Q & A with Fit Mom of 2: Gina Aliotti
It is with GREAT HONOR that I introduce you to someone that has been my personal inspiration for YEARS: (super-fit mom) Gina Aliotti.
Gina is a Professional Figure Competitor, certified personal trainer, certified yoga instructor, CrossFit instructor, nutritionist, and fitness consultant. Her passion is to inspire, motivate and teach people the tools to reach their lifelong fitness goals, in a realistic and fun way. –FitnessRX Women
Gina’s hard work and dedication earned her a stellar award-winning physique. In 2005, Gina earned her IFBB pro-card in Figure which is when I first learned about her. I believe I saw her in a fitness magazine and immediately became a fan. Since then she got married and had two beautiful children. Gina shared her in-home workouts and nutrition tips throughout both pregnancies and continues to share workouts now postpartum. This, of course, earned her more cool-points from me!!! I just think that Gina is a fantastic person and I wanted to share her with you so I reached out to her (via her website) and to my surprise she got right back to me. If you follow Gina on her social media then you know how busy she is. Some of the things she has going on right now are...
Her husband and herself are working on a new nutrition supplement line called Devotion Nutrition
She's constantly putting out workouts on her Instagram and YouTube channel
She's a mom of two little ones (uh, can you say "BUSY!")
AND she's also on Periscope most days offering tips on staying hydrated and getting motivated
Not sure when she has time, but she also designs workouts and recipes for FITNESSRXWOMEN.com
CLICK HERE for Gina's Pecan Pumpkin Spice Bars
Gina is a hard worker with a huge heart! Her passion for helping people get healthy and strong is undeniable!
I’ve put together 10 questions that I personally wanted to ask Gina and she so kindly agreed to answer them for us. Lets get right into it!
#1. You stayed so lean during your pregnancies. Did you allow yourself to have occasional splurges or did you stick to a strict diet regimen?
A: Thank you! Throughout my pregnancies, I ate the same types of foods I eat on a regular basis, however, there were few things I did differently. In my every day life and all my plans, except my Ultimate Pregnancy Plan, I follow a carb cycling plan. While pregnant, I ate a more balanced plan on a daily basis aiming to get in a balance of carbs, fats and lean proteins. I also incorporated more fruits into my diet and small amounts of unsweetened non-fat Greek yogurt. I wanted to be sure to provide my growing baby with a good balance of nutrients, on a daily basis, and also as much variety as possible! A few other super foods I ate more of throughout pregnancy were nutritional yeast and nori (seaweed). Both are so amazing for everyday health and especially while pregnant, providing your baby with key nutrients such as B-12 and many more!
I believe, in general, you have to listen to your body and what it is telling you. Your body will tell you what you are “needing”, if you know how to listen and are able to differentiate between wanting and needing something. Over the years, I have really learned how to tap into knowing the difference and “splurging” only when my body needs. There aren’t many times when I feel the need to “splurge” because I feel when you are giving your body what it needs, in a well-balanced nutritional plan, you don’t have these urges to “splurge”. Throughout my pregnancies, I was very mindful to listen to myself and my baby. When I felt the true desire to have this or that, I would listen and have what it was my body (and baby) were needing. There were a handful of times I felt my body needing fats. I was craving them and knew it was a physical (not mental) craving. During those times, I would have a few tablespoons of almond butter or add ½ avocado to a salad or even have a salmon or lean steak and that would do it. It really is about listening to your body and giving it what it needs. I feel there are several people that use pregnancy as an excuse to “splurge” more often than necessary,, however I chose to not fall victim to that false reality! My focus was on balance and moderation and it seemed to work well for me and my beautiful healthy babies! :)
#2. What are your thoughts on “cheat meals”?
A. Similar to my answer on splurging above, I feel that when your body is in balance and getting what it needs, you really don’t have these urges to “cheat”. In my life and plans, I refer to “cheat meals” as “refuel meals”. I believe it is important to refuel your mind and body! To me “cheat meals” sounds like you are “Cheating” or doing something you shouldn’t be doing. People also use it as an excuse to eat everything under the sun and experience a full on binge. I prefer the term “refuel meal” because it is more of a time to refuel your mind and body with something you love! In my Ultimate Shred 365, which is my yearlong lifestyle plan, I include a refuel meal 1x/week as a part of the program. I think it is important to have a fun meal of your choice, from time to time. This would still be something healthy that may not be on the plan. It is a time to just make smart choices and modify as necessary but to not be so strict, weighing things out or worrying about too much of a good thing (fat, carbs, protein etc.). For example, a healthy refuel meal for me would be a thin crust veggie pizza with a nice glass of wine (or 2). I would order it with light cheese and thin crust, to avoid the unnecessary calories and pure preference. I also love a small bowl of pasta accompanied by wine, of course! It basically is a time to enjoy some downtime with a loved one or your family! I see “refuel meals” as a great way to check out and ditch the regimen you follow every other meal of the week. It is completely healthy and makes you feel human ;). We all need to clock out from time to time and just live. The key is moderation and balance with your choices. When you have that, it is all part of the plan towards lifelong success!
