Melissa Alcantara grew up in a poor section of the Bronx, New York. She was living month to month, a smoker, had gained 70 lbs. during her pregnancy and was depressed and uninspired. She decided to make some changes and started working out. When she got good results in a short amount of time, started entering bodybuilding competitions and documenting her fitness journey online under the name of ‘Fitgurlmel.’ She appeared on reality series The Titan Games but her big break came in 2016 when Kim Kardashian asked Alcantara to become her personal trainer. Alcantara moved to LA and Kardashian’s glowing online praise made her business take off. Alcantara has her own fitness program called Insanity Max 30 and she also offers a nutrition program. She has almost a million followers on Instagram alone. Alcantara weighs about 135 lbs.
Melissa Alcantara’s Diet
Alcantara says she ate a lot of junk growing up, and thought that a healthy meal was having some lettuce with her rice and beans from time to time. She also admits to having an unhealthy relationship with food when she was young and going through starve/binge cycles. What really got her to pay attention to her diet was pregnancy. She did some research and discovered that nutrition was the most important component of weight loss. At first, she tried Weight Watchers and lost 10 lbs., but she dropped a total of 40 lbs. over time by cleaning up her diet and exercising. She also engages in intermittent fasting. She’ll have coffee first thing, but then she won’t eat until after her first workout, so she usually has no food before noon, and generally saves up her calories for the night when she feels hungriest. She has permanently ditched pizza and donuts and instead eats balanced meals consisting of lean protein such as chicken and fish, natural carbs like rice and plenty of veggies. She stays hydrated by drinking about a gallon of water each day.
- Medium Protein 35% 35%
- Medium Fat 35% 35%
- Medium Carb 50% 50%
Stock Up on the Good Stuff
To keep temptation at bay, Alacantarra only keeps healthy foods in the house. She says that if it comes out of a box, it should not be in your pantry.
Alacantara has Dominican heritage, and she likes to eat island food, such as chicken or eggs with rice and beans as her first meal of the day. For dinner, Alacantara often has fish, vegetables and rice.
Don’t Go Nuts
Alcantara says that while a lot of people hit the nuts and peanut butter when they’re hungry, they pack a lot of calories. If weight loss is your goal, you should watch your intake.
Hydration Is Key
Alcantara recommends drinking at least 100 oz. of water each day. She herself usually has a gallon.
Alcantara still eats 3-4 meals per day, but she has them between noon and 9 pm, meaning she fasts 15 hours per day.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Alcantara On Fad Diets
‘I don’t believe in easy hacks, especially when it comes to a healthy diet.’
Alcantara On Being Healthy Without Addressing Diet
‘There’s just no way around it.’
Alcantara On Carbs
‘Carbs are needed, and some people actually need a lot more carbs than others…But I’m talking about real carbs like sweet potatoes…Rice cakes and fiber crisps are NOT carbs. They’re just just processed foods.’
Melissa Alcantara’s Fitness Routine
Weekly Workout Routine
Be Consistent & Stay Positive
Alcantara’s advice is to show up and do the work, and to always remember your mind is your most powerful tool that will allow you to succeed.
Every Action Counts
Alcantara says that all the things you do, from what you choose to eat to whether you choose to show up for your workout, are what decides whether you are fit — or not. She says we should all be eating and moving with health as our goal, rather than a specific weight.
Time is precious and Alcantara says that if you want to make the most of it, it is essential to plan your workouts and your meals ahead of time.
Alcantara is up at 4 am. She has coffee and reads a positive message to start her day off right.
Work It All
Balance is key. Alcantara says to be sure to work all the different parts of your body, not to focus on one thing like shoulders or abs.
Weight Train for the Win
Alcantara makes a point to walk 10k steps each day, which she counts as her cardio. But she says weight training is very important for toning, and it’s easy to turn lifting weights into a cardio routine so long as you keep moving.
Although most people want instant results, Alcantara believes in creating a routine that you can stick with for at least a year because changing the body and developing good habits take time. She primarily does weightlifting and yoga.
