Ambassador Spotlight: Mary Lado, Professional Figure Competitor
Mary Elizabeth Lado is a Professional figure competitor and New Orleans native.
Lado was raised amid Spanish culture; her mother, Marianela, was born in Cuba and her father, Jose, in Spain. The oldest of three, Mary along with her two brothers, Jose and Carlos were raised to be active, well-mannered individuals, who go after their dreams and work hard to achieve them. At an early age her parents encouraged her to get involved in sports. Even as a child Lado was a naturally competitive child in different fields such as sports. In high school, Lado was on the basketball, softball and track teams. This competitive fire helped her in her education; excelling in softball, she received a full four year scholarship to attend Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Florida as a pitcher, and then to Georgia Southwestern State University to continue playing Softball. There she majored in Sociology, and while she treasured her education, she felt uncomfortable studying and having to do homework was not a very enjoyable activity for her during her college years.
After graduation Lado felt that she needed something to do in order to deal with her competitive energy since school was over and she had no sports nor people to play sports with. She toyed with free weights to stay active, when she was encouraged by relatives in the gym to compete in figure competitions. In 2003, after six months of hard training, she entered her first NPC figure contest, the New Orleans Figure Championships, and won her height class. In 2004, she came in second in the NPC Junior Nationals in her height class and won the figure overall title at the Nationals, catapulting her into the pros. In 2005, Lado entered five pro figure contests, winning the Pittsburgh Pro Figure Championships and the California Pro Figure Championships. Everything was going well at the professional level for Lado, but soon she would find herself with some personal issues that began to take their toll on her competitive career. While visiting family in Spain, her hometown was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Unable to communicate with her family members in Louisiana for more than a week after her the disaster, Mary was in a serious emotional turmoil and for sometime thought of not attending the 2005 Ms. Figure Olympia contest (her first Olympia). But she then decided to attend the Olympia contest after being able to talk to her family in Louisiana.
Unable to find adequate gyms in Spain, Lado relied on Theraband exercise and outdoor cardio sessions to prepare for the Olympia contest. After returning to Louisiana, she stayed with some friends and continued her last few preparations for the contest. Though she wasn’t in her best condition, she managed to place 4th at the Sacramento Pro Figure, and 5th Figure Olympia (her last two competitions of 2005). During this time Lado asked some of the judges and professional figure competitors about what she needed to do to improve her performance on stage as well as other areas that she needed to work on in order to be more competitive at the pro level. She was told that she needed more stage presence and needed to work at her conditioning as well. Mary put her newfound knowledge to work and began her preparations for the 2006 Arnold Classic, where she placed 1st. Her crowning achievement to date came at this year’s Arnold Fitness Weekend where she became the only athlete, besides Jenny Lynn, to hold the Figure International title; totaling two wins for this title.