Annette D'Alessandro - UFE Figure World Champion

When I turned 40 (5 years ago) I decided that it was time to get in better shape and take time for me. My children were old enough that life was getting a little easier, I have a very encouraging husband and I had more time for myself if I prioritized my fitness goals and schedule.

At that time, I didnít want to go back to the gym and do the traditional cardio and weights. I enjoyed group fitness so I joined a cardio kickboxing class with all women and had a very motivating instructor. It was a new business for her and she was great at it. Before you knew it, the classes were large, moved to a new building and was the talk of the town. I fell in love with the class, her style of teaching and the challenge she brought to each class I showed up to. Because of her I fell in love with fitness again.


A video posted by Annette D'Alessandro (@annettedalessandro) on


It was definitely a challenge but I was up for it and looked forward to going to class and wanting more. It took time and after roughly a year I felt as though I overcame some challenges I had in the beginning, I was getting stronger and ready for something more. This is when I joined Powerhouse Gym in Lake Orion, MI. I signed up with a personal trainer to get myself acclimated again with the weight room and put a plan together. My trainer at the time asked me my goals and I said it was to get in the best shape of my life. After a few months I wanted more and thatís when the seed was planted about competing. I was told I had good symmetry and I put on muscle relatively quick. Well, thatís when I started training for my first show and in roughly 8 months I entered the NPC Nicole Wilkins and was a figure competitor. I won 5th Overall and 1st in Grand Master Figure. Itís funny because when I had my winning moment and had my picture taken with Nicole Wilkins and at that time didnít really fully understand who she was or what I was really doing! I loved the whole prep process and seeing my body drastically change for this show but the win was even better.

Last year (2015), I entered into my first UFE (Ultimate Fitness Events) competition in the USA. My prep was pretty much the same as the last but trained a bit more intense and with a little more understanding of what the process is about and learned more about my body. I entered into the fitness model and figure categories and took first for both categories including master figure qualifying me to Elite status. I then qualified to earn my pro card for the next UFE event which I entered the same year and won in both figure and fitness model. So I have now earned my dual pro card in fitness model and figure and was asked the question if I wanted to compete in 2 months at the World Championship in Toronto against all the other pros in UFE. Me, being the competitive person I am said sure. Now this is the third show in one year, it was quite taxing on the body and mind but I pushed through it! Last year at the World Championship I placed 8th in Fitness Model and 3rd Masterís Figure and 7th in Figure Open. It was a great show season last year and to be on a pro stage with so many other great competitors was such an experience.

Just a few weeks ago I stepped on the pro stage again with UFE in Toronto and was blessed to win first place, World Champion in Figure and 4th place in Fitness Model. I had such a great time competing this year. My mind and body were at a whole different level and it felt great.


From sweaty gym rat to big hair and real clothes! Ready to judge an exciting all natural fitness show#ufehalloweenmayhem #chicago #fitness #muscle #ufenation #imnoteveryone # #fit_over_40 #stageready #fitandfab

A photo posted by Annette D'Alessandro (@annettedalessandro) on


Diet

After I compete I give myself a little time to reset my eating and training but try very hard not to fall off the deep end and eat everything in sight but slowly introduce back carbs. I do not want to go over 15lbs of my show weight so I do monitor what I eat and how many cheats I give myself. My protein intake is definitely higher in the off season in order to build muscle, as well as the good fats and carbs.

I have learned how to use essential fatty acid's and heart healthy fats placed strategically in my diet to control insulin levels which kept my energy levels a bit more stable and lead to fat loss at a much accelerated rate.

For my pre-contest diet, it is very structured and is the same foods every meal so the planning is very easy and I donít feel as though I am constantly prepping a ton of different foods. For some, this is boring and canít eat the same foods day in day out but for me I find it much easier and I feel more successful on this plan.

Training

I really enjoy group fitness and the people at the gym so I go to group classes/boot camps at least 2x a few times a week. I lift every day, heavy in the off season and during the beginning stages of my prep. I will also throw in spin classes and HIIT sessions to keep my metabolism sparked. So I guess you can say I love the weight room, cardio is a must at least 4 days a week in the off season and group fitness a few days a week. No matter what, I lift and always throw something else in whether it be a class or HIIT.

Some people use their carb days to lift heavy but I really donít strategize that way. I love to lift heavy and will push my limits whether it is a zero carb day or high. I know I must eat in order to have the energy and build muscle so my diet in the off season is a key factor on how I am going to perform in the gym. During the off season the protein and carbs are higher which do help me lift heavier. As the prep/cut for a show goes I do begin to lose my strength the later I get into the cut but that is normal so the weight drops, more reps and I go to failure.

Building self-confidence

It was not easy. At first the thought of the whole process was very intimidating but I enjoyed the workouts and didnít think too much of what was going to happen at the end of all of it. Once I had a few suit fittings and started practicing posing I began to dig a little deeper into what I had gotten myself into and thought I must be crazy to do this at my age! With the support and encouragement of my trainers, friends and family I suppressed those fears and thought what the heck I did all this work now itís time to showcase it and check it off my list. Well the week of I was in sheer panic but I visualized myself on stage and what I had to do every step of the way and found the day of the show it was exactly what I needed to be doing. I was so nervous back stage but I had the best stage mom aka trainer and then the switch flipped for me as I was about to walk on stage and I felt as though I owned it. It was an awesome feeling and an even better feeling when I won my first NPC competition ever.


A video posted by Annette D'Alessandro (@annettedalessandro) on


Recent Experience

The most memorable would have to be winning the World Championship in Figure this year. UFE is always so welcoming and meeting so many competitors from all over the country is such an awesome experience. There were competitors from the UK, Australia, Mexico, USA, Canada, and Europe. To see so many people with the same passion for fitness come together for an event that is competitive but have everyone be so friendly and encouraging to one another is so nice and refreshing. Back stage everyone is friendly, joking and sharing their food and you really get to meet and create some new friendships and hear all about their story and I get inspired to be better.

Being on stage can be scary but realizing that I left no stone unturned definitely makes me more confident going into it. By the time you hit the stage the work is done now itís time to show what you have worked so hard for all those months. For me it pushes me to continue to work on myself and make myself a stronger, healthier, and better person. In the end we all know we did our best and we should be proud of accomplishing what we set out to do.

Future Plans

I am look forward to a great off season training program, build muscle and bring a better physique to the stage next year. I would also like to pursue a group training certification as well as explore other fitness related opportunities whether they be print/advertising, working fitness events and assisting other likeminded fitness enthusiasts. I hope to inspire and help motivate others to get healthy and find balance in the fitness world.

I can be contacted at:
Annette DíAlessandro
befitdalessandro@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/annettedalessandro


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