Christian Duque: I'd like to welcome a good friend to the StrengthAddicts.com audience!! Vince thank you so
much for joining us; it's been far too long of a wait & I really appreciate. Please take a moment to introduce
yourself to our audience (full name, age, hometown, home gym, and anything else you'd like to add).
Vince Brasco: Hello, I am Vince Brasco, “The Mini Hulk.” I live in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which is about 45
minutes outside the City of Pittsburgh. My home town gym is LA Fitness in Greensburg. I am one of the shortest in
the sport of body building as of right now standing at 4’1” tall. From these statistics, you may be able to tell that I
gave a form of dwarfism. I have a form of dwarfism that is called acondroplasia, which is the most common form.
This form is when the arms and legs are shorter than an average height person but the torso is the same size.
Christian Duque: It seems every athlete has a story behind when & why they first started lifting weights. Who or
what inspired you to start weight-training and at what point did you start seeing changes in your physique?
Vince Brasco: I started competing because with dwarfism, a lot of people have a weight problem and i
did not want to be like that. They do not know how to control their weight problem or they just let their bodies
go. I did not want to ever be like that. I wanted to be a role model to everyone who has dwarfism. If you have a
dream, go for it and never give up. Always believe in yourself. After weeks of being coached, I saw changes in my
physique. I was losing a lot of fat in problem areas and i was very happy but the progress is never done!
Christian Duque: So once you're in the gym, training hard, eating clean, and taking your supplements, at what
point did you decide you wanted to compete? Were you inspired by an athlete, did you attend a contest, or was it
just something that seemed like the logical next step.
Vince Brasco: I have been inspired to start doing shows by many professional athletes I follow. I have always
been a big fan of Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, Kai Greene and many more. Meeting them for the first time, it all
clicked. I wanted to do my first show. I did not know what to do, how to diet, how to train, or even how to enter
myself for a show. That is when I met my coach Tad Inoue “Tad The Diet Coach” at La fitness in Greensburg.
He was wearing all of his NPC wear and I went up to him and I asked him if he competed. I at least knew what the
NPC was. He said yes. Then I said I wanted to do a show. He said O great. From there our friendship has grown
stronger than ever. He is more of a brother to me than a coach. He calls me his mini Me.
Christian Duque: Let's talk about height-factor. There's a trend nowadays where certain people want to ignore
discrimination, somehow believing that if you close eyes and channel something out long enough, it ceases to
exist. Obviously, this is absurd. Talk to us any discrimination you've experienced in your life - related or unrelated
to the fitness industry - and how you've risen above it. (By the way, I think you're so courageous for being so
active in the fitness industry - I know you're an inspiration to countless people and I'm so f*cking grateful you're
doing this interview with my page, thank you brother).
Vince Brasco: Discrimination is always in the air when I am around. I never let it get to me because they are
not in my shoes and I will never stop doing something I love because of someone’s petty bullshit. I will keep being
the best I can be and if you do not like it then it does not bother me. I have many followers and I thank them daily. I
am never ungrateful in this sport because I am actually doing it. There are people out there that make comments
on my pictures that are negative or make fun. They are not competing or even training. They do not understand
what it is like. I always respond with positive reinforcement. Keep being the best you can be. If you love
this sport so much like I do and there are negative people that make comments about you or your physique, then
you are doing something right. For that one person that makes fun, there are thousands out there who are
encouraged by you and believe in you. When I get one negative comment, someone usually comments back
positively before I can come back. Never let people get you down. I have people that believe in me and I
thank God every day that I wake up to take a breath of fresh air because every day is a gift! Never take it
for granted because it can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. So if you have someone hating on you, never
ball up anger or come back with a mean comment for they do not understand and never will!
Christian Duque: So let's get back to the training - that's what all us gymrats live for anyways. Can I get an
Amen?! Lol . What's your preferred method of weight-training? Do you go heavy for low reps (HIT), do you prefer
high volume, or do you mix it up each workout? Also, what's your ultimate goal - if you had to pick one - size or
crazy definition / aesthetics? If you could look like Big Ramy or Shawn Rhoden, which physique would you want?
