Building a Better Body with Cory Everson

Last Editorial Review: 6/2/2004

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Join 6-Time Ms. Olympia Winner Cory Everson For a Talk About Body Building and General Fitness-Related Issues

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Hello everyone and welcome! Today's guest is six-time Ms. Olympia champion Corey Everson... and the topic, of course, is body building and fitness. Thank you so much for joining us today, Ms. Everson.

Everson: Thank you, I'm excited to answer questions, including nutrition questions.

Moderator: I know this is a bit off the topic, of course, but I think it'll be of interest to our users. I understand that you just returned from Russia, where you were adopting a child. Can you talk a bit about this?

Everson: We just got back from Russia to visit our new son who's 2 years and 3 months old, his name is Boris. He's absolutely 100% fine, he's a normal kid. We spent two days with him bonding with him and trying to communicate from Russian to English. He knows Russian, we know English. We go back a month from now to go and get him. But all the fears that people have of orphanages and how do they get cared for, we learned a huge lesson that these kids are 100% loved and taken care of and held, fed, and cleaned. If other people are interested in adopting internationally, they should have no fear at all. We were amazed how happy these children are.

Moderator: If you don't mind me asking, why did you decide to go Russia?

Everson: We tried adopting in the US and the girl kept her baby the day of my baby shower.  Also, you lose a lot of money, you get none refunded. In Russia there is no chance of a mother coming back and taking the baby away. Also, these kids are already born and need someone to love them now. They are 6 months to 13 years old. We wanted a child nobody wanted too much because of his age. Everybody should think twice about having their own baby when there are so many needy children in the world who want a mother and a father. You don't know the parents or medical conditions there, but they are honest with you because there are so many babies, you are guaranteed a healthy one. You have a better chance adopting a healthy baby than having your own where there is more of a risk. You can see these healthy children who want a loving home and are grateful to have a home.

Moderator: So... let's talk about body building. Now, I wouldn't say that female body building is controversial, per se... but there are definitely those who decry it's 'unfeminine nature.' How do you respond to those critics?

Everson: I think the critics are correct when it's taken to too far of an extreme, just like any sport that's taken to an extreme. It loses it's potential for health and starts to border on the obsessive. Body building is no different than gymnastics, tennis, etc. In the recent past, I myself have been disappointed with the appearance of girls becoming too muscular, too big, too defined. In general, body building or what I call body sculpting - it's the same thing - is the best way to get your body into shape to look beautiful, to look vivacious, to look healthy, to look sexy, and to feel good about yourself. There's no other sport that can do all of that, but that's the difference between general body building now that I do. You can exercise almost too much in body building. There is a happy medium. No other sport today offers you the ability to permanently increase your metabolic weight by adding lean muscle tissue to improve the condition of your cardiovascular system and the strength of your body, including bone density, and that makes you feel more energized and better about yourself.

michelle_rx_Excite In regards to endurance training, what does it mean when an athlete "hits the wall"?

Everson: When you "hit the wall" you hit bottom. We used to call it carrying a piano on your back. You have depleted your body's glycogen, which is the sugar your body uses as energy. So you have no more reserves. In winter activity sports, they call it bonking. You basically feel like your carrying an elephant on your back and you can't function anymore. Endurance athletes rehydrate and eat during marathons to continually refuel their glycogen sources.

Moderator: How did you decide to set your own limits? Did you ever push yourself too far?

Everson: I push myself too far. I think all world champion athletes do because it takes time to learn the balance between under training and over training. If you are a competitor, you will probably over train, thinking it will do you more good, and you can tell when you've pushed yourself too much is when you become an insomniac, you get no more physical gains out of your working out. You're lethargic, and your body does not respond, no matter how much working out you do. Often times blood pressure goes up, your resting heart rate, so there's certain tell tale signs; you lose your drive, you just don't care anymore. You don't know why because you know you're supposed to. The solution, take some time off, get away from the gym, track, or whatever fitness you are doing. Take a break and do something else for a few weeks before you burn out completely. Research shows most injuries occur in that time period of over training when your muscles don't have recovery time and you're not thinking as clearly about your sport because you are fatigued. People forget you need to feed your body with rest, as well as proper nutrition and exercise. That goes for the general fitness person, as well as a professional athlete.

michelle_rx_Excite Any more specifics about depleting the energy reserves? Are you using all your ATP too fast and can't make more?

Everson: I'm not sure exactly, but if you've been doing an exercise for more than 45 minutes, you deplete your glycogen stores that are in your liver and muscle. That's why energy drinks that have carbos in them that are easily broken down into simple sugars are used for a lot of endurance events, the Power Aid type products.

Moderator: How did you first get involved with the sport of body building?

