As a fitness chef and personal trainer, with an extensive background in competitive bodybuilding, it is only natural that New York's Alejandro Quiroga spend his days helping people to achieve their best possible shape.
In fact, such is his success rate with the wide range of people he trains; Alejandro has had to curtail his own competitive goals to focus exclusively on those he feels would benefit most from his expertise.
As a chef, Alejandro creates the most delectable dishes for those who want the best tasting nutrition without all the hassle associated with buying ingredients and spending time in the kitchen.
His meals (some of which will be featured here on Bodybuilding.com in the coming months) are very flavorsome and attractive, as this writer, having made several for himself, will attest. Given many of these are low fat and high protein; they are perfect for the competitive bodybuilder.
Although Alejandro no longer competes, his physique is something he continues to refine with precision training along with the right nutrition. Alejandro's philosophy dictates enjoyment along with hard work and, as such, he feels bodybuilding should become a manageable lifestyle with ones diet being varied and exciting. If his physique is anything to go by, we would all do well to follow his example.
[ Q ] Hi Alejandro. Give me some background on yourself. How did you get started in bodybuilding?
- 2000 NPC East Coast Bodybuilding Championships, Hackensack NJ Champion, Men's Middleweight; 1st place Open and 2nd in the Overall
- 2000 Eastern USA Bodybuilding & Fitness & Figure Championships, National Qualifier Runner-up, and Men's Middleweight.
When I was 16-years-old, I started working out with my brothers in my home country, Argentina. I always loved the feeling of the pump and I felt like my muscles were about ready to explode every time I trained. Then I fall in love with bodybuilding, and I decided to make it my lifestyle.
I started competing as a teenager and won a few shows in Argentina. After this I came to the USA to follow my bodybuilding passion. My dream came true when I become the East Coast Bodybuilding Champion. I have never placed lower than second in any of the competitions I have entered.
Here Are Few Shows That I Won Or Placed Highly In:
I am now 31 years old and stopped competing a year ago because I have to dedicate more time to running my fitness business.
[ Q ] How long have you had your fitness businesses? What did you do to support yourself when you first came to America?
When I came to the USA nine years ago, I already had a well developed physique. Many people were impressed by my physique and wanted to train with me. I found a job as a personal trainer. Some of my clients are still training with me after nine years. So I immediately started training people and I worked part time as a chef at an Argentinian restaurant in New York.
[ Q ] As well as running a fitness business, you are a fitness chef. Tell me more about this.
Yes, I am a fitness and bodybuilding chef. My fitness chef service is called "Fit Chef," and it is a unique service providing you affordable meals that are customized and prepared just for you in your home (or my kitchen), based on your fitness or bodybuilding goals.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
As a Fitness Chef, I come to your home at your convenience and do all the work. This saves you time and money and assures that you get exactly the healthy gourmet meals you want and when you want them.
[ Q ] What kind of clients do you have as a chef?
I work with many celebrities and other busy New Yorkers. I make sure they get gourmet bodybuilding meals so they can get the results they want. Training is usually not the hardest thing to do. Staying on the diet is the hardest thing to do. At least for me.
But if you have gourmet and healthy bodybuilding meals, then it is very easy to stick with your diet, because you eat like a king and are still getting the body you want. So I do not really call it a diet. I call it "tasty food;" you have to love it what you eat. This is very important in bodybuilding.
[ Q ] How do your cooking and training careers complement each other?
As a former east coast bodybuilding champion, I know that weight training is not the only thing you have to do to get the body you want. It is very important to focus on your diet and have a right training as well.
You will get results only if you combine the right training with the right nutrition. Then you will get a synergy and that is what I do for my client. I try to get them in synergy with a right training and nutrition.
[ Q ] So what kind of nutritional plan are you on? Do you cook yourself gourmet meals?
Sure I do. Please go to my site www.alejandroq.com and see photos of my meals that I cook. I cook for myself over the weekend and prepare the meals for the whole week. That is the only way that works for me. During the week I am very busy and if I do not have anything in my fridge, there is no way I can stay on my diet.
I usually eat very tasty and healthy bodybuilding meals that I really, really like - for example: Thai chicken skewers and my healthy oats apple pancakes. My diet is high in protein and I eat carbs that are low on the glycemic index, like veggies, brown rice, oats, and some grilled fruits.
[ Q ] What are cooking tips can you provide. If one wants to impress, what can they do to present the meal well?
The food has to be eye-appealing. Remember, before you eat the meal with your mouth, you have to eat it with your eyes. So try to decorate your plate with fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, rosemary, Italian parsley, fresh oregano for example) and cut veggies into nice shapes so you can impress your friends or family members.
Click Image To Enlarge.
The Food Has To Be Eye-Appealing.
Get The Recipe For Hardcore Valentine Chicken.
You can decorate your plate with organic Black Bean & Corn Salsa or Artichoke Salsa. It looks good, smells good and it is healthy for you.
[ Q ] As mentioned, you spend a great deal of your time training people. How is this business going? Any big success stories?
Weight Training is my passion. That is what is in my blood. I love to train and I am happy to have an opportunity to bring my knowledge to many people in New York. You have no clue how happy I feel when my clients are telling me how good they feel and look. Please take a look at my client's photo testimonials.
[ Q ] What qualities do you feel a good personal trainer needs to ensure their clients reach their goals?
A personal trainer needs to be a motivator and must be able to encourage people to change their lifestyle and start eating right and training right. Some people think being a personal trainer is an easy job, you stand there and count reps. It is more than that. You have to deliver results, or the people will not hire you.
