Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Dorinda Cortese

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Dorinda Cortese! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Dorinda Cortese
  • E-mail: dorinda@westendgym.com
  • Age: 26
  • Where: Effort, Pennsylvania
  • Height: 5' 3
  • Weight: 130 Lbs., Contest: 115 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :2
  • Favorite Bodypart: Back
  • Favorite Exercise: Legs
  • Favorite Supplements: VPX Redline, Optimum Whey Protein, Universal Nutrition BCAA, Women's Fitness Pak, Glutamine & Creatine

How Did You Get Started?

I spent most of my early teens slightly overweight, being teased frequently in school. Kids can be mean and this was a very hard time in my life. I was always very active in sports, and continued to remain active through High School.

I didn't have any understanding of proper nutrition at this point in time and began to loose weight by starving myself. Loosing weight and controlling food had become an addiction and by the age of 19 I found myself in an eating disorder clinic. I had reached the lowest point in my life, struggling on a daily basis with food, weight issues, and self esteem. This was my turning point.

I enrolled in college as an exercise physiology major and began reading everything I could on proper nutrition and exercise. I began weight training and there was no turning back. My dedication to leading a healthy lifestyle gave me discipline and direction in every aspect of my life.

I decided I needed to help other women feel the same sense of strength and empowerment that I experience everyday. As a certified personal trainer/nutrition consultant and health club owner I can help other women who struggle with food and help give them the self-confidence they need to succeed. I decided to take my training to the next level and enter an NPC figure competition.


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I won my first show and I am now competing at the national level. I contribute my success to the support I receive from my family and friends. I have learned to have strength and courage from my mother who has overcome so many obstacles in her own life.

My fiancé, my true love, Rob, is my foundation. I wouldn't be where I am today without his constant support and relentless drive to help me achieve my fullest potential.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I change my training a lot from contest prep to off-season. In the off-season I train each body part once a week and include many compound exercises, such as squats, push presses, and deadlifts. In the off-season I train fairly heavy for all upper body exercises (6-10 rep range) and train with a moderate intensity for my lower body (8-12 rep range).

I do very little cardio in the off-season, typically 3-4 sessions a week, about 30 minutes each session. I have learned to save cardio for contest prep and let my muscles recover and grow in the off-season. I began lifting heavy a few years ago and it has made amazing changes to my physique.

Contest prep starts 13-15 weeks before a show, and I change my entire routine. I change my lower body work to higher reps and add lots of isolation exercises. I continue to train upper body fairly heavy. I start with a moderate amount of cardio, 6 days a week, 30-45 minutes, and slowly increase that each week until I perform up to 2 hours daily.

I believe in cross training and always challenging your body to different types of cardio and constantly changing your weight training routine.

A typical week

* 2-4 weeks before a competition looks something like this:

    Monday: 1-hour cardio (am); Chest/ Shoulders/ Triceps; 1 hour cardio (pm)
    Tuesday: 1-hour cardio (am); Legs/Abs; 1 hour cardio (pm)
    Wednesday: 1 hour cardio (am); Back/Biceps; Track Workout; 1 hour cardio (pm)
    Thursday: 1-hour cardio (am); Shoulders/Abs; 1 hour cardio (pm)
    Friday: 1 hour cardio (am); Legs; 1 hour cardio (pm)
    Saturday: 1-hour cardio (am); Back/Abs; 1 hour cardio (pm)
    Sunday: 1 hour cardio (am); Track Workout; 1 hour cardio (pm)





What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

It takes awhile to learn what works best for you and your body. I have learned over the years that sticking to the basics and not complicating your nutritional plan is the key to being successful with your eating habits. In the off-season I typically consume 2000-2500 calories, broken up into 6-7 meals, consisting of a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrates.

I keep my fat intake fairly low all year round. My food choices in the off-season consist of chicken, egg whites, steak, turkey, whey protein, cottage cheese, oatmeal, yams, brown rice, Ezekiel bread, rice cakes, all natural peanut butter, and almonds.

Every Sunday I incorporate a cheat meal or two, which is usually sharing a pizza with my fiancé while we watch football all day!

During contest prep I believe in putting the cleanest foods possible in your body. I drink a minimum of 1-2 gallons of water daily. My fat intake during contest prep comes from EFA capsules. I cut out all cheat days during contest prep and slowly decrease my carbohydrate intake as the contest becomes closer.

Sample Meal Plan

* Here is a typical day about 2-4 weeks before a contest.

    Meal 1: 5 oz lean protein or fish, 1/4 cup oats
    Meal 2: 5 oz lean protein or fish, veggies
    Meal 3: 5 oz lean protein or fish, veggies
    Meal 4: 5 oz lean protein or fish, veggies
    Meal 5: 5 oz lean protein or fish, veggies
    Meal 6: 5 oz lean protein or fish, veggies




What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I love using creatine in the off-season to help promote muscle growth. I also am a big fan of VPX Redline during contest prep for energy. In addition, I also am a firm believer in supplementing with glutamine and BCAA's.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

Fitness is my true passion in life. It gives me self-confidence and discipline as I continually strive to reach my maximum potential. As I embraced the fitness lifestyle it carries over to every aspect of my life, helping me focus and accomplish anything I put my mind too.

Fitness is about true dedication to yourself, and about making sacrifices to reach your goals. Fitness is not only about having a strong body, but it's about having a strong mind so you can be faithful to yourself, your training, and your dieting. For these reasons I fall in love with this sport everyday and continue to strive to better myself as a person.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I have so many things I want to accomplish yet! I plan on competing until I receive my Pro-card. I am currently training for the North Americans in September and will continue competing in as many shows as possible in 2006. I am also working on my portfolio and web site in the hopes of doing some fitness modeling and one day becoming a cover model.

I would love to represent a supplement company whose products I believe in so I can help spread my knowledge to others. I currently am a personal trainer/nutrition consultant and work with clients both online and in the health club. I feel honored to have a career where I can help others achieve their personal best.

I hope that I can become a role model and inspiration to other women who struggle with food and weight issues.


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What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Enjoy The Journey! There are so many sacrifices involved in this sport and they are not worth it if you're not having fun and enjoying the process. Go into each competition knowing that you did your personal best. The process of competing is not about winning a trophy; it's about growing and learning as a person. It's about making yourself better each time you compete. Realize that you are already a winner just stepping on that stage. Be proud of your accomplishment and let it shine through on stage!

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

My mentor, trainer, and role model: Jenny Lynn. She has helped me train and prepare for my shows and has given me the guidance and strength I needed during contest preparation. She presents poise on stage, as well as having a graceful, feminine physique.

She has helped me to realize my true potential as a person and in the fitness industry.