Name: Alyssa Coppolino
Location: Kitchener, Ontario Canada
Why I decided to transform
I played varsity soccer for my university but had no way to quench my competitive thirst when my career ended, so I started dabbling in powerlifting to improve my main lifts. I wanted to be a ripped chick in the gym with an incredible strength base, but as a female, I wanted to improve my appearance too.
While training for powerlifting, I trained to eat instead of eating to train, which was a bad cycle. I was dating a strongman who ate whatever, whenever he wanted. Naturally, I ate whatever he did and became heavy.
How I accomplished my goals
One spring, I supported a friend at a bodybuilding show when it hit me that I wanted to compete. The ladies looked incredible, strong, athletic, and feminine. I looked up coaches in my area that night and started training to compete in figure.
I trained for a year to prep for the same show where I saw the amazing ladies. However, I discovered that I suffered from IBS. Heavy proteins and high-fiber vegetables halted my progress. I also self-diagnosed myself with low stomach acid, which I solved with hydrochloric acid. I started training again, competed in my first show, and placed 5-out-of-15. My critiques were that I was too big, which was a good problem in my eyes.
I followed Dana Linn Bailey for years until she got serious attention and she was a huge inspiration. After my show, I took a year off to build more size so I could compete in physique
I trained heavy and hard, gained 10 pounds of muscle, and stepped on stage feeling great. However, the judges made an example out of me by saying I was too big. I was disappointed but went into the competition with the body I wanted and felt proud.
My transformation shifted gears and I taught myself to shirk down for physique. It's been a tough battle to train and eat differently. It took me two years to fully grasp the training and nutrition required to accomplish my physique goal. I'm now working to bring down my lower body and maintain my back and shoulders.
It took my family time to understand my new passion, but now they're fully supportive. I never thought about quitting because I loved the sport and the process. My boyfriend then—he's my fiance now—has been incredibly supportive through tough days, bad coaches, and low-carb diets. He always has helpful, loving, and supportive advice for me and I'm grateful for him.
Supplements that helped me through the journey
Diet plan that guided my transformation
Here's my cutting diet.
Training regimen that kept me on track
This is my training regimen four months out from a physique show.
- Sled Drag (180 lb)
6 sets of 30 meters
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
5 sets to failure
- Glute Ham Raise
2 sets of 6 reps
- Barbell Incline Bench Press - Medium Grip
6 sets of 6 reps
- Single Leg Glute Bridge
3 sets of 12 reps
- Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
3 sets of 15 reps
- Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
2 sets to failure
- Band Pushdown
- Seated Calf Raise
4 sets of 25 reps
- Hanging Leg Raise
3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 60 sec
- Barbell Squat
3 sets of 15, 10, and 5 reps
- Backward Sled Drag (200 lb)
2 sets of 50 meters
- Glute Ham Raise (Weighted)
5 sets of 8 reps
- Barbell Walking Lunge
3 sets of 20 meters
- Seated Leg Curl
4 sets of 7 reps
- Leg Extensions
3 sets to failure
- Barbell Hip Thrust
3 sets of 15 reps
- Bent-Knee Hip Raise
3 sets of 15 reps
- Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise
4 sets of 12 reps
What aspect challenged me the most
It was hard to reduce the amount I ate and become strict with my diet. I now see food as fuel. Because I have to reduce my size, especially in my quads, training seems difficult. In essence, I now have to train to shrink.
My future fitness plans
I'm currently opening another location for my gym and my online nutrition and training business with my fiance is doing well.
I would love to eventually step on the Olympia stage and be the best athlete I can be. Landing a magazine spot would be wonderful, but building my desired physique is my ultimate goal.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
It's about consistently waking up and focusing on your goal. Don't have a Plan B because it detracts from Plan A. Go forward head first. If people don't like it, that's their problem. You're not fighting for their dream.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
On days that I don't want to train or do cardio, I surf the Bodybuilding.com forums and transformation pages to see what others are doing.
Alyssa's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Guerilla Radio" by Rage Against The Machine
- "Can't Be Touched" by Roy Jones Jr.
- "Perseverance" by Hatebreed
- "Hustlin" by Rick Ross
- "Candyman" by Aqua