Melissa Alcantara Workout Routine and Diet Plan

Melissa Alcantara wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth and lives most of her childhood in the poor section of Bronx, New York. She had no money to eat, smoked and gained 70 pounds during her pregnancy. She was an “unfit, super broke” waitress living in Brooklyn, New York. Naturally, she was depressed. “I was literally living month-to-month,” Alcantara, who also goes by the name of “Fitgurlmel,” tells “I was never into working out or sports. I was an avid smoker and also gained 70 pounds after giving birth to my daughter.” She also added that she was determined, saying, “I’ve got to do something with myself. I can’t stay like this.”

When she decided to make some changes and start working out, she started to see some results in a short amount of time through trials and tribulations, many failures and successes, and of course tons of work and dedication. After losing ~40 pounds in 60 days, and realizing that she had complete control of her mind and body, she was so motivated that she signed up for certain bodybuilding competitions to give her confidence a boost.

Afterward, she began to track her progress by posting it online, giving tips and self-instructing work out videos by the name of @Fitgurlmel. Her popularity rose and she appeared in the series The Titan Games but she hit the big break when she was asked by Kim Kardashian to be her personal trainer. Coincidentally, Alcantara and her husband were already intending to relocate to Los Angeles, so she gladly took the offer. She moved to LA to train Kim and her online presence grew by leaps and bounds. She says,

“One day while browsing through Instagram at like 4am, Kim found one of my transformation images. Kim wanted to be strong and healthy and do it the right way (aka the hard way), so she reached out directly. Three days later we were chatting at her apartment in New York (I lived in Brooklyn at the time) and we really connected on a personal level. I told her that we were actually moving to LA in the near future, which worked perfectly because she wanted to train with me and embark on this fitness adventure together. The rest is history. Kim is my homegirl and we push each other to do better every single day.”

Currently, Alexandra has her own program for fitness and nutrition where she shares tips, total workout series and few recipes called Insanity Max 30! She also has more than a million followers on her Instagram account. Since then, Melissa has earned many bodybuilding titles, competed in and won Jiu-Jitsu competitions, and gained a bunch of loyal followers who she inspires to bring daily motivation through her genuine no bullsh*t fitness and wellness techniques and formula for self-development and commitment.

Her workout involves treating her clients as athletes. This is why she created Built Aesthetics, not just for women, but men too who have just begun on their fitness journey. She assures that they will see a transformation from being a beginner to a pro and everything in between.

For her, it’s the daily routine that matters the most and to this very day, Alcantara still remains very committed when it comes to a disciplined lifestyle and a daily routine that she says changed her life. Here’s what it looks like:

She wakes up at 4 a.m.

Alcantara says she usually begins her day at 4 a.m. The first thing she does after getting out of her bed is to enjoy a cup of pour-over coffee. She also reads something especially her favorite book, “Living a Life of Awareness: Daily Meditation on the Toltec Path,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. She says that starting her day in a positive way helps her to stay and give positivity throughout the day and “start the day off right.”

She skips breakfast

Alcantara practices intermittent fasting, a trending diet where one fasts for up to 14-16 hours and eats in a specific eating window which can range from 6-8 hours.  Her eating schedule isn’t “super structured,” she says, but her first meal of the day is mostly in the noon after she has completed her workout.

“I like to fast during the day because I tend to eat more late at night when I get especially hungry,” says Alcantara.

Intermittent fasting has been so popular over the past few years because it helps stay one in check and hence helps to lose weigh too. However, long term risks are not known. However, Alcantara also says she believes that as long as you’re eating “healthy foods from nature, it doesn’t really matter whether you fast or not.”

She heads to the gym

Around 8 a.m., after a two-hour training session with Kim Kardashian, Alcantara heads to the gym for her own workouts.

She is into weight lifting which she does for an hour. “I usually do legs twice a week or every three days,” she says, “but it’s usually the same thing every week.” However, she is not much of a cardio fan and tries to avoid it as much as possible “I try to walk 10,000 steps a day. That’s pretty much my cardio.”

