“I placed first at my first competition at the East Coast Cup in October 2015, which qualified me for NPC Nationals — just six weeks later. It being my second show ever, and knowing I’d be up on stage competing against women who’d been in the sport for years scared the hell out of me.”
Name: Laurel Fredette
Occupation: Fitness Coach (online) and P/T kennel assistant
Location: Fayetteville, NC
Weight: 150 lb. off season/ 130 lb. stage weight
Q: Tell us the story behind NPC National Bodybuilding Championships in Miami, FL. Describe your meal plan and training schedule, etc.
I think I’ll start from the beginning, before I started competing.
NPC Nationals was my second show ever, so I was still extremely new to the sport.
My husband, Jeremiah, left for boot camp (army) in January 2015.
“I felt like I needed to do something more with my life and showcase my fitness in a way that would motivate others. I decided to stay busy by focusing my time and energy on competing; I found a coach, made a plan, and never looked back.”
I placed first at my first competition at the East Coast Cup in October 2015, which qualified me for Nationals — just six weeks later. It being my second show ever, and knowing I’d be up on stage competing against women who’d been in the sport for years scared the hell out of me.
I was doubting myself because I knew I wasn’t going to be the biggest or most experienced. My husband was still halfway across the country, and I felt defeated, wanting to give up several times. I lost sight of my passion for fitness and was just going through the motions: wake up, meal prep, lift, cardio, repeat.
“Then one day, it just clicked. I gave myself a good pep talk, changed my outlook, and went full speed ahead into Nationals. I stopped focusing on the trophy and started remembering my passion for fitness, remembering my roots as a vegan athlete and how I could motivate and inspire others with this lifestyle.”
This is a HUGE lesson I’ve learned in show prep, something that I tell every single one of my clients: NEVER forget your passion for fitness. The moment you feel like training is a burden, a chore, unenjoyable — take a step back and remember your roots, remember the WHY.
I went into NPC Nationals with determination, and I was able to soak in the whole experience with a clear head. The moment before I stepped on stage, I thought of my husband and all the hardships he went through these past several months; I was so proud of how much he had accomplished.
“I was proud of how much I had overcome to get to this point: an eating disorder, drug addiction, self-harm, abuse, depression.”
I walked on that stage with so much joy and passion; I was overwhelmed with finally feeling whole, and I was able to let go of any single doubt that had ever crossed my mind. It truly was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life. I ended up taking third in my height class out of 17 women, an accomplishment I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life.
I trained on a five-day split:
I did cardio five to six days a week at 30 minutes (depending on adjustments from my coach) and trained abs three to four times a week. I chose my days off from training depending on my schedule and energy level.
Meal plan consisted of six small meals a day:
- Breakfast was usually always oats, peanut butter, banana, and protein shake.
- Post-workout was a protein shake and a fruit.
- My other meals consisted of a protein (Beyond Meat chicken or tofu), a carbohydrate (depending on adjustments from my coach) like sweet potato or rice, and veggies (usually asparagus or green beans).
- I stayed VERY simple with my meal prep; it was easier for me and kept me on track.
- Food was my fuel for training and cardio.
Q: How close are you from acquiring your pro card this year?
I was one place away from acquiring my pro card at NPC Nationals.
My coach was able to contact the head judge and find out what improvements were necessary for me to come in with a better package for the following season.
I needed more upper chest development, as well as more depth in my back.
Simply put, I needed to be bigger in these areas (which I was well aware of after seeing my competition!).
So that meant more incline chest work and more rows for back day.
I have been putting in a lot of work during the off season, adding a lot of size and lifting heavier than I ever have before.
Being my first official “off season” for bodybuilding, I am able to really concentrate on building my physique a certain way so it is aesthetically pleasing for competitions.
Q: What does the first 60 minutes of your morning look like?
The first 60 minutes of my day isn’t very out of the ordinary. If I don’t have work in the morning, I am usually woken up by my cats wanting breakfast! I wake up, feed the cats, make coffee, do the dishes, and clean up a bit before heading out.
I am currently doing intermittent fasting, so I don’t eat breakfast first thing in the morning. My eating window is from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and I fast from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.
“Intermittent fasting is something I started to research after a friend introduced it to me a few months ago. It is a great eating schedule for not only losing fat but also gaining muscle.”
It honestly makes life a lot easier in the morning because I don’t have to spend time to make breakfast. This means I get to sleep in for an extra 20 minutes!
I do LOVE breakfast, though, so I break my fast at noon with my usual oats, banana, and peanut butter. I try to get out of the house early to get work done with my clients, so I head to the bookstore with my computer around 9:00 a.m.
Q: Favorite three exercises and why?
- Number one favorite exercise is squats. Hands down. All types of squats: back squats, front squats, box squats, hack squats — you name it, I love it! I love being able to see the increase in strength I have attained since adding more varieties of squats in my training.
- Secondly, I love doing flies on chest day: cable flies, DB flies, machine flies, etc. I usually do a triple or superset while doing flies, so doing three sets of upper, middle, and lower chest flies on the cable machine, 10 reps each position. I get an amazing pump from them, and they have really helped bring out the striations in my chest.
