Interview with Figure Competitor Debra Ricci

Debra Ricci

Debra Ricci

Our latest model, Debra Ricci, is certainly a real life success story. Several years ago back in her hometown of South Portland, Maine—where fitness isn’t exactly top of mind—she took control of her own health, shredded fifty pounds and helped trace a path that’s led to growing success as an online source for fitness and nutrition coaching.

Meanwhile, she left Maine and moved to Los Angeles a couple years ago. Losing the extra weight from her small frame and developing a chiseled physique has helped her easily glide into the culture of beach bodies and health clubs of Southern California. Add her great looks, confidence and stage presence to the mix and you have the ingredients for a rising young figure competitor. Last autumn, Debra’s impressive third place showing in her very first contest earned the 30-year-old a quick national qualification. She’s targeting her national debut for this summer at the NPC USAs in Las Vegas.

This past weekend, I was able to catch up with Debra for an interview and she graciously shared a detailed and highly compelling account of her transformation. For example, unlike many competitors, she wasn’t into sports growing up—apart from a short stint in cheerleading and a passion for rollerskating—and her journey demonstrates, among other things, that a girl doesn’t always need deep athletic roots in order to thrive in the fitness world.

Fortunately, the weight room is a different story. Debra has logged many hours training and going to the gym has become her sport of choice, whether it’s adding mass during holidays or two-a-day cardios to prepare for a show. As you’ll see in her new photos after competing at the recent Los Angeles Grand Prix—only her second show—this striking figure shortie is already beginning to accomplish big things.

* * *

Debra’s stats—Age 30; Height 4’11”; Weight 100-102 (contest), 110-120 (off season). “I am not shy to put on some weight because I know that I can lean down in a good 12 weeks to get ready for a show! My hometown is South Portland, Maine and moved to Los Angeles 2 1/2 years ago. That’s when I took my fitness levels beyond average.”

Debra’s stats—Age 30; Height 4’11”; Weight 100-102 (contest), 110-120 (off season). “I am not shy to put on some weight because I know that I can lean down in a good 12 weeks to get ready for a show! My hometown is South Portland, Maine and moved to Los Angeles 2 1/2 years ago. That’s when I took my fitness levels beyond average.”

Dean: What kind of sports did you play growing up and throughout high school or college? Are athletics what led you to compete?

Debra: I actually never played any sport growing up. I did however live at the rollerskating rink from age three up until age 15. I also did cheerleading for the Boys and Girls Club from age eight up until age 10. I didn’t realize then how great a workout rollerskating was—amazing cardio and you are using your entire body—I just loved to rollerskate and that’s where all my friends were so that was like the “hang out” spot on Friday and Saturday nights!

So no, athletics didn’t lead me to compete. Eleven years ago, I lost 50 pounds on my own without the help of a personal trainer or nutritionist. Competing was something on my “life list,” but in Maine it’s not a very popular sport. So it wasn’t until I moved from Maine to California that I knew I wanted to compete someday.

Dean: Could you give some of your contest history? What shows are you planning to do next?

Debra: My first competition that I did was the NPC Amateur Tournament of Champions in September 2012. My second competition was the 2013 NPC Amateur Grand Prix Los Angeles. Yes, I’m planning on competing again, looking at possible shows in July and August 2013. Possibly will try and do two shows back-to-back in those months. Placing third in my first show, I am nationally qualified, but I don’t feel ready to step on a national stage yet. My qualification is good for 24 months, I believe, so I will just continue to train and get my physique even better so when the time comes and I do step on a national stage, I will feel very confident!

Class A Hottie: Debra is looking to make waves in the figure short class this season.

Class A Hottie: Debra is looking to make waves in the figure short class this season.

Dean: How has your training been going? Which improvements to your physique have made you most proud lately and are there any areas you are trying to tighten up?

Debra: My training for this past show, the LA Grand Prix, was way tougher than my first prep. Not diet-wise, because I am used to dieting and eating very clean; I’ve been eating clean before I decided to do my first show. Training-wise it was intense. After my show in September 2012, I went into my “off season” for 12 weeks. Through the holidays, I thought that it would be a good time to “bulk up” a little—train hard and heavy and pack on some good quality muscle before I started my prep in January. Even over Christmas vacation when I went home to the East Coast to visit with my family for two weeks, I had a gym membership and trained just about every day!