#3. I’ve read that you run during your workouts (non-pregnant). Did you run at all during pregnancy? Why or Why not?
A. Yes, I love running and especially now when I am working out with my kiddos along side of me, most of the time. Running is something we can do together, with my double stroller. I LOVE my B.O.B. stroller and don’t know what I would do without it, lol! I know some people run throughout their pregnancies however, it never resonated with me and just didn’t feel right. For both my pregnancies I chose to swim laps and that was the only cardio I did besides light walking. I LOVED swimming and highly recommend it for other mommy’s to be :)
CLICK HERE to find B.O.B. Strollers
#4. What are your thoughts on Paleo? IIFYM? And other Diet Fads?
A: I am not a fan of “diet fads” what so ever. I am all about a lifestyle plan that will work for you (and your family) today, tomorrow and 10 years from now. I feel that people are so quick to turn to fad diets, looking for a quick fix, which ALWAYS are just that, a quick fix! I am about finding a well-balanced plan that works for you and is maintainable! I do like a lot of the principles behind Paleo such as eating things in their most natural state possible and as our ancestors use to eat however, I do like grains and beans and feel they are an important part of our everyday diet. I don’t know what I would do without my oatmeal, I LOVE it!
As far as IIFYM, I am not much of a fan. You will NEVER see any numbers on any of my plans and I do not promote keeping track of calories or macros. I do know it is about calories in and calories out, however, I think counting is not maintainable nor realistic for life. Having to calculate everything gives me a migraine just thinking about it. I am all about creating realistic habits that can be maintainable. Another side is that I feel when people get too suckered into the numbers part of a plan, they can become obsessed and it may work for a short while but the obsession can get out of control. I am more about eating clean and making smart realistic choices, teaching people the foundation of clean eating rather than how to master calculations. I believe that with a solid foundation and knowledge about learning about good quality foods and serving sizes, that is much more maintainable and realistic for the average person! I know there are several that continue to eat quality while counting macros however feel there are a good amount that use IIFYM as an excuse to eat crap because “they can”, if it fits in their daily allowance. I am all about quality so I would never promote someone to eat their calories in any other way than with quality foods. Theoretically, if your calorie or macro allowance allows 1500 calories in a given day, you could eat that in the form of pop tarts or ice cream or whatever food you want, as long as it fits your allowance…I am not a fan! If someone follows the IIFYM and eats clean foods, and it works for them, that is fine however it isn’t my preferred choice or style of eating. It really is about finding what works for you and what is something you can maintain for LIFE to reach those long lasting results we are all after!
#5. You dominated in IFBB Figure. Any chance you’ll go back to competing?
A: Thank you so much! I will never say never, but I feel that ship has sailed! Now as a busy working mom of 2, I have my hands full and know I would not be able to give my ALL, mentally or physically, and that would make the difference between be being 90% and 100%. You have to give ALL of you to be your absolute best and I know, at this time, it just isn’t possible or realistic in my life. I wouldn’t be able to present anything less than my absolute best! I truly feel I achieved what I wanted to achieve in the figure circuit and am now focusing on helping others achieve their fitness goals!
#6. What is your best advice for someone entering their first pregnancy?
A. Wow, best advice… that each and every pregnancy is a unique experience so you really have to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and do what is best for YOU! I feel that as new moms, we are trying to find the answers and "how to’s" when really there is no “ONE right way”! Even now as a mom of 2, my piece of advice remains the same to other moms to do what works for YOU in all that you do! There is no Perfect Manual that works for everyone! Do what works for you and that is the perfect way!! Know that there will be so many moments of uncertainty and that is completely normal! Trust yourself and really try to think less and feel more! Enjoy the journey, it really goes fast and is an incredible one!
#7. Your son and daughter are BEAUTIFUL! Any more babies planned for the future?
A. Thank you SO much! I feel so lucky to have my handsome boy and my sweet daughter. With one of each, we are definitely very happy and feel blessed with our family of 4. :)
#8. You offer a ton of great in-home workout videos on your IG, however, your delts are out of this world! Do you only workout in your home gym or do you also occasionally workout in a gym?
A: Thank you so much! I only workout in my home gym or outside setting such as a park or the beach. Being a mom has forced me to be more flexible with my style of workouts. I now tailor my workouts around my busy schedule and mommy/work duties. Going to the gym would take up too much time and to be honest, I don’t enjoy it much! I prefer working out in my own space, on my own terms and when I can. I often have to split my workouts between feedings or naps. It is completely possible if you just make your workouts a priority! With very limited time, I have found working out at home or outdoors to be a perfect fit for me and my life! It has been such a blessing in disguise because I have really learned how to tailor my workouts around my busy schedule and mommy duties. I have also incorporated my kids into my workouts, making it fun and a great way to be a role model for them! Finally working out at home has really allowed me to prove to others that it doesn’t take a gym and it really doesn’t take much but what it does take is commitment and consistency! As for those delts, lol, they are all part of my commitment to my diet and fitness, thank you! It doesn’t take a gym to have incredible delts! ;)
CLICK HERE to find Gina's Training Tips for New Moms
#9. What are 5 pieces of exercise equipment that a women needs to have in order to start building their own in-home gym?
