Christian Duque: First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview for StrengthAddicts.com.
Please take this opportunity to introduce yourself to our audience. Also, if possible, share one or two fun facts about
Lauren McCurdy: Hey Strength Addicts! My name is Lauren Elizabeth McCurdy, or Lo as my friends call me, I am 22
years old and a Louisville, KY native. I graduated from the University of Kentucky May 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology.
I currently work at Starbucks, coach club and high school volleyball, and I am an intern at a sports performance group
training youth athletes. My favorite food is breakfast food and I could it eat every meal of the day (and I have...several
times), especially oatmeal *drools*. I am also not a pleasant person if not heavily caffeinated for the first 6 hours of my
day. My biggest pet peeve would have to be rude, inconsiderate people. I vote we gather them all and put them on
their own island of rudeness.
Christian Duque: You work at a very popular, recognizable coffee chain that I can't get enough of, so please talk to
us about that. Do you have crazy high caffeine tolerance & what's the most complicated drink you've made thus far?
Lauren McCurdy: My caffeine tolerance is not as crazy as it was when I first started working at Starbucks last summer,
but it's still pretty ridiculous. But when you get free coffee during your shift and then a nice discount when you're not
working you can't help but constantly pour espresso down your throat. I typically drink a venti Cold brew coffee and
3-4 shots of espresso a day depending on how tired I am.
There are some people who come up with drinks that are a pain in the neck to make as well as disgusting. One time
I had to make a Java Chip Frappuccino with 4 pumps of caramel, white mocha, hazelnut, peppermint, and toffee nut,
vanilla bean powder, light ice, and a banana. It looked like puke and if you think that those flavor combinations sound
good then you are a sick, sick person. Not to mention that this drink was extremely calorically dense.
Christian Duque: Your job at the coffeehouse, while probably a blast, isn't your career. Talk to us about what you're
in school for, why you've selected this course of study, and what you hope to accomplish? Do you see a connection
between fitness and your career choice?
Lauren McCurdy: I didn't figure out where my passion truly lied until my senior year of college. I fell in love with
lifting and fitness my freshmen year of college, but my senior year I started doing research on nutrition and flexible
dieting, counting macros, bikini competitions, powerlifting programming, etc. and much of my free time was spent
learning about various facets of fitness. Although I was interested in psychology, grad school for sports psychology
started seeming less attractive to me. When I moved home after graduation, I got a gig running the conditioning
program for a high school volleyball team. I ended up loving it and it led me to looking into sports performance and
strength and conditioning. I was blessed to be given a great internship at Baptist Health Performance and am
studying for my strength and conditioning certification (CSCS). My love for fitness and passion for coaching are both
present in the world of sports performance. I love what I'm doing now and although it was scary to switch paths so
drastically, following my heart has made me very happy.
Christian Duque: With regard to training, you've built a very aesthetic, attractive physique. What's your approach to
training and maintaining your great shape? Do you subscribe to the consistency formula or are you more about "shocking
the muscle" with each workout?
Lauren McCurdy: Thank you! I have always been pretty muscular and strong and I was given some damn good genetics
for hypertrophy/fat distribution. My first few years of lifting I just focused on being strong as hell. I wanted to show up all
the dudes at the gym. But I didn't know how to eat to lose the excess fat, so I was never lean but I was eating to build
muscle. This helped in the long run when I did my first cut last spring/summer and I had built up a solid foundation that
showed through when I got pretty lean. I didn't do any strategic training until summer 2015 when I started a powerlifting
split, Wendler's 531 program. I loved it. Summer of 2016 I've been doing more bodybuilding type training due to low
energy because of cutting weight. I stuck with the higher volume work as I reverse dieted in hopes of bringing up my
glutes, hamstrings and delts. But I still kept some heavy lifts in there, so I would describe my training as power building. I
love being strong but I do also train for aesthetic purposes. If you truly want to see results in strength or hypertrophy, you
should perform the same, or similar, exercises every week and progressively increase the weight and/or reps over time. If
you use too much variety, your progress will be slow and minimal, if any. 4-8 weeks of doing the same exercises will help
produce results and allow you track progress.
Christian Duque: With regard to nutrition, do you try to meet certain macro or caloric goals per days, or, do you
eat according to what feels right, depending on the day's activities? Would you say you're fat or carb sensitive?
Lauren McCurdy: I have a daily caloric intake and macro goals I try to hit. I'm a big fan of Layne Norton and
Sohee Lee who emphasize, using the principles of science and not witch doctor juju BS, that overall calorie intake
is the most important when it comes to weight loss/gain/maintenance. I currently have 3 higher calorie days and 4
lower calorie days right now during my cut. The high days fall on my leg days and one of my back days. I'd say I'm
more fat sensitive in that higher fat meals make me feel more bloated and icky. Low carb for me is really difficult
which is why the end of my cut last year was awful. I was on 120g of carbs for 2 months (1,450 total kcal) trying to
grind out the last 3lbs I wanted to lose. But I do not do keto or low-fat diets, I eat a balanced diet because I don't
have any serious aversion to either fats or carbs. Plus it is more maintainable to eat a balanced diet than constantly
avoiding a certain macronutrient.
Christian Duque: Piggy-backing off the last question, do you believe there's any benefit to bulking up - whether
it's a clean or "dirty" bulk?
Lauren McCurdy: If you are wanting to put on size in a certain area then bulking is absolutely beneficial, and
necessary if you are a seasoned weight lifter who has hit run out of "newbie gainz" and putting on muscle isn't as
easy as just lifting weights often. You need more food to grow. Whether it is a clean or dirty bulk, the end result is
a caloric surplus which is needed to build muscle. It is personal preference on whether you want to minimize fat
gain/bloat/fatigue during your bulk. I personally feel like crap if I am putting a lot of process food in my body. But in
the end, if you are training hard and smart, eating in a caloric surplus and taking in a sufficient amount of protein,
then the end result of hypertrophy is the same.