The areas that I knew I had to improve on were shoulders, lats, hamstrings and glutes, especially the ham/glute tie-in. I was going hard and heavy and I probably put on a good 10lbs of quality muscle during that 12-week off season. January 1, 2013 came around and that’s when I started my second contest prep. During the prep, my coach and I were still concerned with my lower body, hamstrings and glutes and she had me hitting cardio twice a day, 7-times a week for an hour at five weeks out and training legs twice a week. My legs were stubborn and didn’t come in till the day before competition. I was extremely happy that all my hard work had paid off.

However, I still need to continue to train my legs and glutes hard because as a female we have a harder time bringing in the lower body, the upper usually comes in faster than the lower. I also need to work on building my back bigger and wider before stepping on stage again. This was what the head judge gave me for feedback after this past show. I will take that feedback and use it to my advantage and start building my back! Overall, I honestly believe that I improved 150% since my first show in September.

Turning Heads—“I've been told by guys that I am ‘intimidating’ because I have more muscle than some guys do,” Debra says. “I love my physique…hard work definitely pays off.”

Turning Heads—“I’ve been told by guys that I am ‘intimidating’ because I have more muscle than some guys do,” Debra says. “I love my physique…hard work definitely pays off.”

Dean: Have family and friends been supportive of your competitive lifestyle? What type of comments have you gotten?

Debra: Well, a lot of people who don’t compete or live this type of lifestyle don’t understand it. I’ve gotten comments like “You’re too skinny”; “You need to eat or you will end up in the hospital”; “You used to be the thick Debra, now you’re the crazy-fit Debra”; “What happened to your ass?” And the list goes on. I try to just laugh it off and explain and defend myself, but then it gets to a point where I just don’t feel like I need to explain or defend myself. There will always be those people who are going to “hate” or have something negative to say, and I’ve learned now to just brush it off and use the negative as fuel to motivate me in the gym and go hard! My cousins, dad & stepmom and a few other family members are extremely supportive of me and my love for fitness and competing!

Dean: Since competitors are in such great shape, it can often be a shock to the average person. Can you describe a moment when you surprised someone with your physique or strength?

Debra: I’ve turned a few heads in the gym. Hahaha! I’ve been told by guys that I am “intimidating” because I have more muscle than some guys do. I love my physique, so I have no shame in showing it off. I stay confident and humble at the same time. But as far as showing off my physique, why wouldn’t I want to show it off? I put a lot of work into my physique and hard work definitely pays off. There was one time in the gym locker room when I took off my track jacket and this girl said, “WHOA, YOU’RE JACKED.” I smiled and said, “Thank you.” Clothes can be very deceiving! I am always very respectful to compliments and again I always try to stay humble!

On those who don’t understand the lifestyle—“There will always be those people who are going to ‘hate’ or have something negative to say,” Debra says. “I've learned now to just brush it off and use the negative as fuel to motivate me in the gym…”

On those who don’t understand the lifestyle—“There will always be those people who are going to ‘hate’ or have something negative to say,” Debra says. “I’ve learned now to just brush it off and use the negative as fuel to motivate me in the gym…”

Dean: Are you also a personal trainer? Please feel free to mention website links or anything else I can use to help promote you!

Debra: No, I am not a personal trainer. I’ve thought about being one, but I haven’t rushed out to get my certification. I am, however, a fitness and nutrition coach. I have my own online fitness and nutrition coaching business called “RicciFit Online Fitness & Nutrition.” I do not carry a certification in nutrition; however, I feel that experience trumps any certification. I am honest and up front with people who approach me in regards to my programs and I guess all I can say is “honesty is the best policy” because it’s doing quite well.

I am a real life success story and I’m not just sitting back and telling my clients “do this and do that.” I’m leading by example and they see how motivated, determined, and dedicated I am. So that really gives them peace of mind to have a coach who competes and who is leading her clients to reach their weight loss success. Most importantly, I am teaching my clients how to change their lives with eating right and working out.

At the moment, I have 10 active clients from the East Coast to the West Coast and all of my clients are losing weight and are extremely happy with the results that they are seeing so far! I currently don’t have a website for my Online Fitness & Nutrition yet; however, I do have a Facebook Business LIKE page, Riccifit Online Fitness & Nutrition Coaching Services. My motto is: “Let’s get Healthy, Fit and Sexy.”

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~ by Dean Sucich on April 22, 2013.

One Response to “Interview with Figure Competitor Debra Ricci”

  1. […] interviewed Debra Ricci after her debut photoshoot early in 2013 and she shared details of her remarkable transformation, […]

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