A professional body builder who Kim Kardashian credits with getting her in the best shape of her life, has revealed how she carved such an impressively toned physique after once weighing close to 200 pounds.
Melissa Alcantara, 32, from New York, saw her weight jump dramatically after the birth of her daughter, Isabella in 2011.
But after deciding to embark on a rigorous diet and fitness regime, the mother-of-one was able to overhaul her figure – slimming down to a trim 135 pounds – and compete in her first ever bodybuilding competition.
Before and after: Melissa Alcantara, 32, a professional body builder and personal trainer from New York, transformed her body after the birth of her daughter in 2011
Progress: Melissa pictured in 2011 before the birth of her daughter, Isabella and in 2017 while competing in her first bodybuilding competition, lost 62lbs
Couple goals: Melissa and her husband Victor have both shaped up in the six years since Melissa gave birth, pictured here in 2011 and 2017
Now based in Los Angeles, Melissa describes her pregnancy as ‘hard’ and says she was ‘always sick, hungry’ and just wanted ‘my normal body back, but shared with her fans that she was not only able to do that but achieve ‘an even better body’ than before.
Her transformation didn’t happen overnight – Melissa says that for two years, she didn’t know what to do to lose weight.
‘I ate low fat yogurt, skipped meals, ate salads, did detoxes, did cardio sometimes, what else was there to do? There had to be a trick someone wasn’t telling me,’ she wrote on her Instagram page.
Melissa who now also has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, says she found out the hard way that there was no easy solution to get the results she was longing for.
‘I woke up one day so tired of being tired. I just didn’t want to feel the way I did anymore. I hated how I felt in my skin, I was tired all day. I ate crap I knew wasn’t good for me I had to make a change,’ she told FEMAIL.
She was inspired to start working out after watching an infomercial for Insanity by Beachbody and lost 40 pounds in 60 days.
A couple of years later she auditioned to be in the new Insanity Max 30 videos and is now in half of the videos for Insanity Max30.
Describing her former diet as ‘crap’, Melissa revealed she used to eat out for nearly every meal and when she didn’t eat out, ordered in. However, her diet today is much different.
‘Rewarding yourself with a protein bar or pizza after every salad you have will never give you the results you want,’ she explained.
A fan of fresh, whole foods, Melissa frequently posts pictures of her meals on her Instagram page and some of her most mouth-watering creations include overnight oats with chia seeds, frozen fruits and fresh coconut, and homemade vegan, gluten and dairy-free chocolate brownies with no added sugar.
Curve appeal: Reality star Kim Kardashian has been following Melissa’s program after discovering her on Instagram
Dedication: Kim says she’s now the most fit she’s even been and works out for an hour and a half every day
Reality check: Melissa used to eat 2500-3000 calories of ‘crappy fried or processed foods’ per day but now consumed 1700-1900 calories full of nutrients
She says she now rarely eats out: ‘I rarely eat processed foods or foods that contain much sugar, I rarely have dairy, no butter, no fried foods. I occasionally go out to eat and have my burger (gourmet) or usually made at home or have my occasional beer or cocktail. I only drink water every day or coffee but I don’t drink soda or sugary juice drinks. I eat balanced meals that contain protein, carbs and good, healthy fats and veggies for micronutrients. I take my supplements every day, an array of vitamins, probiotics, and fish oil.’
She also works out for up to an hour and a half, six times per week, and eats between 1700-1900 calories a day.
‘Before I would eat about 2500-3000 a day of crappy fried or processed foods which were full of calories but no substance or nutrients, basically empty calories, so I never felt satisfied,’ she added.
And her sage, non-nonsense attitude to fitness is undoubtedly what sets her apart. Her advice? ‘It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget about yourself. The recipe for motivation is within you, it starts with being really f**king tired of not being the person you want to be then one day you say enough is enough and you change your life.
‘You start to wake up at 5am even though you just want to sleep, three weeks go by and it’s not so bad, you start to work out at 6am even though you don’t know exactly what you’re doing but three weeks later you start to feel like a pro, you start to eat oatmeal instead of fruit loops because you read somewhere that oatmeal is better than fruit loops.’
She also advised to keep it simple in the beginning because if you make it too complicated, it’ll become too difficult to begin.
‘Change is hard, no one likes it, it’s not comfortable so don’t try to make it comfortable because the joy of change is the struggle,’ she added.
Having successfully built up a clientele thanks to her fitness program, Melissa’s 8-Week Body Sculptor, Melissa is now enjoying nationwide success after reality star Kim Kardashian revealed she asked the bodybuilding to help transform her body.
Keep it simple: Melissa works out for an hour and a half, six times per week and has reduced the amount of cardio she does, preferring to use weights instead
Same bikini, different person: Melissa has overhauled her body in (pictured here pre and post pregnancy) thanks to her own program, Melissa’s 8 Week Body Sculptor
Champ: By 2017, six years after the birth of her daughter, Melissa had won her first bodybuilding competition
Melissa who appeared in a recent episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, can be seen telling Kim and Khloe about her journey.
The episode documents Kim’s decision to cut out junk food and embrace a healthier lifestyle.
‘I’m going to start a really crazy diet. I was looking on Instagram and this body builder popped up on my page and she had gained 70 pounds in her pregnancy. Her kid’s like six now. She is like ripped,’ Kim tells Kris Jenner.
‘Melissa is a trainer I found. She’s super inspiring to me and I really want to meet up with her and she if she could train me. She could help direct my food and really get me on an amazing path… If I was 10 percent like her it would be life-changing. Like my whole arms and back. It’s mostly food. I gotta have this lifestyle. I gotta try,’ she added.
Later in the episode where Kim and Melissa work out together doing a series of squats, lunges and weights, Kim tells her new trainer she’s also inspired to get abs.
During a breathless break Kim tells her, ‘I’ve never been pushed to get them, but I know I could.’
Kim may have found Melissa by chance on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean her rise to the top has been an easy one.
In 2012 she left her full time job as a marketing assistant making $50,000 a year to become a production intern making $7.50 an hour, ‘because that’s what I wanted to do’ and in 2015, she says she left her full time job working as a photography producer making $60,000 a year to work as a hostess making $13 an hour so she could focus on fitness full time.
In 2016, Melissa wrote her first fitness program, Melissa’s 8-Week Body Sculptor and by 2017 had won her first bodybuilding competition. Then the call from Kim Kardashian came.
‘I want to post this so everyone knows there’s a struggle behind most success stories! I’ve had a couple of transformations but this is by far craziest one.
‘For anyone who wants to follow their dreams, who wants to do what they love, TAKE RISKS!! Get out of your comfort zone and do something for you! You never know what could happen,’ she added.