Total MMA Studios: So Alyssa for our readers can you tell us a little about yourself?
Alyssa: Well I am originally grew up in Riverside, California but when I was younger moved out to Orange County and grew up for most of my teenage years in Santa Ana. When I was younger I hated working out, I hated to sweat I was that kind of a girly girl but I did have 2 older brothers so they did influence me a lot to become a tomboy so after that I got into the whole working out routine.
Total MMA Studios: So from we understand you were at one point 50lbs overweight before you turned your life around and lost the weight, can you tell us about? What were the contributing factors to the weight gain and at what point did it all change?
Alyssa: When I was about 8 or 9 years old my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and it made a really big impact on me and my family. In my family I was the only girl and losing her, which we almost did was a really big eye opener. You know growing up in a Hispanic family eating well and healthy was just was not our thing, we come from a culture were healing comes from a higher power not from food and looking back now as I have become healthier I realize that curing yourself comes from the inside, it comes from your food. It is what you eat; it is what you put inside your body you know?
I believe at my heaviest I was at 150lbs and honestly the way I got there was when my mom and dad put me in soccer, during those years when she was diagnosed with the cancer but I got out of it because I really didn’t like it because I was really girly. After that I gained weight and once I hit high school it just got worse, I was eating badly because you know how high school food is? I was eating breadsticks for breakfast, I was eating chips for dinner, I didn’t even care what I ate and to be honest I didn’t even know how I got there? It was a gradual weight gain and I realized it when I could not even walk up a flight of stairs without being exhausted. To me that was pretty sad because I was 18 to 19 years old and I really wanted to do something different and honestly I started with the little things, I started to substitute foods and that’s how I started to lose weight.
Total MMA Studios: Can you tell us about the journey you took to lose the weight? What kind of road blocks did you hit, what kept you on that path?
Alyssa: Well I defiantly did hit some plateaus while I was just substituting food because food can only take you so far until you have to start exercising for your health you know? Once I started incorporating cardio that’s when a lot of the weight loss started to happen but I was doing too much cardio though, so I started to become skinny fat. You know when you are skinny but you have excess body fat on you and it wasn’t until I picked up weight training that I started to tone up and when I added that plus the food I incorporated everything.
During the process I defiantly hit a lot of walls, I think mentally I always saw this fat person in the mirror and for so many years I have been overweight, so once I saw myself losing the weight I couldn’t really grasp the idea and I had this thing in my mind that I wanted to be better, I wanted to be better. I also still had low self esteem and that was a big part of the weight loss journey, it was bringing up my esteem to know that I am better then I was yesterday. Looking back it was really hard to look past that but once I did from there I couldn’t stop.
Total MMA Studios: So let’s talk about your diet now? What does a regular day consist of?
Alyssa: Well prior to me having a consistent diet I was only eating when food was around, which is a major no no. I was eating just whenever, I never considered food as a way to fill myself. As of now though I am eating on a timely schedule, I eat 6 to 7 times a day and it’s all about portion control and when people talk about that they really mean it! This concept makes a major difference for both men and women, no matter who you are portions make the difference, if I have a half a cup of oatmeal a male most likely will have a cup.
So now though I do eat 6 times a day and I have gotten into the habit over the course of a few years where I can get up at 6 A.M. and just be hungry because my body is so on target. Because of that my 6 meals a day will probably start in the morning and consist of egg whites, salsa, spinach and avocado. My second morning meal will be a protein shake with some almond milk; I choose the almond mike because I am lactose intolerant. For lunch I will have brown rice, veggies and some chicken breast. After a while my second lunch will be a protein shake or bar, well you know we are all busy we have jobs, school and kids, well I don’t have kids but you know? So I will have either of those but I’d rather eat if I can, I’d rather have some cottage cheese with some almonds on top with some honey as well. Then for dinner I will have some Salmon and some veggies and what I found and I totally recommend this for anybody because this really works, is to after about 5 P.M. cut out your carbohydrates, it makes a big difference on your body no matter how active you are. Whether you do jiu-jitsu, box or weight train, I don’t care how active you are and I know people say you need your carbs and you do need them but remember veggies are also carbs. From the veggies you can get good healthy carbs but if you are eating those bad carbs after 5P.M. then the excess ones are stored as fat so usually what I do after that time is cut out the slow digesting carbs and eat foods higher in protein.
Total MMA Studios: Since losing the weight we understand you are competing in professional fitness competitions? Can you tell us about it?
Alyssa: Yes, well honestly that is probably one of the biggest reasons why I signed up because it kept me motivated. I am just like anyone else, I may have lost weight and be totally out of control in here and wanting to box, weight lift and do cardio but I get unmotivated too. I also wake up some morning and I don’t want to work out and I am at home chilling and I don’t want to come in and that happens to me too you know? I am normal, so what I did was when my workouts were becoming dull and boring I thought I needed something to get back on track and I said to myself “start hitting the gym hard again”.
