Alessandra Castaldo - Bikini Competitor

I was always involved into sports since I was around 8 years old. It began with dance, gynmastics, and skating then evolved into tennis and speed skating in highschool. I felt like I was always juggling too many sports and decided to stick with inline speed skating which I still do. In college I was speed skating around my neighborhood and was approached by an employee from a local gym who recommended I pick up weight training to increase my strength and definition. 5 years later I am still hooked.

I am a fashion designer and therefore after university I moved back to my home in New York and began working for corporate fashion companies for the next two years. About six months into my assistant designer job I found myself feeling empty, unsatisfied, craving a passion, and wanting more out of life. I knew I had a bigger purpose and I wanted to wake up and do something inspiring. I met a girl who left fashion design and began competing and training and she encouraged me to do my first competition. I thought the challenge would be exhilarating and it would change my life. It definitely did. This January 2016 I began my first prep and I never looked back. I left my corporate job in June and have embarked on the journey of obtaining my pro card in bikini.

As of this weekend, I have competed in two shows and thus I haven't experienced an off season yet. I came into body building on the more athletic and built side for bikini so I don't need an off season to build just yet because I have built ample amount of muscle for my division. My struggle is to always keep my lifting concentrated, isolated, and controlled, meanwhile keeping the weight rather moderate than heavy. Leaning out is a specific and patient process. During prep we are sculpting the muscle for a symmetrical, lean, and still feminine physique. Off season is where you are no longer in a calorie deficit and the muscle gains are made.

Although I have not yet done an off season, I believe that if you want to make significant gains in your physique, an off season that consists of higher carbs, heavier lifting, less cardio, and more rest is needed to grow further. Making sure you squat, deadlift, bench, and lift heavier will promote growth overall. I make sure to hit each muscle group at least once a week. During season we carb cycle and our carbs can be 80c 125p and 35f for 3-4 days then carbs will peak on a refeed day to about 145c to refeed the muscle and replenish Leptin levels. I also keep my water very high always at about 170 oz because these muscles need constant hydration.

I have found that cycling your carbs rather than completely depleting them will result in a better physique. If you deplete your carbs for longer than a few days you will look soft and flat and we want our muscles to look hard and full. That's why refeed days are so important. Also endless cardio is pointless and will result in injury. I used to be a slave to the stair master for an hour and this prep I have juggled HIIT and LISS and kept my cardio max at 40 min and I have leaned out even more. The diet plays a crucial role as well. And REST! I have learned that fat burning occurs during sleep so get the ZZZ.

For cardio I swear by HITT training because in 30 min of non stop jumping, squatting, etc, I am dripping in sweat and I have burned more than I would on a treadmill. When I am deep in a cut I mix 3 HIIT training days and three LISS (stairs on level 8, incline walking, and maybe jogging). I save the LISS for when I am tired and need to expend more energy on my lifts.

My lifting is rather different from most because I am a lot more muscle than many in my division so I tend to go lighter on my leg days since my quads are overdeveloped and a little heavier on upper body. I split my days into
Leg/ Shoulders

And repeat twice a week to hit each one twice.
Depending if I have a refeed will determine how my fasted cardio days fall.

I never lift fasted.

I prep my 5 meals a day twice a week usually on Sundays and Wednesdays and this way I can grab and go!

I love competition days because the hard work is already done, you can relax and have some fun! You also meet other great girls who share the same lifestyle and really make great friends. On this day you are excited, the music is pumping, you look fabulous, and you feel great. This gives major confidence and when you get on stage all that's left to do is STRUT your stuff. Then you can have your awesome cheat reward. My favorite is nutella and donuts!!

My future plans are to compete in national shows until I get my pro card and can really take my brand and figure to the next level.

Find me on youtube as well: Alessandra Castaldo

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