Back when she was solely a fitness instructor, Ana de Castro used to hear it all the time. "Oh it looks so easy for you!" people would say. This statement, usually from a new participant in one of Ana's classes, was often followed by something along the lines of I wish I had your get-up-and-go. Or it might be, I wish I had your metabolism.
"Oh, I'd hear it all. I still do. And I wish it was easy for me, believe me," Ana says, and laughs. "I wish there was some magic to staying fit. But I know that letting things slide to the point where you're not happy with your figure can happen to anyone. I know. It happened to me."
That may seem like a surprising admission from someone who recently earned " Best Body World Overall Champion" at the INBF World's Best Body Championship in New York City, but that's where our inspiring story of physical transformation begins.
"I have been a group fitness instructor and a fitness enthusiast for over 15 years," Ana says. "But as I got older, I developed a love for sweets that really started putting the pounds on me. I was up to 139 pounds, which on me did not look good. That was in 2004.
Because Ana is who she is, she didn't set a goal of returning to the status quo. Instead, she decided to pursue a lifelong dream. "I wanted to go up on the fitness stage and become a pro figure competitor. I wanted to find my place in the spotlight. So I worked my way back into shape and kept my conditioning as I began to compete. I earned my pro card in April of 2006. I had that taste of success, but then in 2008 I just rebounded and was up to 139 pounds. All I can say is I let myself go. I knew I had to make major changes in my lifestyle."
The professional competitive figure circuit is an incredibly demanding realm of sport, and Ana knew she had her work cut out for her. "I just kept reminding myself that I was going to get on stage in a bikini, next to other women that looked awesome in bikinis so that type of motivation kept me going.
"I started by preparing all my meals ahead of time. This way I couldn't use "lack of time" as an excuse for eating poorly. I also kept a log of my dieting throughout the entire transformation. I realized that you eat more than you think you eat, if you don't write things down. Since I've started writing down all my meals I have recommended all my clients do the same. I have to say, it's amazing how good your body feels when you are feeding it the right things."
In addition to ensuring that her daily allotment of calories came in the form of five meals with a good balance of carbs, protein and fat, Ana also depended on supplements to help her achieve her goals. "I take a multi-vitamin, with additional zinc and potassium, plus whey protein, glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM for joint health, and fish oils as a source of healthy fats," she says. "I also added a fat burner on and off throughout my weight loss. I would use it pre-workout for about two weeks, then cycle off it for a week, then back on for two weeks. I didn't want my body to grow accustomed to it." Then she grins. "And I really count on my my Supreme Protein Caramel Nut Chocolate bars."
It seems that Ana's craving for sweets never went away. She just channeled it into a healthier direction. "I have found healthy ways to curb my sweet tooth habits. And when I just have to have something sweet, I always keep a Supreme Protein bar with me. They satisfy my craving and contain just four grams of sugar. It's amazing! At the same time, they provide a premium protein blend, healthy fats, and the vitamins and minerals I need. The great thing about the protein blend in Supreme Protein is that it's powered by whey isolate as its primary protein source, and it's actually superior to the protein content you find in a lot of protein shakes. I always say, Supreme Protein all the way!"
Of course, Ana's exercise regimen has always been of paramount importance in her life, and that certainly hasn't changed. In a matter of months, Ana had her lean trim figure back at her current weight of 118 lbs, and she has managed to develop increased muscle tone to improve her symmetry. And then, in November of 2008, all of her hard work paid off as she triumphed on stage in New York City, winning "Best Body World Overall Champion" at the INBF Worlds Best Body Championship.
"It's been a dream come true," Ana says. "My transformation was an education and an experience — you really don't know what you are capable of achieving unless you actually start doing it."
And Ana has no intention of stopping anytime soon, as she plans to compete internationally. "I'm actually heading on the road tomorrow," she said, the last time we talked to her. "And you can bet I have a few Supreme Protein bars packed for the trip. I'm traveling internationally and am bringing a few bars to hold me over and beat any potential cravings I may find along the way. I absolutely love, love, love Supreme Protein bars. They've made a big difference for me."
Ana's Weekly Conditioning Program
Day 1: Chest & Abs
|Flat-Bench Flye||1|| 6-8
Day 2: Back
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Arms
Day 5: Legs & Abs
|Seated Calf Raise
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Shoulders
Cardio four times per week (Spinning, elliptical or treadmill)