Alissa Parker is an exceptionally beautiful mother of two girls, an IFBB figure pro, Author, an ISSA certified sports nutrition specialist, fitness model and a fitness trainer. She is in conversation with Namita Nayyar, President Women Fitness.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have been interested in fitness and sports at an early age. You were taught aerobics by your mother as a young child. You started lifting weights in high school. Later you were encouraged & motivated to compete in fitness competitions. You earned your IFBB figure pro card. You reached the pinnacle of success by being ranked in the top 10 nationally in both figure and bikini in 2011. Tell us about your journey that took you to the the world of fitness and as a winner in Professional Bikini and Figure Pro competitions?
Ms. Alissa Parker: Well, the drive to compete really started over 10 years ago when I had my first daughter. During my pregnancy I gained a lot of weight, more than I should have. I used it as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted (a lot of chocolate) and I did not exercise. It has really never has been an easy road for me. I struggled with body image and periodic disordered eating from a young age. So, right after I had my daughter I lost all my weight initially by not eating.
I’ve never really talked about this publicly. My husband brought home a fitness magazine, and I decided I wanted to look like the girls in the magazines. I got back into the gym, started lifting and quickly achieved my goals of getting fit. I started eating healthfully again and working out was once again a passion. It was then that people at the gym urged me to compete, and I actually did! back then it wasn’t that popular. Bikini wasn’t around yet, and I was the first in my gym to do it, and started getting all my friends into it. It took me several years, and a lot of shows to get where I am now. It didn’t happen over night, but years and years of consistency and hard work.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What is your motivation to take a multi-faceted personality of a fitness model, professional Bikini & Figure competitor, personal trainer, author and nutritional expert?
Ms. Alissa Parker: My motivation is to help other women. In my new book Fit Starts In the Kitchen, It started out as just a cook book, but I felt the need to share my true story and the approach that has helped me through it. I have struggled with body image, as I mentioned before, since I was as young as 3 years old. I remember being in preschool and thinking I was fat. I later struggled periodically with anorexia when I was in my teens and again in my early 20’s. It’s something that more women struggle with than people think. Even as a competitor I went through bouts of super strict dieting and then binge eating.
It was becoming apparent that it was unhealthy even though I looked like the picture of health. For years now, I have adopted a flexible diet which has provided me with the balance I needed. I focus more on my workouts and being strong rather than how I look. I still don’t always trust what I see in the mirror, but I know this is a struggle for me, and probably always will be to some extent. I just want to be able to reach out to other women. We are in this together. Fitness models are not always the vision of perfection as they seem. I want people to learn how to diet in a healthy way.
There are so many misconceptions out there. You have to be able to find something that makes you happy and you can stick to. I’m hoping to get my book out this year. I share tons of great recipes. I do have an Instagram and Facebook page Fit Starts in The Kitchen both have tons of recipes to get you started.