It is very important for a trainer to have an experience in training, nutrition and motivation. If you do not have those qualities, results with your clients will be limited. And on the top of that you have to love what you do and be an easy going person.
You deal on a daily basis with so many different characters and personalities; you need to manage to get along with different people. And not everybody can manage that.
[ Q ] What led to your career in personal training?
I guess that is what I'm supposed to do. It is my passion, my life, my love. So it was natural for me to do what I love.
[ Q ] What do you offer as a personal trainer? What sets you apart from the others?
My training program comes from almost sixteen years of bodybuilding experience, research and dedication to the art of shaping better bodies with a one-hundred-percent success rate. First, I am a former East Coast Bodybuilding Champion. I know what I do.
I proved it so many times when I won all my bodybuilding titles. If you would like to hire a trainer, would you not rather train with an athlete who has sixteen years of experience in training and nutrition?
[ Q ] Exactly how do you get these kind of results for your clients? What strategies do you use?
Most people think if they go to the gym and train with weights, they will get results. Most likely not. You have to know how to challenge your body with the right training techniques in order to respond.
Bodybuilding is about changing the way you live your everyday life, the way you think, the way you perform exercises, what and how you eat and many other things most people don't even consider while training. But when you focus on small details, that's when you get results.
To be a champion in the gym and to get results, you have to focus on details, because every detail counts. Just like when you are on the stage and every cut counts, all the muscle separation counts. I customize all of those components for my clients to achieve great results.
I recommend to growing bodybuilders to always learn something new. Let's say you learned a lot about the training, now you can focus on nutrition and learn about nutrition and supplements, then learn about motivation, then learn how to prepare healthy meals. As you can see, bodybuilding is a complex sport and if you want to make progress, you have to educate yourself in many areas.
[ Q ] Bodybuilding is obviously a sport you have done well in. What has been your greatest competitive achievement?
- 1st place Open and 2nd in the Overall at 2000 NPC East Coast Bodybuilding Championships, Hackensack NJ Champion, Men's Middleweight.
- Second in middleweight class at 2000 Eastern USA Bodybuilding & Fitness & Figure Championships National Qualifier and Runner-up, Men's Middleweight.
Last year I stopped competing. I was preparing for the bodybuilding show and I got a kidney stone. It was painful. So I decided to stop competing and focus more on helping other people. Honestly, I am very happy with what I have achieved so far.
I started competing at 16, so it is time to focus on other things in my life and help people with training and nutrition. It is no more focus on me; I am now focused on helping other people to achieve their fitness goals. Now I have all the experience, all the knowledge, all the tools that extend from me and I want to show people how to reach their fitness goals.
My Greatest Competitive Achievement Is:
[ Q ] Describe your current training program?
I have so many friends in NYC who are bodybuilders and trainers, and we train together. I usually work out with my friends. We push each other in training, so I can barely walk home after the workout. I'm usually switching training techniques all the time. My friends push me to the next level, and they always show me something new and I show them my stuff.
I like to train like that. Always something new, but I stick basically with heavy weights and low reps for one week and then next week I do something completely new. I like to shock my body from different angles.
[ Q ] What role do you feel supplements have in developing a great physique? Which ones do you use, and why?
[ Q ] Could you give a break down of the kind of foods you eat during the day?
For breakfast I eat protein pancakes (very low in carbs, low glycemic and high in protein with zero fat). For a snack I eat my self made protein granola bar. For lunch I have a grilled chicken breast or Mediterranean chicken skewers, veggies and honey roasted sweet potatoes. For my second snack I have a protein shake. For dinner it is balsamic chicken salad.
[ Q ] What is your favorite food, and why?
On Sundays I eat everything I want. It is my cheat day and I usually eat either pasta (make my own pasta dough) or pizza and empanadas. That's the food that I grew up with, so it's my favorite.
[ Q ] What do you think is the best bodybuilding food and why?
Balsamic vinegar chicken breast is, in my opinion, the best bodybuilding food, because it is high in protein, low in fat, easy to prepare and it tastes fantastic so I can eat all the time.
[ Q ] What would you consider the single most important contributor to bodybuilding success?
Discipline is the most important factor. Before the show, I usually start dieting for six full months without cheating. No wonder that I know how to cook. I had to learn to prepare food that will satisfy me and be oriented toward my bodybuilding goals.
You have to have a strong mind to do that. You have to be disciplined to train hard and do cardio as well. You have to be able to discipline your mind and stay focused. I mastered different motivational techniques. If you need help in this area, you can contact me over my web site.
[ Q ] What are your goals, long term and short?
My long term goals are to own a fitness magazine that will be unique and different from the magazines on the market right now. For the short term goals: I am now finishing a cookbook with healthy recipes. It will be a great cookbook with many healthy gourmet recipes, and it will change the way bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts eat forever.
Most bodybuilders eat very monotonous no-tasting food every day because they do not know how to prepare meals. I think that we should enjoy food, because that is the part of the bodybuilding, but we need first to learn how to cook it properly.
You do not need to eat dry no-tasting chicken breast because you are a bodybuilder. Some people call it hardcore. But that is not hardcore for me. We need to enjoy training and food as well. That's my philosophy because tasty and healthy food will produce improvements in your physique.
[ Q ] Thank you Alejandro. Are there any sponsors or people you would like to mention or thank?
I thank you guys for your support and all the nice emails I get. Last year I started my own fitness apparel company, Muscle Papi www.musclepapi.com (Check out the bodybuilding t-shirts and tank tops that I designed). I hope it will inspire you to achieve your fitness goals. Do not forget, you are what you eat. Stay well, train hard, and eat tasty and healthy. God bless you all!