Bodybuilding.com: During junior high school you used to have 5-hour daily gymnastics practices. Was your goal to be in the Olympics? How far did you get towards that goal?
Laura Mak: In junior high my goal was to compete at the next level and then the next level. I finished my high school career with four years of competition at the elite level which is a level before the Olympics. By tenth grade I knew the Olympics were out, so I focused on earning a full gymnastics scholarship to a great University.
BB.com: What got you started into fitness competitions?
LM: I did one competition right out of college and the girl who won did 2 seconds of her routine and ran off! It was not an NPC show, and since this girl had competed in this organizations nationals before they wanted to qualify her again, so she won. It left a bad taste with me and fitness. Basically the promoters said her two seconds were better than the other 20 competitors two minute routines!
HA! Then I moved to Atlanta, and found this great dance studio called "Gotta Dance" and my favorite instructor and great friend encouraged me to try fitness again. This was after several auditions with Falcons and Hawks, and making it to the final cuts but not being selected because of my muscular body type. I finally listened to Leonard and tried an NPC show in fall of 1997.
I won two qualifying shows for the Nationals, then competed in the 1997 Nationals placing 18th, went back the following year and trained harder and revamped my physique and routines and place 10th at USA, 3rd at Team Universe, and won the tall class in my home town of Atlanta, Georgia!
BB.com: What is your ultimate goal in fitness? To win the Fitness Olympia?
LM: I would be happy to place in the top five at the Fitness Olympia. I was 10th in 2001 and was hurt last year. I have been focusing on new business adventures too. So this year at the Olympia I will have a dance team, Groove Attack, performing on the expo stages Friday noon and 3:30 and then Saturday 11:00am and 2:30. I am thrilled to pieces about this too!
BB.com: Describe an average day in the life of Laura Mak.
LM: Well, there is not an average day ever, although, I think I would like one on occasion! I start my day by waking up to emails and east coast phone calls, off to the gym for cardio and training, prepare meals, more phone calls and fill orders, appointments, routine practice, cardio, back home for a short rest (and now I have rehearsals at night from 9:00-11:00pm) then to bed and repeat the next day!
BB.com: How often do you travel?
LM: I have traveled a lot this year. But I think it is paying off too! I would average about two weekends a month, but I have had several three weekends and the month of June, I was in LA only six days the whole month! I know I will not overbook like that again next year! Sometimes it is tiring, but most of the time it is a lot of fun meeting the people in different states.
BB.com: When did you start your fitness wear clothing line? How is it going? What are your future plans with this?
LM: I started about two years ago. It has been quite a fun new business. I had a successful personal training business for eleven years, so I am used to working for myself, but there is a lot to learn about textiles, sales, clothing, trends, so at least I started in an industry that I have been familiar with for years. To me, there wasn't a lot of competition out there. My line is unique in that I offer many colors, styles, and it is also versatile.
We women are so busy now, that it is nice to be able to get our workout in, and then run errands before or after the gym, and still look presentable! The line keeps growing so I am very happy about that. In the future I would like to see Mak Attack in the sporting good section of department stores. I currently have several gyms, specialty stores, and women's stores that carry the line. So I am always looking at ways to expand the business.
BB.com: What do you think about the new Figure division? Do you believe they should be competing on the same stage as the Fitness competitors who have to do a full routine?
LM: Figure is great. It enables those who do not like to perform or have the time to concentrate on fitness routines, a chance to still be competitive. It is a lot less expensive too since they do not have to have choreographer, music, fitness outfit, gymnastics training.
I think a great way to improve the figure competition and make it objective is to add a physical round, whether it is an agility round or strength round. Something to "entertain" the audience would definitely separate it from a muscular bikini contest and place it on an elite platform.
BB.com: Who do you think has the best chance of winning the Fitness Olympia this year? Why?
LM: Susie, because it is her last Olympia and she has won the last three in a row. I am sure she is training hard so she will go out a champion. Although, that is not to say that anyone else is not training to over throw her. I know all of the competitors so it is interesting to chat with them and hear how they are doing.
I think it will be an excellent Olympia to attend. I know Kelly is coming out with some Circ de Soleil stuff, Jen Hendershott, has had a little break and is back with 110% motivation to rock the house - unfortunately I didn't get her game plan yet... I know Stacy Hylton has added even more to her completely balanced and awesome routine. Stacy Simons is debuting a new routine too! I believe Adela is coming out with a great new theme too.
I don't want to give anything away on the athletes, so you will just have to watch them battle it out! There will be plenty of newcomers to pay attention to also. Like Julie Palmer has a great theme and a new shine in her step!
BB.com: What is the best thing about being a fitness competitor? What is the worst?
LM: For me, I am happy when people tell me that they really enjoyed my routine or they recognized how hard a strength move I performed actually was. I also am flattered when women come up to me and say what an inspiration I was in there success story!
That is the best part, when I can have such a positive influence on someone, and their life becomes better because of it. The worst part is having to spend so much time training for a contest. It is fun, yet it is tiring too- - cardio twice a day, weight training, routine training, plyometrics, cooking, eating, etc...
BB.com: What is the weirdest thing that a fan has done or said?
LM: Let's see, the weirdest thing a fan has done was have me sign their chest with a permanent marker! HA!
More Pics Of Laura Mak:
For more pics, click here!