She drinks a gallon of water

Alcantara believes in keeping hydrated and she drinks about a gallon of water every day. “It sounds like a lot, and you’ll likely spend more time in the bathroom than anywhere else, but you eventually get used to it,” she says. “Drinking lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your body.”

She works on her startup

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After working out, Alcantara heads home to work on her own business website called,, where she markets her nutrition and workout programs. She also works on something else, probably making a new workout schedule for the clients or if she’s writing something, she will finish that up.

She goes grocery shopping

She makes sure that her fridge is never empty and always filled with whole foods. She does not eat processed food so she likes to buy her groceries herself.

Her first meal includes toast with eggs or chicken with rice and beans. For dinner, it’s usually fish with vegetables and rice. “I’m Dominican, so I like to keep my culture going,” she says.

She tries to get five to six hours of sleep

On average, Alcantara says she gets around five to six hours of sleep, which she knows is way below the recommended amount of sleep, that is, seven to nine hours. This is because not only is she running he Brown business and working on her fitness routine, she also has a daughter to look after. “It’s not like I get 10 hours of sleep a night,” she says. “My nighttime routine could use some improvement. I’m working on it.”

She says that change does not happen over-night and one has to remain persistent and committed to developing a habit. It might even take a month, but all the hard work is worth it.

Melissa Alcantara Workout Routine

Melissa busts the myths about women who fear to bulk up while weight lifting. In her own words,

“For women, I believe it is thinking you’ll turn into a man if you lift weights. Also people thinking they can move some dumbbells up and down and make some magazine level muscles in a couple of months. The truth is that what the image may be showing is anything from Photoshop to chemical enhancements, and that building a functional and aesthetic physique takes a long time. It’s more a lifestyle for longevity and quality of life rather than something you do for the summer or a friend’s wedding.”

Melissa Alcantara likes to add variations to her routine but these are some of her favorite exercises:

  • Kickbacks: This is a great workout to define the glutes. Start by getting on hands and knees and arch back (down, like Cow Pose). Lift 1 knee and pull it forward then kick the heel toward the ceiling. Continue to for some time. Repeat on the other side.
  • Banded Lunges: Wrap your band at knees. Stand straight with knees turned out slightly. Place your hands on hips, walk forward, bending deeply but do not allow the knees to touch the floor. Repeat 12-15 times for one side and switch to the other.
  • Lat Pull-Downs: With your thumbs extended, grip the bar and sit, your hips pressed against pad. Pull the bar down toward your chest and lean back slightly. As you let the bar go up, keep your shoulders down and allow your head to return to the current position directly under the bar. Repeat at least 12-15 times.
  • Bent-over Barbell Rows: With your thumbs extended, grip the bar. Push your glutes back, keep your chest up, and your shoulders away from your ears. Your elbow will point out as you lift. You will feel this in your glutes. Repeat for 10-15 reps and make sure not to lose form.
  • Lying Leg Lifts: Lie on your back with your hands tucked under the lower part of your back. Lift your chest to bring your shoulder blades off the ground. Lift your legs with your knees slightly bent and feet flexed. Make sure to keep your back flat on the ground as you lift.
  • Planks: With your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in alignment, extend your legs with your heels pushing back. Make sure to keep your back in a straight line, neither curving down or up, and your core engaged. Pull your elbows in to keep your chest engaged. Hold for as long as you can with a good form.
  • Stairmaster: Try and not to hold on to the rails while stepping on a Stairmaster. Keep your hips stationary & make your legs do all the work. Don’t bounce and keep your body stable. Extend your leg fully and feel the burn before taking the next step. Try not to zone ou as mental focus gives better physical results.

Melissa even has to say about the butt workouts that are trending on the internet. She says,

“This is a great question. Right now, people are obsessed with their butts, but the human body doesn’t work in isolation. The function of the glutes is to prevent the human from falling on its face when running – they fire to keep you standing.

