Scott Read and Brian Rector are excited that Cranston’s own Olivia Culpo, 20, won the Miss Universe pageant last week, becoming the first American to win the title in 15 years. She is a 2010 St. Mary’s Academy-Bay View graduate, and a student at Boston University.
While they love that a Rhode Islander earned the crown, they are also thrilled because they physically trained her in Warwick to prepare for the Miss USA and Miss Rhode Island USA pageants.
“She’s a really down-to-earth girl,” said Read, an advanced exercise specialist, who has served as a judge in past Miss Rhode Island USA pageants. He’s been a trainer for at least 14 years. “She talked to people in the gym, and is a very likeable person.”
Read is the owner of Scott’s Fitness Inc., a certified personal training company located within ProFitness, a gym on Cowesett Avenue. ProFitness is not part of Scott's Fitness Inc., rather, it is a comfortable place where Read and Rector train a majority of their clients, including Culpo, as well as all the Miss Rhode Island winners, contestants preparing for Miss Rhode Island, local girls participating in Miss Teen competitions, plus women from Connecticut pageants.
The duo began training Culpo about six months prior to her taking part in the Miss Rhode Island USA pageant, which she won in Sept. 2011. It was her first pageant.
“It’s always nice when you get somebody that hasn’t done a pageant before because they have a totally different outlook and I think that helped her out tremendously,” Read said. “She was fit, and had the contours she already needed, but she put the time in and definitely worked for it.”
Rector agreed, noting that he’s proud of what she has accomplished. He fully credits her for her own success.
“It has nothing to do with us,” he said. “She takes the time out of her schedule, and put 110 percent in. We’re happy we helped her, and other people, reach their goals.”
After winning the Miss Rhode Island USA competition, Read said Culpo wanted to begin training immediately for the Miss USA pageant. She was Rhode Island’s first Miss USA titleholder.
She initially trained three times a week, then bumped it up to four times a week. During the final two weeks before leaving for the pageant in Las Vegas, she trained five days per week.
As they do with all pageant clients, Read and Rector began by making Culpo’s body structurally stronger, focusing on the shoulder and hip areas. In other words, they helped her build strength so her body would handle the workout ahead of her, teaching her the correct ways to exercise to increase stamina.
From there, they contoured her musculature to her skeletal system.
“We shaped her that way,” Read said. “She has the perfect face for a pageant.”
They also guided her through weight training, cardiovascular workouts and focused on teaching her, and all their clients, how to eat correctly, advising her to avoid dieting supplements or gimmicks that promise fast weight loss.
“We teach them to eat the right combinations of foods – to eat healthy,” Read said, noting that it’s not just about physical appearance. Health and nutrition are major components, as well. “They learn that, and I think it shows in the results they get from it. They gain confidence, and after the pageants are long over, they are still eating healthy and are in much better condition.”
Read and Rector showed Culpo tools to use to establish proper stage presence and balance, which came in handy during the Miss Universe pageant, as she slipped at one point during the competition.
“She held on and handled it well,” Read said. “We do exercises around the hip joints, so if they do slip they can catch it without making it look too noticeable.”
Read began working with pageant participants when his friend Stephen Poccola asked him to train his stepdaughter, Danielle LaCourse, Miss Rhode Island 2006, who also won first runner-up for the Miss USA pageant in 2007.
At that point, Read hadn’t trained any woman for pageants. He scheduled a session with LaCourse, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Being friends, LaCourse told Culpo that she should think about getting into pageants, but Culpo wasn’t interested. But it wasn’t long before Culpo changed her mind, and LaCourse recommended Culpo visit Read.
“Stephen is the whole reason this turned out the way it has,” said Read, who now has a wall of past winners and people he’s trained through the years.
Read is certified in pathophysiology, the study of the changes of normal mechanical, physiological and biochemical functions, caused by either a disease, or resulting from an abnormal syndrome. He trains cancer patients, stroke victims and people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, as well as athletes and more.
John Seraichyk of Coventry has been training at the center for 10 weeks, and enjoys working with Read and Rector.
“The trainers are very, very knowledgeable,” he said. “My wife is Anita Seraichyk, the reigning Mrs. Rhode Island, and she’s the one that got me coming here.”
Read’s wife, Courtney, an early childhood teacher at the Community College of Rhode Island, works out at the gym. She’s proud of her husband’s efforts, and is friendly with many of the women he trains.
“They are all really wonderful individuals,” she said. “I get to know each and every one of them, and over time, I become very close with them. It’s nice to see them all accomplish their goals.”
For Read’s father, John, he’s pleased his son is thriving.
“He works extremely hard,” John said. “I’m very proud of him. He loves helping people and loves doing it.”
Rector said he and Read enjoy their jobs, and offered words of encouragement for people hoping to shape up physically, especially with the New Year approaching.
“The heaviest weight is always the front door,” he said.
Read and Rector offer programs including exercise instruction, post-secondary rehabilitation, weight loss and body conditioning, strength conditioning, and sport conditioning for athletes. For more information about Scott’s Fitness Inc., call 667-3604.