In this episode, Celeste has the pleasure of speaking with Alejandra Ballesteros, an IFBB Bikini pro who won her pro card at North Americans in 2018, who has overcome many adversities and hardships in her life to get to where she is today.
Besides being an IFBB Pro coached by Ryan Hinton, Alejandra is also an in-person & online trainer for both lifestyle and competition clients. As always, Celeste kicks off the episode by asking Alejandra if she has a special routine or ritual she runs through right before her heel hits the stage.
Alejandra shares her perspective on channeling her inner performer and the energy she brings and exudes when she hits the stage. From there, Celeste asks Alejandra to share, in her own words, her life’s mission.
Alejandra dives into how exactly she wants to use her platform as an IFBB Pro to help inspire others to prioritize health and discover and channel their inner champion. She then goes on to explain how she represents and embodies an inner champion on a day to day basis and the significance that role has in her own life.
Next, Celeste asks Alejandra to share her experiences with being bullied and how she used that as a motivator in the gym. The two briefly touch on the importance of self efficacy and how it translates to self confidence both in bodybuilding and life. Then, Celeste goes back to Alejandra’s experiences with bullying and asks Alejandra if it ever caused her to struggle with body image.
Alejandra shares many details about the bad habits she developed when she first wanted to get in shape, yet she really started to educate herself once she found the weight room and the gym. She also shares that along with the physical and mental changes fitness became more of a safe haven and representation of commitment instead of solely being something for her physical body.
Celeste then asks Alejandra if she feels she would have the success she has today in both competing and her career had it not been for her humble beginnings. Celeste asks Alejandra to elaborate more on her commitment to growth when it came to her career in fitness and Alejandra shares how her original job as a front desk worker at the gym evolved into pursuing a career in personal training.
She explains how the first few opportunities came her way before she felt fully ready to explore the world of personal training, yet after her experiences and relationships she built at the 6th Street Gold’s Gym, while still in college, she finally decided to open the door the next time that opportunity came knocking.
Alejandra shares the struggles she faced while pursuing personal training, something she found she had a passion for, while studying government at University of Texas. She talks about the depression she fell into while learning how to manage her conflicting feelings on her educational path.
After hearing more about her beginnings in the professional side of fitness, Celeste asks Alejandra what inspired her to make the decision to compete. Alejandra then goes on to tell listeners about how she met her current hair stylist who encouraged her to compete and reach out to a local trainer on Instagram, Lauren Flodquist, who through winning a giveaway, ended up becoming Ale’s mentor and role model.
Through the mentorship she met coach and Texas bodybuilding legend Dave Shockterly and worked with him up to her first competition where she competed in both figure and bikini. After competing for the first time she fell in love with the finesse of bikini, deciding that would be the division she pursued.
Although falling in love with competing after her first show, Alejandra found herself in a tough financial situation yet at the same time yearned for the stage and to continue progressing. Feeling lost and unsure of where to go, she reached out to her friend, Lauren, her former mentor, and Lauren encouraged Alejandra to reach out to a few different coaches.
Alejandra then got in touch with Team Legacy coach, Ryan Hinton, and she was immediately impressed with how invested Ryan was in helping her grow not only as an athlete physically but also mentally. Celeste asks Alejandra about the positive influence that Ryan had on her mentality and how that contributed to her success on her journey stepping on various national stages and ultimately earning her pro card. Next, Alejandra shares her experiences at her first national show and what it was like to meet JM Manion and Angelica Teixeira.
After her first national show she felt she had good momentum and following her gut, signed up for her second national show. Unfortunately, Alejandra didn’t realize the financial and mental toll doing back to back shows would have, and found herself stuck between sticking to social commitments she’d made with her boyfriend, or going all out to pursue her dream of becoming a pro. She decided that she felt the need to fearlessly chase her dream yet ended up losing her job while being only 10 days out from her second national show.
Alejandra takes listeners through what exactly happened at USAs and the lessons and takeaways she gained from that experience. Bouncing back from taking 3rd place at USAs and losing her job a week and a half before her show, Alejandra shares how she regained a job at Lifetime Fitness. From there, she recounts her journey to and experiences at North Americans, her third national show, and what obstacles she had to overcome to get there.
