Name: Alessandra Tumolo
Location: Surbiton, Surrey and London
Age: 38 Height: 5'4"
Weight: 61 kg (off), 58 kg (competition)
Body Fat: 12% (off), 8% (competition)
Years Competing: 15
I was 19 years old when my father died after a long and painful illness. He suffered a massive stroke when I was 13 years old that left him in a near vegetative state as a consequence of his unhealthy lifestyle. Witnessing my mother struggle and seeing the pain she went through during my formative years left a strong mark on my outlook of life.
I vowed to put my health first and make sure I did everything in my power to stay fit and healthy. I never smoked, rarely drank alcohol, and ate a healthy and balanced diet. Healthy living became second nature, culminating in a career when I received my human science degree in college.
I discovered bodybuilding in my early 20s while training at a powerlifting gym. The owner was a big fan of Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk) and had dreams of competing, but he didn't have the right genes. When he saw how my body responded to training, he took me under his wing and we started training. I entered a few local and regional contests in North Italy and placed well before moving to the UK.
Given my level of muscle maturity and density, I no longer train certain muscle groups (arms) because they are hit hard during upper-body training. The number of repetitions is purely indicative of the intensity. I go to failure and adjust the weight accordingly. I don't do low-intensity cardio on moderate load days. I keep the intensity high and rest between sets to catch my breath. During heavy lifts, I rest between sets for no longer than two minutes. I don't think exercise burns fat as efficiently as proper nutrition does, which is why I don't believe in low-intensity and long durations of cardio. I have better things to do with my time.
Circuit: 8 rounds
I apply a carb cycling keto diet with weekend re-feeds.
I'm highly competitive by nature and would never do well in team sports. I want to win and I'm strict on myself. I have high expectations and I'm never completely satisfied with my performance. Every challenge has great appeal to me. In my early 20s, I competed in several mixed races like decathlons and military-style races, and competed in bodybuilding. I was on the school track and field team at a young age and competed in 200-meter and 400-meter sprints, long and high jumps, relays, and steeplechase.
I conditioned my mind to think positive thoughts and avoid negative thoughts. I avoid negative people who drain my energy and waste time. Hanging with negative people is like shooting yourself in the foot. I seek out motivated individuals who project positive energy that rubs off on me.
It's important to have goals, but remain flexible. No plan should be cast in stone or it becomes more important than achieving the goal. I always act with a higher purpose. Any activity or action that doesn't serve my higher goal is wasted effort and should be avoided. This makes me responsible for my own results. If you blame or credit luck, fate, or divine intervention, you'll always have an excuse.
I stretch past my limits daily. Walking old, familiar paths makes you grow old. Stretching makes you grow, evolve, and stay young. Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." I don't believe in perfection. Perfectionists are the losers in the game of life. Strive for excellence rather than the unachievable. I always celebrate my failures. Your most important life lessons come from what you don't achieve. Take time to understand where you fell short.
I'm often asked why I'm always so happy. It's because I don't take success too seriously. Success can breed tomorrow's failure if you use it as an excuse to become complacent.
The women in my family are historically strong and independent. They live long and healthy lives and are leaders and providers. I have inspiring examples all around me. My grandmother stepped in and took over our household when my father fell ill and my mother had to work to support four small children. She was a no-nonsense woman who was warm in her own special way, but strict and disciplined. She taught me how to cook, make handmade pasta, ravioli, and gnocchi, where to find edible mushrooms, and how to recognize healing herbs. She took me out at the crack of dawn to collect snails and frogs and taught me how to make delicious stews. She told stories about how she and her 13 siblings survived World War II, as well as many sad and funny tales about her childhood. She used to tell me off when I stood in the sunshine with no hat to cover my face; she is the reason why I have few wrinkles.
I plan to compete in an early qualifier in May in the physique class, which is more feminine and softer than the female bodybuilding class. I'm also helping young girls who want to start competing in the body fitness class. I guide them with their nutrition and training.
The body and mind must be connected if you want tangible results. What the mind believes, the body achieves.
I always admired Monica Brant. I think she is beautiful and a great all-around athlete. I also admire Lou Ferrigno for his down-to-earth attitude and approachability.
If you learn something that helped you make a difference or achieve your goals, the least you can do is to pass on that knowledge. Knowledge kept inside is useless. Bodybuilding.com offers everyone a platform to share their knowledge and find answers. When I have valuable information, I post it on Bodybuilding.com. Selflessly giving has a powerful outcome that comes back and helps you tenfold.