Monique Cormier left everything on the gym floor.
And he is ready to step on the world stage and showcase his hard work.
The mother of two, who once weighed more than 200 pounds, now competes in the Amateur Olympia athletics in Las Vegas. The competition is held a few days before the world famous Mr. Olympia competition.
“I’m on cloud nine,” Cormier told The Nugget this weekend.
“I have done 25 matches but I want to get my pro card. I want to be an expert. I feel like an expert because I’ve done so many matches, but like everything you show at an event, only one person can win,” he said, presenting three pro cards for the event.
Cormier was asked what the benefits of getting a pro card are in the world of competitive fitness performance.
“When you compete on the pro stage it’s a different level and there’s a financial gain with it. Now I’ve won a medal. At the pro level you get big sponsorships and bursaries. Mr Olympia won US $600,000 cash and there are monetary wins when you turn pro,” he said.
“It’s a goal, it keeps me motivated and it keeps me on my game. It keeps my dream alive, gives me purpose and shows my clients that anything is possible.
Cormier said his background and lifestyle are different from many of his competitors.
“I am a small town girl. I have two kids and a crazy hectic schedule. Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it,” she said.
Even at the amateur level, the road to the podium is not easy.
Cormier had to qualify in the top three at regionals and then place in the top 10 at nationals, which she successfully did last year.
But the hard work doesn’t end there.
Cormier would argue that’s when it really starts.
He said his schedule starting Nov. 1 included four hours of “intense” training a day — three one-hour cardio sessions each morning, afternoon and evening, followed by weight training after burning 1,000 calories on the stairmill.
“You are competing against the best athletes in the world. People come from all over the world with different genes. It’s a lot of competition,” Cormier said.
“I never expected to win, obviously I want to win. I try to explain to my clients that this is a celebration for me. I’m over 200 pounds and even if the judge says I’m not ready to go on stage, my whole journey can’t be checked. It doesn’t matter to me. They can say I’m not ready to go on stage. It’s their opinion, they decide for a certain look. I’m very proud to be where I am today.
For Cormier, it wasn’t among his long-term goals, as he planned to retire from competition two years ago.
“I said I was never going to do another show. You get into that slump. “Covid hit, you don’t take care of yourself and I need something like competition to keep me motivated,” he said.
“I fell out of motivation without a goal.
My alarm goes off at 4am every morning to get up and go to the gym. I didn’t have the motivation to get out of bed at 4am but I set myself a goal. You need a reason. Being healthy is not enough. The competition has made me accountable for my health and my good habits.
In addition to struggling with motivation, Cormier had to overcome two injuries,
“I wanted to go to Pittsburgh in August, it’s been a really interesting year, but I had two injuries. I got a dog, slipped in her urine and broke my tailbone, so I came from a high to start my off-season in Toronto (in 2021) to go to Pittsburgh, So my dream was crushed. I never thought I would stage.
He said his second injury was playing flag football and he pulled his gluteal muscle.
“Luckily it wasn’t a tear, so it was a quick recovery.”
Cormier walks the stage at 8 a.m. Tuesday, with more than 250 athletes competing in all divisions.
Even if she feels ready, there’s a part of her that tells her she can’t train – anxiety.
“I’m nervous. You can’t train nervousness. As confident as I feel and as good as I feel, the moment you step back from the stage and you’re among other beautiful women, you don’t feel good,” she said.
“You start to doubt, her legs are beautiful, her hair is great, I like her lipstick. You start the self-criticism. You have to focus on the back stage because it can make or break you.”
Cormier said she had moments when she broke down.
“I put on my headphones, I don’t look at anyone, I focus on my inner breathing, it’s a job. I worked very hard,” he said.
“My legs hurt a lot. I rubbed my feet. I’ve never looked so good before the show. You always want to improve, but honestly this is one of my biggest improvements.