In 2013, before Melissa Alcantara became Kim Kardashian West's trainer, she was an "unfit, super broke" waitress living in Brooklyn, New York.
"I was literally living month-to-month," Alcantara, who also goes by the name of "Fitgurlmel," tells CNBC Make it. "I was never into working out or sports. I was an avid smoker and also gained 70 pounds after giving birth to my daughter."
But one day, Alcantara woke up and thought, I've got to do something with myself. I can't stay like this. Determined to change her lifestyle, she decided to try out a workout program called Insanity.
After 60 days of commitment, Alcantara saw a positive transformation in her health and body. It eventually inspired her to become a competitive bodybuilder.
In 2017, her Instagram profile later caught the attention of Kardashian West, who asked Alcantara if she wanted to come out to Los Angeles to be her full-time fitness trainer. Coincidentally, Alcantara and her husband were already planning to move to Los Angeles, so she happily accepted the offer.
To this very day, Alcantara still stays committed to the daily routine that she says changed her life. Here's what it looks like:
Alcantara says she usually starts her day at 4 a.m. The first thing she does after getting out of bed is enjoy a cup of pour-over coffee.
She'll also read a passage from her favorite book, "Living a Life of Awareness: Daily Meditation on the Toltec Path," by Don Miguel Ruiz. Alcantara says that the positive messages from the book help her "start the day off right."
Alcantara practices intermittent fasting, a diet where one skips meals for up to eight hours. Her eating schedule isn't "super structured," she says, but her first meal of the day is usually around noon, after her workout.
"I like to fast during the day because I tend to eat more late at night, when I get especially hungry," says Alcantara.
Intermittent fasting has been an increasingly popular trend over the past few years, but researchers have noted that while the diet can benefit weight loss, the potential long-term risks are still unclear.
Alcantara says she believes that as long as you're eating "healthy foods from nature, it doesn't really matter whether you fast or not."
Around 8 a.m., after a two-hour training session with Kardashian West, Alcantara heads to the gym.
She typically lifts weights for about an hour. "I usually do legs twice a week or every three days," she says, "but it's usually the same thing every week."
The one exercise Alcantara says she avoids is cardio: "I try to walk 10,000 steps a day. That's pretty much my cardio."
Alcantara says she drinks about a gallon of water — without fail — every day.
"It sounds like a lot, and you'll likely spend more time in the bathroom than anywhere else, but you eventually get used to it," she says. "Drinking lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your body."
After working out, Alcantara heads home to work on building her website, FitGurlMel.com, where she sells her nutrition guides and training programs.
She'll also work on finishing up her first book, which is about her fitness journey. It's set to come out this fall, she says.
To stay on track with her diet, Alcantara says she has to make sure her fridge is always stocked.
Her daytime meals include toast with eggs or chicken with rice and beans. For dinner, it's usually fish with vegetables and rice. "I'm Dominican, so I like to keep my culture going," she says.
On average, Alcantara says she gets around five to six hours of sleep, which she acknowledges is below the recommended seven to nine hours.
That's because on top of balancing her career and fitness routine, she's also caring for her 8-year-old daughter.
"It's not like I get 10 hours of sleep a night," she says. "My nighttime routine could use some improvement. I'm working on it."
Alcantara says she often reminds her fans that change doesn't happen overnight. It took her years and years of commitment and hard work to see a big difference in her body and her life.
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