Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Corynne Cooper Pero

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Corynne Cooper Pero! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Corynne Cooper Pero
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 30
  • Where: Chicago, IL
  • Height: 5'7"
  • Weight: 150 Lbs Contest, 160 Lbs Off
  • Years Bodybuilding :1
  • Favorite Bodypart: Legs
  • Favorite Exercise: Leg Press
  • Favorite Supplements: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey and Casein

How Did You Get Started?

I was a competitive gymnast for 18 years - I have always been an athlete and have always trained like a machine. From the day I started gymnastics all of the way through college I lived in the gym. I'd work out before and even after practice on some days, doing extra cardio and lifting weights. In college I remember going in early or staying late to perfect my gymnastics routines or to run extra stadium stairs! After college and after "retiring" from gymnastics, while in grad school, I continued to lift weights.

I would go to the gym at least once but sometimes twice a day on my own merit. People would always approach me and ask if I was a bodybuilder. When I told them "no", the next question was, "Why not?", and I didn't have an answer! In late 2008 after researching the sport and going to watch several shows, I finally decided to go for it - I officially decided to be a bodybuilder, and I never wavered. I found a trainer in Kevin Laird (a former bodybuilder himself) and got on a strict diet and workout plan.

I lost 20 pounds and then decided to enter my first show - the NANBF Mr. & Ms. National Illinois competition in May of 2010 - where I won the novice, open and overall divisions. I also won the award for best poser!

Corynne Cooper Pero.
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Corynne Cooper Pero.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I have seen the most gains when I focused on one body part each day. Sticking with one body part doesn't work for everyone and there are positives and negatives associated with it - as there is with every workout plan. I am also a cardio-addict so cardio is and has always been a large part of my workouts during contest prep and in the off-season.

Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Failure - That point in an exercise at which you have so fully fatigued your working muscles that they can no longer complete an additional repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics. You should always take your post-warm-up sets at least to the point of momentary muscular failure, and frequently past that point.
Partial Reps - Performing an exercise without going through a complete range of motion either at the beginning or end of a rep.
Pyramids - Increasing the weight with each new set while decreasing the number of reps. The weight is then reduced and the reps increased.

Day 1: Shoulders

Day 2: Back/Abs

Day 3: Hamstrings/Calves

Day 4: Triceps/Abs

Day 5: Biceps/Forearms

Day 6: Quads/Calves/Abs

Day 7: Chest

Corynne Cooper Pero.
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Corynne Cooper Pero.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

During pre-competition dieting, I used many different cycles and phases to lose fat and get lean. The cycles and phases coincided with training and non-training days as well as the rate at which I was losing weight/fat. We altered my diet plans several times throughout the months leading up to the show. I am in constant contact with my nutritionists, Cliff and Katie Wilson from Team Wilson - sending my weight and photos - so that they can alter the diet as needed. Below is one of the diets I used.

Meal 1:

Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4: Pre-Workout

Pre-Workout & Post-Workout Shake

Meal 5: Post-Workout

Meal 6:

Corynne Cooper Pero.
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Corynne Cooper Pero.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I truly believe that your basic supplements - whey, casein, glutamine, creatine & BCAA's - if timed correctly throughout your day, can do wonders for growth, energy and muscle preservation. My nutritionists, Cliff and Katie Wilson with Team Wilson, do a great job of timing my supplement intake around my meals and workouts so I have energy to get through training and so I continue to grow and preserve as much muscle as possible during contest dieting.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love bodybuilding because I love the constant challenge it provides each day. Pushing myself to lift heavier weight or do more reps during the next set, lifting to failure and doing one more rep when I don't think I can, pushing myself through hours of cardio and challenging my will power each day with contest dieting - I can't get enough of it. Bodybuilding isn't only about preparing for a contest or the time spent in the gym - it's a lifestyle, it's the constant push towards being better than you were yesterday and your will-power is tested daily - whether you're preparing for a contest or not.

The off-season is just as important as in-season so your motivation, diet and workouts are always in play - year round. Bodybuilding is humbling and each day I learn what I'm made of. I can always create a challenge for myself in the gym - if I can lift 40 pounds successfully, then I try to lift 50..if I can lift 50 pounds then I'll try 60 pounds - I'll keep lifting until there's no more weight to lift!

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

I'm motivated by two things - results and my future. In combining a clean diet with a steady training schedule, I enjoy seeing gains/changes in my body. I love the amount of energy I have on a daily basis when I'm not weighed down by fatty, over-processed foods. Secondly, my future motivates me to be healthy. I plan on competing for a long time and want to keep my mind and body in the best possible condition. I also want to stay healthy so that I can live a long, healthy life with my husband and whenever the time comes, teach my children the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

I am driven to achieve my goals just because of the magnitude of what this sport requires. This sport requires discipline and dedication. It's not only physical; it's largely a mental sport as well. There are such a small percentage of people in this world who go the distance and actually step on stage so to be part of that small percentage sets me apart from the rest of the world - and it's an amazing feeling to accomplish something so rare.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

After my first show back in May 2010, my next goal was to win my IFPA Natural Pro Card. Well, I accomplished this on October 23, 2010 when I won the overall at the IFPA Pro-Qualifier! My goal for 2011 is to qualify and hopefully place at the IFPA Yorton Cup Pro Worlds. Within the next few years, I hope to compete in the INBA/PBNA Natural Olympia.

Corynne Cooper Pero.
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Corynne Cooper Pero.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

I know you said give only one tip but there are so many things that go hand-in-hand in bodybuilding. The advice I would give would be - eat, rest and enjoy. First, to be successful, you have to eat. Bodybuilders don't grow by missing meals or starving themselves. Muscles need food!

Secondly, and this is something I still struggle with, you have to rest. It's easy to go overboard on things that you love - especially if you're seeing results. I love hitting the gym every single day but in order to grow, you have to let your muscles rest. Lastly, enjoy the experience. All in all, physique training should be fun so enjoy the ride!

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

There isn't one bodybuilder whom I follow religiously. I am a firm believer in staying natural so I do my best to keep up with all of the natural shows that take place in my area as well as nationally/internationally.

What Features Do You Use On

I visit quite often. Obviously, this is where I purchase all of my supplements. But, secondly, I enjoy the articles and forums that are focused on nutrition - fat loss, pre-contest dieting, etc.

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