Laurier grad excels at international bodybuilding competition

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Is it more difficult to look like an anatomy chart or to memorize one? An inside joke between mother and daughter, but also an accurate statement about Alyssa Coppolino.

This past weekend Alyssa stepped under the lights of the Olympia stage: the Super Bowl of bodybuilding where the most muscular men and women on Earth pose one against the next, striation-for-striation, until a champion is crowned. Alyssa competed in the women’s physique category, which is the most muscular of the women’s categories.

“Four or five years ago my division came out at the tail-end of female bodybuilding. I don’t want to say [female bodybuilding] is completely gone, but it’s definitely less popular than it once was … and that’s where women’s physique popped up, [encouraging] the more popular look of women’s bodybuilding [again],” Coppolino said.

This past weekend Alyssa took sixteenth in the women’s physique category, and although it may be further from the podium than she would like, it was still an outstanding performance for someone who just earned her pro card (turned professional) in March, 2018.

But how does a former Golden Hawk soccer player end up on the Olympia stage?

“I think a lot of people start out reading Oxygen Magazine and Women’s Health. I know for myself ,I wasn’t [as interested] in lifting weights as I was playing sports like soccer … I played all [four years] for Laurier, and when that was done I was still much too competitive to stop doing something that involved competition,” she said.

Alyssa’s craving for competition soon led her to bodybuilding, but it would be wrong to assume that her ambition was bridled to athletic success alone.

“I think it’s super important, even for professionals, to get some sort of coaching along the way. We get a little bit of tunnel vision with our own thinking and our own methods, so I think it’s really important just to expand your knowledge.”

In addition to the gruelling workouts required to be a physique professional, Alyssa also owns and operates Alyssafit: a business that provides custom weight loss and training programs, which Alyssa described as follows:

“Four or five years ago, I started an online business and it’s just grown and transitioned from lifestyle clients, to powerlifting clients, and a little bit of contest prep clients, both men and women, who are bodybuilding or not bodybuilding, fat loss, muscle building, all that kind of stuff,” she said.

Being a professional bodybuilder and successful business owner is no small feat, so I asked Alyssa what her favourite cheat meal is — the sort of meal that you look forward to all week long — and her answer came in classic Alyssa fashion:

“Oh buddy! That’s a dangerous question! I have started a side project clothing line, and it’s actually called ‘cheat day clothes.’ It’s all crop tops, sport bras, men’s briefs, bikinis, figure suits, all with food print … and sort of my slogan is ‘if you can’t eat ’em, wear ’em!’”

Even during cheat meals, Coppolino’s ambition is front and centre, an ambition that has played a central role in where she is now.

However, Coppolino pairs her fiery ambition with patience and humility, and when asked about her own training, and which body part she felt needed work, Alyssa immediately responded: “My arms! My damn arms! I’ve had to really work, because bodybuilding is so much about proportion and symmetry, so I’ve had to work very hard at bringing up my upper half to match my lower half.”

In addition, she was quick to point out that her success was not earned in solitary fashion, because even the most accomplished need help from time to time.

“I think it’s super important, even for professionals, to get some sort of coaching along the way. We get a little bit of tunnel vision with our own thinking and our own methods, so I think it’s really important just to expand your knowledge.”

From kinesiology graduate and four-year varsity soccer player, to professional bodybuilder and entrepreneur, Coppolino sees what she wants and wills herself towards that goal.

Her tenacity and ambition have allowed her to succeed in a wide variety of fields, all at the young age of 30.

What’s next on Coppolino’s horizon is uncertain, but so long as her ambition and tenacity continue to burn bright, Coppolino will be one of the most exciting alumni representing the purple and gold.

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