Travel has been the undoing of many fitness plans. But falling off the fitness wagon isn't so easy when your destination is the hotel in Long Beach, California, managed by Courtney Prather.
If you're a girl, her fit physique might shame you into mobbing the hotel gym. If you're a guy? You'll probably hit the same location just in case Courtney happens to be working the treadmill.
Amazingly, this California beauty - who has more scenic curves than PCH - only started her fitness quest in earnest in 2010. Nonetheless, she laid claim to the 2011 MuscleContest Bikini Competition and the 2011 Bodybuilding.com Fit Body Contest. Her physique is built for domination on the stage, which explains why Quest Nutrition handed her a sponsorship deal.
Off the stage she is all business, and she has B.A. in business management to prove it. Hence the career in hotel management. When there's no longer room at the inn, Courtney's fitness aspirations fill her spare time until none remains. If she's not in the gym, chances are she's at the beach or in the mountains, dispatching calories as if they have deeply offended her.
Curious about this fetching fitness phenom, we sat down to grill her. Once we had gained our composure, the interview went quite well. Here's what she had to say - and the workout and diet plans that caused all the fuss in the first place.
Courtney Prather Q&A:
Q: So Courtney. May we call you Courtney? Social media terrifies some people, but you seem to have it whipped. How have BodySpace, Facebook and Twitter helped your career? Are you comfortable giving advice to strangers who ask for it?
In this industry, one of the first things you have to ask yourself is: How do you differentiate yourself? Social media is one method, and I'll admit it terrified me at first too. I resisted for a while. Learning the ins and outs of Twitter can feel like another language at first!
I now value my social media platform because I get to show off my personality. I really enjoy connecting with people I would otherwise never meet through these channels. A lot of companies in the fitness industry also like to gauge your online reach, so hopefully this will lay the foundation for opportunities and partnerships in the future.
But for right now, I enjoy sharing my experiences. I hope they might inspire someone else to go for their dreams! I live by the saying: "Inspire to be inspired." Many of the people on my social channels inspire me to keep hustling as much as I inspire them. And when they reach out to me for advice, I absolutely do not mind sharing my thoughts. But I do so from personal experience, as someone in the trenches, not some "expert" or professional because I am not one. Not yet!
Q: With perseverance and luck, some bikini/fitness models can cross over into acting. What about you, Courtney? When will we see your gorgeous frame on the big screen?
It's one step at a time, but the things I am focusing on now are going to help me do that one day. For those who knew me before this year, they would have never believed me if I told them I would be a published fitness model strutting on stage in a bikini by the end of the year.
But that taught me a valuable lesson: no dream or goal is too crazy, outlandish or impossible if you put your mind to it. I am enrolling in acting and on-camera classes in early 2012 to begin sharpening the skills necessary to be successful on the big screen. So ask me again next year!
Q: Have you reached a point in your life where you can live off the wonders of your physique? Have you ditched your day job and leapt into full-time fitness?
While I feel like fitness is my life, I do still have a full-time job and for now enjoy the challenge of juggling both. Having a career is a privilege, not an excuse, so I work very hard to meet work demands and still pursue every fitness opportunity I can.
I typically divide my workouts into a morning cardio session and evening weight workout so I can get the full workout in and not feel rushed in the gym. I am studying to become a certified personal trainer in my free time.
When the time is right, I will make fitness and nutrition more than my hobbies.
Q: There are millions of shapely, fit, beautiful women in this world. Or so we've been told. What enabled you to climb out of the crowd, walk on stage and win?
I agree, there are a lot of beautiful girls out there, but no degree of genetic endowment can trump hard work and determination. There will always be someone prettier or taller. That only becomes important if you focus on it.
Each time I walked on stage, I remind myself that my biggest competition is myself. As long as I bring my best each time, the rest is in the hands of the judges.
I really have my mom to thank for my success on stage and off. She raised me as a single parent, and the lessons she taught me about perseverance and hard work have proven invaluable.
