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Clarisse Richardson: Squatting Deep and Asking Questions

Clarisse is a little tank in the gym, front squatting more than most bros will even try to back squat. The former skinny girl turned figure competitor is looking at the 2016 season for her first show. Sticking with the old school movement that work well, Clarisse has been able to build her body and look solid. The results of her training are extremally obvious with just one look at her. It is hard to think that she was ever weighing close to 100 pounds and a skinny girl.

How old are you, where are you from, and do you squat ass to grass?
I’m 23 years young, originally from Chicago – but currently living in Georgia. When I squat I break parallel, I don’t go down “*ss to grass”. Nothing against it, it’s just my preference and what I’ve found most beneficial for me and my body type.

What areas of weight training do you train and what is your best squat?
I started off just wanting to get stronger and was considering powerlifting, but fell in love with my body’s transformation. Now my main focus is bodybuilding and I’ve started prepping for my first figure competition! When I was going for strength the most I ever tried was 275, that is still my current PR for back squat. For front squat, my PR is 225.

Where do you train? Do you have a lifting team or partner?
I’m part of a competition team from back home. It’s called Team Synergy through Kingdom Fitness in Waukegan, IL. Unfortunately, I can’t train with them since I’m currently living in Georgia… BUT I do, however, have a fellow teammate living down here who has always been my gym partner. I’m very fortunate that we still get to train together every day.

How did you into bodybuilding?
Well, I’ve always loved being active and working out – but it was my boyfriend who really taught me how to lift properly, and how to eat. In 2012, I was over-medicated and decided to stop taking all prescriptions. After a few months, my emotions were all over the place and I started to starve myself and then binge eat, followed by throwing up my food. By the beginning of 2013, I weighed around 107 pounds and my boyfriend got onto me and snapped me out of the mindset I was in. That summer I started myself on a clean, healthy, diet, where I was consuming 2000 calories a day. I continued to do my workouts (which were mainly cardio) and put on healthy weight. I came to Georgia in the summer of 2014 and that’s when I really started training hard. I ate whatever I wanted but really learned how to lift properly and I’ve never looked back since. Bodybuilding has already changed my life in so many positive ways that I can’t imagine what else it will bring to me and how else it will change me.

What does a normal leg day workout look like for you?
I split my leg days up – one day I’ll focus on quads and hit my outer sweep, and then the other day I’ll do mostly hamstrings and a few glutes. For my quads, I keep it pretty basic. I warm up with leg extensions and then hit different squat variations, focusing on the front and outside of my legs. For my hamstring days, I like to start with leg curls and then move to the Smith machine for different lunge variations. I hit a lot of straight legged deadlifts, good mornings, and then end with another few sets of leg curls. I go for feeling, so I don’t really have a set plan when I step into the gym. It’s all about getting that mind muscle and really feeling each workout, I hate wasting time.

So what’s next for you? Any goals you have to hit? (short and long term)?
My first competition is April 23rd and that is my warm up competition for the Kevin Noble on May 14th. My short term goal is to crush it, obviously, lol. I just want to come in in my best condition and if I win or place then it will be a bonus because I want to qualify for Nationals. Long term, I want to get my pro card and just continue to get better and better!

When you lift heavy, when was the first time you out lifted a guy? And what do your non-lifter friends think about what you do?
The first time I out lifted a guy was when I was repping out 205 for squats and when I looked over to my left, there was a guy struggling with 185. I high-fived myself in my head and felt so cool! I don’t know his situation – he could have been recovering from an injury or just starting out. No judgement, though, I hope no one gets discouraged when someone else lifts more than them because we’re all working towards our own goals… Everyone has a different background and a different story and I want to be a reason for someone to be proud of themselves and push harder – not give up or slow down!

What do you tell women who think lifting heavy makes you look “manly”?
I tell them that they aren’t going to get that big and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. Most of the women who reach out to me or talk to me about working out all have the same goal – “tone up” or “lose weight”. I tell every single one of them that if they want to do either of those things, they need to build some muscle so they can burn more fat. You don’t have to try to look like a bodybuilder or do anything crazy, but lifting weights is going to get you into the best shape.

Anything you would like to tell the younger lifters? and/or anything else you would like to add?
Never give up! Set long term goals for yourself, but also set short term goals to help keep yourself motivated. The only person who is in control of reaching those goals is you, so take the time, money, and effort, and just invest in yourself. Do your research, get to know your body, and be a little selfish…don’t give up, just move the weight!

Follow Clarisse on Instagram

Closing out 2015 with a killer leg workout 😫 Haven't done these in FOREVER, but checking out my progress pics, it seems one of my weakest points is my lower I'm tryna keep growing these hammies and glutes. Started out hitting 4 sets of 15 of good mornings and 10 sets of 10 for deadlifts 😆 Pride aside, I'm not even thinking about the weight – just concentrating on each workout while focusing on each muscle….. 17 weeks out guys and every workout, every set, and every rep counts 💪 #NervousWreck Put in the work but stay humble – I can't stand a cocky mother….wait 🙊 2016 – I-I- I'm ready for ya 😘😜 #GameTimeWhichWayYouWantit #TeamSynergy #CompPrep #Figure #BossGirls #RumpRoast #MoonsOverMyHammies #GirlsWithMuscle #GirlsWhoLift #FitFam #NeverSettle #HustleHarder #iDoThisForMe #LegDay #MatchHarderThanMe #StayHungry #StayHumble

A video posted by Clarisse Rich (@msclarisseepoo) on

Founder of Fight Against Chicken Legs, part-time workout stuff, sometimes making websites look pretty, and saving the world #OneRepAtATime