Vince Brasco: When I am in my off season and trying to gain all the size I can, I will use more weight with less
reps but I will always keep my reps to a minimum of 12 in off season. In prep, I will do more reps with lesser weight
because it will help with definition and muscle growth!
The second part of the question is very hard for me because I know both of them personally. Shawn has given
me many words of encouragement. The first time I officially met Shawn was at the Pittsburgh Pro. I stepped off
stage and I was a little discouraged because it was my first show and I did not get the placing that I thought I
should have gotten. He told me that each show I will get better and better. If you feel you look better each show,
then you have beaten yourself which is the goal most of the time. And ever since that day I have become more
humble and trained harder and harder to be the best I can be. Yes, I do like getting the first call out but then
again, if I looked, fuller and tighter each show, I have won because I beat my physique! As for Big Ramy, He is a
very humbled and large gentleman. He and his trainer, Dennis James, who I also know personally were at that
same show. He competes and asks for nothing in return but greatness and a great following which I believe he
gets. He puts his work in!
Christian Duque: In terms of nutrition, every body is different. I, for example, get way fat on fat, not carbs. Others
can do keto and get ripped. What do your normal meals look like, and how do they change during contest prep?
Also, do you every have an off-season (where you at whatever and however much you want) or do you keep the
diet pretty clean year-round?
Vince Brasco: Great question! I believe if you are a competitor, there is no such thing as an off-season
to where you can do whatever you want and eat how much of whatever you want. Yes, in my off season,
my meals are not as strict when I am in my season. I still measure out my foods in my off-season, I still train hard
every day, and I still keep everything coach tells me to do. Your season is depicted on how well you do in your off
season. Many have said (and I agree with this) there is no such thing as an off season because once you step off
that stage, everything starts again as to eating different, training different, and maintaining your muscle and
staying lean. You do not have to stay super lean in the off season but if you do gain fat, that just means extra
work when you are in season to lose it!
Christian Duque: You have a very solid friendship with Tad The Diet Coach and you're also his client. Talk to us
about how you met, your friendship, and what it's been like working with him? I though your coverage of the NPC
North American was very good btw!!
VInce Brasco: I actually met Tad at La Fitness, I was very small when I met him. I went up to him because he was
wearing his NPC wear and the first question out of my mouth was Hey, do you body build. He said yes. This is
when I started my prep for the Arnold Classic, which we decided to do the Pittsburgh Pro instead. He calls me his
Mini Me now and that nick name has stuck with me and will always be there. When I am with him now, he always
looks to see what I am eating, if I am training how I need to train, and if I am getting enough sleep which can be a
problem with me some times because I spend countless hours of the night getting work done. I was doing NPC
coverage and RX Muscle Play-by-plays at the North Americans. It was great just being there and meeting many
people and seeing my other friends in the industry.
Christian Duque: But I have to say... what kind of interview would this be if I didn't pick your brain about
supplements. If you're not sponsred, I wouldn't mention any specific company names (we're not running a charity
here Vince, if they want plugs, they gotta pay [lol]). What's your favorite type of protein powder (whey concentrate
or isolate, egg, soy, wheat, pea, etc?), creatine (monohydrate, krealkalyn, HCI, etc), and/or pre-workout (w/
caffeine or without). What role do supplements play in your actual program?
Vince Brasco: I like to use whey protein because it helps me gain the weight I need to gain in this off season and it also helps me not gain the
excess fat. I also use Lucine for the same reason. With my pre-workout shakes I put glutamine in it so it will help me with recovery. Supplements
actually play a fairly big role in my competing and my off season prep! They help me with recovery of my muscle fibers and they also make more
muscle fibers because they bind with everything I eat on a day to day basis.