Q: Do you still make time to play sports (like beach football, snowboarding) or is it all gym time? Any tips to keep fitness fun?
Of course I make time to play sports! While I enjoy the gym - weight training in particular - I only hit it hard there Monday through Friday. On the weekend, it's about the outdoors. I enjoy hiking, surfing, beach football, running stairs, snowboarding and yoga.
I have fun challenging myself to hit my target calorie-spend by doing the activities I love instead of logging hours on the treadmill. More often than not, I beat my goal and have a ton of fun in the process.
Q: You know your body better than anyone, right? What do you consider your best attributes? Be self-critical: How can your physique improve?
A year ago, I would have said this was a tough question, but asking a competitor to be self-critical is unfortunately all too easy. It is a physique competition after all, and I spent the better part of my training this year trying to improve my weaknesses and accentuate my assets.
I like to think that my best attributes are my abs and glutes. I have a very athletic stomach, and while not everyone loves visible abs on a girl, I have grown to appreciate mine.
My trouble area is my legs. I played soccer for many years and have very developed quad muscles. This is also the last place my body leans out when dieting so I work hard to tone them.
We all have our insecurities or 'stubborn' areas, and nobody has the perfect physique no matter how perfect it looks on stage or in a magazine.
Speaking of insecurities, one I battled with for a long time was my breasts. I considered changing that at one point, but decided against it. It is a completely personal choice and I am not for or against it, but the right decision for me was to remain natural. I am glad I did because that is the main thing young women ask me about.
I'm happy to relate to their insecurities in a real way and help be an example to them. No one shape or size defines who can be a bikini model.
Q: The last year was a whirlwind for you, with contests, cover shoots and growing support from the fitness community. How have you handled your rapid ascent? Any regrets?
I really appreciate you calling it a rapid ascent, but I feel like there is still a long way to go. I am a full-time executive and a lot of people actually said I was taking too much on and doing too many shows, but I really enjoyed myself this year and have no regrets.
Although my path changed this year, the support from my peers, experts in the industry and new friends have been a blessing. I am still looking forward to achieving pro status in the IFBB and a great 2012!
Q: Our eyes are addicted! Where can we see more of you?
Of course you can see more of me on my Facebook page and can keep up with me on Twitter and BodySpace. I will also be blogging and posting recipe/training videos with Quest Nutrition in fitness publications hitting newsstands in December/January and part of an exciting new 90-day workout program available globally through a sponsored YouTube channel.
Follow my page for updates!
We're going to hit you with 5 questions.
Answer the first question in 10 words.
Drop 2 words from each subsequent answer. Let's rock!
You're stuck on a sitcom studio set … for life! What exercise equipment do you pack? Why? (10 words)
You lose your bikinis pre-contest … improvise! (8 words)
Beg, borrow and steal. Or wear my undergarments!
You're cornered by hungry zombies ... How do you escape? (6 words)
Play dead - they freak me out.
Choose: riding horses or surfing? Explain. (4 words)
Horses on sand - compromise!
Your life is amazing! What's your secret? (2 words)
Dec 2010 - Excalibur Bikini competition, 6th place
Feb 2011 - Flex Bikini Model Search, 2nd place *Qualification for finals*
Mar 2011 - Muscle Contest Bikini Competition- 1st Place Class C, 1st Overall Bikini Champion
June 2011 - Bodybuilding.com Fit Body Contest- 1st place
June 2011 - NPC Jr. Nationals Competition- Top 5 finisher
July 2011 - NPC USAs- 7th place
Sept 2011 - IFBB North Americans - 2nd Place
Sept 2011 Flex Bikini Model Search Finals - 2nd Place
Courtney Prather's Diet
Meal 6: Optional
Courtney Prather's Workout
Saturday: Full Body Plyometrics
Resume Normal Sets:
Resume Normal Sets:
Ab Circuit: Complete 3x
My favorite Plyometric routine: 30-45 min
Complete 5-9 rounds of the below without resting
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