Interview with Bikini Competitor Capucine Leconte
Capucine Leconte was going to keep her upcoming competition plans a secret until this interview. The 28-year-old personal trainer and diet expert was one of the best kept secrets in the industry until the Miami, Florida native was discovered at this year’s Arnold and ended up in several photoshoots including a pair for the studio.
But some secrets are meant to be told, and you can’t keep contest plans or a rising star like Capucine a secret for long. She’s getting ready to journey up the east coast from the Sunshine State to Newburyport, Massachusetts to compete at the OCB Natural Yankee Classic on July 21, where she’ll be going for an IFPA pro card in the bikini division. It will be her first show since 2007.
Meanwhile, she’s working on a new website aimed to deliver fitness tips and guidelines for healthy nutrition. The project is very personal for Capucine, who reveals heartbreaking details in the interview about the loneliness and lack of support she encountered battling weight and self-esteem issues throughout school.
But she refused to be defeated and with plucky determination and cagey wit, Capucine channeled the pain and anger of her past into a passion for fitness, eventually becoming a student of nutrition and exercise. She’s currently working towards becoming a registered dietitian—another secret too good not to tell.
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Dean: Were you always active and fit growing up? What kind of activities or sports were you involved in when you were younger?
Capucine: “Believe it or not I was a very insecure child growing up. I struggled with my weight till about the age of 17. I ate 20-piece chicken nuggets & fries from McDonald’s every afternoon for years. My mornings consisted of French toast from BK, OJ in a carton and those little hash browns they gave you with the kids’ meal. I wore huge eye glasses that were just shy of windshield wipers and had tons of acne.
“Luckily because of my mother’s active involvement in school activities and the grades I received in grammar school, I generated a lot of friends. So I hid behind my personality, so to speak. Indulging in school events, sports, contests like the spelling bees, etc. Deep inside, I envied my thin and attractive girlfriends and only dreamed of having the attention of a boy. I was always the ‘home-girl’ to the boys I secretly crushed on and it killed me inside.
“I did eventually join the cheerleading squad after my second attempt; I hadn’t nailed it the first time due to my shyness. Then later, I pursued some dance but never considered myself to be, so to speak, ‘active.’ My jaw was active, basically. Lol.”
Dean: When did you first begin working out with weights and thinking about fitness as a lifestyle? Do you have any role models in the industry that inspire you?
Capucine: “It’s sad to say, but although my mother had been there for me in school, birthdays and such, she had a very strange way of motivating me to lose weight. She had been feeding me a healthy dose of laxatives and broccoli since I could remember, and had a side kick to boost up her idea that I had been way too overweight for my age. My father called me fat or fatso and teased me all the while, and as I struggled with my own beliefs on how I looked, I decided I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything dictate how I live my life. I was fed up, hurt, and most importantly, MOTIVATED!
“I challenged myself with a three mile walk to the neighborhood gym and sought out the most interesting machine I could find. I got on the elliptical everyday for 45 minutes and completed my exercise with a three mile walk straight back home. I was too embarrassed to do any abs work there so I did it in the comfort of my bedroom—300 to be exact in combination with walking lunges. I was on the way to a new me!
“Later, I signed up at a gym closer to home; I was approached by a man by the name of Yosiah Israel, a trainer and former New York native. My relationship with him grew deep and after he took me to my first bodybuilding show I was hooked. He offered me free training as long as I’d show up each morning at 5am! The hours weren’t a concern—the way I saw it this was signed contract for a better life and I was going to enjoy the ride. From then on I educated myself pretty extensively in food and went to get my personal training certification. Couple years later, I took on my major as Dietetic Professional or better known as a Registered Dietitian.”
Dean: What changes to your physique have made you most proud since you started and what areas are you trying to improve?
Capucine: “Abs by far! It’s my favorite question of the day: ‘How did you get your abs like that?’ It’s funny how people swear I either don’t eat, do tons of cardio, or have some secret abs routine. All of that is hunky dory but it doesn’t deliver unless you’ve got diet down to a science. You are what you eat, and my abs say it all. The minute I take advantage of my sweet tooth it shows. You have to have balance and discipline to see results without feeling like it’s a chore. Although the improvements made in my legs have not been overlooked and I’m becoming quite proud of them.”
Dean: Could you share your competition history and upcoming plans?
Capucine: “In 2007, I competed three consecutive times at an NPC show sponsored by Sergio Pacheco and at the Florida vs. Bahamas Invitational. I placed first in one show and second at the Invitational competing against the wife of Pro Bodybuilder Darrem Charles. Since then I have not competed again. Although, I was not going to share my current endeavors with anyone, because of this interview I must disclose my secret. I am currently preparing to compete in the 2012 Natural Yankee Classic for my Pro Card in the Bikini division.”
Dean: What kind of reaction have you gotten from family and friends on your healthy look and habits? Have you inspired anyone you know to begin working out?
Capucine: “My family has probably been the most unsupportive of the group; my friends, on the contrary, have always been impressed in my transformation and admiring of my endeavors. So, in regretful honesty, if I had paid a fraction of attention to the opinions of my family, I probably would have never discovered my true calling, and in fact never used it as ammunition to go against all odds and show them this is who I am and I’m great at it. Sometimes the support you need comes from the unexpected and other times the negative feedback can come from the people you least expect it from. The key is to take what you need and keep it moving!”
Dean: Noticed from your Arnold photos that you have some very impressive bicep peaks! Have you done any special exercises to get them that way or is it mostly genetics?
Capucine: “I suppose I’d have to say they are mostly genetics, because I do not work on them. Often the minute I put in a day of training, I’m pushing about 13-inches all around. Always pumped and vascular. I have to give credit to my diet for that, because I strongly believe a well kept diet is what gives you the most impressive and lasting results.”
Dean: What would you say are your biggest goals with working out and being involved in the fitness industry?
Capucine: “I hate to answer this question sometimes because I have so many things I see myself doing and portraying that often I lose track of the main objective. But simply put, I see myself completing school as a Registered Dietitian, and being able to be at the one place I can always be happy and feel empowered—and that place would be a gym specially designed and incorporated by myself, calling myself a proud business owner where I would share my expertise in fitness and especially foods with anyone who desires to live a healthy lifestyle. I am currently working on my own personal food website designed to provide healthy regimens and tips to staying fit and eating clean. My website is www.CapucineFitnessGarden.com.”
Dean: Is there anything else we can help you promote or any special shout-outs you’d like to give to those who have helped you along your fitness journey?
Capucine: “I’d like to thank the strangers who passed me in the street, bookstore, coffee shop, various gyms, gas stations, and all major drug stores and grocery markets. These people truly kept me driven by constant compliments and words of endearment stating true appreciation for the dedication and struggle it took for me to get this far physically and mentally.
“Not to forget my boyfriend for making me feel beautiful, glad you came into my life, Juan; my long and devoted coaches Yosiah Israel and Sergio Pacheco and all the great people I met along the way; Steve Calabrese, owner of Natural Body Inc. Metabolic Nutrition, for the trusted belief in me through sponsorship; and the boys from coliseum gym, CraziJerrY Rodriguez (J- Rod) & Christian Castillo. And lastly the angel from above who recently came into my life, Jeffery Fine, for his relentless support through my ups and downs. There are not too many people we can call friends but this person has set a new definition in friendship. Thank You.”