Hazel Smith: Hi Rachael, firstly a huge congratulation on winning your figure class at the Universe this year and thanks for agreeing to take part in this interview for us!
Rachael Grice: Hi Hazel, thank you for asking me to do the interview, I hope people reading this will find what I have to say of interest.
HS: How old were you when you started training and how old are you now?
RG: I started training when I was 15 to lose puppy fat, just doing cardio work and 1000's of sit up's. About six months after this I started weight training and really got thrown in at the deep end. I started training with a lady that had been training seriously with weights for many years. I trained with her for 2 years learning every exercise and how to weight train. I'm 23 now and my training has changed dramatically since then.
HS: What made you decide to start working out?
RG: I started out in the gym just to lose a bit of excess body fat. The gym I was using at the time wasn't a hardcore gym, but it was more focussed on weight training than just cardio equipment. The lady who I started training with had seen me doing endless sit up's, probably wrong, and asked me if I wanted some guidance. She showed me some effective abdominal exercises and asked me if I wanted to train with her regularly. I jumped at the chance! So there I started the following Monday 4pm, my first leg session. When I first started it was all about just building muscle, now I'm more focussed on refining my shape and working with the muscle I already have.
HS: Where abouts are you from and where do you train currently?
RG: I'm from west Yorkshire, Pontefract. Me and my boyfriend Shane Copley own and train at Bodyworks Gym in Featherstone.
HS: At what point did you realise you wanted to start competitive bodybuilding and what was your first competition?
RG: After 6 months of training I went to watch my first bodybuilding show. Even after only 6 months of training I had started to develop some muscle and shape. The owner of the gym where I train was at the show too and he said to me after the show “Do you fancy having a go at competing next year?” you have 12 months. So I thought I would give it a go. I started my diet 3 months before the show the following year not having much fat to lose then I was ready a few weeks before. It was suggested because I was ready early to do the Pendle Valley show, run by Brain Haslam. I did this show really as a practise run for the one I had been planning to do, I don't think I realised at the time it was a much more high profile show, I loved every minute of it. Brian was fantastic with all the competitors he ran the show very professionally and helped everyone with travel arrangements and any other information they needed. I liked the show so much that I competed there the following year as well.
HS: Can you give a brief run down of your competition career please?
|2002:||Pendle Valley (1st under 21's)|
Five Towns (1st trained figure)
|2003:||Pendle Valley (2nd trained figure)|
Nabba North East (1st trained figure)
Nabba Britain (6th trained figure)
|2004:||Nabba North East (1st trained figure)|
Nabba Britain (unplaced)
|2005:||Nabba North East (2nd trained figure)|
Nabba Britain (2nd trained figure)
|2006:||Nabba Britain (1st trained figure)|
|2007:||Nabba England (1st trained figure)|
Nabba Universe (3rd trained figure)
|2008:||Nabba England (1st trained figure)|
Nabba Universe (1st trained figure)
HS: You are sponsored by Extreme Nutrition and you have your own site. How long have you been with Extreme?
RG: I have been with Extreme Nutrition for 4 years, and Doug and Jo have been fantastic. Not only just as sponsors but as friends too. They must have seen potential in me because they took me on when I had just done my second Britain and not placed in the top 6. I hope I can now give something back to them. Thank you both and everyone else at extreme.
HS: Your partner, Shane Copley is also a bodybuilder; he must be a great support when getting ready for competitions?
RG: Shane has been a great support to me, not just when I'm dieting all the time he has given me the confidence to believe in myself, and been there to pick up the pieces when things have gone wrong. Having someone close to you that really understand what your going though means you don't have to explain your moods and emotions; it just makes life a bit easier. I just hope that I can help and support him next year in his plans like he has done for me.
HS: What is your training routine and what is your favourite body part to train?
RG: My training routine has really changed over the years, for the past few years my aim hasn't really been to build any more muscle in general. I've wanted to just work on specific areas, and lose some muscle size in others to improve my overall shape. My favourite body part to train has to be glutes as this is the area I have been focussed on improving for the last two years.
Here's a brief run down of my training up to the Universe this year;
HS: Do you do cardio all year round, what kind of cardio work do you do?
