Entertainment

Kim Kardashian’s Trainer Is The Most Inspiring Dominican Trainer That We Could All Use

You know how Latinas are just tearing up the world we live in and making it more just, more empowering and stronger than ever for the rest of us? Well, this is a story about that. More specifically, about the person who has trained Kim Kardashian for the last year every single day.

Even more on point, this story isn’t about Kim Kardashian. It’s about Mel Alcantara and her story of how she uprooted her life from the Bronx to Los Angeles to follow a dream. Her transformation story is just…well…see for yourself.

We all have Kim Kardasian’s body seared into our brains.

CREDIT: @kimkardashian / Instagram

It’s iconic. You can’t escape it, and Latinas everywhere are thanking Goddess that curves are finally being appreciated.

Let’s be honest, though: those curves take mad work. That’s where trainer Mel Alcantara comes in.

But we know next to nothing about the woman behind her A-list client.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Meet Mel Alcantara. She’s a proud Dominican from the Bronx, with a transformation story worth celebrating. She told HipLatina, “My mom worked two jobs in order to support all of my siblings, and we had the stereotypical drug addict and alcoholic father who wasn’t there or was there to make everyone’s life more difficult.”

“I spent most of my youth afraid. Fear is now my driver, I seek it, it is what propels me forward.”

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

“Growing up I was never athletic, never joined a sport in school, never had a support system to lead me in the right direction,” Alcantara told HipLatina. “Let me tell you, life tried to break me so many times but it [messed] up and made me stronger. I chose a different path for myself, you live the life you lead. Sometimes you have to make decisions that will break you because with change comes growth. Get uncomfortable!”

Read: 25 Inspiring Afro-Latinos To Celebrate For 

It wasn’t until she was depressed, binge-eating, smoking and 70 pounds heavier post-baby that she decided to make a change.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

The lifestyle she grew up with wasn’t enhancing her life. One day, she just decided to do a fitness challenge. Three Mondays later, she woke up at 5 a.m. and starting trying. Eight weeks later, she had lost 40 pounds.

Alcantara quit her successful careers in marketing and production to get a waitressing job and focus on her fitness.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

At that point, she realized she wanted to give this feeling to other people. So she quit her $60,000-a-year job and started to waitress at night and work out in the day.

Alcantara is proof that it is never too late to start getting yourself into shape.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Caption: “After so many years of zero self esteem I’ve spent these last years filling my bucket with self confidence. I worked my [butt] ON and this [butt] is not gonna look like this forever, ain’t nobody gonna tell me I can’t show it off. If you got it flaunt it ????????‍♀️ ”

Then, in December 2015, she signed up for her first body building competition.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

She decided she wanted to be more than just skinny. She prepped for 17 weeks and won in the Miss Figure and Miss Best Physique categories.

People started asking her if she could train them so she became a certified professional trainer.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Alcantara isn’t the kind of trainer that you grow to resent. She lifts you up. She helps you lift yourself up, until one day, you don’t need her any more. Alcantara maintains that you’re not training the body: you’re training the mind.

One day in May 2016, she got an email from one of Kim Kardashian’s producers.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Then, things got crazy for Alcantara. She told NBC that she told them, “Let me check my schedule,” but immediately moved from Brooklyn to California to start her new job.

Today, she trains Kardashian 5-6 days a week and a select few other clients.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Here’s a sample of what she has Kim do:

Lat Pull-Down Wide Grip: 3 x 15 reps

Superset High Knees: 60 reps each leg (120 total)

Straight bar Shoulder Press (also known as military press): 3 x 15 reps

Superset dumbbell upright rows: 20 reps

E-Z Bar Bicep Curls: 3 x 20 reps (use a 20lb bar)

Superset dumbbell tricep extension: 3 x 15 reps

200 Jumping Jacks

60 kettlebell swings (use 15 or 20lbs)

As a woman of color, she’s smashing all the stereotypes and lifting other women up.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

In an interview with HipLatina, Alcantara said, “Women think that if they pick up a dumbbell they’ll turn into men; this is utterly ridiculous, the human body doesn’t work that way.” Exasperated because of her own experience, she also explained that women who try to do low-carb, high-cardio, detox diets is “hormonally taxing to our bodies, unsustainable and quite unhealthy.”