Alejandra shares the advice she received from head judge Sandy Williamson after her second national show and what she did to bring the physique the judges were looking for at North Americans. While reminiscing on the experience at North Americans, Alejandra shares some advice that she received from both JM Manion and Angelica Teixeira and Celeste asks that if, in retrospect, she understands why JM and Angelica encouraged her to do that specific show.
Next, the conversation transitions into Alejandra’s plans and focus as a new pro. Celeste asks Alejandra about the feedback she received after winning her pro card and what her plans are for her pro debut.
Celeste and Alejandra talk strategy, opening the floor for Alejandra to share how she approaches an improvement season and if she continues to work with her coach during that time. From there, Celeste and Alejandra discuss the topic of heavy lifting and Celeste asks Alejandra how incorporating that into her training has helped attribute to her success on stage.
Alejandra then shares insight on how she maintains her focus on heavy lifting while in prep and she tells listeners her favorite exercises for glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders. The conversation shifts into the benefits of experimenting with other forms of training and how to implement those into ones training to grow in the ways they hope. For example, the girls discuss what benefits come from seeking training advice from a power lifter to maximize gains in their biggest lifts thus seeing the necessary growth and improvement they desire for the stage.
After talking training, Alejandra opens up about some regrets she does have during her journey through her national shows yet she also shares the valuable lessons she learned from her experiences. She shares that winning her pro card was not what she expected and shares what she felt was the true prize. As always, concluding the episode Celeste asks Alejandra to give her best advice for first time competitors as well as the girls on their road to pro.
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EPISODE TIME STAMPS:
[2:40] Alejandra shares her pre-stage ritual.
[6:30] Celeste asks Alejandra to share what she feels is her life’s mission.
[8:00] Celeste has Alejandra explain the concept of an “inner champion,” and what that looks like to Alejandra on a day to day basis.
[8:52] Alejandra talks about how she channeled bullying she experienced as a motivator in the gym.
[12:25] Celeste asks Alejandra if she’s ever struggled with body image.
[16:50] Celeste asks Alejandra to expand on how she found fitness as more a safe haven & representation of commitment as opposed to just something for her body.
[18:30] Celeste asks Alejandra if she thought she would end up where she is today in terms of success in competing and her career while coming from such humble beginnings.
[20:30] Alejandra explains how working at the front desk evolved into her pursuing a job as a personal trainer.
[25:00] Ale shares her beginnings in personal training career while still being a student at University of Texas.
[26:10] Ale shares how she fell into a depression while struggling to find her true passion while studying & working full time.
[29:10] Celeste asks Alejandra what made her finally decide to compete.
[33:00] Ale talks about how her mentor ship opportunity was the sign she needed to finally pursue bodybuilding.
[40:30] Ale shares how she found her coach, Ryan Hinton, and how she came to be one of his athletes on Team Legacy.
[43:15] Celeste asks Ale about how her coach Ryan helps her grow mentally.
[44:00] Ale explains how after meeting her coach in person, she knew her and Ryan were meant to work together.
[46:10] Alejandra shares how her experiences with such positive influence from her coach impacted her journey through the various national shows while on her road to pro.
[54:00] Alejandra discusses the unexpected toll and consequences competing took on her personal and professional life while chasing her competition dreams.
[59:30] Alejandra shares how she bounced back from losing her job being only 10 days out from her next national show.
[63:30] Ale shares what she learned from her experience at USAs, coming up short of her pro card taking 3rd.
[69:00] Ale shares what she overcame and her experience at North Americans in Pittsburgh.
[73:15] Celeste asks Ale that, if in retrospect, she understands why Angelica and JM Manion told her to compete at North Americans when she had met them at her first national show.
[74:50] Celeste asks about the feedback Alejandra received from North Americans and her plans for stepping on stage for her pro debut.
[76:15] Alejandra shares if she has continued to work with her coach during this time given all the uncertainty with shows.
[77:28] Celeste asks how Alejandra’s strategy of incorporating heavy lifting has attributed to her success on stage.
[79:05] Alejandra shares insight to her strategy of maintaining her heavy lifts during prep.
[80:00] Alejandra answers the fun question of what her favorite exercises are for hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders.
[84:00] Celeste and Alejandra discuss the importance of seeking out training advice or strategies from others, for example powerlifters, to optimize strength gains and progressive overload in the gym.
[87:02] Alejandra shares a regret she has from her decisions yet the important lessons she learned from those experiences.
[89:40] Alejandra gives her best advice for first time competitors and for girls on their road to pro.