BodySpace Member Of The Month: Victoria La Sasso
Victoria is a mother, a trainer, a realtor, and a fitness maven. She uses BodySpace to help women of all ages realize that they have the power to take control of their bodies!
Name: Victoria La Sasso
Weight: 145 lbs, 138 lbs contest
Occupation: Realtor, Certified Personal Trainer
Contest History: NPC WPB, Oct 2013, 4th in Figure (30 Age Division), 4th in Figure overall
Athletic Background: Lifeguard, swimming, tennis, and boxing
Like every one of the 8-million-plus members of BodySpace, Victoria La Sasso is passionate about fitness, training, nutrition, and hard work. So what makes her stand out? She's humble, realistic, and committed to sharing as much as succeeding.
This 39-year-old has transformed her body through years of effort. Read on to learn about one of the most charismatic and popular members of Bodybuilding.com's social network!
How long have you been on BodySpace? Why did you sign up?
I've been a member of BodySpace since June of 2011. I was super excited when I found this site, because it was a social site that focused primarily on fitness—not drama. I knew right away that it was an awesome site to help connect me to others who had similar interests. It has the tools to help me set goals, track them, and hit them.
I also like that it is geared to encourage and motivate people, lift them up, and push them. It's refreshing to find a group where this mentality exists! Of course, it's also chock-full of great information on nutrition and workouts. BodySpace is awesome!
You have nearly 5,000 BodySpace friends. What brought you all together?
I'm fortunate to have made many friends on this site, and we stay in regular contact. It's a great accountability system and provides plenty of motivation. It's great to not only to encourage one another on our fitness goals, but also on our careers, competitions, kids, and family events.
I love that we are all genuinely happy for each other and want to see our friends succeed in their goals, because we share the same mentality. On some of the other social media sites I think the desire and drive that comes with fitness is sometimes misunderstood or misconstrued as vanity. Not on BodySpace!
Why did you want to become a figure competitor?
Deciding to compete came at the encouragement of friends that compete. I immediately said "No, not a chance." However, I hate to have something I won't do out of fear. Within a couple of weeks I changed my mind.
I realized that it was the stage that made me nervous. I was confident that I could sculpt my body to where I wanted it to be with my husband Joe's guidance. To me, my husband is the best trainer on the planet. He set up an amazing routine for me and changed things up when necessary. We did practice depletion and carb loads to see my body's response. I trust his judgment completely.
He was no-nonsense about the meal plan. It's hard to cheat if you live with your trainer! I was committed to the meals—which was actually the easy part for me—and the training was such a stress-reliever and high that I couldn't wait every day to get to the gym.
I'm so thankful for the friends I competed with, Chris and Chelsea. Were it not for them I wouldn't have stepped foot out there. Now I'm looking forward to competing again next year!
It seems like there is a lot of "shaming" online lately: fat shaming, skinny shaming, and even muscle shaming. How do you deal with it?
I agree there definitely is a lot of shaming online today on physiques! I've found myself experiencing a multitude of feelings from ranging from hurt to angry, offended, laughing, to confused—you name it. I find it incredibly ignorant of people to judge what someone else does, especially when it comes to health and fitness.
I would really like to believe that it arises out of their own insecurities. But whatever the reason, people have gotten to the point where they think it OK to say abrasive things like, "You are too skinny;" "you should really eat" (I eat 6 times a day, by the way), or "You have too much muscle." Either that, or they freak out because I eat turkey, fish, egg whites, and sweet potatoes rather than McDonald's.
Let's see the chaos that would start if I said, "You're fat. You need to step away from the Doritos and the soda!" or "You need to get on a treadmill." All hell would break loose, and I would be considered rude, hurtful, and ignorant. It's the exact same thing!
I teach my kids if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. I welcome constructive criticism on ways to improve myself, but, if you just want to be sarcastic, rude, or throw a back-handed compliment, I tune you out.
What is your favorite muscle group to train? Your least favorite?
I absolutely love to train legs and glutes. I always had a pancake bum, so imagine my excitement when I finally saw I had glutes!
My least favorite would probably be calves, because I swear they never come out! It's my hardest body part to develop, so it frustrates me. I'm an instant-gratification person, and this is definitely not an instant-gratification sport.
