Cerissa Palacio - Figure Competitor

I started my fitness journey around 2015, I didn't really take it that serious at first. I used fitness as an outlet because hurricane sandy caused major damage to my home and I started drinking a lot and found myself turning into an alcoholic trying to take my pain away. I couldn't live like that anymore so I stopped drinking cold turkey and started working out everyday. I then started thinking about competing and doing shows. So I went to Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym where I fell in love with the sport. I went there to see if I can find a good coach. A few days after a man approached me asking me if I competed which I told him I didn't. He told me that I was wasting my talent that I have what it takes, he then recommended that I reached out to his friend Sean Harris. I reached out to him and told him that I wanted to compete and do a show, so we started a meal plan and training plan. He passed away 8 weeks before my first show which was the Brooklyn Grand Prix 2017. I have done 5 shows since then. Today Mark's 1 year that I have been competing. I am 2 time Nationally Qualified to go for my procard. Which I am training for now.


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So a little about my diet. It changes pretty much bi-weekly depending on how my body is responding to the diet. On my off season I still stick to a meal plan I just add more carbs, protein, and good fats. I also have 2 cheat meals per week and a dessert with them. I like to stay on my plan off season to get the best results and stay lean while building muscle. I don't like to let myself go because off season is just as important as on season. As far as finding what diet works for me best really depends on how my body is reacting. Every prep so far out of my 5 has been different everytime. My coach Juan Morel makes up my meal plans for me. He counts my macros and gives me a meal plan every week to 2 weeks. I just follow what he tells me to do. As far as weight loss goes I cut out a lot of carbs and stick to the basic chicken, white fish, egg whites, asparagus, broccoli etc. I'll have light carbs with my first meal usually oatmeal or cream of rice and carbs with my post workout meal either white rice or sweet potatoes usually. When I'm off season building muscle I increase my carb intake and have carbs with every meal about 3 to 4 ounces with every meal.

Well building the self confidence to strut and show my physique on stage was a little hard for me because it was out of my comfort zone. So I went to a posing coach Chula who helped me pose properly and showed me how to present my physique to my best potential. It took a lot of practice and I still practice everyday. Off season and on season I make sure to practice my posing for at least 30 to 60 minutes per day after my workout session is done. I am a firm believer that practice makes permanent. In order to be your best you have to practice and work at it everyday.

As far as my training program goes I lift heavy, high intensity, drop sets, supersets, at high volume. I usually do 3 sets at 20 to 30 reps per set. I train 7 days a week. Off season I do fasted cardio for 60 minutes per day as opposed to on season I do 60 minutes fasted cardio and 60 minutes post workout. In order for me to balance training and dieting I prep my meals every 3 days so that I have my meals ready to go. I take my meals with me everywhere I go so that I can eat them when I'm supposed to. So that I don't miss a meal. No excuses. I set myself up so that I cannot fail.


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My most recent contest was probably 1 of my hardest. I was all over the place. I did the Victor Martinez Show. I got there early for check-ins which went quickly. I had a hair and makeup appt. On my way back to venue I got into a fender bender which made me late and I ended up missing pre judging. I was so upset and nervous at the same time. I was upset because I put my all into this prep and felt like I was not going to be able to compete. When I got there I ran backstage to find out that I missed prejudging. I know the guys that are backstage and the judges from all my previous shows. They told me they were running around looking for me and had others looking for me too because I'm never late. I asked them backstage if I would be able to do final judging and they told me they weren't sure. So I then went to Steve who runs the NPC and the top judge and he said "Cerissa where were you? What happened?" I told him that I got into a fender bender and had to wait for police to come to get a report. Steve told me that he's sorry to hear that and he will let me do final judging and just re-judge all the figure competitors. That changed my mood instantly. I worked so hard on this prep and I was at my best physique yet to date. At Finals I took home 2 trophies 2nd place and 3rd place. For Open Figure and Novice. I was happy with what I got but also felt if I made prejudging I had a chance at 1st. But I was happy I even got to step on stage. It was definitely at my best overall. I felt confident with my package and was confident with my posing. I had practiced so hard. I was smiling and everything. One of my biggest downfalls at my shows was my posing and not smiling enough and being stiff. That was something the judges would tell me. So, overall I was happy with everything.

Being an athlete affects my life with my family because I am constantly training and meal prepping. I am married with 2 kids. I have an 11 year old daughter and 2 year old son. So you can imagine it's not easy. But if you want something bad enough you do it. You make time for it all. I make sure that I make time for my kids and wife as well as make time to train and prep. It's very tiring but I love it. Also, I love setting a good example for my kids so they know they can be whoever they wanna be if they put their all into it and stay dedicated to what they love no matter the ups or downs. Gotta take the good with the bad. My daughter is a competitive dancer she's been dancing since age 3 and also does dance travel competition so she learns to stay dedicated and always work her hardest.


Cerissa Palacio


My future plans, which I'm in the process of putting together now, are to open my own bodybuilding gym in my area. Another future goal is to get my Procard this year. I am currently training extremely hard for it. This is something that I want bad. So I'm giving it everything that I got. I also would love to be a fitness model. Something I've been thinking about for some time now.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/criza_fitnessislife
Email: criza.dgaf@gmail.com


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