Vanessa Pierce Interview
Vanessa Adams Pierce is a former NPC Figure competitor and limited contest prep coach. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and infant son, with another baby due this summer.
MP: What sparked your interest in health and fitness?
VP: I was an athlete in school, mostly track and X-country. As an adult, pursuing fitness was mostly for vanity and simply feeling good.
MP: What are some of your bodybuilding accomplishments?
VP: So far as placings, when I competed in Figure I placed 2nd in the 2007 NPC NJ Gold's Classic and qualified to compete at the National level, where I placed 9th at the 2008 IFBB North Americans. Far greater than those placings were the degree to which I was able to improve my physique and the sense of accomplishment attained.
MP: As a certified personal trainer, describe the types of training and dieting philosophies you put your clients through?
VP: I don't believe in a one-size-fits-all philosophy. My clients have very varied diet plans and training routines, and they are adjusted as needed to address progress and symmetry as well as schedule and lifestyle. I am a firm believer that more is not better; better is better.
MP: Describe some inspiring accomplishments of your clients?
VP: I have had clients from all walks of life, from those looking to lose weight because it was impacting their health, wedding diets, those wanting to gain muscle... to photo shoot preps and competition preparation. It's difficult to say one person's achievement is more valuable than another. However, I have helped a women literally cut her weight in half, and every Figure client I've had has placed top 5.
MP: Describe your typical workout routine in terms of rep range, number of sets, and intensity?
VP: There is no such thing as a typical workout - I believe in periodization and employing varied rep ranges, volume, time under tension, etc. Intensity is non-negotiable, though - you must give your all to reap true benefits.
MP: Describe your diet regimen. What are some of the healthy foods you stick with? Why are they so important to you?
VP: I employ a somewhat typical high protein bodybuilding protocol and I'm a big fan of carb cycling year-round. I love red meat and am baffled as to why so many people avoid it when trying to lose fat. My favorite carbs are sweet potato and fruit; my favorite fats are avocado and peanut butter. I don't think any foods have magical fat loss properties, so I devise diets that include foods that my clients like instead of forcing them to eat things they hate. So long as caloric, macro and nutritional goals are being met, I can make a diet plan to suit just about anyone.
MP: How do you stay motivated?
VP: I really enjoy training, so the process itself is the motivation. For those that need help, I recommend setting real goals with dates in mind.
MP: What’s your favorite body part to train? Why is this muscle group better than others?
VP: I love to train back - it's a large muscle group so you can move a lot of weight and there are a ton of different movements and variations that are effective.
MP: What are some things you see in the gym that gets on your nerves?
VP: There are always several pure ego lifters that use more weight than they can handle for a very limited ROM.
MP: What’s your favorite motivational quote?
VP: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -Aristotle
MP: What’s something people may not know about you?
VP: I was born with scoliosis but most people don't know because lifting has helped to strengthen my paraspinal muscles and improve my posture.
MP: You have stated you are taking time off from competing to start a family. What has this experience been like?
VP: I think it's been healthy. Having children has placed fitness as a nice compliment to my life rather than an all-consuming priority. I enjoy having time where I'm not always worried about my meals, if I'm adding enough size offseason or if I'm on track for the next show. I do wish I had more 'me time', but it will come. I do feel that I have some unfinished business and would still like to compete in the future, most likely in Physique or Bodybuilding.
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