"As a mother of two, working full time and going to school, I thought I would never get my once flat abdominals back. It had been eight years since ive shown my stomach in public and I was ready for change. After discussing my goals with Odalis, he explained the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy diet. I struggled to find time to make it to the gym, so Odalis brought the gym to me. He came to my home along with his TRX strength training system, dumbbells, and mat to name a few. One week he was teaching me how to do a proper squat and the next he was challenging me with one legged squats. He drills me with circuits of cardio, weight lifting and floor exercises. At times I'm tired and feel weak but he's always right there to encourage me. Just when I think I can't he's saying "I know you can, just three more!" I've regained my health and strength I never imagined I had. He is now training me for my first 8 mile obstacle race. It is all possible because of Odalis and his genuine desire to help people become the greatest version of them self."
Congratulations Sophia!!! Amazing!
You have been a trainer and nutritional consultant for some time now, but your journey wasn't easy at times, getting your six pack stomach took much work and determination. Tell us a little bit about that journey and what was the turning point?
1)Honestly it was very difficult for me to change my eating habits. I wanted to get muscular and I was under the impression that in order to get “big” I had to eat big. I struggled with the mindset that only with steroids and superior genetics would I be able to obtain a great physique. I figured “hey I cant get ripped and muscular without steroids but if I lift heavy and eat a lot I can look big with shirt on and look big and intimidating, so I will do that”. I wanted to look like a bodybuilder and ended up looking more like a water buffalo..lol.. The turning point for me was when I starting doing research and I came across individuals who had excelled in bodybuilding without the use of performance enhancement drugs. My research enabled me to reconstruct my limiting beliefs and It also put me in a path of setting goals and seeing for myself if getting in shape without “assistance” is possible.
2. When did you know that part of your life's goal was to help people get into shape and give nutritional counseling?
Dave Palumbo one of Odalis's Mentors
A: When I started my freshman year in college I took a nutrition class and loved it because at that time I was working out, but was eating all the wrong foods. Once I took that class it really enlightened me and showed me that fitness, which I loved, and nutrition go hand in hand, so I made it my major. I was working towards my bachelors for dietetics but unfortunately due to economic issues I had to drop out. It was a really rough time for me not being able to get closer to my goal in helping people live a healthy lifestyle and I didn’t like the way I looked. I was growing tired of looking “ big” with my shirt on not being able to take off my shirt at the beach, so I decided to look for help. I started working with my mentors professional bodybuilders Colette Nelson and Dave Palumbo, and they gave me the confidence to challenge myself and take my body to the next level. I set a goal to take shirtless pictures and post them on facebook. Now remember I was training hard at the gym for about 6 years and I was never able to take my shirt off in public. The feed backs on the pics to my surprise were very positive including that I should do personal training. This quickly gave me an epiphany that I should really put my passion in to work, and personal training sounded great. So I did research and got my certifications in Sport nutrition , personal training, and group training. I’ve been training ever since, did some fitness modeling and also am a columnist in a local newspaper and have my own health segment on a FM radio station.
3. You have also dabbled in acting a bit, is that also a passion of yours? Where do you want to go with that?
A: A lot of people say I am a chameleon cause I can do and be a little bit of everything and everyone.
I love music, movies, entertainment, fitness, and writing so I try to make myself part of all of them
because they are the things I’ve mostly been surrounded by all my life. And for a person that has been very shy and introverted around people since very young, I feel like acting is my form of
communicating with others and “being me without having to be me”. Acting just like other types of
entertainment is also rewarding to me because I enjoy seeing others laugh and take some time off
from the hardships of reality. It helped me out a lot through many rough patches in my life so I know
it can also be a great source of therapy for others. That’s really how my passion for it grew. It was almost like a survival mechanism. Where do I want to go with the acting? Where ever God wants me to go… at the end of the day it’s all up to him.