- Third favorite exercise would be handstand walks on shoulder day. I love doing these after training shoulders, because I feel like it is more of a burnout set: I just stay on my hands and walk as far as possible until I can’t anymore! A good tip for beginners would be to hold a handstand against a wall for 20-30 seconds, eventually increasing the time and even beginning to shift your weight from one hand to the other.
Q: Tell us the story of how and when you decided to go vegan?
Before I was vegan, I had been vegetarian for about five years (I stopped eating meat when I was 16).
I had periods of time when I went to a completely plant-based diet, but it never really stuck with me until I joined Instagram when I was 21.
“Oddly enough, seeing posts about the dairy/egg industry and how it was all connected to the meat industry made me really question my lifestyle.”
I started doing more research about a vegan lifestyle and decided to make the change once and for all. Seeing raw footage of hens on an egg farm and cows at a dairy farm made me sick to my stomach.
I honestly felt disappointed in myself for contributing to this for so many years while thinking I was doing the right thing by not consuming meat.
I felt like a hypocrite for calling myself an animal lover but still supporting these companies that were directly connected to the meat industry, so I cut out all animal products from my diet and finally felt “clean.” I am so grateful for social media and activists on these sites showing the world (and me!) the truth.
Q: Who did you admire in the media/TV/magazines as a kid? What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
This question is tough for me. I was sexually abused as a kid, and I am trying hard to remember what or who I looked to for hope and guidance. My childhood is a blur for me; I can remember bits and pieces, like certain friends at school, birthdays, and sports I played.
It’s all very cloudy and broken apart when I try to look back at what I saw as motivation or who I admired.
“I can definitely say I looked up to my coaches when I competed in gymnastics; they supported me and saw my potential. I admired certain singers and artists for their talent (Michael Jackson) and likability/popularity (Spice Girls), but music also played a big part in bringing back harmful memories.”
I was always tying certain songs, sounds, smells, and places to that dark time in my life. It was hard to me to grasp onto anything positive in my life to bring me hope or inspiration for a brighter future. My interests were constantly changing as far as what I wanted to be, but my first love was animals and continues to be to this day!
I wanted to be a veterinarian ever since I was nine years old (I remember this because my first AIM screen name was laurelvet9). I was known as the “animal lover” in the family — always wanting another pet, always taking in frogs, lizards, or bugs from the backyard.
It’s interesting to see that my passion for animals has stayed constant over the past 20 years even throughout all my hardships.
Q: Tell us a story of the mentor who played a key role in building confidence in yourself.
“When I was 14, I started displaying symptoms of anorexia nervosa and was later diagnosed with the disease at age 15, when I was admitted into the hospital for an extremely low heartbeat, malnourishment, and risk of stroke.”
This was a direct result of my past abuse, and having held such a dark secret inside for several years caused it to show itself in a self-destructive way. Anyway, the reason for the backstory is because I was introduced to the man who saved my life, my therapist, when I was 17.
I’m guessing most people would answer this question with a family member, best friend, or even spouse. Don’t get me wrong, my family has played an extremely vital role in my recovery and self-confidence, along with my husband and close friends. My therapist (I still see him after 10 years) is tough, honest, caring, and extremely knowledgeable.
“I needed someone who showed ‘tough love’ and who didn’t give in to my manipulative ways. He was stern with me and taught me that recovery, self-love, and ultimately letting go of my past would depend on how much I wanted it.”
He taught me how to work through my negative and impulsive thoughts and had complete confidence in my ability, even through my bouts of addiction, relapses with my eating disorder, and self-harm.
I don’t have one specific story, because it took several years for me to be confident in myself regardless of my past, and I would not have been able to accomplish this without the patience and unconditional support of my therapist.
Q: What is the biggest personal challenge you have had to overcome in your life?
“Something I still struggle with today: loving myself, accepting who I am regardless of my imperfections, my scars, my past, my mental health.”
I have gotten a lot better with this throughout the years; recovering from past issues has helped tremendously with self-acceptance, but this will always be a struggle I will have to face.
I have given a lot of backstory, so overcoming the hardships in my past has helped me with improving my self-love, along with the unconditional support that comes from my husband, family, and wonderful community on social media.
Q: What three pearls of wisdom would you tell your 13-year-old self?
- Love yourself
- Trust the process
- Live in the moment
I wouldn’t change a single thing in my past, no matter how difficult it was or how many times I wanted to end it all … I am so proud of who I am today. I have all my hardships to thank for being the person I am today.
Q: Fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I have the most random taste in music: folk, rock, pop, EDM, dubstep, metal. My mood can be altered just by listening to a certain song. I grew up listening to Guster and Fleetwood Mac, in addition to other various 90s alternative pop/rock artists. I usually listen to metal/hard rock while lifting, like Slipknot, Atreyu, Papa Roach, Drowning Pool, etc.
I have recently been on an EDM kick for both training and cardio. I love listening to live music, such as folk, acoustic, alternative; this relaxes me and reminds me of my family.