Where and when were you born?
I was born in Bangkok, Thailand, as I was in an Army family. I was born in January 1974. We lived in Bangkok until I was four years old and then moved to the United States. I grew up most of my life in Virginia Beach, VA. I went to college in Miami FL, and now I live in New England with my husband.
What is your profession?
I am an analyst for a Council that develops commercial and recreational fishing regulations in New England. I conduct public hearings and write Environmental Impact Statements for fishing regulations.
Were you involved in sports or fitness prior to bodybuilding and how did you get started with weight training?
I was a competitive gymnast for most of my childhood and also through high school. Lynn Conkwright (Ms. O competitor in the early 1980s) was my gymnastics coach in high school, and she sparked my interest at an early age. She would practice her bodybuilding routines for us when she was preparing for a competition, and I always thought it was pretty cool. She always encouraged me to get into bodybuilding.
During my off-season from gymnastics, I decided to start weight training, and I joined Golds Gym when I was 16 years old. My friend and I joined the gym together, and the trainer there showed us around and showed us how to use some of the equipment. While he was showing me the seated calf raise machine, he said “Wow, you have really nice calves. Have you ever considered bodybuilding?” And the rest is history hahaha…actually, it took me another 15 years to get the competition bug, but I kept up with the training the whole time because I love it. I did all kinds of training, from running to group exercise classes. It was my husband who really taught me how to train with weights and lift heavy, back in 1995.
Was it a goal for you to compete in bodybuilding competitions right from the beginning or was it something that grew in your mind as time went on and you saw the progress in your body?
I trained in the gym regularly since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until more recently that I became interested in competing. Many of my friends from the gym were competing, and I became more interested once I attended a few of their contests. It was one of those “if they can do it, I can do it” things for me at the beginning…sort of a challenge to myself to see if I had what it takes to get myself contest ready. I started competing in Figure in 2005, but I also always wanted to try bodybuilding. I competed in BB in a local show in 2006, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided that’s where I belong.
Can you give me your competition history?
2005 NPC Northeast Tournament of Champions – Second Place, Figure Short
2006 NPC New England Championships – Figure Short and Figure Overall Winner
2006 NPC Granite Cup Championships – Second Place, Women’s Open Bodybuilding
2006 NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States Championships, 2nd Place, Figure A
2006 NPC Figure Nationals/Team Universe, 16th Place, Figure A
2007 NPC Junior Nationals, Winner Lightweight Bodybuilding
Which contest has been your biggest success; which has had the most meaning to you?
I really enjoyed winning the overall in figure at the New Englands because that was something I had set out to do a year earlier, and a lot of friends were in attendance. However, the biggest accomplishment for me was definitely winning the Lightweight Bodybuilding class at Junior Nationals. I was nervous about switching over to bodybuilding and somewhat unsure about whether or not I could be a successful bodybuilder at the national level. I could not have been more happy or satisfied with the outcome of that competition. It definitely had the most meaning to me, as it confirmed my feelings that bodybuilding is where I belong!
Please tell me something about your training routine (ie: how many days per week / training split /cardio, etc.)
I like to train, so I hit the gym as much as I can. When I am really hitting it hard, I sometimes train six days a week. For the most part, though, it usually works out to five days a week.
Day 1 - chest or back
Day 2 - back or chest
Day 3 - legs
Day 4 - arms
Day 5 – shoulders
My routine changes a bit if I am training specifically for a bench press competition during the off-season, in which case I will train chest twice a week and reduce the shoulder and arm training.
I use cardio as a weight loss tool and do more of it when I am preparing for a contest. I usually do cardio in the morning on an empty stomach.
What is your favorite exercise in the gym and which one you don’t like so much?
I can’t say that I love them, but my favourite is probably walking lunges, just because they work so well for me and give me a good cardio workout while I do them too! I also like to bench press because it is a strong exercise for me, and it’s fun to challenge myself with the weight.
I don’t like working my abs at all.
Which body part is your best in your opinion?
I used to think that my arms were my strongest body part, but lately, I have become aware that my glutes are quite popular!
If you don’t mind would you give me some stats (best lifts and some body measurements)?
---I am just under 5’2”. I compete between 111-115 pounds, and I weigh around 130-135 during the off-season.
---My arms are about 13.5 or 14 inches during the off-season.
---My best bench press in competition is 180 pounds, but that’s raw, with no bench shirt. I am training with a shirt this year and hope to press at least 225 in a competition in February 2008.
What do you enjoy about training for competition....what do you enjoy about the 'off season'?
I like the focus I get in all aspects of my life during my contest prep. I like having a goal in mind and structuring my diet and training around it. I also like the way my physique changes on an almost daily basis when I am contest prepping.
During the off-season, I like eating whatever I want from time to time! I usually don’t enjoy the weight gain, but I do like being stronger and lifting heavier during the off-season. I also do bench press competitions during the off-season, so that’s fun to train for.
Please describe a typical day in the life of Lori Steele.
I usually get up at 5:30 AM. If I have to do cardio, I do it at home first thing in the morning. Thankfully, we have a bike and an elliptical at home. Sometimes I will go for a walk or run.
I get ready for work around 7 AM, and I work from about 9-5 if I don’t have meetings.
I usually grab a bite to eat at home around 6 PM, and I hit the gym by about 7 pm with my husband to train. We usually get home by 9 pm. I do extra cardio if I need to, when I am contest prepping at home. And then we eat dinner and try to get to bed before 11 PM. I have a bit more free time during the off-season and will sometimes sleep an extra hour in the morning!
Please tell me about what you do when you don’t work out ( hobbies, what do you do to relax?, etc.)
My husband drag races motorcycles, so when we are not training hard, we are usually at the drag strip running the bike. Between training, contest prep, and drag racing, that’s about all we have time for!
What do you enjoy most about the bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle?
I like the challenge, the structure, the routine, and being able to set goals for myself and accomplish them. I also am happy about all of the friends we have made along the way, at various gyms and competitions.
Tell me something interesting about yourself, something people may be surprised to hear.
I think that people would be surprised to hear about the drag racing and the bench press competitions, mostly. That is what I focus most of my time on when I am not training or contest prepping.
What are your competition goals or personal future goals?
Right now, my goals are to focus on the 2008 season and have a great year competing in bodybuilding. I am shooting for Nationals in 2008 along with one show prior, and I would like to make a Top 5 placing in my weight class at Nationals.
Lori does not do sessions or wrestling of any kind. Please don't ask!!