When Marissa Rivero McGrath sets her mind to something, she doesn’t mess around. The petite bikini phenom decided she would compete in January 2013—“It was kind of a New Year’s resolution type thing”—and before you could say, “quarter turn to the right,” she had picked a contest, hired a trainer and nailed down a pro card at the ’13 NPC USA. Encouraged by her coaches at Team Edge, she also moved from Miami to Los Angeles and snagged a serious slew of sponsors. When asked if she has a day job, McGrath, says, “I actually don’t. I’m sponsored and do online training here and there.”
You might say she’s living the dream.
Marissa, who’s married to IFBB pro bodybuilder Frank McGrath, has a background in dance and competitive cheerleading, but she was not into the weights when she began her adventure. Not surprisingly, she’s made up for lost time, as evidenced by what you see in the accompanying photos.
Let’s uncover a bit more about this buff beauty.
Name: Marissa Rivero McGrath
Place of residence:
Marina del Rey, California
Date of birth: May 9, 1989
Weight: 105 pounds
Occupation: IFBB pro athlete
Current sponsors: Prime Nutrition, 6 Pack Bags, Ravish Sands, Catered Fit and Ingrid Romero Custom Competition Bikinis
Favorite movie or TV show: Movie: Rocky III (“Eye of the Tiger”); favorite shows: Walking Dead, American Horror Story
Favorite healthful food: I love oatmeal and sushi—I can never have enough sushi!
Favorite cheat food: My favorite cheat will always be pizza—plain cheese or pepperoni—and chocolate ice cream, of course!
Current training program:
Monday: Glutes and hams
Thursday: Quads, hams and glutes
Saturday: Full-body circuit—yes, more glutes!
Sample bodypart workout:
Walking lunges, unweighted
(warm-up) 1 x 50
Walking lunges, weighted 2 x 50
Smith-machine sumo squats
3 x 20
Smith-machine donkey kicks
3 x 20
Hip thrusts with
straight bar 3 x 20
Kickbacks on cable 3 x 20
Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 x 20
3 x 20
Lying leg curls 3 x 20
Seated leg curls 3 x 20
Why so much glute training?
I glute train three or four times a week. I like having a bubble butt, and in order for me to maintain that, I’ve convinced myself I have to train glutes as much as possible—haha. Glutes on a girl are as important as arms on a guy! You can never do enough kickbacks, in my opinion!
What has been the biggest mistake you’ve made with your training in the past?
My biggest mistake was my lack of weight training. Before I joined Team Edge and started competing, I was always in and out of the gym quickly. I would do my 45 minutes of cardio and abs, and leave. I was under the impression that lifting weights would make me huge. Boy, was I wrong!
IM: Cardio: love it or hate it? What type has worked best for you?
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with cardio. I wouldn’t necessarily say I love it, but when I’m done, I feel amazing! I’ve stuck with HIIT intervals, doing about 25 to 30 minutes five times a week, usually on the treadmill or bike.
If you could go back in time to when you first started training, what is one piece of advice you would give your rookie self?
Lift some weight, and do less cardio!
What does your current nutrition look like?
MR: Since I’m not dieting for a show right now, my meals are tracked more through macros. Here’s what a typical day looks like:
Meal 1: 3/4 cup oatmeal, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
Meal 2: 4 to 5 ounces chicken, 1/2 cup rice
Meal 3: 4 egg whites, 1/2 avocado
Meal 4: Post-workout protein shake with 1 banana
Meal 5: Red meat, 6 ounces sweet potato
Meal 6: Ground turkey, salad with balsamic dressing
What supplements do you take currently?
Prime Nutrition’s Fat Burner; Phytoform, a fruits and greens replacement; EAAs, which are essential amino acids, glutamine and a chocolate protein powder.
If you could eat one thing all the time with no negative repercussions, what would it be?
Chocolate—I love chocolate!
What motivates you?
Besides constantly being inspired by all the photos I see via Instagram of other competitors, there’s no motivation for hitting the gym like a new set of gym clothes or sneakers—haha. Whenever I lose motivation, I Google some motivational videos and head to the mall to buy some new workout gear.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Earning my IFBB pro card in seven months with the help of my amazing coaches!
What’s your secret for getting sponsorships?
I’ve gotten asked this question a lot. There really is no secret to getting a sponsorship. Just do your thing, compete, work out, be you, and the sponsorships will come to you!
What is the number one philosophy you live by?
If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up!
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Set foot on all seven continents, 2) learn to surf, 3) learn to speak another language fluently.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a few projects, including an e-book that I will launch with my website this year. Stay tuned!