Gabrielle Reilly: What/who was your first inspiration to begin body building?
Gina Aliotti: At a young age I was introduced to the lifestyle of health and fitness from my parents. My mother owned a health food store when she was in her 20's and was an athlete throughout her high school and college days. My father was a competitive bodybuilder before I was born and then started competing again when I was in middle school. I was raised in a very health conscious family and therefore it became a way of life for me. I was taught, at an early age, what foods were healthy and unhealthy. My mom use to dilute my orange juice, limit my Halloween candy and even didn't allow me to indulge in birthday cake at parties! It sounds funny but I thank her now for her diligent efforts to engrain healthy living into my livelihood. My father taught me how to lift weights and introduced me to the sport of figure. He was always staying up on the latest scoop with the IFBB and NPC and when figure was introduced he knew I would love it. Thanks to my dad, his efforts and influence, I was introduced to the sport of figure, competed and instantly fell in love with it.
Gabrielle Reilly: What do you do to keep motivated?
Gina Aliotti: Although fitness is my lifestyle and has always been, there are times I need that extra motivation to keep me going. Those times usually occur during my contest preparations, when I am pushing my body to extremes. During those times, I turn to my mental focus and visualize my goals. I am a firm believer in visualization exercises and the power of the mind and positive thinking. I put on some good 'chill' music, let my mind relax and mentally imagine where I am going and what I want to achieve. I also surround myself with positive and supportive people. My boyfriend, Michael Silva, is a huge motivator and helps me get through those rough moments when I need that extra push to finish up my cardio or power through my workouts. Having amazing clients, friends, fans, and supporters who believe in you and give you words of encouragement helps me to keep striving to push harder. I also feed off of watching the impact I have on other people's lives. Another key motivator are the e-mails and correspondence I receive from fitness enthusiasts who share how much I have influenced or impacted their lives. Hearing that I have been a role model and been able to help others by example really makes my role as a fitness is my job a success.
Gabrielle Reilly: How do you fit your overall training/dieting into your lifestyle?
Gina Aliotti: Because my training and dieting is a way of life, to me it is just like waking up and brushing your teeth. I am a firm believer in balance and I practice a balanced lifestyle that enables me to life a healthy life while working, having fun, traveling and being around close friends and family. Once you make fitness a lifestyle you realize that it doesn't take much to maintain the healthy life you have always desired. You are able to make delicious meals and have fun with your workouts by doing things you like to do such as walking your dog, roller blading, bike riding with your children, etc. Rather than seeing training and dieting as a hindrance, I embrace it and learn different ways to make my everyday life activities fit into my overall healthy lifestyle.
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you have days when the last thing you want to do is step foot in a gym?
Gina Aliotti: Yes, I am human and those days do occur. On those days I know that the thought of going to the gym is the last thing on my mind but, from experience, I know that once I get there I am so happy I made myself get up and go. It is really just a mental obstacle that you learn to ignore and push aside. I always tell myself to remember how good I feel once I am done with my workout and how guilty I feel if I don't go. Learning to avoid and or deal the mental challenges that come up on a daily basis really help with your success.
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you change up your routine to fight boredom or do you use straight discipline and stick to the same regiment?
Gina Aliotti: During my contest preparation periods I do tend to follow more of a straight discipline and regiment but while I am off-season I try to get out of the regiment and change things up. Rather than going to the gym a few times a day and using the same equipment, I allow myself to go outside and do things that I feel like doing. If I feel like jumping rope or running a track for fun, I allow myself to do that. I have also learned to listen to my body. We get so stuck in our ways of doing things at a certain time and at a certain pace and for a set amount of time that we often become robots. While I am in my off season I try to stay as far away from the regimental and stringent way of thinking and do things just because I feel like it. If I feel like having a piece of chocolate or taking the day off, I allow myself to. Fitness is a lifestyle and we have to look at it that way. Our bodies are not meant to run on autopilot all the time. I have found that changing things up keeps things exciting and fun!
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you have allocated binge days/meals?
Gina Aliotti: I do not believe in binge days or cheat meals. While I am getting ready for a show clean foods are the only foods in my diet. I do believe in carb cycling in order to constantly keep your body guessing and decreasing your chances of hitting a plateau but I do not believe in cheat meals. While I am off-season, I believe in eating foods that are not necessarily contest diet foods but are no where near cheat foods. I think it is important to be able to allow yourself to enjoy life and the many foods that different cultures have but at the same time within reason. Off-season I love to add fruits, healthy nuts, extra complex carbohydrates, and sometimes red wine. You may find me indulging in a yummy Italian meal, a nice plate of sushi or a frozen yogurt once a week but you would never find me chowing down on a gallon of ice cream or giant piece of cake. I love the way I feel when I eat healthy foods and have been eating healthy my entire life so really I don't know any different.
Gabrielle Reilly: What do you do when you feel like breaking your diet?
Gina Aliotti: There are times when I have to fight cravings or resist that extra handful of nuts or tablespoon of peanut butter. Those moments I grab my gallon of water, green tea or cup or coffee and resist the temptation. I also keep sugar free jello or Popsicles in the refrigerator for those absolute must have moments. From experience, I find that those temptations are usually just in your head. I find it funny how when you are dieting you want things and then when you are not dieting, somehow, those urges tend to go away...
Gabrielle Reilly:At what age did you start training?
Gina Aliotti: I have always been active in sports since I was a child but I started focusing on my weight training when I was in high school. Once I graduated high school is when I really started more of a regimented program.
Gabrielle Reilly: Did you play any sports?
Gina Aliotti: Yes, I was active in dance, gymnastics, softball and field hockey. I would have to say softball was my main sport.
Gabrielle Reilly: Were you really muscular as a child/teenager?
Gina Aliotti: Yes. I have always been a more muscular child. Growing up it was hard to be the more muscular girl but later in life I have grown to appreciate the curves, shape and athletic look of my muscular build.
Gabrielle Reilly: For parents out there concerned about their children's health and obesity what words of advice would you offer them on fitness, motivation and diet for children?
Gina Aliotti: My biggest piece of advice is to start children out young. I really believe that that is the sole reason for my success. You have to engrain healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle in your children at a young age and from the start. Habits that are formed at an early age are those that are taken into adulthood and are carried throughout ones lifestyle. Habits can be changed but they are hard to break. I really believe that leading by example is the best way to teach your children how to eat, live and be.
Gabrielle Reilly: What age do you think is ideal for children/teenagers to start lifting weights?
Gina Aliotti: I don't think there is a set age that is ideal for children or teenagers to start lifting weights. Every individual is different but I do think they should be introduced, at a young age, to different activities and forms of exercise, from playing sports, dance to weights and then let them see where their interests fall. My biggest piece of advice is to introduce your children to as many different sports and recreations and find out where they excel or where their hearts lie.
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you work outside the fitness industry?
Gina Aliotti: I am a personal trainer, nutritional specialist, fitness model, competitor and I have my own line of fitness sportswear, G-Fit Sportswear. My mom and I are partners and are working on launching G-Fit by the Olympia 2008. Along with my clothing line, competing, personal training and nutritional programs, I am working on many other projects that I will introduce throughout the year and next. I am always finding ways to expand my services and reach out and help others live a fit, healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Thank you to my friends, family, fans, nutritionist, Kim Oddo, manager J.M. Manion, boyfriend and my biggest fan, Michael Silva!
With out them, I could not do it!
Ms. Figure International 2008/Fitness Model/Owner of G-Fit Sportswear