In addition, the butt works along the posterior chain (lower back, glutes and hamstrings) which means that the entire muscular chain needs to be addressed in training. There’s no one exercise that will unlock the secrets to a functional and big ass. You need to train the system and address its strength and mobility. Stiff muscles are actually very brittle, and your aim should be to create a butt that is both strong and flexible.

I recommend incorporating the fundamentals, squats and dead lifts and layering in hip thrusts, banded movement exercises and sprinting in order to have a nice and functional bottom. Most importantly, be patient as hell since this muscle chain takes forever to develop.”

The average routine of Kim and Alcantara is almost the same. Both of them Kim Kardashian work out five to six days every week. Alcantara revealed that she trains Kardashian using a mixture of weight-training exercises and high-intensity cardio, like sprinting on a treadmill and so does she! Alcantara believes in lots of weight training to help tone and define muscles. She tries to avoid cardio most of the time.

Her training methods for her clients are a bit different. She recommends  85% weight training, with the remaining workouts including a mixture of cardio and even body-weight exercises. She also focuses a lot on the core muscles. For her, it is all about proper form and a correct posture. She also credits good breathing to maintaining a strong and powerful core and hence, for general fitness as well.

For her, there is no best time to exercise as the important part is to exercise at all. But she works out in the morning when she is still fasting. “For me, it is the morning around 10 am but this time is not possible for a lot of people due to other professional and personal commitments. Given the needs of the modern world, the best time is the one you have. Whenever it may be, I recommend using your time effectively to exercise not just your body but also your mind,” she explained.

Getting in shape after pregnancy

When Melissa wasn’t sure where to start, she began experimenting with weight loss supplements and a weight loss program, but it did not come to her rescue and showed no results. She even decided to work out by watching videos on Youtube but it was so hard for her.“I thought I was going to die,” she says. But she was so determined that she stuck with her plans and did not give up during her workouts and managed to lose 40 pounds in a matter of 2 months.

She made her debut on Shaun T’s Insanity Max 30 workout program, and after filming ended, she realized that fitness was her passion. She quit her job and signed up for bodybuilding competitions. She was focused on her training and her diet a lot but it finally did pay off when she won in two categories.

This motivated her even more and her stance at life changed. She was much stronger than before and wanted everyone else around her to be motivated. In her own words,

“My fitness journey reminded me that, in order to love my family, I had to love myself first,” she says. “I learned that being consistent, trying challenging new things and being uncomfortable was not just part of working out, but that those were the same skills you need to succeed at anything worth your time. And loving myself has enabled me to open my heart to fully love other people—especially my little one, Bella.”

Mel’s tips for losing baby weight:

Here are Melissa’s suggestions on how to lose weight after pregnancy naturally, as mentioned on her own blog:

  1. Get a program. Don’t go to the gym and walk around aimlessly — enlist the help of a trainer to guide and support you.
  2. Include weight training. Don’t just do cardio — you might lose weight that way, but you won’t be toned.
  3. Work everything. Don’t try to build up only one part of your body. You need to balance.
  4. Hydrate. Drink at least 100 ounces of water per day.
  5. Eat real food. And eat! You’re not going to lose weight if you don’t eat. You’ll be in starvation mode, and your body will hold on to fat.
  6. Be patient. Every day that you’re working toward your goal adds up. If you want something sustainable that’s going to work for you, you need to give it time.

Going viral

Motivated by her triumph in the bodybuilding competition, Melissa began sharing her workout results with the world on Youtube and started giving advice on fitness for mothers. Currently, her Instagram account is a collage of photos boasting her sculpted arms, toned legs, and a killer six-pack abs that are inspirational at first glance.

Some of her posts that included transformation photos comparing her physique from the days of post-pregnancy versus how she looks now have gone viral. In May 2017, she managed to attract the attention of reality star Kim Kardashian, who hired Melissa to be her trainer and this has obviously, elevated Melissa’s own profile.