Christian Duque: We've spent enough time talking about (Lol), let's talk about Pro Bodybuilding. There's less than two weeks to the Olympia and I
want to know your Olympia Top 6. You could play it safe (no one will make fun of you...) and not name them in order... Or... you could be a GAMBLING
man and go out a ledge and put a number to a man.
Vince Brasco: O No! This is a very hard question for me because I know a lot of the guys that will be competing this year for the Title for Mr. Olympia
and they know me, as well as a lot of the ladies that will be competing also!
1st- Phil Heath
2nd- Kai Greene
3rd- Big Ramy/ Victor Martinez
4th- Dennis Wolf/ Shawn Rhoden
5th- Branch Warren
6th- Dexter Jackson
This is just my opinion. If you do read this interview and you are one of these competitors and are friends of mine, please do not take it to heart. I know
all of these guys are training very hard to be the best they can be for the biggest show in the world. They will be in peak week very soon, which is my
favorite part of competing, when you get to see carbs again and are done with cardio! I do not know how Tad would agree with me on this for he is one
of the best when it comes to predictions! Best of luck to my friends. And remember, believe!
Christian Duque: Coming full circle, I'd like to know, what are some of the things you love most about the sport. Do you have any cool stories that
come to mind? Any positive feedback or special moments you've had thus far that come to mind? You don't even need to write this an answer - a
collection of thoughts or words will more than suffice.
Vince Brasco: There are many different occasions that come to my mind! As I have said, I have dwarfism. With dwarfism comes some health problems
and issues. I have had fifteen major surgeries, one of which was in 2007 which I almost lost my life. I was gone. Surgeries will never knock me
down from fulfilling my dreams and doing what I want to in life. You have to always be grateful for everything you are given, every day you wake
up and take a breath. I was first a power lifter before I even started my body building career. After my 6th knee surgery, I realized that power lifting
might just not be for me. I have always been a fan of Muscular Development and subscribed to their magazines over the years. When I met Tad last
year, it all clicked. If you have a dream or a goal, never give up. Like a speech I have heard before, everyone has a purpose in life, it just might take
some time to find that purpose. I find that my purpose is to compete, inspire others and show them that you have to believe in yourself and follow your
dreams! Never give up. If you fulfill a dream, make a new one and go after it!
Christian Duque: I know we haven't met, but I sincerely like you and what you represent. Thanks so much for being so patient with me and doing this
interview. Please take this opportunity to thank all those that have helped you along the way & please let your friends & fans know where they can go to
keep up to date with you (facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube. website, blogs, etc -- list them all).
Vince Brasco: It is my pleasure to do this interview and I thank you for the great opportunity!
My parents and grandparents have always been a strong support system. They believe in me, encourage me and challenge me to dream big and
be my best. In fact, my grandmother has been battling a very difficult cancer but still finds the strength no matter how much pain she is in to be a
positive influence of encouragement. And even though my grandfather passed on from his life in 2012, I still hear his voice telling me, "Vince, there
are a lot of flakes in this world; don't listen to them. Listen to your family and closest friends."
I thank Tad for being a coach, mentor and friend, and for making my name so notable in the industry. I am the shortest one in the NPC as of right now
who does body building. I also want to thank all the IFBB Pros who I have met in the industry and have been so gracious to talking to me.
They have been a very big inspiration to me over the years to be the best I can be. I also want to thank Jim Manion (President of the IFBB-NPC) for
letting me be in the sport of Body Building. I will never give up and I will continue to compete and be the best I can be.
When I eventually get that pro card, many will think it is over for me; for those people, I have to say there is never an end to the road to
success. Be the best you can be and always thank people that matter the most to you. My family has been a big part in my career of body building
and my school career which I attend ITT Technical Institute for Computer Networking. They motivate me to be the best I can be every day. Every
day is a gift and never think anyone owes you anything.
Everyone can follow my twitter at minihulk1992 and my instagram at minihulk92
My Facebook fan page is minihulkofgbg.
|NPC Bodybuilder VINCE BRASCO - "THE MINI HULK" - Speaks!!