Vlad Petric Has His Sights Set on NPC Nationals!

Someone once saiimage(1)d, “We measure success by met expectations.” If that happens to be the case, the budding bodybuilding career of Vlad Petric has been a resounding success thus far. If winning the novice division at the always competitive NPC Atlantic States in 2012 in his first ever competition wasn’t impressive enough, Vlad followed that up by winning his class just one week later at the NPC Garden State.

Now, with his sights set on taking the stage at Nationals in November, the Species Nutrition athlete is just a few short weeks away from potentially taking the stage as an amateur for the last time. Recently, Vlad and I had a chance to discuss his incredible journey through the iron game thus far, and you can read all of the details here in this Rx Muscle exclusive interview.

Q.) You first moved to the United States from Romania with your family when you were nine years old. How difficult was the transition initially coming to a new country? How long would you say it was before you adjusted to life in a new culture?
A.) Considering that I was only 8 years old at the time, the transition was very simple. I entered 3rd grade without speaking a word of English, and finished the school year completely fluent. At that young age, you’re very malleable and can adapt easily, especially when our standard of living improved here, having come from a post-communist Romania where this living standard was nowhere near the one in the US.

Q.) Did you have an athletic background prior to beginning your career as a bodybuilder?
A.) I was always very athletic as a kid. I played soccer, baseball and basketball. It was only later in high school where I began gravitating more towards individualistic sports, I took up fencing for three years and running cross country for one year.

Q.) You’ve previously mentioned that you began weight training in high school. Did strength and size gains come easily to you early on? Or would you call yourself a hardgainer?
A.) An ACL tear on my left knee junior year in high school is what prompted me to take on weight lifting more. Upon my recovery I wanted to partake in something that I had complete control over, and what better option than weight lifting, where everything revolves around your will and capabilities to control what you eat, how you train, optimal supplementation, etc. I was a skinny kid weighing 140 lbs. when I began, and I immediately saw muscle tone and definition. The actual size didn’t come until later on in college when I became more aware of my fast metabolism and was able to start manipulating macro nutrients to gain size as well.

Q.) At what point did you discover the sport of bodybuilding?
A.) There wasn’t an actual point in time per se where I discovered the sport of bodybuilding. It was more so a progression into it. My lifestyle gradually began revolving more and more around health and fitness and it was only a matter of time before I started getting the questions and compliments in the gym. I think when people begin noticing that you look the part, that’s when you start feeling the part, and that is the point when I began toying around with the idea of actually competing as well.

Q.) What athletes inspired you early on?image(2)
A.) Of course, watching Pumping Iron and seeing Arnold, like most of us, had a significant role in inspiring and motivating me to want to take my body to that level. I remember watching the earlier Jay Cutler DVD’s and being in awe at how someone can actually look like that. I was amazed, and to this day I strive to push my body to its maximum potential and hopefully not only turn pro, but also step on that Olympia stage.

Q.) Prior to stepping onstage you had already been training for a number of years, but you didn’t decide to compete for the first time until 2012. What was it that ultimately made you decide you were ready for competition?
A.) Honestly, there were two factors that prevented me from competing sooner than that. One, I didn’t have the proper guidance and knowhow of even how or where to get it. I didn’t want to just get advice from this guy in the gym and that guy. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right.
The other issue was the fact that I never really had the necessary support system. I’d always say jokingly that I just want to be a bodybuilder, and I was made to feel like that’s not something worth pursuing, that I’m better than that, too intelligent to waste time on such a trivial goal. I’m the type of person that if I embark on something, I am fully dedicated and will not be satisfied until I achieve the highest level of success. That being said, it took a little while, a lot of soul searching, some risk taking, and other failed opportunities to make the decision to start bodybuilding as a career.

Q.) Your first show was the NPC Atlantic States in 2012 where you won the novice overall, and took second in your class in the open division. Looking back, what would you say was the most difficult aspect of your first contest prep?
A.) I knew I would do well, I just didn’t know it would be this well. I remember inviting all of my friends, my parents – who at the time knew absolutely nothing about the sport or what I was doing – and I was somewhat nervous and anxious leading up to the actual show. I believed this was my one and only chance to prove that what I was doing had a purpose, that I was good at it, and ultimately can succeed and potentially even make a living out of it in the future.

Q.) What was it like to heimage(3)ar your name called as the Novice overall winner in your first bodybuilding contest?
A.) I felt very confident at the prejudging for that show in the morning, I remember stepping off stage after doing the comparisons and I almost teared up thinking that this is it. I finally did it, and it couldn’t have gone any better. When my name was called at night it just solidified that I am good at this and all I remember was hearing my father cheering for me in the audience; I knew from this point forward I would have all the support I needed from all my friends and most importantly, my family.

Q.) You didn’t waste much time following the Atlantic States before stepping onstage again as we saw you take the stage one week later at the NPC Garden State where you also won your class and were in contention for the overall. Was the competing in the Garden State always part of the plan? Or did you decide to jump in at the last minute because you were already in shape?
A.) It was always part of the plan. We weren’t sure how I would compete at the highest regional level doing a Bev show for the first time, so the Jersey show was to be done regardless, being that it was only a week later and I was still in contest shape.

Q.) Did you find it difficult to peak twice in such a short period of time given your relative inexperience onstage?
A.) Not at all, if anything I actually peaked more for the Garden State, weighing in 3 lbs. lighter, but much tighter, dryer and harder.

Q.) You recently got your first taste of national level competition at the North American Championships. What did you take away from your first national level experience?
A.) The level of competition here is much higher obviously than what I had experienced previously a year before. I came to the realization that you can’t underestimate this, and any minor mistake or lack of focus during prep will take away from your full potential. There was an issue tightening up at the pace I was supposed to and I wasn’t depleting as well as I should have so when it came time to carb up, we missed the window of opportunity and showed up too flat for prejudging. This obviously hurt my score, but these are things you learn from and can improve. I plan to bring a much better package for Nationals in November.

Q.) Hypothetical question: Currently you and Big Jon Ward are the only two male Species athletes. Let’s say Dave Palumbo locks the two of you in a steel cage and says that you have to fight to the death. Who wins? Why?
A.) Haha! That is something Dave would do, I can see it happening on a Heavy Muscle TV show for Rx Muscle. I heard a lot of great things about Jon and I’m looking forward to meeting and workimageing the booth with him at the Olympia expo this weekend. But if we were faced with this, although we are weight classes away from each other, it all comes down to a David and Goliath scenario – don’t be intimidated and simply outwit your opponent. Then again, that’s bodybuilding, too. And by the way, Dave, don’t get any ideas!

With his prep for Nationals now in full swing, it doesn’t appear that the relentless work ethic that has carried Vlad this far shows any signs of fading. Although he may not have the stage experience of some of the other competitors he’ll be standing next to at Nationals, Vlad carries and prepares himself like a battle-tested bodybuilding veteran who plans to leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of his pro card. The final chapter of Vlad’s amateur career is yet to be written, however, he appears to be a few weeks away from ending it with an exclamation point after those seven magical letters – IFBB Pro.