Like Kim, many other moms who reach out to Melissa are in a quest to recover their pre-birth bodies. Some are in fact in their pregnancy stages and  Melissa enjoys corresponding with them as they progress through their pregnancies.

“Moms need to take themselves into consideration,” Melissa says. “Without kids, without a husband, without a job — I’m still a person. It’s not that you’re being selfish if you take time for yourself.”

Melissa Alcantara’s Fitness Tips for General Lifestyle Health

  • Be Consistent & Stay Positive: Alcantara’s advice is to show up in the first place and do the work. She asks her clients to always remember that mind is the most powerful tool that will allow you to succeed.
  • Every Action Counts: Alcantara says everything you do counts. This includes everything from what you choose to eat to whether you choose to show up for your workout, etc that decides whether you are fit or not. She says that rather than attaining a specific weight or to lose weight, we should all be eating and moving with health as our goal.
  • Plan Ahead: She takes time seriously and does not squander it. It is essential to make the most of the precious time and planning ahead will help to achieve that.
  • Early Riser: Alcantara is up at 4 am, has some coffee, and reads something to start her day on a positive note. This helps to keep a positive outlook throughout the day.
  • Work It All: Balance is key and for Alacantara it is important to focus on the whole body rather than isolated movements.
  • Weight Train for the Win: Although she is not too big of a cardio fan, she makes sure to walk 10 thousand steps a day and remain active throughout the day. However, weight lifting is her passion and is very important to lose weight and tone the muscles. It is also easy to turn weight lifting into a cardio routine by minimizing the rest time.
  • Think Long-Term: Most people look for instant results which is not a practical approach. Alcantara believes in creating a routine and stick to it for at least a year to see the body developing at its own pace. Good habits take time but they are there for a lifetime.

Here is what she thinks are the most common mistakes that people make when they begin their fitness journey, be it food or workouts. She says,

“They go and ‘work out,’ meaning they walk into the gym and have no plan or strategy to actually work out their bodies and their mind. The best way to avoid this is to make, or utilize, an existing plan – such as my Fitplan 8 Week Body Sculptor or Built Aesthetics plans.

By going into the workout with a plan, there’s a clear aim, which allows different muscular systems to be worked on rather than just one part. The body is a kinetic machine with many inter-dependencies and should be viewed in its totality.”

Melissa Alcantara Diet Plan

In all her interviews, you will probably see Mel telling about how fitness is much more than hitting the gym. It’s just a part of the process. The first step is to check on what fuels your body. This means your food habits. She is not really big on dieting and wants to spread the message that fitness is about an overall lifestyle change. She tells everyone to eat what’s real and ditch what’s not. This means saying no to unprocessed food and going for whole foods, veggies, fruits, and protein.

In fact, just like Kim’s workout plan, her diet plan is also similar to Kim’s. Both of them make sure to eat a lot of healthy fat and carbs that include options like sweet potato, quinoa, and chicken.

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She really gives importance to planning ahead and preparing meals beforehand so you don’t fall for unhealthy options. It is important to stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and avoid the “trigger” foods completely. It is a great way to ditch out all the processed food not just for your self but for everyone who lives with you.

Hydration is the next important step in her daily routine. She makes sure that she is drinking a gallon of water daily. Alcantara says one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight is the ideal amount to drink daily to stay hydrated. She always keeps a mason jar or water bottle handy with her and refills it to keep her water intake in check.

As a binge eater before, she knows the struggle is real. She ate a lot of junk food when she was growing up. She thought that eating healthy only consists of salads and lettuce. She also admits that did not really have a very healthy relationship with food and would starve and binge later on.

She understood the importance of diet when she was pregnant. After her pregnancy, she did a lot of research and discovered the importance of nutrition. That’s how she managed to lose 40 pounds off her body- by having a clean diet and exercising regularly!