Everson: I was a track athlete in college. I won the Big 10 four times in the Pentathlon. I was on the college gymnastics team. I was on the college badminton team. We used weight training to improve our sport and from the intro into weight training, I realized I had a large potential in body building as many, many athletes do. They have already developed their musculature from the sport they're in. I enjoyed it because it felt less like competition and more like an entertainment performance.

Moderator: When did you first realize you could do that professionally?

Everson: I realized that in 1984 when I won my first pro show. I won the Nationals, which is the top amateur title. One month later I was invited to the pros, expecting to finish last due to lack of experience in competition, but I lucked out and I won. From that point on, I was a pro before I was really ready for it. My life went from being an interior designer, which is what my degree is in ... designing hospitals, libraries, office complexes ...  to being a professional athlete, traveling to motivate and inspire others which I love.

Moderator: For those of us who don't watch body building regularly, what does it take to be a champion in the field?

Everson: First of all, to be a champion in your own personal field is important. Exercise three days a week MINIMUM for 20 minutes, preferably a little bit of weight training and a little bit of aerobics - weight training to strengthen the body and shape the body and increase your metabolism, aerobics to improve cardiovascular and to burn fat.  A clean diet, not necessarily low calorie, to eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, rich in nutrition, and to be a professional is exactly the same, but putting in more time in the weight training and aerobics, but sill following a healthy, clean diet. More intensity in workouts is good.

Moderator: When you were training for the Ms. Olympia competition, what was your routine like?

Everson: I over trained more than anybody I've ever met. You get into such good condition that your body can continually take more. That half hour stationary bike ride all of a sudden becomes a two hour bike ride. That half hour weight workout becomes a two hour workout. In this sport, more is NOT better, in fact, more is worse.

Moderator: There's an impression among outsiders that the body building sport is filled with steroid junkies... Is that true?

Everson: I think it's true in the men and not necessarily body building alone.I think there's no less amount of drug use in football, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, not just body building. When I was competing we had mandatory IOC which is International Olympic Committee random drug testing three times a year. They need to bring that back in all sports.

Moderator: Now... there are a lot of body builders who are HUGE, obviously... does that mean that they are strong, as well... or is muscle mass somewhat independent of actual strength.

Everson: Actually body builders are less strong as power lifters. Power lifters are smaller. It's muscle hypertrophy which means muscle swelling. Muscles appear to be bigger, but it doesn't mean the fibers are stronger than a power lifter, or a shot putter or a tennis players muscles. Body building pumps blood into the muscles, which increases the muscle fibers along with many other reasons. The muscles appear to be bigger. Any form of exercise will increase strength, but there are small men that are much stronger than some of the larger body builders. Body builders are more high endurance strength.

Moderator: What advice do you have for girls just getting involved in the sport?

Everson: I think every girl should be involved in sports, any sport. I learned more from being involved in sports than anything in my life. You learn about your body, you learn about participation as a team. You learn about sharing, you learn about discipline, giving your all, you learn about not succeeding and coming back to try harder next time. You learn the most important thing is just trying your hardest. It sounds cliche, but you learn it's the journey to get to the competition that's most important, and not even the competition.You really learn to care for each other in ways that are unexplainable.. I think every girl should be involved in a sport. It doesn't have to be competitive, it could be recreation, gymnastics club, swim club, dance, it doesn't have to be one on one, but activity and sport will help change your life. What's interesting is that 95% of all Fortune 500 executives were involved in sports in high school. Because a healthy body and a healthy mind definitely go hand in hand; you can't have one without the other.

Moderator: Now that you're out of competition, do you still work out?

Everson: I work out not enough, but probably more like what 99% of the world does, a little bit, a few days of the week because I'm not a pro anymore and I have other responsibilities with kids, work, husband, school. I've found the most wonderful thing and that is, you don't need to be obsessed with exercise like I once was to still look okay. Just a little tiny bit where you don't even necessarily have to sweat, a few days a week, will get you into shape physically, and mentally. If I can mention, I do a fitness camp called the Corey Evenson Fitness Adventure. It's mostly women but men come to. It's women who need answers and direction and motivation and a plan to get started in fitness and healthy eating, who want to be healthy and happy but don't have a clue how to get started. We have changed people's lives at this camp. People start to focus on their inner health and happiness versus their physical dimensions. All of a sudden the pounds start to fall off because they are changing their direction to feel better, not just to look better. We've had a lot of success stories, for example, women with eating disorders, to help people regain their shape after having babies, or going through divorces and people who are afraid of turning 40, we get them on track and teach them the tools it takes to stay there.

Moderator: Well... Ms. Everson, I just wanted to thank you for dropping by. It has certainly been a pleasure. Of course, Ms. Everson has a website of her own at

Everson: It's been my pleasure, anytime!

Moderator: Today's guest has been 6-time Ms. Olympia champion Corey Everson... Thanks for coming by, everyone!

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