Allegra: It’s so exciting - I’m still wrapping my head around it all! Bodybuilding.com is really where it all started for me about 2 years ago. I began my fitness journey by reading a ton of articles, watching videos, following diet plans and using workouts that I found on the site. It’s always been a great educational tool for me! I stay active on BodySpace, and more recently it seems to be paying off as I’ve been featured several times in the “We Mirin” editions and most recently as a semifinalist in the 2014 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search! I can’t explain the feeling to see my face on the website side by side with my biggest fitness inspirations. It’s truly an honor!
ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and how did this lead to competing in figure?
Allegra: I “found fitness” during my last semester of college. I was discouraged with my physical appearance and mental state after four years of living the typical college lifestyle. My boyfriend ended up taking me to the gym one day to teach me how to lift as a last stitch effort. I was terrified and had no idea what I was doing. I was a certified cardio-bunny up until that point, so I was a stranger to weight training and possessed very little strength and confidence in the gym. He was very patient with me and taught me all of the basics. After that work out I was hooked. I slowly started seeing results and that fueled me to keep pushing even harder! It wasn’t long before I started getting asked at the gym if I was training for a show. That’s really what sparked my initial interest in competing. The wheels started turning and I was curious what these “shows” were all about. Once I learned more about the competitive world and the sport of bodybuilding, I was determined to be a part of it. The women I saw on stage were strong, sexy, athletic, and moved with such grace. I knew I wanted to be up there doing what they were doing!
ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step on stage.
Allegra: Nutrition is everything. I can’t stress that enough. The gym part is easy; it’s the refrigerator that presents a challenge. I often get asked in the locker room or in between sets at the gym, “What’s your secret?” or “How do I look like you”, and “What fat burner are you taking?”. My answer isn’t always popular with most people. I put in hard work at the gym and I eat in accordance with my goals. That’s it! No short cuts or magic pills. Personally, I follow the IIFYM approach to dieting. Everyone has a different theory for dieting, and that is perfectly fine. You need to find what is realistic for you, so that you can actually sustain that diet and that lifestyle. I follow a nutritional plan that gives me the ability to eat foods that I enjoy while being structured so that I’m eating whole and nutrient dense foods 80% of the time to fit my macronutrient constraints. I’ve found a great deal of success with this methodology because it’s a realistic lifestyle for me.
When I’m preparing for a photo-shoot or to step on stage, truthfully I don’t do anything drastic. I increase my cardio and slowly decrease my daily carbs, consequently lowering my caloric consumption. For my first two shows, I prepped for a little over 5 months. That gave me the opportunity to dial in slowly while keeping my carbs and calories relatively high.
ABFITT: What is your take on training? What has worked best for you? With so much information available to people looking to start, what the best advice you can offer?
Allegra: It can be completely overwhelming for a beginner to figure out what the best approach to training is. There are so many conflicting ideas on training. It’s confusing and easy to end up second-guessing yourself. The best advice I can give is to find what challenges you, keep the intensity high, and don’t doubt yourself. Personally, I train on a 3 day split. A typical week looks like the following:
Day 1: Legs & Abs
Day 3: Shoulders, Triceps, & Biceps
Day 4: OFF
Day 5: Legs & Abs
Day 6: Back & Chest + 20 Min HIIT Cardio
Day 7: Shoulders, Triceps, & Biceps + 20 Min HIIT Cardio
When I was first starting out, I went to the gym with my workouts written down. As I became more comfortable in the gym and more in tune with my body, I stopped planning my routines ahead of time. Now, I plan which muscle groups I’m going to work out and I choose exercises based on how I feel. Additionally, I don’t follow any rep range rules. I lift heavy and with intensity whether I’m in the “off season” or 2 weeks out from a show or photo-shoot.
ABFITT: Let’s talk about your competition history. Tell us about it and what if any one show stands out the most, for better or worse?
Allegra: My competition history is actually very brief! I’ve only competed in two shows, both of which were in August of 2013. I competed at the NPC Muscle Beach Championship where I won 1st place Novice, 1st place Figure Class A, and Overall Figure. Next I competed at the NPC PA State and PA Classic show where I won 1st place Figure Class A and Overall Figure in the PA State division.
My first show will always stand out to me. I was so nervous and I was shaking like a leaf on stage! I prepared for so long, but nothing prepares you for that rush of adrenaline the first time you step foot on stage! Its an amazing feeling – and so addictive!
I have yet to have a negative experience at a show. From the first moment I’ve stepped on stage, I fell in love with the sport! I’m always so taken back by how friendly and supportive everyone is back stage. Even though it is a competition, I’ve always experienced a strong sense of respect and support between the competitors!
Allegra: At the moment, I’m currently in the running for Bodybuilding.com’s 2014 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search. It’s an honor and I’m thrilled to death to even be considered! The male and female winners will become a Team Bodybuilding.com Athlete, which would undoubtedly change the path of my fitness journey. Cross all of your fingers and toes, and wish me luck!
As far as competing, right now I’m focused on making improvements for next year. There is always room to improve and build a better you! I plan on competing in a few national shows in 2014 in an attempt to secure an IFBB Figure Pro Card. That’s the goal! I don’t want to just compete for the sake of competing. I want to make sure I’m bring the best possible package to the stage so I’m not sure as to how many times I’ll be stepping on stage in 2014. One of my first stops with likely be Team Universe in July.
How can ABFITT readers continue to track your progress and continue to follow you?
Allegra: I share my fitness journey on a daily basis through Instagram on @Allegra_Labar and on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/Allegranicolefitness . I post my workout videos, progress, personal
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