What was life like for you growing up? Were you always into fitness?
Growing up in my family was interesting. We moved a lot. My dad would get bored easily—I think I get that from him. I have two brothers, and we've always been close. I also have a mother who taught me perseverance, to be hard-core, headstrong, and to never quit. She gave us a you-can-do-anything mentality.
My family was always athletic. My father and my brother were both boxers. We promoted Toughman amateur boxing competitions in Australia; now my father promotes them in Nicaragua. We owned a gym, so I grew up around the influence of fitness and competition.
My parents taught us to be competitive. We were always supposed to challenge ourselves and never back down from anything. I'm very thankful for how hard they pushed me. There was no special treatment because I was a girl. They don't sugarcoat it. They just say things as they are. The tenacity I have today is a product of what they taught me. They weren't the "every kid gets a trophy for participating" parents, and I'm glad, because life doesn't work like that.
Is fitness simply a hobby for you, or could you ever see it as a career?
I'm super passionate about fitness and the industry. Although I predominantly focus on real estate, I would love to—at some point—be able to have fitness be my primary focus. I've been super skinny, and I've been fat. I've also had three kids, so I know the struggles that come with being pregnant, and the post-baby body. I've been there, and now I live what I say. It's a lifestyle for me, not a fad. I have done it—so I know it is possible!
I am genuinely happy when people are able to define their goal and move toward it with fierce determination. I'm also thankful when I get to be part of their journey, because I know it's life-changing!
Since you became a personal trainer, what is the biggest lesson you've learned from time with clients?
I have learned from working with clients that meals are the hardest thing to conquer! People have this idea of the food pyramid in their heads, but there is so much other information out there for them to make wise food choices. Eating more meals—albeit with the right foods—triggers your body to burn fat and build muscle. That is a whole new philosophy for most people.
It's awesome when you can meet with someone and they walk away feeling empowered with new information. It lets them gain control of their body—not just through exercise, but with meal plans and eating habits. I hate to call it a "diet" because I'm never on a diet!
What advice would you give to the uninitiated?
There's is a lot of information out there on routines, meals, fads, and machines, and it can be overwhelming. People either quit before they start, or once they start, it seems like a second job—i.e., not enjoyable or exciting.
People need to examine what they want for their end result. They need to define what they are looking to accomplish, then explore the resources available to see what is necessary to meet that goal. No one can just wing it. BodySpace is a great source of exercises and different meal plans which take the guesswork out of it. You see people progress! Just hearing about it does nothing for you. Seeing it makes things a reality.
Members give accounts of what they have used, where they started off, and where they are currently at. You can see info you won't always see in a magazine, like height. I am 5-foot-9. I can't and won't ever look like a girl who is 5-foot-2.
Finally, don't get discouraged when the changes you seek don't happen in two weeks. Enjoy the progress you make, and celebrate it!
This grand quest to get fit and stay fit can weigh down on people. What do you do to stay positive and keep it fun?
Fitness for me has always been a stress-reliever! It is the one place aside from my church that I can go and leave all the garbage at the door. I can go and not feel guilty that I am doing something for me and not someone else. I'm so happy and empowered when I work out that it makes me grouchy to take a rest day, I'd probably just be happy to show up and lurk.
It's also incredibly important to me that I set a good example for my kids, too. I don't focus on weight or body image; rather, being healthy and fit. This is especially important for girls. Our home is filled with fitness magazines—not tabloids—to help aid in this mindset.
We keep things fun with doing push-up or sit-up contests. We're all always flexing. We put the gloves on at night and box each other, wrestle, or swim. We're big on being active, and when we can do it as a family it's a lot of fun!
What's on the horizon for you in 2015?
I'm excited about what the future holds for me in the fitness arena. I'm looking forward to competing in 2015 and excited that my brother is going to be hitting the stage with me.
I hope I can continue to help women. I was able to reclaim my body, and there is nothing special about me. I'm every woman out there. I was the girl turning around on the scale, pregnant, when it hit 200 pounds, because I didn't want to see the number.
If I did it, you absolutely can too—and you can look better than before. I want to make my journey count. I want to help and encourage others; that gives me happiness.