Pro Fitness Model Alex Zerega Talks With Simplyshredded.com

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How did you get started with bodybuilding?

Throughout my life I have always been very active and involved in athletics. Growing up with an older brother, I took an immediate interest in sports from a very young age. Not only did I follow him around trying my very best to be his little brother, but I wanted to excel in every sport I played, as he did. I have my brother to thank for much of who I am today and what I have accomplished in this sport. Over the years, I naturally grew out of my tomboy stage and quickly picked up the makeup, hair and other girly glam stuff. However, I still have my brother to thank for toughening me up, which gave me the best of both worlds and that is what helped shape me into the person I am today. Two years ago, a very dear friend introduced me to this unique sport, which embodies both my tomboy side (that enjoys sweat, dirt, and tears) with my feminine side (that enjoys hair, makeup and heels). Before I knew it, I was attending my first bodybuilding/bikini show and it left me extremely eager to take on this new challenge. After experiencing the rush of being on stage and taking second place in my very first show, I knew I had to do it again… I was simply captivated!

This level of training and dedication has given me a new found respect for fitness. It continues to amaze me how much the sport and choosing a healthier lifestyle is about so much more than just transforming the body, but also the transformation of the mind.

Where does your motivation come from?

I feel that I am motivated by so many different things in my life. The obvious reason would be the need to be in shape in order to maintain my fitness model status, but for me it is much more than that. The people in my life are a huge motivation to me. Without the support of my coach, my team, my family and a few other very, very special people, I could not have accomplished all that I have in my short fitness career.

Making these special people proud is very important to me; it’s just a very small way to thank them for all that they do.

I am also greatly motivated by the fact that I am healthy enough to train like I do. I am so fortunate to have my health, there are so many people out there that have suffered unfortunate circumstances and would give anything to be able to be active.

I feel that so many people take for granted that they are ABLE to get up and go to the gym. Sadly, so many people are just not willing to make the effort. Lastly, what could be more motivating than being able to wake up every single day and get to do what I love to do, while inspiring people along the way? I am so humbled by the touching messages I receive on Facebook and via email on my website. As I read these emails about what an inspiration I am, I cannot help but think of what an inspiration these people are to ME! On my worst days, when I’ve hit empty and think I can’t eat another chicken breast or do another cardio session, I think back to these touching messages and am instantly refuelled!

We all have that person whom we look up to and admire, and to think that I could be “that” for just one person is an amazing feeling. I would never, ever want to let them down!

What workout routine has worked best for you?

My training routine varies based on how my body looks and the number of weeks to my show, but here is a very basic outline:

Monday – Back

  • Pull Downs – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Straight Arm Pull Downs – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Bent Arm Dumbbell Pullover – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Bent Over Barbell Row – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Cardio- 30-45 mins. Stairs

Tuesday – Shoulders

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Side Laterals – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Rear Delt Row – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Fronts – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Core – Cardio- 30-45 mins. Stairs

Wednesday – Legs/Glutes

  • Dumbbell Stiff Legs – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Hamstring Laying Leg Curl – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Step Ups – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Walking Lunges – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Hip Extensions – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Cable Kick Backs – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Cardio- 30-45 mins. Stairs

Thursday – Chest

  • Incline Chest Press – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Cable Chest Press – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Around The Worlds – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Push Ups – 6 sets- 12 reps
  • Core, Cardio- 30-45 mins. Stairs

Friday – Cardio

  • Core, Cardio- 30-45 mins. Stairs

Saturday – Full Body Pump

  • Pump Circuit
  • Core Training
  • Cardio- 30-45 mins. Stairs

What is your diet like?

My diet consists of lean proteins such as Chicken, Extra Lean Ground Turkey, Egg Whites, Tilapia and sometimes top Sirloin Steak. I am always sure to eat a lot of Green Vegetables with each meal. My fats often come from foods like Nut Butters, Olive Oil, Avocado and Fish Oils. When I am allowed carbohydrates, I prefer to eat Sweet Potatoes and Multigrain Oatmeal, but I will occasionally use Brown Rice or Black Beans to keep a variety in my diet.

Sample Diet:

  • Meal 1: (1) scoop Protein powder, (½ – 1) cup Multigrain Oats (measured dry), (1) tbs. Peanut Butter
  • Meal 2: (7) Egg Whites, mixed Greens
  • Meal 3: (4-6) oz. Chicken, mixed Greens, (4) oz. Sweet Potato
  • Meal 4: (4-6) oz. Extra lean Ground Turkey, mixed Greens
  • Meal 5: (4-6) oz. Tilapia, mixed Greens

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I like to use both methods of cardio when trying to cut down for a show or photo shoot. It just depends on the rest of my training schedule and what my body is in the mood for.

What is your supplementation like?

My supplementation is very basic:

  • Fish Oil
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Multivitamins
  • Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex Protein

Favorite quote?

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Contest Profile: www.contest.bodybuilding.com/alex_zerega/
Website: www.missalexzerega.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlexZerega
Photography By: Isaac Hinds and Greg Christensen

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