Latorya Watts didn’t start out as a top-ranked figure competitor. In fact, Watts, 35, first hit the stage five years ago as an NPC bikini athlete. But after placing dead last in multiple competitions, she realized the division wasn’t for her and walked away from the sport.
Luckily for Watts, her coach, Manuel Torres, recognized her potential as well as a natural ability to add quality muscle, and knew together they could build a winning physique. “I was not at all confident in crossing over to figure,” says Watts. “I could not see myself making this commitment to preparing and building a physique that could come close to competing with the best in the division.”
In 2011, Watts entered the NPC figure division, placing within the top 5 in her first two shows, and finally snagging an overall win in her hometown at the Las Vegas Classic. Watts was on her way, taking the top spot at the 2013 USA Championships and becoming an IFBB pro at her very first national showing. The following year, she took home fifth place for her Olympia debut. She stepped up her game to the pinnacle and was crowned Ms. Figure Olympia 2015, and again in 2016.
“After winning Olympia, I was happy, in shock, numb, and, at the same time, had a sense of relief,” says Watts. “Manuel and I have been working hard toward this victory, so when our vision became a reality, it was an overwhelming feeling.” After taking home the medal, she adds, she finally felt the confidence she needed in her physique. “I just hope I can be an inspiration to anyone with a dream. Just be positive and know anything is possible if you believe and remain patient.”
Credit Torres for creating a training program that emphasizes Watts’ naturally broad shoulders and tiny waist. “We focus on giving her shoulders a nice athletic look to add to the V-taper,” he explains. For her lower body, the focus is on the hamstring-glute tie-in to elevate the glute muscles and create a toned, rounded look. Here, Torres shares some of Watts’ favorite moves for working her shoulders, back, legs, and glutes.