Alcantara is a proud “reverse dieter” and we’re here for it.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

“I used to think being fit was being lean, being ‘toned’, losing weight. I thought constantly being in a caloric deficit was just the way of this ‘fit life’. BUT it’s NOT,” Alcantara told HipLatina. “My goal is not to spend my life counting calories, weighing my food, feeling shitty about having a ‘bad day’ of food vs a a good day. There’s enough guilt and suffering just living our every day lives.”

Read: Here Are 22 Keto Recipes That Will Feed Your Latino Soul

Alcantara advocates for the tried and true natural road to fitness: fitness.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Alcantara is also out there giving new mothers the motivation and inspiration they need to tackle that post-pregnancy weight. It’s not easy when you work a full-time job but Alcantara proves that it is possible and she wants to help mothers achieve their goals.

Sometimes, Alcantara’s posts look like torture, though, tbh.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

My point being that while she looks fabulous, it takes real, painful work to get to where she’s at. It took a major lifestyle change, but one that Alcantara says anyone could do.

But she doesn’t forget the fear and confusion she felt before she became a fitness star.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Alcantara admits that she was once confused and defeated when seeing the fitness gurus on social media. She constantly questioned whether or not she was even capable of the same physique and success. Fortunately, she pushed through and is now inspiring thousands of people every day.

Alcantara went through a phase of jiu jitsu.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Everyone has to start somewhere. Sometimes, it is the luck of the draw as to what you are going to be able to use to meet your fitness goals. There is also no direct path. Some times people diverge and change goals in the middle of their journey and it’s fine. Just be who you want to be and strive for the best version of that person.

Her message to beginners, especially women? DGAF.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

In an interview with PopSugar, she shared, “I remember the days of feeling intimidated by the gym and especially the weights in the gym. I always walked in and thought to myself, “Let me go straight to the treadmill or elliptical where I belong! Women don’t have confidence in the gym because they were told all their life they’re not good enough, they’re not pretty enough, they’re not strong enough! Constantly being judged by men and more so by other women.”

To this day, she has to deal gender inequality at the gym.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

The air of feeling like the weights zone is a male zone isn’t make believe. She told PopSugar, “Ultimately, I bring the fire, dedication and skill to the gym, so the other trainers respect and appreciate it and recognize me as such. The best way to overcome any sort of inequality in the gym or otherwise is to outwork and out-talent those who honestly waste too much time worrying about and looking at other people.”

Beyond the fitness, Alcantara inspires us to go after our dreams, whatever they are.

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Basically, don’t waste your life thinking about what you want to be. Start a plan and chase after the person you are meant to be.

Oh, and her secret to her relationship with her husband?

CREDIT: @fitgurlmel / Instagram

Intimacy is one of the greatest things that keeps a relationship going. Some well done PDA can go a long way.


READ: 6 Latina Fitness Gurus You Need To Follow On Instagram Right Now

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Kim Kardashian Is Asking For ‘Compassion and Empathy’ Amidst Kanye West’s Mental Health Issues

Entertainment

Kim Kardashian Is Asking For ‘Compassion and Empathy’ Amidst Kanye West’s Mental Health Issues

Lars Niki / Getty

In recent weeks, Kanye West has exhibited behavior that is shocking to many.

On Sunday, the rapper made various disturbing and false claims during a rally that he held for his 2020 presidential campaign. At one point he accused American abolitionist Harriet Tubman of “never actually” freeing slaves. He also astonished many when he at one point began to weep openly about his personal life and tearfully made points that seemed to be against abortion.

In response to his behavior, his wife (Kim Kardashian West) posted a statement to her Instagram page asking for “compassion and empathy.”

In a post to her Instagram page, the reality television star requested “empathy” and privacy as she attempts to secure help for her husband’s bipolar disorder.

KimKardashian/ Instagram

“As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder,” she wrote in a statement posted to her Instagram story. “Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand. I’ve never spoken publicly about how this has affected us at home because I am very protective of our children and Kanye’s right to privacy when it comes to his health.”

Kardashian West said she felt compelled to speak out on behalf of her husband because of “stigma and misconceptions” related to mental health in general.

