meet clients, or I may be stuck in my home office working all day.
6-7pm Ė Try to finish up work for the day and find that I forget to buy some groceries, so head off to the supermarket!
Evening Ė catch up with emails, phone calls, housework, prepare meals for the next day, cardio, do some reading.
Midnight/1am Ė bed time.
Please tell me something about your daily training routine.
I train in the morning at the moment but that will change when I move to Melbourne for my new job. I currently train 6-7 days because I like to split my sessions so I can focus on one body part every day. Also, I suffer from compartment pressure in my forearms and I find they fatigue too much if I try to do too body parts in one day (e.g. back and triceps). I try to train at a high intensity as much as I can, with a strong focus on the negative part of the movement. I like to mix things up every session Ė throw in some drop sets, super sets etc. Anything to shock my body. I vary my rep range, but for the most part I keep them at 6-15. If I can get to 15 or more easily I know I need to add more weight!
How often do you train in a week?
Six days at the moment.
What are the main differences when you train for a competition and in off-season?
Diet! I try to eat clean most of the time, but when you have a date/ goal to focus on itís always easier. My programs also changes more frequently in terms of the type and amount of cardio and my diet changes week to week depending on how Iím looking. I like to train heavy all the time, I could never understand why people suggested using higher reps and lighter weights pre-contest.
If you donít mind would you give me some stats (best lifts and some body measurements)?
No idea! I am really terrible at this kind of thing. I just know what I can do and when to go harder. I donít really keep track of weights. Iíve never been one to measure or weigh myself either. I get leaner without losing any weight Ė or in fact getting heavier, so I just give up on weighing myself Ė it messes with my head too much!
Which body part is your best in your opinion?
I like my delts and my arms. After years of working at it, I like my back too!
What is your favorite exercise in the gym and which one you donít like so much?
I love stiff-legged deadlifts! I have never really enjoyed back training so any type of back exercise isnít my favourite! Although now I can see the results, I do enjoy training back more than I used to. I hate training calves. I donít do it much though, so thatís not too bad.
Judging in Womenís Bodybuilding has always been criticised in one or the other way. Please tell me your honest thoughts about todayís judging in Womenís Bodybuilding.
The difficulty I have is finding a division that suits my physique, which is why I have been chopping and changing from physique to figure. Iíve been told Iím too big for figure but too small for physique. But Iíve also been told the opposite, which makes it a little frustrating to know where I fit in. So Iíve just decided to be the best I can be and just be happy with how I look. If I place, thatís great. If not, well, not problem. I will know that I have done all I can.
Please tell me about what else you are doing when you donít work out (profession, hobbies)
Iím currently self-employed as a Public Relations consultant. I have clients in a range of industries, from finance to health and fitness. However, early in January Iíll be moving to Melbourne to take on an exciting new role as PR and Marketing Manager with a private hospital. Work keeps me very busy, but I also enjoy reading, travelling and spending time with close family and friends. My best friend Niki and I get together at least once a week (usually Saturday morning before training) for a few coffees and a good catch up and laugh. We donít even need to order at our favourite cafť Ė they just know to bring us the Ďusualí now (two long blacks!). If I feel like a night out, I love going out for a good dance.
I also enjoy cooking, I havenít really had time to do much of that lately, but Iím starting to get back into. My mum is Italian and she is a fabulous cook and a great teacher. Itís just unfortunate that nothing I make ever tastes as good as hers.
What are your plans for 2005?
Itís been a tough year, but things happen for a reason, so Iím looking forward to many exciting things in 2005. As I mentioned, Iím moving from Hobart to Melbourne for a new job and new phase in my life. Iím looking forward to living in such a great city. There is so much going on Ė the Australian Open soon, then the Grand Prix in March, just to name a few. Itís also an opportunity to improve as a bodybuilder as I will have access to more expertise. Iím planning to compete in the NABBA/WFF shows in May and to qualify for the WFF Universe in Germany in June. Iím also considering going back to university part-time to gain formal qualifications in marketing. I have a few dreams to pursue as well . . . but a woman is entitled to some secrets! ;)
Special thanks to: Niki (the best friend in the world!), Sandy (a great friend and mentor), Darren (who always encouraged me to follow my dreams and remains a good friend for life), and my mum (for being the most wonderful role model and always encouraging me to be the best I can be). And thanks to Andy for featuring me on his site.
Iíd also like to thank my sponsors:
ō Greg Young and James Grasso from Body Science (Australiaís best supplement company) Ė www.bodyscience.com.au
ō Alan P Thomas from APTís Pro Wrist Straps (the best lifting straps! And they even come in pink!) - www.prowriststraps.com
Laura just won the IFBB Australasia Bodybuilding title!!
Congrats to you Laura!
Laura does not do sessions or wrestling of any kind. Please don't ask!!