Christian Duque: In terms of natural supplements (e.g. whey protein, pre-workouts, bcaa's) there's no doubt they
help, but they're certainly not a replacement for whole foods. What's your take on supps? Do you use them, would
you recommend them, and what would you say to those who use them as a crutch?
Lauren McCurdy: Supplements are exactly that, they supplement your diet where it is lacking. Very few supplements
that are popular or deemed necessary for performance and aesthetic results/success are actually worth the money
people drop on them. In the end, the "benefit" or "edge" is so insignificant from certain things that they're pointless.
Some of it is pretty mental, too. I personally only consistently use whey protein. It is convenient for food on the go and
hitting my protein for the day. I also use it to make protein cakes for dessert or to flavor plain oatmeal. I occasionally
use BCAAs to flavor my water during the day but I haven't bought any in a while. If you want to purchase a supplement
because someone says you need it to get stronger or bigger or leaner, do some serious research. You should never
rely on a supplement to do work for you. Results come from hard work and consistency, not the $45 you spent on a
vitamin/supplement pill pack that will get you jacked and lean.
Christian Duque: The fitness industry is becoming more and more wired, particularly to social media. Instagram
seems to dominate - not sure if you'd agree with that or not, but your IG is OFF THE CHAIN! It seems that you employ
a considerable amount of effort into what you publish, what comments you allow to stay up, and how quickly you
respond to DM's. What's your take insofar as staying on top of social media is?
Lauren McCurdy: "Off the chain" hahah thank you! My IG transitioned into a "fitness" IG my junior year of college
when I started posting yoga videos and pictures. I was teaching myself yoga and after a few posts I got a lot of good
feedback. Senior year I started posting weight loss pics and workout footage. Then it became a way to track my progress,
motivate others to go to the gym, and I really love putting together workout montages. The positive
feedback from people telling me I've inspired them to get in the gym, learn more about nutrition, or girls who have thanked
me for sharing my story of body issues and learning to love the body I've been given and working hard to
make the most of it just motivated me to keep posting. I had no idea it would grow this much. Granted, 1.2k followers
is nothing compared to others but that's 1.2k people who want to hear what I have to say or find something interesting
about what I post. And that's freaking awesome. I try to post several times a week and post equal amounts of pictures and
videos, as well as providing informative content while still being personable and relatable. Opening up about my personal
struggles and problems has been tough but I think it's what makes so many fitness influencers popular on social media.
It's hard to look at someone with your dream bod and remember that they are human and go through
hard times and have their own feelings and issues they're battling, so when they share their personal struggles it
makes them human. Being consistent, creative, and relatable is how I think I've successfully grown my page.
Christian Duque: As we start to wrap up the interview, what's one tip you'd give offer to someone looking to
make a body transformation? Should they invest in weight-loss products, fad diets, starve themselves or live off of
cleanses & detoxes? The answer is an obvious one, but I guess I'd like to really know what your thoughts are on the
long-list of companies ready to sell desperate people false hope. As we start to wrap up the interview, what's one tip
you'd give offer to someone looking to make a body transformation? Should they invest in weight-loss products, fad
diets, starve themselves or live off of cleanses & detoxes? The answer is an obvious one, but I guess I'd like to really
know what your thoughts are on the long-list of companies ready to sell desperate people false hope.
Lauren McCurdy: If I were to give you my opinion on those companies looking to make a quick buck off someone
who is trying to turn their life around, this interview would go on forever and my word choice would get much more
colorful. Companies like that are disgusting. So I'll say this: there is no simple, quick fix. Except that there is, it is just
the execution that requires discipline, consistency, and a true desire to reach your goals. Learn HOW to eat. Learn
about food, portion sizes, macronutrients, and how your body uses fuel to workout and live your life. Flexible dieting
and tracking macros taught me about portion sizes and just how much my body needs to reach my goals. Get in the
gym and get active. Maybe weight lifting isn't your thing, but maybe yoga or zumba or running is. Find something you
like that you will stick with so that you will see results. You might start with running and then realize that the weights
look pretty cool, so you try that out. Then maybe you realize your flexibility is hurting your squat or sumo deadlift, so
you get into yoga. You might just fall in love with all things fitness like I did. The beginning isn't easy, I won't lie to you.
But in the long run it is so worth it, and the process will teach you the best lessons you could ask for.
Christian Duque: Leaving the most important question for last, please take this opportunity to thank all those that
have helped you along the way. Also, please let your friends & fans know where they can go to keep up to date with
you on social media.
Lauren McCurdy: I want to thank my friend Rickey who took me lifting freshmen year and taught me the ropes,
I know you enjoyed having a badass chick to lift with. My mom helped me through body issues growing up and always
told me that when I got older girls would kill to have my curves. She always tried to teach me to love my body and
learn how to work with what I have. Thanks to all my gym friends who have motivated me, taught me new things, and been
people I can talk fitness to when it bores everyone else. Thanks to everyone who has ever offered words of
encouragement or shared how I've touched their life, even if it was a simple, "You're looking good" or "I went to the
gym today because I saw your post and I want your butt." My only consistent social media presence is my Instagram
@lomccurdy_fit, but I do have a blog with some posts on it (https://lomccurdyfit.wordpress.com/). I've been told to
start a YouTube so that may be something to look out for in the future. Thanks for having me!
|Muscular, Beautiful, & Hard Working
Lauren "Lo" McCurdy Speaks!!