What happens when a bodybuilder and a nutrition store owner get together and make a baby? What happens when this baby is raised on health foods? What happens when she starts training with weights at age 14?
Answer: You get real-life Supergirl, Gina Aliotti.
You probably recognize Gina as one of our Biotest Superheroes. At the tender age of 22, Gina is a phenom in the figure world. With her exotic looks and perfect level of muscularity, Gina is already making waves in her sport. And you know what? She's just getting started.
Recently, Testosterone had the chance to sit down with Miss Aliotti and talk shop. Here's what she had to say!
Testosterone:How'd you first get involved in fitness and figure, Gina? What's your background?
Gina: I was born in Monterey, California, on July 20, 1984. I started lifting weights at about 14 years old. I always played sports – softball and field hockey – so I'd lift with the team, but I really got into it because of my father.
My dad was and still is a bodybuilder, and has always been obsessed with the sport. He got me involved in lifting weights and eventually introduced me to figure competitions.
As far as my nutrition, I've always had a very clean, health conscious diet. My mother owned her own health food store when she was young and always emphasized the importance of healthy foods. With her influence and my father's more competitive edge on diet, I've basically grown up eating "diet foods."
T: How did you go from softball jock to figure competitor?
GA: Initially, I was very into my own personal weight training, but I never even thought about competing. I always related competing with women's bodybuilding, and I knew that wasn't for me.
I loved the fitness girls but didn't have enough of a dance and gymnastics background to succeed in fitness. My dad researched the sport a little bit more and introduced me to the idea of figure. When I learned more about it and researched it online, I knew I'd love to compete.
I've always had a very muscular physique and saw the potential in my body, but I'd never taken it to that level. I was extremely excited to have a new goal and a new reason to train that much harder.
T: What are your stats right now?
GA: I weigh 129 to 131 for contests with an off-season weight of 138. I'm 5' 4", 36-26-36. My body fat is 5-6% for a contest and about 10-12% in the off-season.
T: You're currently attending San Diego State University and going after a degree in nutrition. Now, most girls get to college and gain at least 15 pounds of flab. You went to college and started preparing for the Olympia. How the heck do you balance college and elite-level contest prep?
GA: I will say that it's not easy to juggle class, training, work, and dieting! I've had to consolidate my schedule so that I'm able to get everything done.
Whether I have to wake up extra early or go to bed really late, I've accustomed myself to doing what I have to do to get the job done. It's a matter of getting your priorities straight and staying focused.
I go to class and study just like any other normal college student, but instead of partying I have different priorities, like preparing for the Olympia! I love to have a good time though. I love BBQ'ing with friends in the off-season, but I'm not really into the whole "party" scene. After getting up at 5 AM and going to bed by 10 PM for pre-contest, it's very hard for me to break my habits!
T: Looking at most figure and fitness pros, it seems that most of them don't really hit their peak until about age 30. So you're practically a "baby" when it comes to this stuff! Is that an advantage or a disadvantage at this stage?
GA: I definitely see my young age as an advantage! I have so many years ahead of me in this sport. I'm also learning so much about myself and my body at a young age. It takes many women years to figure out their bodies and what works for them, and some never do. I'm so fortunate to be learning more and more about my body each and every day.
I've always lived a healthy lifestyle, but competing brought out a different animal in me. I've transformed my lifestyle to a much more structured way of living. Competing definitely helps you learn how to manage your time effectively. This is something that can benefit you throughout your life. When you learn how to manage your time efficiently and effectively, you can be very productive and have a great sense of self-worth.
I feel fortunate to be learning the business side of the industry, too. We tend to forget that competing is a business, and the sooner we learn how to manage our business the better off we are in all aspects of life!
Being fit and enthusiastic about fitness has allowed me to have a very positive influence on many peoples' lives. The sooner I can be a positive influence for people, the more I feel I'm giving and helping others better their lives.
T: You're certainly an inspiration here on Testosteroone! Now, you recently trained with Testosterone bodybuilding coach, Christian Thibaudeau. How was that? What did you learn?
GA: Getting a few training sessions in with Christian was an awesome experience.
He's very knowledgeable and taught me many different ways to train the body parts I'm really working on (rear delts and hamstrings). We tend to get so set and stuck in our ways that we forget to change up our workout style and exercises. It's always important to continue to learn different ways to target your muscles.
Christian introduced me to explosive movements and also taught me how to target my rear delts with a shoulder horn and hit the hamstrings with isolating movements. I had a blast working with him and learning different strategies to add into my own training, as well as with my clients.
T: Give us a peek into your usual lifting schedule. What's a typical week in the gym look like for you?
GA: A typical week looks like this:
Saturday: Legs/Calves (focusing on hamstrings)
I train shoulders and hamstrings two times a week and abs two to three times a week. One of those times I train heavy and the other lighter. I'm focusing on squeezing and isolating movements instead of heavy training.
I tend to vary my reps from 12 up to 20. I'm satisfied with my size, so I'm working on fine-tuning the details in my muscles by tons of squeezing movements. Many of my exercises can even be done without weight, as long as each movement is held and squeezed until it burns!
T: How about cardio?
GA: My cardio varies on and off-season. Off-season I do four to five sessions a week of 30-45 minutes per session. On-season, depending on where my body is at, I start with one session five to six times a week and continue to build up to seven days a week, twice-a-day 45 minute sessions. I use the stepmill and treadmill on a 15% incline for the majority of my cardio.
T: Let's talk nutrition. What does your diet look like?
GA: Off-season I still eat very clean six times a day with one cheat meal a week. I don't weigh my food and I'll throw in a few extra clean calories when I desire. For example, I may have a salad with almonds and cranberries.
I also don't specifically watch my carb intake. I always eat clean carbs but I don't allow myself to be as low-carb as I am when I diet. I do play with my carbohydrate rotations, giving myself different amounts of carbs on different days. I continue to eat six to seven meals a day, eating every two and a half to three hours. I use my off-season to play with my nutrient ratios and learn more about my body and how it responds to different foods.
On-season I eat seven meals a day. My trainer/nutritionist, Kim Oddo, starts my diet out fairly balanced with more carbohydrates and good fats. As weeks go on we start to eliminate more fats and carbohydrates until I'm cycling my carbs with high/low days.
I eat tons and tons of vegetables, chicken, and my main source of carbohydrate is oatmeal. My protein stays steady throughout my entire contest prep – about 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. Both on and off-season, usually one or two of my meals are protein shakes.
T: Speaking of supplements, what are you using now? What has your experience been like with Biotest so far?
GA: Biotest is awesome! I've been very happy with all of their supplements I've used. I'm currently using: HOT-ROX Extreme, Flameout, Carbolin 19, Low-Carb Metabolic Drive, Spike, Rez-V, BCAAs, and ZMA.
I've been able to utilize many of their products pre-contest and I can't wait to experiment with many more in my upcoming off-season training. With Biotest supplements, I've been able to maintain my energy and muscle fullness throughout my entire contest diet!
T: Good to hear! In closing, what would you say is the biggest benefit of living this kind of lifestyle? What have you learned?
GA: I'm so fortunate to have learned that anything is possible. I set goals for myself, work hard, and accomplish them. I learned, at a very young age, how important it is to set goals, and that if you set your heart on something, there's nothing that can get in your way to stop you.
I continue to set goals each and every day and get exited to see what I can accomplish!
T: Thanks for the chat, Gina. Where can Testosterone readers go to learn more about you and your upcoming events?
GA: I'm constantly updating my website, www.ginaaliotti.com. Please stop by and learn more about what my future plans are and more of what I'm all about. Also, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. And be sure to stop by the Biotest booth at the Olympia!