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Interview with IFBB Figure Pro and ISSA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist: Alissa Parker

 

Alissa Parker started working out with her mom, who was an aerobics instructor as a kid, so she had started in the gym at a young age. Even though she was active, she still had issues with body image and developed some disordered eating habits along the way as a teen and into her 20’s.  Alissa had 2 daughters and gained a ton of weight after her first pregnancy, it was then that she decided to really get serious and started competing soon after.  That was over ten years ago. Alissa finally earned her IFBB pro card in figure in 2013.  She coach clients in competing and general weight loss and recomposition as well as specializing in posing and stage presentation for bikini and figure. Her goal is to make sure people achieve their goals in a healthy way both mentally and physically.

What would you say makes your approach to health & fitness unique?
I do not treat every client the same, everyone is different and different approaches may work for some and not for others.  You have to take into account lifestyle and habits in order to design something that will work.  I really like to get to know my clients and find something that is motivating, fun, and maintainable.

What are your beliefs around fitness and diet?
If you can narrow them down what would it be? I personally think that flexible dieting is a great way to get started on the right path.  It teaches the skill of tracking that a strict meal plan lacks.  You actually learn about nutrition and it is a skill you can carry with you in the future whatever your goals may be. Ideally, once you have achieved your goal I like to see people transition into more of an intuitive eating style.  I do not track anymore, but I can kind of mentally track and also listen to my body and know how much I need to eat.  It is a wonderful feeling to feel as though I can eat what I want and feel free from dieting. As far as training goes, find something that you enjoy, whatever that may be. It’s important to move each day, so try new things and work out with friends so it becomes something you truly love to do.

As someone who has dedicated her career to empowering women to be healthy and fit, what would you say is the most common obstacle(s) that stops females from achieving their dream body?
First,  I think people start a program and go all out, too much too soon, not eating enough,  and burn out quickly.  It’s important to progress at the appropriate rate and to fuel your body especially if you are starting a new workout routine.  Second, some never even start, putting everyone else first or being intimated to get to the gym. Everyone starts at the beginning, so don’t be afraid.

Who or what has inspired you the most in your career, and why?
I have an awesome community of clients who support and uplift each other each day. Many of them have made huge transformations and have changed their lives forever. They inspire me to be better and I truly feel that I am doing what I was meant to do.  I have found my passion and I don’t consider it as work as it is a joy every day.

How do you combine your love for food with a healthy diet?

Through a flexible approach to diet, I am still able to eat out which is something I love to do. I also love cooking so trying to create healthy versions of my favorite dishes is a fun and tasty challenge. I love the meals I prepare that are super healthy and satisfying.  I love to experiment with new ingredients and techniques.

You have entered numerous fitness competitions over the years. Any advice to those who want to make the same fitness journey?
Start out by hiring a coach who specializes in contest prep and you may need to hire someone else to help you with posing. You work so hard in the gym and dieting, it’s a shame to waste all that hard work not presenting yourself properly.  Also, ask your potential coach what their approach is like for a typical prep.  Coaches should be open to making changes for the individual’s success, it’s not “my way or the highway” you should work with someone who will work closely with you and be there for all of your questions and concerns along the way. Many coaches take on so many clients they are just not available.  This is especially important in the beginning when you don’t know what to expect.

Walk us through a typical 1-week workout routine for yourself.
I try to train legs 2-3 times per week, one of those days may just be a body weight plyo type workout at home.  I either break up my upper body by the body part or do more of a circuit between back, shoulders, bi’s and tri’s. I have taken up boxing a few days per week just for fun and I teach spin 2x per week so that is what I do for cardio.

What does a typical day’s worth of food look like for you?
If I eat breakfast (sometimes I do more of an intermittent fast so I don’t always eat in the am) I will have protein powder, almond milk and rice cereal (a few cups full) for lunch I will have a big salad with chicken or spaghetti squash and turkey and some kind of tomato sauce.  I usually snack on some raw veggies like bell peppers and cucumbers with Greek yogurt in the late afternoon. For dinner, I like to have a big portion so I usually have a bunch of steamed veggies and chicken or a big salad with some coconut aminos and some other seasonings. I like to have a little dessert every day so I will usually have some high protein ice cream or some of the protein angel food cake. Click here for the full recipe

 

 

Can you tell us more about your membership site project? What are the unique features of your membership site that we can look forward to?

I’m so excited to finally have this all put together. It was a ton of work but it is a very comprehensive program that allows for customization. It will work for the most novice or experienced fitness enthusiasts.  I have made it so that I can communicate directly with my members and really get to know them in order to adjust the program based on individual needs.  Some of the highlights are the workout database which demonstrates and explains each exercise, taking out the guesswork. Another cool feature is the weekly update page.  Each week, clients will fill out the form, which makes it easy for me to track your progress. I can make changes easy and it’s very user-friendly.

What was it like working with NMI?
The NMI team was always prompt and helped guide me in the right direction. While this was a huge project and a lot of work for all parties it turned out great, and I’m very happy with the look and navigation of the site. Even when the site was finished their prompt attention was very helpful and I know they take my project seriously.  I’m so excited to share this project and continue to build the community.

What are your goals for the future? Any upcoming projects?
I just published my latest book Fit Starts in The Kitchen.  It is a cookbook with 100 recipes, as well as a guidebook for a balanced approach to diet. My goal is to teach people to take control over their diet, learn about nutrition, and get to a place where you don’t have to diet anymore. The new site is a great way to supplement the program in the book by giving you direct access to me and getting workouts and even more recipes. If you’re interested in competing I also have my posing guides available The Art of Posing and Stage Presentation in both figure and bikini editions.

If you could say one thing to inspire those who want to build a career in fitness and health, what would it be?
Find your worth. You need to be more than a pretty face or great body. If you want to create a business of your brand you need to think in terms of longevity. Will your audience still find you valuable 10 or 20 years from now? Don’t focus on looking perfect but working to send a positive message whatever that may be.

Finally, where else do we find you on the net?
Alissaparker.net
fitstartsinthekitchen.com
IG -@AlissaParkerIFBB,  @FitStartsinTheKitchen
Facebook  – Alissa Parker Pro and Fit Starts in the Kitchen
Twitter – @FitAlissa

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