Melissa Alcantara's new book Fit Gurl: The Total-Body Turnaround Program details her inspirational fitness journey, workouts, recipes and the 26-week program she designed to become happier and healthier

By Morgan Smith
May 15, 2020 02:43 PM
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Credit: HarperCollins Publishers

When Kim Kardashian West first reached out to Melissa Alcantara — over email, very early in the morning — the former bodybuilder thought it was a scam.

“It was crazy,” Alcantara, 35, tells PEOPLE. “I was like, ‘No way.’ ”

The KKW Beauty mogul, 39, found Alcantara’s page while scrolling through Instagram late one night.

“... I was thinking, I just need to get it together. I need to figure out what’s going on with my body. I need to find someone who cares, who is willing to get up at any hour, someone who will push me harder than I've ever been pushed before,” Kardashian West writes in the foreword of Alcantara’s new book, Fit Gurl: The Total-Body Turnaround Program.

She continues: “I wanted her voice in my head, I wanted her to show me how to do a certain exercise or move a certain way, and I wanted her there to inspire me to keep going.”

Within days, Alcantara met Kardashian in California and the pair hit it off. Alcantara began training Kardashian full time, putting the reality star on a weight training program and a diet of healthy whole foods.

“Just like anybody else, there are days where Kim’s not really feeling it, but she will do it,” Alcantara says. “Then there are a lot of days when she's killing it! She never questions the stuff that I make her do, she’s just like, ‘Okay,’ and I love that.”

That was three years ago — in that time, Alcantara has built up an impressive career in her own right as an athlete and personal trainer to A-listers like Kardashian West and boasts one million followers on her Instagram account, @fitgurlmel.

Fit Gurl details Alcantara's inspirational fitness journey, workouts, recipes, and the 26-week fitness program she designed to become happier and healthier.

Embarking on a total body transformation at home, especially as much of the world continues to self-isolate amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, may be a daunting task, but Alcantara says you don’t need a gym — or weights — to stay fit.

She shares her top 5 tips with PEOPLE:

  • Get out of bed and immediately do something for yourself. Give yourself a compliment, or go for a walk outside. It’ll put you in a positive headspace for the rest of the day. Alcantara likes to start her day with a hot cup of coffee and a book. Her current favorite? “A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle,” she says.
  • Avoid processed foods. Limit how often you order out, and try to pick up simple, healthy ingredients (Alcantara has been eating a lot oatmeal, sweet potatoes and chicken at home!).
  • Don’t make excuses. Alcantara understands how tempting it can be to skip a workout: “The other day it literally took me an hour and a half just to get on the bike,” she says. “I kept thinking, ‘Well maybe I should sweep the floor, I have so many things to do, I have emails to send.’ But I stop and say, ‘No.’ That can all wait. You need to take care of yourself first.”
  • Make a plan. Do some research, pick an online program and stick with it for at least a week.
  • Keep it simple. “You don't need a ton of stuff to make better choices.” Alcantara says. People always say, ‘Oh, but I don't know what to eat [to be healthier].’ But you know what not to eat, so start there.”

In Fit Gurl, Alcantara is also candid about struggling with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter Isabella, now 8 — and how that experience kickstarted her fitness journey.

“I didn't do anything to take care of myself … it was always about the baby, the baby,” she says. “But after a long time I realized, ‘I love my baby, but I also have to love myself.’ You need time for yourself. Put the baby to sleep and do something for you: give yourself a pedicure, take a hot bath, get a workout in, something that's going to make you feel like a human being. Baby or no baby, you're the same person with needs and wants and goals. You can't forget that.”

At home in California, Alcantara and Isabella have been roller skating outside, playing a lot of board games and having movie nights.

She helps Alcantara film her workouts, too. “Her commentary is hilarious, she kills me,” the proud mom says.

Fit Gurl, she hopes, will give people the inspiration or the guidance they’re seeking to start their own transformation.

“Your body can do amazing things,” she says. “Mine still surprises me still to this day, it keeps changing and changing and changing. Just when you think you probably can't make any more changes, you’ll surprise yourself.”