Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Rachael Pursues A Bodybuilding Pro Card
Tragedy urged Rachael to change majors and improve her strength. Now she wants the big prize: to stand on the Olympia stage!
Name: Rachael Pecoraro
Location: Elkridge, MD
Weight: 149 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 12
How did your fitness journey begin?
I ran cross country in high school, and continued running in college. I started weight training in college when I decided I wanted a career in law enforcement. Now, 12 years later, I have brought my passion and drive to be strong to a whole new level! I started competing in 2013, with my first show being the NPC Baltimore Gladiator Championships, held in Towson, Maryland. I took first place out of three, and haven't stopped since.
I grew up in Buffalo, NY, and started my athletic career as a little league baseball player at the age of 11. My younger brother and I played on the same team, with our dad as our assistant coach. I played until I was a teenager, and we moved to Kansas City. While living there, I remember asking my parents for a piece of cardio equipment for Christmas—who does that at the age of 14?! A year later we moved back to Buffalo, and I began running cross country and track.
Rachael Pecoraro 2014 Metropolitan Bodybuilding Womens Bodybuilding Pre Judging
Watch The Video - 2:32
I switched college majors from physical therapy to criminal justice after the murder of my grandfather. I needed a different level of strength to get through the police academy training, and I realized running wasn't a well-rounded option. That's when I found the weight room and found my new passion. I started going to the gym every day, and it's been a staple in my life since.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
The gym is my time to focus and spend time on myself. I have a hectic schedule, so being able to focus on myself for a couple hours each day is important. If I am having a bad day, or even a good day for that matter, I can escape to the gym and make it worth my time!
What drives me to get better is seeing the improvements in my physique. It pushes me and keeps me motivated to power through each lift and shape my body into my idea of perfection. Being a competitive bodybuilder, I have to stay focused and make sure I bring the best package possible to the stage.
What or who motivates you to live healthy?
I'm lucky enough to have a very supportive family by my side. I've watched my family engage in healthier lifestyles since I started competing. My dad constantly compares workout tips, my mom asks about diet, and my sister always checks in to see that I am on track. They keep me focused and motivated to do better. I also have a fiancé—Steve Rovelstad—who stands by my side and assists me every day in training and food prep. He's also a bodybuilder, so he understands the daily grind that we go through.
Where did you go for inspiration?
When I am lacking motivation, I watch "Pumping Iron" and YouTube videos about bodybuilders. I'll also pull up old competition photos to see where I need improvements. I tend to be overly critical of myself, and focus on those areas that I want to better. Symmetry is essential in bodybuilding.
What are your future fitness plans?
I am competing in my first National-level show that is an IFBB Pro Qualifier at the end of July. My ultimate goal is to be an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder. Once I achieve that milestone, I can't wait to see how my future unfolds.
What is the most important fitness tip?
One piece of advice I would give other bodybuilders is to always remember why you are doing this. No one forces you to go to the gym or follow a restricted diet; you do it because you want it, and hopefully you do it for yourself. Don't worry about that other guy standing next to you at the dumbbell rack. Focus on your gains, your form, and your growth. Don't be afraid to invest in yourself.
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
My favorite female bodybuilder is Anne Luise Freitas. I think she has a beautiful physique and presents herself perfectly on stage!
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
The articles on the website are packed full of information! When I need to change up a routine, or feel like my lift is getting boring, I can go on the site and find something new to try. I have a BodySpace account, and it's awesome to be able to pull up other people's fit status to see who else is out there getting ready for shows or powering through some incredible feats.
Rachael's Favorite Gym Tracks
"The Warrior's Code"
Five Finger Death Punch
"Ain't No Grave"
- 2013 NPC Baltimore Gladiator Championships - 1st Place
- 2013 NPC Athlete of the Month
- 2013 NPC Muscle Max Woodbridge - 1st Place Heavyweight
- 2014 PC Baltimore Gladiator Championships - 1st Place
- 2014 NPC Mr./Mrs. Buffalo Bodybuilding Championships - 1st Place
- 2014 NPC Steve Stone Metropolitan Championships - 1st Place Heavyweight
- 2014 NPC Emerald Cup - 2nd Place
- Steven Rovelstad, my fiancé, for being by my side throughout this crazy fitness adventure and always supporting me no matter what.
- My Coach, Matt Porter. Without him I wouldn't be in the best shape of my life.
- David Johnston, my old training partner and coach. He saw my potential and helped push me to my limits every day.