Fitness Competitor Bela Santos

Interview Conducted by

FA: Could you tell us a little bit of background information about yourself?

AS: My name is Anabela Santos---But friends and people who know me call me Bela. I'm 29 years old, of Portuguese heritage and was born in Angola, AFRICA. At the age of three I moved to the United States with my family. I have an older sister, Sonia and younger brother, Michael. I'm very proud to have a loving, beautiful, talented little niece, Destany--she's 6 years old.

Fitness is my full-time career, as I own a private fitness training studio in the Newton/Waltham MA area called "BelaBody".

FA: When did you start competing and why?

AS: I started competing in October 2003. I was looking for a personal goal and challenge in my life that embodied my passion for fitness. I had been seriously considering competing for 2 years prior. My final decision came with the encouragement and support of fellow personal trainer, gymnastics coach, and friend--John Brescia after watching the Fitness Atlantic show in New Haven, April 2003.

FA: What kind of workout and nutrition plan do you follow?

AS: I follow a seven-day weekly workout regimen.

My weekly regimen consists of the following:

· Gymnastics 3x/week.
· 1 - 1.5 hours of cardio training each day.
· Strength training 5x/week consisting of a combination of machine, free-weights, body work, and plyometric training.
· Yoga classes 1-2/x week.

I focus on core strength and athletic stretching/flexibility training every day. In preparation for a show I add, choreography/routine practice to my schedule 3x/week.

Here's an example of a typical eating day:

Morning - 6 egg whites, Oatmeal
Snack - Protein Shake w/ fruit
Lunch - Tuna, Broccoli, and Brown rice
Snack - Nuts and Piece of fruit
Dinner - Chicken Breast and Green Beans
Bedtime - Protein shake (w/water)
1 Gallon of Water daily.

FA: That's quite a schedule! What would you say is the hardest thing about being a fitness competitor Bela?

AS: It is an extremely time consuming sport. I certainly cannot complain, though because I enjoy every aspect of training and this lifestyle! On a positive note, it forces you to lead a structured lifestyle and puts your time management skills to the test. You have to prioritize very well and never forget to make time for family and friends.

FA: Tell us about your personal and fitness goals for the future.

AS: My personal goal is to have continued success with my fitness training business. I want to continue to reach out and be a role model to all who are seeking guidance, knowledge and support to be able to make health and fitness a part of their lifestyle.

My fitness goals are to continue advancing athletically and make it to the Fitness America Nationals competition.

FA: What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in getting started?

AS: You can do this, too! I came from a background of minimal high school sports. I played soccer throughout high school and on and off since. I have no technical dance or gymnastics background. My parents remind me of how active I was as a child. Dancing around the house and being a little dare-devil when it came to trying new things. It's this outgoing quality and love of fitness that drove me to pursue full-time professional career in fitness. My next, daring step was participating in a sport that stood for my love of fitness.

It takes a lot of work and positive-self talk to stay confident that you CAN do this. Not to mention, the right support unit by your side. You need to have people that respect and value what it is you're pursuing in your life.

It can be intimidating when you're competing with girls that have years upon years of dance and gymnastic experience. You have to keep things in perspective and focus on what it is that YOU can bring to the stage. Everyone has her own unique qualities and strengths. Focus on what feels right and works for you!

My only goal for my first competition was to actually step on stage, complete my routine, and be able to say, "Yey--I did it!" But to my great surprise, I got a lot more... I placed in the Top 10 of Fitness America-New England October 2003.

So this my friends, ladies who are interested in trying this sport, proves if you really want it you can do this too!!!

FA: Is there anyone in the industry that you admire or look up for motivation?

I really admire all ladies in the fitness world. There are a wide variety of looks, talents, and body types. I have complete respect for anyone who displays such a strong level of commitment to fitness, exudes self-confidence and beauty, and sets a positive example for others.

If I have to pick some favorites... I especially look up to Sylvia Tremblay, Monica Brant, and Kim Dolan for their passion and drive to make it in this sport.

FA: It was a pleasure getting to know you…thank you for the interview and good luck to you in the future.

AS: Thank you for your interest in me, and my perspective as a Fitness Competitor.




Female Model

Male Model

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