She follows intermittent fasting so she only has some black coffee before she starts her day and eats her first meal at noon. She works out fast. She saves her calories for the night when she is the most hungry. She has ditched junk foods like pizza and donuts completely and instead focuses on eating a balanced meal. Her meals always include lean proteins like chicken and fish and carbs like Erice and veggies. Drinking a lot of water is always recommended.

Estimated Macros

  • Medium Protein
  • Medium Fat
  • Medium Carb

Diet Tips

  • Stock Up on the Good Stuff: To keep temptation at bay, Alacantarra only keeps healthy foods in her house. She says that if it comes in a plastic bag, it must not be in your house.
  • Healthy Fuel-Up: Alacantara has a Dominican lineage, and she likes to eat healthy food, such as chicken or eggs with rice and beans as her first meal of the day around noon. Dinners are pretty simple for her. Alacantara often has fish, vegetables, and rice.
  • Don’t Go Nuts: Alcantara says that many people snack on peanut butter and other nuts or dried food when they are hungry. But they pack a lot of calories. If weight loss is your goal, you should avoid eating too many of them.

“I wouldn’t say they have to cut it out from their diet, but people seem to go to a pack of nuts or peanut butter whenever they feel hungry. We have been told that nuts are healthy and that they have protein but, in reality, nuts are a form of healthy fat. In saying that, if you eat a couple of packs of nuts a day, what you’re doing is eating 500 calories of healthy fat when you may only need a smaller portion.”

  • Hydration Is Key: Alcantara recommends drinking at least a gallon of water each day. It has numerous benefits even if it means more regular trips to the washroom but she herself has a gallon too.
  • Intermittent Fasting: Alcantara still eats 3-4 meals per day, but her meals are divided and she has them between noon and 9 pm, meaning she fasts for about 15 hours per day.

Clearly, there are no quick fixed for her. In an interview, she said about quick fixes and other supplements that claim to burn fat, etc. In her words,

“If they worked, I wouldn’t get this question all the time. Fundamentally, people know they are fads. However, who doesn’t like the promise of something that will change your life forever in just 21 days with minimum effort? I ask people to analyze what they’re doing and determine if they can do it for at least 6-12 months. If the answer is no then most likely it isn’t sustainable and it’s just a fad.”

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What to Eat

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetables
  • Olive Oil

What to Avoid

  • Pizza
  • Donuts
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Refined sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Junk food
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Pre-packaged foods
  • Alcohol

This is what she says about balancing our fitness with both exercising and focusing on nutrition:

“If you’re training correctly, you’re already doing cardio while dead lifting and squatting. People connect cardio with losing weight, but the goal of cardio is to improve cardiovascular ability, meaning that you’re able to sustain the movement for longer and more efficiently while using less energy.

Nutrition plays a much larger role in losing unneeded fat. Yes, you need fat in your body to function correctly, thus you should never aim to get rid of more fat than is healthy for your body – and the focus [should be] on actual nutrition and not on calorie deficits.

That being said, incorporating a particular amount of cardio along with proper nutrition will have a positive impact on losing unneeded fat. Both of my Fiplans have several forms of cardio that aim to both help you lose fat and improve your cardiovascular ability. Bodies have to be able to move, not just look like they can move.”

Melissa Alcantara’s Supplements

Prenatal Vitamin

Alcantara doesn’t talk much about her vitamins and supplements, but a prenatal vitamin supplement is a must for moms-to-be because they provide nutrition for both mom and the growing baby.


A multivitamin is still a good idea postpartum to help fill in any nutritional gaps for those days when you can barely remember what or if you ate.


Collagen can help your skin regain its elasticity and also supports bone and joint health if you are new to working out.

Fish Oil

Fish oil can help reduce inflammation in the joints, as well as the risk of depression

Vitamin D

Vitamin D also fights depression and can help with weight loss.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts your immune system which can help you fend off illness when you’re run down from caring for baby round the clock.


Probiotics can help get digestion back on track if you took tons of pain meds with the delivery, and especially if you had a C-section.

