BODYBUILDING: She’s Only Just Begun

The tall, blue-eyed 29-year-old has found her life’s work.
Zivile Ngo accords Chris Cosich, a champion bodybuilder, right, with getting her into competitive shape. Jack Graves

    When Zivile Ngo first came here from Lithuania eight summers ago to work at the Golden Pear, she was, the competitive bodybuilder said during a recent conversation at The Star, a shy, skinny kid.
    No longer shy — she would not have become certified as a personal trainer by Les Mills International if she continued to be so — and no longer skinny — the fact that she’s begun competing in bodybuilding competitions’ figures category against other women with athletic physiques attests to that — the tall, blue-eyed 29-year-old has found her life’s work.
    “I first came here [from the Baltic port city of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s third biggest] in 2004 — a couple from Hampton Bays I met on the plane drove me all the way out. I was delivered here! No train, no bus, no nothing. They were very nice.”
    “I did like this place,” she said in answer to a question, “but I was lost. . . . Yes, I spoke English — I had gone to an American college in Lithuania [graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration], which gave me the opportunity to work and travel in America.”
    Her initial stay, however, lasted only a couple of months, during which she “met a guy [Khanh Ngo, the lively Vietnamese-born East Hampton sports store owner] who lived here, but because of the post-9/11 travel restrictions I didn’t know where the relationship would lead . . . I had to go back. . . . It was heartbreaking.”
    Two years later, she returned with a student visa in hand to pursue a master’s degree in corporate finance at Dowling College. And Khanh Ngo (pronounced No) continued to pursue her.
    They married in 2008; the next year came her master’s degree, whose cost she underwrote by working at a law office and behind the desk at the East Hampton Gym. And that’s where, sports-wise, our story begins.
    “When I was a receptionist at the gym I began to work out, every other day for an hour or so. Nothing crazy. I was a dancer for 14 years — my love is modern dance — so I had a good foundation. Then I started taking classes at Sag Harbor, in martial arts, and in body combat and body pump — I’m now certified to teach body pump and body combat all over the world.”
    “I wanted something more, though. So, I got more into personal training. I’m certified in that. My youngest client is maybe 27 and my oldest 50 maybe. Men and women. I train them on the beach, in the park, anywhere. I want people to be healthy, I want to help them. This is my passion.”
    “I got really involved with the gym. I competed in what they call the bikini category last year, in New York City, but I wasn’t ready, I didn’t know what was going on. I’m not a bikini girl — I’m more athletic looking. It’s easier for me to get lean and muscular than to be soft and light.”
    At the suggestion of Chris Cosich, a well-known championship bodybuilder here to whom she accords much credit, she “stepped it up a bit” and began training for figures competitions, one of which was held recently in New York City.
    “It’s 90 percent diet,” she said in reply to a question. “No cheeseburgers, no pizza. No fries or soda, but I never did like them anyway. No ice cream — I used to eat ice cream for lunch! — no bagels, no chips, no butter. . . . Fish is good, lean meat, all the vegetables . . . starches a little bit in moderation. Avocados are good. Olive oil. Almond butter, but not too much. No salad dressing. . . . No bananas in the six to eight weeks leading up to a show. . . .”
    She ate frequently, she said, “every two or three hours. I always travel with my own food, and I drink a lot of water.”
    In the weight room she “lifts really heavy.” She squats 175 pounds, benchpresses 95, and leg-presses 400.
   “I’ve been working out harder lately, and my diet has been much stricter. My coach is proud of me, and the certification I have from Les Mills has opened me up to people. I didn’t know I really liked people! I do like them. It was made clear that if I didn’t communicate well, people wouldn’t come to my classes. . . . So, I’ve come far in these three years. I’m a lot stronger, I’m trying to improve every day. I want people to see that everything is possible. I was a skinny, closed, shy person, and I did it.”
    She added that “there’s a program a company has created, Beach Body Coach, for people who want to work out at home. You can bring them together in a group on Facebook. A coach can discuss workouts and nutrition with you there. I’ve had 10 people doing this for two months. They’ve been losing pounds, inches. I’m there to monitor them in a private setting.”
    “I just want to help people . . . it’s just the beginning for me.”


Comments

I have been taking Body Combat classes with Zivile for almost 2 years now. Fondly known as Z by her fans and friends. Z is inspiring and encouraging.