4. Name 3 people you admire and why ?
A: Jesus Christ because the way that he lived and the examples that he left to follow, his closeness to perfection was astonishing. He is a true inspiration because there hasn’t been another human that has stepped in this earth that has been as faithful to anything in this world as He was to His Father. He is also the reason why I can do everything I do and have done. Tony Robbins because he is a very powerful speaker. I learned a lot through his speeches and incredible motivational skills. A lot of the things that got me through this new lifestyle was through his books. Chris Jericho because I can relate to him. He does a lot of things the things that I like: Acting, music, wrestling, and at the same time he is a man of faith.
5. In elementary and high school you were not as fit and in shape and as it was put on The Maury Povich , a bit of a nerd, when you train people who maybe severely overweight or just not physically fit do come in with a different perspective or compassion for that person you are training?
A: When I work with people that are overweight they tend to connect with me better because we can relate to the emotions and issues that come along with being that way, but I don’t feel any certain compassion or sympathy towards any of my clients because just like I had that problem and was able to change it by altering my thoughts and behavior patterns so can any other human. We were all blessed with a brain that is so powerful it literally can make you or break you.
6. Growing up in a Latin family and eating all great foods like Arroz Con Pollo, San Cocho de Gallina and desserts like tres leche cake can be well " A Problem",how can we still have some of our favorite foods and lose the weight?
This one I know being Italian , our foods can really set us back.
A: Eating in moderation. I also believe in cheat meals, they are great ways to treat yourself after long weeks of hard training and eating clean. It is also another way to motivate yourself to eat well when your suppose to because you will always have in mind that in a couple of days your going to be able to feast on that pasta you’ve been craving for for so long.
7. Spring is here and summer is coming up, what are the top three exercises to get us into shape and trim the fat so you can look great on the beach?
A: I really don’t believe in 3 specific exercises to getting the perfect beach bod because I think working out is more of a lifestyle than a goal. So the first thing I would recommend is to workout and shape your mind first. Like I said earlier your mind works magic. Our body parts are mere slaves of our brain. Without the minds permission, nothing can get done, so we have to ready ourselves mentally in order for the new lifestyle process to start. By doing this we’re changing our old habits, thoughts, and beliefs which is the hardest things for humans to do. It can be a struggle because these are the things that make us and for many it is a scary step to change who you think you are. Change overall is hard to endure but it can be very good for many of us. After we can accept all that everything else is pretty much cake. Once your mind is ready to hit the road your body will follow concordant and you will start following a new routine you can be comfortable in again.
8. Nutritional supplements in recent years have really become part of the course or go hand in hand with many people's exercise regiment, what supplements would you recommend and why?
A: When it comes to supplement management I highly recommend multi vitamins because even though I would prefer to get my vitamins through whole foods; it is never a bad Idea to take a multi vitamin to avoid deficiencies. Whey protein is great because it’s a convenient source of getting your protein, and fish oil because it’s essential in our daily diet and a lot of us don’t consume enough of it on a daily basis.
9. Raspberry ketone, green coffee bean extract and brown seaweed extract have been very popular for weight loss many prominent experts tout their benefits. What are your thoughts?
A:I personally haven’t used them so I wouldn’t know if they work, but what I normally do is just educate my clients that there is not a magic pill out there for being fit, for rapid weight loss maybe, but if what you’re looking for is just a quick fix to then be back to square one a month later then by all means buy the pills or make the crash diet recipes, but if you want to be fit and look in good physical shape from here on out till your already getting old like Sylvester Stallone with tighter muscles than a 30yr old then I advise them it’s all about discipline and consistency. Carrying out on a mental plan of eating healthy and training right is the key to staying fit.
10. Finally what is the most important piece of advice you can give to someone who is finding it hard to reach their goal?
A:The first thing they need to find out is what their goal is and why they really want it. If they don’t know exactly what their goal is and how strongly they want it they will probably fail to attain it. When you don’t want something too bad you won’t work for it as hard. And that’s why people give up a lot of times because we confuse what we want with what we are afraid of really wanting or because we want to do it for the gratification of others. But you have to set the goal. Take control of your thoughts and desires by clawing and biting through all obstacles to get what you want, because the only thing that can stop you from getting to them is yourself.