A Melissa Alcantara Routine
Kickbacks: to define the glutes, get on hands and knees and arch back (down, like Cow Pose). Lift 1 knee and pull it forward then kick heel toward ceiling. Continue to failure. Repeat on other side.
Banded Lunges: Wrap band at knees. Stand straight, knees turned out slightly. Hands on hips, walk forward, bending deeply but do not allow knee to touch ground. Repeat 120x.
Lat Pull-Downs: Thumbs extended, grip bar and sit, hips pressed against pad. Pull bar down to chest by leaning back slightly. As you let the bar go up, keep shoulders down and allow head to return to position directly under bar. Repeat to failure.
Bent-over Barbell Rows: Thumbs extended, grip bar. Push hips back, chest up, shoulders away from ears. Elbow will point out as you lift. You will feel this in glutes. Repeat to failure but do not lose form.
Lying Leg Lifts: Lie on back, hands tucked under low back. Lift chest to bring shoulder blades off ground. Lift legs, knees slightly bent and feet flexed. Keep back flat on ground as you lift.
Planks: Wrists, elbows and shoulders in alignment, legs extended, heels pushing back, back in a straight line, neither curving down or up, core engaged. Pull elbows in to engage chest. Hold for as long as you can with good form.
Stairmaster: If you want to get your steps in on a Stairmaster, don’t hold the rails. Keep hips stationary & make your legs do the work. Don’t bounce. Extend leg fully before taking the next step. Don’t zone out. Mental focus gives better physical results.
Alcantara On Consistency
‘Motivation comes and goes, but showing up and doing the work creates results.’
Alcantara On Fitness
‘No one thing makes you fit, and there are no hacks to get there. It’s about doing many small, healthy things for positive results that build up over time.’
Alcanatara On Motivation
‘Motivation is just like a muscle: it grows and gets stronger with every passing day you put in the work.’
Alcantara On Making A Plan
‘Wandering around the gym to do a little bit of this and that and then grabbing a salad is not a plan.’
Alcantara On Success
‘If I can do it, you can do it.’
Melissa Alcantara’s Supplements
Alcantara doesn’t talk much about her vitamins and supplements, but a prenatal vitamin supplement is a must for moms-to-be because they provide nutrition for both mom and the growing baby.
A multivitamin is still a good idea postpartum to help fill in any nutritional gaps for those days when you can barely remember what or if you ate.
Collagen can help your skin regain its elasticity and also supports bone and joint health if you are new to working out.
Vitamin D also fights depression and can help with weight loss.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts your immune system which can help you fend off illness when you’re run down from caring for baby round the clock.
Probiotics can help get digestion back on track if you took tons of pain meds with the delivery, and especially if you had a C-section.
Melissa Alcantara’s Lifestyle
Alcantara admits to only getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night, and agrees that more is better.
School of Hard Knocks
Alcantara says her childhood was rough. Her mother held down 2 jobs to support the family and her father was an alcoholic drug addict.
Riding the Wave
Alcantara quit more than one good-paying full-time job to pursue her career in fitness. Kim Kardashian called her a short time after she won her first bodybuilding competition.
Advice to Would-Be Entrepreneurs
Alcantara says anyone who is thinking about starting a business should just go for it. Take risks, and especially learn how to fail, because failure is a big part of success.
Alcantara says if she weren’t a trainer, she’d probably be a fighter. She has trained in Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. She would also consider being a hair stylist.
Alcantara On Life Lessons
‘One thing that growing up in chaos taught me was that no matter what happens in your life, you have got to fight.’
Alcantara On Herself
‘I never set out to be a trainer or a social media fitness chick. I did all this because I wanted it for me.’
Alcantara On Priorities
‘I took a hard look at myself, my thoughts, actions, emotions, and decided that I wanted to be more than a tired and overweight person.’
Alcantara On Self-Care
‘If you can’t take care of yourself first, you can’t care for anyone else.’
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