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Mooney Talks: An Interview With IFBB Fitness Pro Teri Mooney!

Read on to learn why Teri values quality time with friends and family, how she balances personal training, competitions, and a social life, and what advice she has for new and aspiring fitness competitors.

About Teri Mooney

Recently bursting onto the scene as a new fitness pro is New Jersey resident Teri Mooney. I was thrilled at the chance to interview Teri, as she's always been a great role model in the sport of fitness, and her routines are incredible!

Teri is coming off an 8th place finish at the New York Pro (her debut in the IFBB) and is eager to continue her journey as a professional fitness athlete next month in Texas at the Southwest Pro Cup.

Read on to learn why Teri values quality time with friends and family, how she balances personal training, competitions, and a social life, and what advice she has for new and aspiring fitness competitors.

    Age: 30
    Date of Birth: July 2, 1974
    Location: Old Bridge, New Jersey
    Height: 5'4"
    Weight: 128 Contest, 138 Off Season
    Years Training: 10
    Years Competing: 6

For more info, check out Teri's site at

The Interview

[ AC ] First of all, congratulations on placing 8th overall and winning the 45-second routine round at your pro fitness debut, the New York Pro! You must be very excited! What was it like to experience competing for the first time as an IFBB pro? Were you happy with your showing in NY?

    Teri: It was amazing to compete on a pro level. It has always been a lifelong dream of mine to one day step on a pro stage to compete. At the same time, it was terrifying. I was now competing with the best in the sport and knew that everyone there had amazing talent. I was just hoping to be able to perform my best and not make a fool of myself. (Laughs) In the end, I was extremely pleased with my placing. I was thrilled to have made top 10 in my first pro show.

[ AC ] I'm sure you've learned quite a bit from your experience in New York. What does your plan look like in preparation for the Southwest Pro next month?

    Teri: The plan for my next show at the SW was basically to keep dieting and try to come in with a tighter physique. So after the NY show, I had only a couple of weeks of down time, before I started dieting again. I seem to need a lot more time to diet than most. I also changed up my training routine a bit to try and reach my goals of a smaller and tighter physique.

    Hopefully these changes will help me score better in the physique rounds. As for the routines, I just keep practicing all the mandatory skills and try to step up the difficultly a bit. Each show I do will be a learning experience and will help me prepare for the next one. Each time I compete I try to learn what needs to be done to do better and go from there.

Mandatory Fitness Moves!
Read on to learn how you can develop a winning fitness routine by incorporating the three mandatory strength moves...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

[ AC ] You've been very busy lately with contest preparation and training your clients. How do you manage to fit everything into your busy schedule and still make time for friends and family?

    Teri: My life is very busy as you said, with training clients and contest preparation - that is for sure! As for making time for friends and family, well after all of these years of balancing the two, you learn to balance that into your life as well.

    Without friends and family, life would be very lonely, even if you are a professional athlete. I try not to make work more important than those that have supported me. I try to spend quality time in the evenings and weekends with my boyfriend Neal who has been my biggest support thus far, as well as close friends and family.

    My parents live about an hour and a half away, and I try to see them over the holidays and during family functions.

    Since February, my Nana who is 92 years old has been in and out of the hospital and nursing home with different ailments, so this season has been especially tough for me. I make it a point to go visit her at least once every two weeks and spend some quality time with her. She is my only living grandparent left, and she means the world to me.

    At the NY pro show, she was still in the hospital and was sad that she could not make it to watch me compete, so I had dedicated that show to her. I wrote "For Nana" on the sole of my left sneaker, and once I was home I told her about how that sneaker gave me luck and that she was with me in spirit. She was thrilled that I thought of her and was very proud of my success.

[ AC ] What does your typical weekly training split look like? Do you focus on one aspect of training over another, or do you equally balance all areas?

    Teri: I train 3-4 times per week with weights, 5-7 days a week doing cardio, and 2-3 times a week practicing my routine. As for the weight training portion of my schedule, I basically do whole body workouts.

    I use a lot of plyometric training in my workouts as well as super-setting one exercise with another. I have very little rest time between all of my sets and exercises to keep my heart rate elevated throughout the whole workout.

    This type of training also helps me with my endurance for my routines. I do not have a typical split training schedule that most competitors may use. I did that in the past, and it wasn't benefiting me for the look I was striving for.

