How did your fitness journey begin?
I was born and raised in Odessa, Texas, better known as West Texas. I was active growing up and played softball until my insecurities got in the way and I quit before high school, which I regret. I was worried what others thought of me.
I went to college in 2001 and thought it would be an amazing experience, but my insecurities got the best of me. It started with a diet that spiraled out of control. At that point in my life, food and exercise controlled me. I was 20 years old, weighed 75 pounds, and was let go from school due to my health and forced back home. I lost everything: my education, car, and job. I refused treatment, which killed my parents. Instead, I met with a therapist and dietician once per week. When I gained enough weight, I went to the gym and did cardio, aerobics, and weightlifting.
The gym helped me with my insecurities and body issues. I learned to control my body in a healthy way instead of destroying it with destructive behavior. In 2003, I started teaching aerobic and boot camp classes for local gyms, which I loved.
In 2008, I ran into an old friend from high school and was introduced to bodybuilding. Now that friend is my husband of three years and my main source of support. My husband and his workout partners showed me how to lift and gave me knowledge to train, take supplements, and diet. In summer 2009, I competed in my first figure and bikini competition and was hooked.
After my first competition, my personal life changed drastically. In 2010, I got married and had my beautiful baby girl, Kylee in October 2011. While pregnant, I set a personal goal to compete within a year of having her. I fell seven months short of that goal, but I did compete and won first place in physique and seventh in Figure. The win qualified me for a national-level show, which I'm beyond excited about. I'm training to add size in my upper body. The opportunity to compete at a national level pushes me to work hard every day and prove that anything is possible. I want to be a positive role model for my daughter.
Laura built a competition physique and works full time for an oil company. She's living proof that fitness can be a top priority with family and career obligations!
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
The feeling I get from lifting is amazing. Seeing the changes in my body makes me feel strong and in control. Competing was a challenge I threw at myself. Competing shows true dedication to working out and dieting.
What/Who motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?
My motivation comes from within. I challenge myself to be better every day and want to make my family proud. My friends always praise and push me to work harder. The individuals who say I inspire them to work harder are amazing. My coach, Shane Thatcher, and his partners, Lance Temple and David Duckworth, are dedicated to help me train and diet. I don't want to let them down.
Where did you go for inspiration?
On days when I feel tired, I look to my husband to push me through. When I'm injured and need to let a body part heal, my husband tells me everything will be OK. My husband is my rock and gives me the motivation to push through any situation. When I'm in a training rut, I look to my coach for new ideas. I also search Bodybuilding.com for new exercises.
What are your future fitness plans?
I'm training for nationals currently. My goal is to add size to my upper body and work on my overall physique. My true goal is to become a pro, which requires dedication and hard work. I hope this pushes me to pursue my true passion and become a dietician.
What is the most important fitness tip?
There's someone else working for first place too, so make every workout counts!
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
I look up to Dana Linn Bailey because she's the real deal. She's down to earth, is about having fun, and is 100 percent dedicated to her craft. She stays true to her fans and doesn't let fame get in the way.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
I order my supplements at great prices from Bodybuilding.com, which helps because they're not cheap elsewhere. When I need new workouts, I search the exercise database. The site has great articles that answer many questions and provide solid information. I use BodySpace for inspiration. It keeps me accountable because I know people look at it.
Laura's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "The Gun Show" by In This Moment
- "Good Old Friend" by Infamous
- "Hungry" by Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard
- "Get up!" by Korn (Feat. Skrillex)
- "Walk" by Pantera
- 2009 NPC Black Gold - 4th Place Bikini A, 5th Place Figure A
- 2013 NPC Fort Worth Classic - 1st Place Physique, 7th Place Figure A
- To my husband, Jason Payne, for the support you provided throughout my journey.
- To my coach, Shane Thatcher, for your guidance and motivation.
- To Lance Temple and David Duckworth for teaching me killer leg workouts.
- To Logan Collins and Blaise Collins for helping me after I had my baby.
- To James Allen Photography for the amazing pictures.