At first I didn’t know what it was then someone told me you should compete and honestly like I told you before that chubby girl mentality is hard to fight and I thought there was no way I’m ever going to step on stage in a bikini, there’s really no way to have anyone look at my body that way. To me this was my passion, my fun you know? To work out! So I signed up and from there my diet I thought was clean got even cleaner, you don’t even want to know how ridiculously clean it was for 12 weeks! So after I cleaned up my diet I trained hard and did a lot more cardio and signed up with Total MMA Studios, which was awesome because it really helped me so much with the abs and the excess cardio when I really didn’t want to go run so the cardio kickboxing class just got that cardio in. You know it’s fun, it’s really fun being here! So I did that and finally I was focused and said “hey I am going to do this I am going to do this” and the day I stepped on stage I couldn’t believe it because it was honestly one of my biggest goals and I never thought I could accomplish it. Looking at it now I feel that if I could do that then I could really do a lot!
Looking ahead now my next show will probably be in Las Vegas in November and I plan on doing that one but like I said competing is no joke! I know when people say they respect the competitors because the diet, training and trying to look pretty while you are at it when you are friggin exhausted, hungry and thirsty is ridiculous! So ya that’s pretty much how I got there and for my first show I placed top 5 and that is awesome because you have to place top 5 to get you card and be able to compete internationally and I can start doing more shows which is pretty cool so I am excited about that!
Total MMA Studios: Now I know you mentioned our classes here, can you tell us in your opinion how have they helped you?
Alyssa: Well one of the biggest things that Total MMA Studios has offered me is first of all getting your cardio in without it being boring! That is one the major things because honestly I know people go running and do the elliptical and stair master all day long but there’s no better workout then a kickboxing or jiu-jitsu type of workout. The workout is a fast cardio and it slows down so it’s like interval training without it really trying to be. You know when you are doing crazy sprints on the bag or whatever it is, that actually burns more fat in the long run because your body knows how to use that energy more efficiently as opposed to you running forever and forever. If you were to compare a sprinter to a marathon runner who do you think is stronger? A sprinter is because a marathon runner burns to much muscle that is because he is running for a long time and that is why a lot of kickboxers and jiu-jitsu guys are in great shape because they burn fat but they keep their muscle because they do quick cardio energy burst. So when I was competing I joined Total MMA Studios and what really helped me was the abs! Once I joined they just kicked in because the workout is like doing an ab crunch because of the movements of your legs and arms. I had to kick back a little bit for the last two weeks before the competition because I was starting to get a few welts on my legs and it looked a little ugly so if I am trying to get on stage and trying to look all hot it was not going to work out (Laughs). I didn’t want the judges to be all “Whats up with this girls leg, it’s all bruised up?” So the last 2 weeks I didn’t come in before the competition so I can look dainty and pretty but other than that I’m going to start coming more! I was only coming before around twice a week but now I want to start doing like 3 to 4 because I prefer hitting stuff rather than running for long periods of time that’s for sure! So I tell everyone that all the time, you want a really good workout? Try some kickboxing or jiu-jitsu.
Total MMA Studios: So what would you tell someone who is coming in overweight and wants to try to lose it and wants to try out the classes here?
Alyssa: As far as motivation my number one advice to anybody is to not give up because if you give up you failed already. If you think about it, if you at least try you can always say I tried to go forward and if you don’t succeed you are actually better then you were yesterday anyway because you tried! I always tell people you know don’t give up, don’t give up! I always say if you hit a wall, find people and network with people. There are people out there just like you and going through the same things you are! That is what I did, when I finally got a gym pass before I found Total MMA Studios I networked and found people and asked people for advice and you meet more people and now that I came here to Total MMA I talk to people here all the time. What I love about the trainers here is that they will give you advice, just because their goals are not your goals they still give you advice. They will tell you “No it’s not how you do it or maybe you should do it like this?” you should really listen to that because they are going through the same things you are! You know we all have our own things we are great at and that is why we are here so we can share with each other. We are here to give each other advice.
I defiantly say to anyone struggling with weight loss to keep motivated by joining something that is going to keep you liable and honestly me joining Total MMA Studios is what has kept me liable because I freaking hate cardio. I hate it with a passion, I don’t care how fit I become and will be I hate it and you know this has given me a way to love it and just stick with it!
Total MMA Studios: Well Alyssa thank you for your time and good luck on your upcoming competition.
Alyssa: Thank you!
For more information on Alyssa’s story and weight loss tips please visit her blog by copy and pasting the link below.