RG: I try and do cardio all year round especially now I don't weight train as many days a week as I used to. I do at least 3 sessions a week of cardio when I'm not dieting. This is to help keep my weight down and because I think to feel I'm doing something to help keep my fitness levels up. This is normally made up of incline walking on the treadmill or running outside when I get the chance. When I'm dieting I do cardio 6 days a week, fast walking for anything between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how my weight loss is going.
HS: How do you alter your nutrition when you have a competition coming up and which supplements do you use?
RG: My diet changes radically when I start dieting for a show, I'm not into dropping things gradually I'm all or nothing, so when I start my diet I set a date normally around 20 weeks from a show. When I'm dieting all my food is very clean, by this I mean no processed foods just only foods in there natural state such as chicken breasts, eggs and fish, brown rice and veg. My diet savours are Extreme Protein shakes blended with ice and made really thick, they give me something sweet and filling to look forward to in my diet. This year I've also taken Liquid Fury though out my diet which has really helped during workouts, as normally when I diet due to reduced calories and low carbs I find it hard to get a pump in my muscle when I train, by using Liquid Fury each time I've trained this hasn't been a problem. Other than that I've always used Extreme Glutamine and Extreme Lean R when I diet.
HS: What advice would you give to members about putting a good training routine together?
RG: If there are certain areas of your body you want to focus on improving, really prioritise these body parts for example if you want to improve your legs. Split them into 2 or3 training sessions instead of one quads, hamstrings and glutes and calves or you could train the twice a week. And double up on stronger body parts. If none of these are possible always make sure your legs are trained after a rest day.
HS: Your recent Universe title must be the highlight of your career. You beat the current Miss Brazil, Miss World and a former Miss Universe! What is next competition wise for you?
RG: To say it was the highlight would be an understatement, I can't really explain how much it means to me to win this title. It's really everything I've worked towards since I started competing. In the trained figure class that I compete in it's the most coveted title to win. But more than that the girls who compete at the Universe are the girls I've looked up to for the past 6 years as an inspiration of how I wanted to look. At the moment I have no plans to compete next year only to support Shane at his shows. But I am hoping to do a few guest spots at next years shows. Any show promoter wanting to talk to me about this can contact me though this site or my website.
HS: Who inspires you in and out of the bodybuilding world?
RG: The first time I watched the Nabba Universe a girl called Flavia won it, I loved her look and condition and ever since that's what I've aimed to look like, combining her look with my own style.
Many of you reading this know Malika, she has been a massive inspiration to me, I personally know how hard she works and how driven she is even though she has been faced with many knock backs recently. Just by talking to her you feel instantly motivated by her passion for competing and training.
Inspirations from outside the bodybuilding world, comes from anyone who show's dedication to something they love, too many people want things instantly with out having to put in time and effort. This year while I was dieting I found it motivating watching the Olympics and seeing people who had training so hard for most of there lives to compete there.
HS: Other than training and living the lifestyle of a competitive bodybuilder, what else do you like to do in your spare time? Do you get much time to relax?
RG: Training doesn't really take up much time, the eating part is 24 hours but as long as you always prepare your food it shouldn't stop you doing anything. Owning the gym takes up most of our time but we still like to take time out of the gym and have lives away from the bodybuilding world. By going out with friends that aren't into training and competing, going for meals or generally relaxing at home. I also have another passion which is shopping; my excuse for this is it helps take my mind off dieting. In the off season I have no excuse I just love it!
HS: How do people outside of bodybuilding circles react to you as a female bodybuilder and your bodybuilding lifestyle?
RG: I think other peoples reactions really depend on how you present yourself, the only time you will see me wearing a vest is in the gym or at home. I tend to cover up when I go out and never really 'flash the flesh.' As in the past when I have this is when I've received negative comments. Also the fact I do figure and not bodybuilding means when I am covered up not that many people notice I train. People close to me accept my lifestyle I have done it for a long time and most people are used to it. Plus as I said before out of the gym I try to live a normal lifestyle and do things that aren't always connected with bodybuilding. Generally people are interested and intrigued by the diet and lifestyle and just want to ask questions.
HS: Many thanks for taking the time to be interviewed and on behalf of all the MuscleTalk members, I'd like to wish you all the best in future competitions. See you on MT!!