Posted: 6/19/15  

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LAURA DONEGAN
IFBB FIGURE PRO

Being a mother of three kids and still finding time to use competing and training as on outlet for anything life throws her way, Laura Donegan stayed focused and determined and not only found herself doing well in shows.. but also earning her very own IFBB Pro Card! Laura enjoys training but most importantly spending quality time with her children and being a positive role model for them and others looking for ways to stay healthy and fit even while managing life in general.

1. When and why did you decide to start competing?
I started a competing a little over a year and a half ago – in the Fall of 2013. The “why” part of the question lends itself to a long answer, so bear with me please. I had gone through a very difficult divorce and was spending a lot more time in the gym. This was partly a coping mechanism – a way for me to control what I could control, in a sea of complete uncontroallability.  It was also a function of the fact that, after divorce, I had more time to myself.   I loved being in the gym – in the gym I was as strong as I wanted to be, and so thankful that I could be!  I started to long for a community of hard-working, dedicated people to train with and get to know, and my friend and trainer, Chris Cain, pointed me to Kristi Tauti’s gym, iPhysique. When I made my first trip out to see Kristi, competing was not on my radar – my goals were to train harder, correct some physical imbalances, and meet some neat women who shared my passion for training and who didn’t care or know about my divorce (that sounds so silly to write now, but it is the total truth). Kristi respected all that and thought I could achieve all that at her gym– and, almost as an afterthought, she asked me to stand against a wall and pose – and I had no idea what she was talking about!  Three months later, I found myself  on stage at Seven Feathers, wide-eyed and struggling to keep my shoulders from shrugging.  I still can’t quite believe how fast it all happened. 

2. What makes you want to go farther in the sport?
Each time, I want to do better than the last time.  I want to improve at all of it – the training, the nutrition, the presentation (especially the posing!).  There are always things I can fix or do better – it’s a constant learning process. It’s almost impossible to stop.  And now, now that I am going to compete in a PRO show….well, that just means I have to work that much harder because I am going to be lining up with some of the world’s most amazing women in the sport.  I have goosebumps!

3. What type of training do you implement during contest prep and the in the off-season?
Hmm…last year I did three shows, spaced rather evenly throughout the year, so that meant I was careful with my diet and lifting to try to keep as much muscle and stay as close to lean as possible - in other words, I wasn’t eating to grow or training to grow.  But since my last show in September, I’ve had eight months to eat and train and learn new things. I’ve been trying to grow my medial and anterior delts and widen my back, so Chris, Kristi and Andre Scott have all been patiently helping me.  Lots of explosive movements but also a focus on strict adherence to form – and on activating the correct muscle group during the exercise.  Then, there is always the homework I have to do to improve my glute/hamstring tie-ins.  That never stops!  And lately, I’ve been paying attention to just how inflexible and stiff and bunched up my body has become – it’s quite humbling to see what happens if you don’t manage your stretching well.  This is something else I’m adding to my list of goals – to regain flexibility! 

4. What is your favorite type of dieting meals and what is your favorite type of cheat meal?
I like to eat food that leaves me feeling good and my energy high – so I really love the basics – chicken, sweet potato, asparagus – all with cayenne pepper or a little bit of cinnamon.  My secret is flavored salt.  I love the salts that come infused with aroma – there is this salt store called The Meadow in NW on 23rd,  If I sprinkle some their chocolate salt on my green beans, I can convince my body I am actually eating something other than normal green beans.  It’s especially nice on egg whites!   As far as cheat meals go, I save those for when I’m with my kids –they need to see me relax a little bit.  It’s so fun to surprise them by stealing a bite out of their ice cream cones.

5. Who are some of the people that have helped you along the way to get where you are now in life or in the sport?
Oh boy, I have had a life so full of diversity and support and have been incredibly blessed with many people in my life who have shaped me.  In life, and in the sport.  The past five years have been chock full of ups and downs – I don’t mean to overdramatize, we all have our stories – but it amazes me when I look back and take stock of all the support I’ve had.  Certainly I would need to start with my parents.  They taught me what hard work and humility can generate – and they also planted a “give back” seed in me.  I’ve seen them struggle with things and they’ve always moved through challenges with grace and kindness. It’s been a model for me during recent years, as I’ve dealt with my divorce.  Then there’s my brother and his amazing wife: they were the first people I called when I decided to try competing.  I knew they would encourage me and be supportive, even if they didn’t really understand what I was going to do.  Neither my parents nor brother live near me – they are all back down South, where I grew up.  Then I’ve got my three young kids – ages 7, 7, and 9.  They’ve kept it real for me!  I’ve had to work hard at balancing it all – and not just from a perspective of time.  I want to show them that you can be committed to something and have goals, without being neurotic or obsessed, or too self-involved. That is particularly important when it comes to food choices. It’s important to me to model healthy, responsible behavior – in other words, to not go too overboard on intensity when I get involved in contest preparation.  Dedication and foucs without compulsion.  I try and share as much information as I can with them about what I am doing and why I am doing it – and get as much of the heavy lifting (yikes, that is an unintended pun!) done when they aren’t with me.  Much of what I do with them involves (my) trying to stay present, balanced, and relaxed – no matter if I’m competing or not.   You know though, at this point, they remain more interested in trophy and medal counting than in learning the science of this all!

6. Who or what inspires you to strive for more in the sport?
Kristi (Tauti), Andre (Scott), and Chris (Cain)– they each model so much for me.  The passion, the energy, the kindness, the desire to keep learning – they bring all of this to what they do, and I’m lucky to get to work with them as closely as I do. 

7. Any website you would like to plug, facebook, twitter, personal site, etc...
Not at the moment, no, not yet – but stay tuned, please! I’m hoping to find a way to use some of what I’ve learned over the past several years to help others –I’m not sure what that is going to look like, and what the focus will be, but I’m doing some exploring.  I feel very strongly about this but I want to find a place where I’m most needed.  

8. Anything you would like to say to all the visitors to NPC Oregon?

Well, yes, please.  I would like to thank anyone who has taken the time to read through all of my answers! J As well as all the people I’ve met who have given me encouragement along the way (I’m sure some of you are reading this now!), and those of you I’ve yet to meet.   I’m looking forward to seeing you all at some of the events this year – please stop me if you see me and say hello!  

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