Fitness 360: Abel Albonetti, Model Behavior
Find out how this former runway model and hard gainer packed on the muscle and became a motivational force.
Name: Abel Albonetti
Current Residence: Hernando, MS
Occupation: Fitness model, personal trainer, RSP Nutrition Athlete
RSP athlete and fitness model Abel Albonetti didn't grow up shredded.
In fact, he grew up relatively sheltered. He was homeschooled his entire life, so he never had the chance to play football, basketball, or baseball like his friends in public school. Bummed about this lack of involvement in sports, Abel ultimately found solace in the gym.
"Watching all my friends play sports left me wanting to do something active, so I worked out" Albonetti says.
As soon as he began to see results, he fell in love with training and dedicated himself to a fit lifestyle. In fact, this love of fitness is what ultimately thrust Albonetti into the spotlight.
Watch Albonetti's story and get his full training, nutrition, and supplement plan below!
Fitness Over Fashion
When he was 20 and had already put in a few years under the bar, Albonetti was approached by a recruiter from a local modeling agency. "I was working out at the YMCA, and he came up to me and said that I looked like I could model," he says.
Abel Albonetti Fitness 360
Watch the video - 5:38
From there, Albonetti spent some time on the catwalk repping different clothing lines, but as time went on, it became clear that he would have to choose between fitness and fashion. "I did a photoshoot with a teenage clothing line, and their immediate reaction was, "Oh wow, you're bigger than we thought,'" Albonetti recalls. "I didn't fit into most of their clothing and knew I had to decide what I was going to do: model or build my physique."
Industry legends like Greg Plitt inspired Albonetti to go full steam ahead on the fitness path. "I looked at bodies like his and thought, "Wow, I'd like to look like them someday,'" he says. "I really wanted to see what my body could achieve if I pushed those boundaries." Albonetti ultimately combined his passions and transitioned to fitness modeling, but adding mass didn't come easily.
Consistency is Key
"There was never a time when I was putting on tons of muscle," Albonetti says. "It's always been a struggle for me to put on size. It took years for me to build up, but lifting heavy was ultimately key."
As a novice lifter, Albonetti was able to see results from a relatively unstructured training plan. "When I first started, I was doing full-body circuits," he says of those beginning days, "but then I did research and realized that training a muscle group at a time worked better."
Attacking a body-part split allowed Albonetti to lift heavier to stimulate serious muscle growth, but that doesn't mean you can just stack a bunch of plates on a bar, push through a few reps, and expect to wake up swole. Carving a killer physique takes time.
"A lot of teenagers are like, 'I'm not seeing results, and I've been going to the gym for six months,'" Albonetti says. "You've got to keep going and keep pushing. Even if you don't see the results right then, they'll come. You have to trust the process."
Making a Difference
These days, as an athlete and working fitness model, Albonetti's main focus is to give back. He wants to positively impact people who are struggling to get fit. He's helped many people reach their goals by teaching motivation and persistence, a path he wants to continue upon.
"My goal in the fitness industry is to help people both physically and mentally," he says." A lot of people out there are overweight, and they're looking for answers. I want to help them to get healthier and just enjoy life."
Abel's Daily Nutrition Regimen
When it comes to nutrition, Albonetti recognizes how much of an impact diet has on his physique. While he could eat whatever he wanted as a teen, he's had to tighten the reins as he's gotten older. "From about 20-25 years old, my metabolism slowed down," Albonetti says. "Now diet plays a huge role for me in terms of building muscle, losing weight, and getting ready for competitions and photo shoots."
Abel's go-to method for getting lean is carb cycling. While carbs eaten in excess or at the wrong times can lead to fat storage, they're not the enemy. In fact, they're essential! Carbohydrates energize the body, fuel workouts, and prevent fatigue by replenishing glucose and glycogen stores. However, strategically cycling carbs allows Albonetti to focus on burning fat or fueling performance at specific times.
"For me, carb cycling is one of the best ways to actually put on size and lose body fat," he says. For contest prep, he usually carb cycles with three low-carb days followed by one high-carb day. Below is a sample of one of his low-carb days.
Now MCT Oil: 2 tbsp (mixed in)
80/20 Ground beef: 6 oz.
Green beans: 2 cups
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Olé Mexican Foods High-Fiber Soft Taco Wrap: 1
Chicken breast: 6 oz.
Broccoli: 2 cups
Chicken breast: 6 oz.
Avocado: 1 medium
Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Ranch Dressing: 2 tbsp
Abel's Training Regimen
Albonetti lifts six days a week, hitting his legs, calves, chest, shoulders, and abs multiple times. He uses Sundays for recovery, but still takes part in 30 minutes of low-intensity incline walking or a light jog outside.
Monday through Saturday, he does his cardio in the morning, and his weight training later in the day. He also splits his shoulder and arm day into morning and afternoon workouts.
ab circuit: repeat 4 times
ab circuit: repeat 4 times
Abel's Daily Supplementation Regimen
While it doesn't make or break his progress, or play as big of a role as whole-food nutrition, supplementation is essential to Albonetti's diet. "I take protein, creatine, fish oil, CLA, and a multivitamin," he says.
Albonetti cycles his pre-workout. "I'll go two months on and then a month without to give my body a break from the stimulants," he says. Pre-workouts generally contain stimulants like caffeine that, while giving you an initial added edge at the gym, can have less of an impact as your body adapts to them. If a scoop of pre-workout is an integral part of your workout regimen, cycle off every 6-8 weeks to so you don't become too caffeine-tolerant.
If you love other performance ingredients commonly found in pre-workouts like creatine, beta-alanine, and nitric-oxide boosters—and don't want to remove those from your plan—try a stimulant-free pre-workout for a couple weeks before jumping back on your go-to pre.