When we first met Jessica Rinaldi she was fresh off a win at the Figure Universe Pro and had landed the cover of our January/February 2014 issue. Since then, she’s been working hard to bring health and fitness to her New Mexico community through PhuelRx Nutrition and Fitness Counseling, her own consulting and training business that she’ll be running with her husband Michael Donathan. “We will be targeting those interested in true lifestyle changes to attain long term results, as well as our competitive clients of all levels,” says Jessica. “One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that I get the most pleasure in seeing the success of others and guiding them through that journey.”
As for her training, she’s making some changes there too. Still a powerhouse in the gym to keep her physique in enviable shape, she and Michael (a fellow bodybuilder) are focusing a little less on developing size and shape, and more on using compound movements to harness strength, power and overall function. We caught up with Jessica, who is on the cover of our Winter 2015 Training Guide, to discuss all things training, competing, business and family.
SFM: How have you changed or added to your workouts this year?
JR: I developed a different look with this year’s training. Working longer hours with my clients meant that my training had to accommodate my schedule more, but I also changed it up because I was starting to feel pressure on my joints from the extra muscle on my frame. This year’s goal is to be more compact. To do this we simply added more HIIT style training, super sets, giant sets, but still keep the weight as heavy as possible.
SFM: This industry can get quite competitive. What drives you to stay in it and stick with it?
JR: I have been in this industry since I was 18. Wellness is my passion and what I’ve discovered is that the gratification that I get from inspiring and motivating others is more than enough to keep me moving forward in this crazy industry. There are so many of us who are in it for the simple opportunity to give back and I think that’s one reason my husband and I have made fitness our career and lifestyle.
JR: I’m very excited for 2015. Competitively, I recently took a little turn from the Fitness Universe organization and went back to my roots in the NPC. I took 2nd place at the Phoenix Europa Figure D division and re-qualified for Nationals. I have been asked a lot why I switched. The honest truth has nothing to do with the Fitness Universe organization because I love them; they’ve been my family for the last three years. However, after four undefeated titles, I just needed to prove to myself that I could be a top competitor with the NPC as well. I felt like I had to finish what I started.
SFM: What do you think sets you apart as an athlete?
JR: What sets me apart is pure love for what I do. I am 100 percent driven by those I’ve impacted in some way or another. I feel so blessed to have the ability to use fitness as a platform to reach out to so many others.
SFM: On those tough days, what gets you motivated to train?
JR: Honestly on the days I’m not motivated to train, I don’t. Everyone has their bad days and sometimes I feel like it is better to recharge then to force it. Some days when I don’t have the motivation, I go pick up my daughter early and we make a girls’ day out of it. Mentally, that joy keeps me going on my rough days. Another trick is, I schedule an appointment to train with my husband. It’s rare that we get an hour to ourselves during a workday so I enjoy that time with him to get the extra push I need for my workout, but also to just laugh and spend the extra time with him.
Favorite TV series right now? Homeland. Wow, what a show.
Last thing you ate? Homemade banana muffin
Biggest gym pet peeve? Bad B.O.
Celebrity you’re most compared to? JLo or Ciara
Person you’d most love to train with? Dwayne Johnson
Go-to exercise? Hex Bar Deadlifts
Favorite way to spend a Sunday? Anything with my family
Best moment of 2014? My STRONG Fitness Magazine cover (Jan/Feb 2014); also my family vacation in Mexico.
Interview by Sandy Braz, Deputy Editor
Photography by Paul Buceta