Once Melissa was asked about her meal prep ideas that she posts on Instagram and her view of best pre-workout meals. This is what she had to say:

“Well, ‘best’ is entirely subjective and people react differently. What you eat before or after is not as important as what you eat over time. Your body doesn’t actually like change, so in order for it to change you need to give it enough time to change.

Instead of meal timing and composition, you should experiment with what works for you. For example, if you work out at 5 am, it is probably more efficient for you to not eat before training but if you work out during your lunch break at work, you may want to eat a couple of hours before in order to feel like you can handle the training – and make it through the morning at work!

Again, the goal is to eat with nutrition in mind. Avoid processed food, and essentially bull**t in order to get the results you want. Most of the time, I personally like training on an empty stomach in the morning and then I eat all my meals (3 – 4 meals per day) between 12 pm and 9 pm.”

Melissa Alcantara Tips for Overall Health:

Sleep Matters

Alcantara admits to only getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night, and agrees that one must sleep for at least 8 to 9 hours each day as is recommended.

Advice to Would-Be Entrepreneurs

How to Keep Up with Kim Kardashian’s Workouts: Her Trainer Reveals Best Motivational Tips in the Gym

She says that life is all about taking risks and if you are thinking of opening your own startup, you should go for it just like she did. Even if you fail, it is very important to learn from it and is a big part of success.

Career Alternatives

Alcantara says if she weren’t a trainer, she’d probably be a fighter. She has been trained in Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. She would also consider being a hair-stylist. Also, she thinks that having a plan B is very important-something that you love and enjoy.

It’s all about consistency.

“Motivation comes and goes, but showing up and doing the work creates results,” says Alcantara, who as a new mom did not even miss a day of Shaun T’s 60-day Insanity program. It was by week five that she felt her core strengthen, and that is how her love for exercise turned into her passion.

Look at the big picture.

Whether it’s a sneaker or a supplement, “no one thing makes you fit, and there are no hacks to get there,” she says. “It’s about doing many small, healthy things for positive results that build up over time.” Eating and moving with health in mind is the best approach. Do not keep losing weight as your goal.

Have a plan.

“Wandering around the gym to do a little bit of this and that and then grabbing a salad is not a plan,” Alcantara says. Figure out your workout, make your meals beforehand, and write down your daily tasks to make the best use of time. “These soon become habits you can maintain,” she added.

“Feeding your mind negative thoughts yields negative actions,” she says. “The realization that your mind can create your reality is very powerful.” For her, fitness is all about changing your mindset and having a stronger one. It is about who you were before and what you aspire to be.

Think years, not weeks.

Many people make the mistake of looking for instant results and hence lose interest quickly. “Instead, commit to a more sustainable regimen for one year before you entertain anything else,” says Alcantara, whose training these days consists mostly of lifting and doing yoga.

Melissa Alcantara On The Reality Of A Healthy Diet…

She thinks that it is wrong for women to think that they will turn bulky or turn into med when they start weight lifting. The human body does not work that way. Another misconception is that carbs are bad and if you have to lose weight you must eat veggies and protein ONLY. But in reality, carbs are very much needed and some people even need it more than others. It really depends on your activity levels throughout the day. She says, “Carbs are needed, and some people actually need a lot more carbs than others depending on certain factors such as their genetic type, etc. But, I’m talking about real carbs like sweet potatoes and quinoa, rice cakes and fiber crips are NOT carbs, they’re just processed food.”

She also addresses the issue of quick fixes that is popular among people trying to lose weight. She says,

“Women are doing detox teas, skipping carbs and loading on crazy amounts of protein, and perpetually doing endless hours of cardio…I want to end this nonsense, we all know it doesn’t work but for a short period of time and you end up literally starving yourself to lose weight; the worse part is that this approach ends up making you gain all the weight back plus some right after you stop starving. This approach is hormonally taxing to our bodies, it’s just not sustainable and quite unhealthy.”

That is all about Melissa Alcatara’s healthy approach to lifestyle.

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