A: I LOVE this question because I only train out of my home gym and feel that if you have the discipline, which we all have within us, less is more and you can get the most amazing workout in the comfort of your own home. I have very limited equipment and get the most amazing workouts. The beauty is you can do so much with only your body weight and then a few essential pieces of equipment just are icing on the cake!
5 of my top 5 pieces to start with would be…
Dumbbells. 1 pair of dumbbells and eventually have 2 sets one heavier than another. I have a set of 8#, 10# and 15# although I mostly use my 8 and 10# dumbbells. Dumbbells are great because you can use them together or individually to vary exercises.
Exercise ball. An exercise ball is key and great for so many different exercises, not to mention makes a great computer chair! ;) I use my exercise ball all the time for all types of exercises from wall squats, abs and even to target the glutes and hamstrings!
Foam Roller. This is a staple for rehabbing your muscles. This is often forgotten about but just as important as it is to workout, it is just as important to stretch and break up any scar tissue that can lead to soreness, pain and even injuries. Foam Rollers also increase blood flow, relieve muscle tension, increase range of motion and help with recovery time! I try to use my foam roller about 5 minutes a day 4-5x/week. They are great to use while watching T.V. or hanging with your family!
Exercise Bands. Exercise bands are another great way to add resistance to your workouts. They are great because you can tar
get any muscle with them! They also don’t take up much space and are easy to travel with! I always travel with my exercise bands, making it super easy to get in a workout on the road!
Jump Rope. A simple jump rope is an excellent piece of equipment. It is a great way to get your heart rate up during your workouts without having to use a big machine! I use my jump rope all the time throughout to get in cardio in between resistance exercises. A jump rope also doesn’t take up much space and fits great in a suitcase!!
#10. Any thing else you’d like to share or mention?
I would like to share my top 10 tips to anyone who may be getting started or who is deep into their fitness journey! These have been helpful for me and thousands of others so I hope you find them helpful too!
My top 10 tips:
1. Take it one day at a time. Rather than looking at how far you have to go, focus on one day at a time and make it the BEST day ever!
2. Keep your vision alive with a mini goal. It is the small goals that will keep you going. Celebrate your success as you reach those mini goals!!
3. Go at your own pace! We are all on our OWN journeys and have our own timeline! Rather than focusing on those around you, focus on where you are headed and your OWN goal!
4. Trust the process! Believe in yourself and trust that you WILL get there! Trust the process and Dig Deep!
5. Consistency is Key! Rather than here or there big efforts, focus on daily small efforts that WILL lead to great results! "Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." Robert Collier
6. Know that you are NOT alone and people just like you are getting after it and facing the same struggles!
7. If and WHEN you fall, IT'S okay!!!!! Just get back up and start again!!! We are all human and there WILL be hiccups along the way. Those are all part of your journey! OWN them and keep on going! As long as you get back up, and keep going, you will get there! See the hiccups as lessons NOT failures!
8. Focus less on the scale and more on how you feel, look and how your clothes fit!! The scale is NOT a measure of your success but rather how you look and feel from the inside out IS!
9. Get involved with other like minded people that are after similar goals. Surrounding yourself with those that have similar goals and are supportive of your efforts will help you stay on track and dig even deeper!
10. ENJOY the journey!! This healthy lifestyle is one to enjoy and have fun with! When you embrace the lifestyle for ALL it's amazing benefits, it becomes so much more fun!! It isn't about being miserable in the process towards your goals, rather having fun and enjoying every minute! Get creative and discover your inner passion, that is how we make this a lifestyle NOT a short-term fix!
For more information about my plans, check out Ginaaliotti.com. I offer downloadable plans to help you reach your potential and find ways to make the process an enjoyable one! With detailed nutrition and training plans, it takes out all the guess work out of things and allows you to get right ot the meat of what will allow you to see the results you have been after! From a full yearlong plan to a 6 week NO GYM necessary plan, perfect for busy moms, and pregnancy plan, no matter where you are in your journey, there is a plan for you! I would love to help you and be a part of your journey!
Something else to look out for is my nutritional line, Devotion Nutrition. Over the past several years, hearing people having a hard time finding a protein that blends, bakes, tastes and digests properly, my team and I have created protein that is all of that and then some! You literally can have your shake and eat it too! Devotion Nutrition offers a delicious protein that blends, bakes, mixes and digests incredibly. Devotion Nutrition also includes a line of incredible flavor enhancers, called Flex Flavors that can added to any food or drink. Launching early October 2015, be sure to follow our social media pages, sign up for our newsletter and be ready to get Devoted!!! With our line, you will never feel like you are dieting, isn’t that what it is all about!?
Huge hugs and thanks to Gina Aliotti for taking the time out to pour her heart into this interview.