Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Phenomenal Phannary

Fitness filled a competitive void in Phannary's life after injuries ended her basketball carrer. She trained relentlessly, excelled through motivational energy, and let fate work its magic!

Name: Phannary Pen Rocha
BodySpace: phannarypen
Location: Modesto, California
Age: 27  Height: 5'2.5"  Weight: 130 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 4

How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

At age 20, I tore my right anterior cruciate ligament playing basketball at Cal State University - Stanislaus as a sophomore. It was devastating. After rehabilitation and intense physical therapy, I was hopeful to return to the court, but I ended up having a second surgery for another tear on the same ligament. I underwent reconstructive knee surgery in November 2006 at age 21.

I had two choices: hang on to what once was or move forward and develop new hopes and dreams. I decided to focus on education and graduated in June 2007 with a bachelor's degree in communications/public relations and a double minor in political science and journalism. I was hired out of college at the local county Social Services Department and worked part-time at a local gym to build mobility in my knee and to get my personal training certification.

I helped clients feel confident in their strength and it reflected in how they carried themselves. In a way, it helped me fill a void for fitness and competing. One winter afternoon in 2008, I ran into Kimberly DiPirro, the wife and owner of The Fit Factory. There I met my coach Austen DiPirro and my journey began.

How Did Your Passion for Fitness Emerge?

Being around those who always strive to excel drive me to be better. It's contagious. I feed off motivational energy and surround myself with like-minded souls. The transformation process in the mind and body is the most fascinating part about fitness. With the right food, guidance, and training, it's amazing what you can can do. We only live once, why not live at your best?

What/Who Motivates You to Live a Healthy Lifestyle?

You have to learn to love yourself before you can learn to love and appreciate others. I'm motivated when I train and fuel my body with food of nutrititional value. I can operate and think at my best. It's a snowball effect. My husband is one of my biggest motivators during times of rough trials and reminds me to stay humble in times of victory. I stay fit for my health and live a healthy lifestyle for the ones I love.

Where Did You Go for Inspiration?

Fitness magazines and fitness websites like Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness Hers, FLEX, and MuscleRX really help. When I'm tired after my full-time job where I sit at a computer all day, a nice article or pep talk pumps me up before the gym.

If you work full-time or part-time and find it hard to go to the gym, pack a pre-made gym bag the night before and bring it with you. Whether you decide to go or not, you're prepared.

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I'm drifting along on the journey for as far as it takes me. Fitness has already taken me places I never imagined and I'm grateful for it. Earning an IFBB card is a dream on the horizon.

In the mind of a competitor, plans vary from month to month. Sounds strange, but it's true. 2012 was filled with highlights and right now I'm still reliving being married. I learned to listen to my heart. It's hasn't failed me yet. I still train and work to maintain daily.

What Is the Most Important Fitness Tip?

Embrace being a student of fitness and absorb information. Eventually, you'll discover how to capitalize on your significance.

Who Is Your Favorite Fitness Competitor?

I look up to my coach, Austen DiPirro of The Fit Factory. My motivation for improvement is because of him. He's been patient for years; breaking me down just to build me back up and become the athlete I am today.

How Did Help You Reach Your Goals?

When the bodybuilding bug bit, I wanted to find out more about the sport, nutrition, and supplementation. provided accurate information that was quick and easy to utilize. I immediately started reading articles and using BodySpace to connect with others who share the same interests. There's something to say about a website that's up to date on current events in the fitness world. It's great for competitors and the everyday mom searching for new recipes so their family can live healthier.

Phannary's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "F**kin Problems" by ASAP Rocky
  2. "I'm Different" by 2 Chainz
  3. "My Moment" by DJ Drama
  4. "Bounce (Extended Remix)" by Calvin Harris
  5. "Stay" by Rihanna