The SKIMS founder has remained silent about her husband’s behavior in recent months, particularly more recently when he announced his bid for the 2020 presidential election. Since his announcement, the “Yeezus” rapper has gained criticism for his part in potentially influencing an election in which seemingly everything is on the line.

Addressing the situation, Kardashian West explained that misconceptions about her husband are worsened in ways because of his high profile and wealth.

“We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however, we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this,” she said before thanking her fans for their support.

Since his presidential rally over the weekend, the rapper has displayed symptoms associated with a bipolar person in the throes of a manic episode.

On Monday, West unleashed a series of tweets that lambasted those close to him and accused his wife of attempting to “lock him up.” In one tweet he called his mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, “Kris Jong- Un.”

In the past, West has been open about his struggles with bipolar disorder. He has also been vocal about his contempt for medication.

In 2016, West was hospitalized for exhaustion and reportedly placed on a psychiatric hold. At the time, West was on his “Saint Pablo” tour and made comments about being a Trump supporter.

At one point he aired grievances about his relationship with singer Beyoncé claiming that he “was hurt because I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me and over ‘Hotline Bling,’” he said. “Now don’t go dissing Beyoncé, she’s great. Taylor Swift is great. We are all great people. We are all equal. But sometimes we be playing the politics too much and forget who we are just to win. F–k winning, f–k looking cool. F–k looking cool. F–k being cool. F–k all that, bruh,” he said at the time according to Variety.

Here is Kardashian-West’s full statement below.

“As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder. Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand. I’ve never spoken publicly about how this has affected us at home because I am very protective of our children and Kanye’s right to privacy when it comes to his health. But today, I feel like I should comment on it because of the stigma and misconceptions about mental health.

“Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behavior know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor. People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.

“I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at time can cause strong opinions and emotions. He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions.

“Living with bi-polar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some. That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his dreams have come true. We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this. Thank you for those who have expressed concern for Kanye’s well-being and for your understanding.”

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Model Denise Mercedes Is Using Her TikTok To Empower Women Body Positivity

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Model Denise Mercedes Is Using Her TikTok To Empower Women Body Positivity

denisemmercedes / TikTok

Dominican-American model Denise Mercedes and her friend Maria Castellanos are showing the world how every body is beautiful. Mercedes, a plus-size model, and Castellanos are sharing a series of TikTok videos showing what the same outfits look like on two different body sizes.

Denise Mercedes is using her TikTok account to celebrate body positivity.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

The fashion industry has long been criticized for its impact on unhealthy body images among young women. Recently, the fashion industry has started to change with some fashion designers embracing and celebrating all body types. This has given rise to some plus size models that have become household names.

Mercedes, along with friend Maria Castellanos, is showing the beauty of all body sizes.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

Who doesn’t like rocking a little overall every now and then? The outfit is as annoying as a romper but denim is everything so it makes it all worth it. If you have ever wanted to rock some overalls, take them for a spin in your apartment right now.

Never shy away from a little bit of midriff, especially over the summer.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

The hotter it gets, the less you want to wear. No one wants to spend the summer sweating. It isn’t a good look. Let your body feel the sun this year and just rock your style, mija.

This bestie brunch chic look is stunning.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

The top is all fancy business and the blue jeans make it comfortable and fun. Plus, who doesn’t like a cinched waist via an oversized belt? This is one look that anyone can rock and everyone should.

You can definitely enjoy a comfy t-shirt dress.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

Again, the waist belt is all you really need to give your hourglass figure the kind of attention it deserves. Curves are beautiful and something our community knows a lot about. Let’s celebrate them.

It is summer so why not wear a fun summer piece.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

Get some safe, socially distanced sun and fresh air this summer. We are all allowed to go outside to get fresh air and spend time being active in parks ad beaches. Don’t gather, obviously, but go get that summer tan you love by walking on the beach if you can.

And, of course, some ’90s-inspired looks are always nice to bring back.

Credit: denisemmercedes / TikTok

A nice little dress with some black, patent leather boots is a solid look, y’all. As we see here, it is one look that we can all get comfortable wearing around.

READ: How Dressing Up For The Gym Helped Me Start Loving My Plus-Size Body

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