    How Long Do You Usually Workout?
    30 Minutes Or Less
    30 - 45 Minutes
    45 Minutes - 1 Hour
    Over 1 Hour

    My new training strategy is very intense and so far has been helping me make the appropriate changes that I need to reshape my physique. When a show gets closer, I take a look at what I think needs most improvement and go from there.

[ AC ] You are quickly making a name for yourself in the IFBB circuit as having some of the best fitness routines. What advice can you give for new and aspiring fitness competitors on how to improve upon their own routines?

    Teri: Thank you for the compliments, but I am far from having one of the best routines (Laughs). There are so many talented girls with awesome routines. As for my advice, well I would tell any aspiring fitness competitor to find a good dance coach and choreographer and DJ that can make music to fit your style.

    I was a gymnast for 14 years, so the tumbling and other gymnastics that are seen in my routines have been established through years of practice with numerous coaches. I am not saying that you can't learn to tumble as an adult, but at least from what others have told me, it takes a lot of time and patience and more "guts" than if you were learning to tumble as a child.

    For me, the flexibility and strength moves also came quite easy, but in fitness you have to try and be original with your strength holds, so my mind is constantly thinking of how to make mandatory moves more difficult or original. But, first and foremost for any competitor is keep practicing!

    Work on those strength moves and flexibility moves and tumbling, if you have the time, at least 3 times a week! Also, don't get frustrated or give up! Practice makes perfect!

[ AC ] With the inception of the figure division, many girls are shying away from fitness competition, causing the number of shows and the amount of competitors to dwindle. What are your thoughts on this?

    Teri: I think with figure on the rise, it gives the fitness competitors who are not doing that well in the routine rounds, but great in the physique rounds another option for competition. It is also another avenue for the fitness competitors who are or have been injured and can not perform the routine rounds anymore a way to still compete.

    I wish fitness was not dwindling, but with figure now in place, girls seem to be opting for the competition which takes less of a physical toll on their bodies. I, on the other hand, love to perform and am sticking to fitness for as long as this 30 year old body can stand it!

[ AC ] What advice do you have for girls currently competing in figure who are contemplating crossing over to the fitness division?

    Teri: Refer to question #5. Make sure you have a great dance and gymnastics coach as well as a great DJ. If possible ask advice of other pro's in your area and if there are none, feel free to e-mail me at for any information or questions!

[ AC ] Every competitor has her role models in the industry. Are there any particular individuals who have influenced you more than others? If so, whom, and in what way?

    Teri: I look up to a lot of different girls. When I was growing up, I always liked the looks of Rachel McLish and Cory Everson. In high school and college, when thumbing through the magazines, I would follow Mia Finnegan, Monica Brant and all the top girls competing in fitness rather than bodybuilding, because of the fact that there was a routine round.

    The softer overall look that fitness had was also very appealing to me. These days I look up to everyone on the pro level. I admire everyone pretty much equally, and if I have any questions, I will just ask them myself, hopefully getting an honest answer. Stacy Simons is one of my favorite competitors and closest friends. She is the real deal - what you see is what you get! She has helped me diet, train and choreograph my routines for the past two years. She is also a great friend who has always been there for me emotionally and mentally!

    Everyone who I competed with in my first pro show has also been real sweet to me and all of those I have hung out with at other shows - Kelly, Tanji, Alti, and Kim, just to name a few, have also been great!

[ AC ] What are your future plans and competition goals?

    Teri: My future goals are to hopefully qualify for the Olympia and be a great role model in the sport of fitness! Getting an invite to the Arnold Classic would also be like a dream come true for me as new fitness pro!

[ AC ] Thanks so much for your time, Teri. Best of luck at the Southwest Pro and in all your future endeavors!

    Teri: Thanks so much for the having me on your site! Take care and God Bless.

Teri Mooney

Learn more about Teri & her personal training by checking out her website at

About The Author

Alissa is the current NPC BodyRock/Monica Brant Fitness Champion and is the Owner and Webmaster of Fit Figures and Her site highlights female physique athletes by featuring interviews, profiles, and articles, as well as contest coverage.

The site also contains a huge bodybuilding and fitness directory of over 400 links and competitor resources. Fit Figures offers full website design and administration services to female physique competitors and models.

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