👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi! My name is Christina Longobardi Paradiso! I am a 35-year-old natural, power bodybuilding vegan originally from the East Coast, currently living in Los Angeles, California.
I’m the owner and operator of MBS FIT LA (Mind Body Spirit, Functional Intuitive Therapies) Nationally certified and traveling professionally as a medical sports massage therapist, intuitive therapist, yoga/mobility teacher, nutrition and accountability coach since 2010.
I am a mom to the hundreds of plants in my home garden and enjoy my single living, career and athletics focused life!
For many years I was obese (over 35% body fat) and had a hard time sticking to a nutrition and workout regimen.
Even though I have been physically active all of my life (gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, distance biking, run clubs, yoga, Crossfit, Olympic weightlifting, hypertrophy training and now power bodybuilding) I couldn’t figure out sustainability of diet and exercise for long term fat loss and body recomposition until my late 20s.
Until that point, although I was very educated in nutrition and dubbed “good” at lifting heavy weights – I still battled binge eating and major depression about my image regardless of my super positive attitude I projected to the world.
Through education, meditation, patience, consistency, a lot of self love and grace; I’m most proud of what I’ve accomplished mentally than physically in my transformation from obese to fit.
I had to form a loving relationship with myself and a level of accountability that I never demanded myself to have. This is what I love passing on to people now who ask me how I did it.
Fast forward to today; I’m fit and dialed in on my nutrition and training. I’m currently sponsored by Sweet Sweat @sweetsweat and have been using their workout enhancer cream and waist trimmer for years so it was a welcome partnership when I became part of their team this year!
You can use my code MBSFIT10 to get a discount on all of your purchases at sportsresearch.com.
I randomly moved to LA in late 2018 for the weather and beaches after visiting once – People think I’m crazy but it’s been my favorite city I’ve lived in.
When I’m not in the gym or working with clients you can find me on the beach or in my garden, checking out a new art opening, singing too loud or dancing solo to hip hop anytime, anywhere.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I’ve been training with my Coach Lance Keys since October of 2019. Lance’s mentor is Mike O’Hearn, the creator of power bodybuilding, so we follow that style of training. This training concept builds muscle, strength, and overall fitness at the same time.
We use the strength building power lifts (squats, deadlifts, benchpress) at the core of our programming and depending on the competition goal (bodybuilding or powerlifting) we surround the main lifts with bodybuilding exercises and rep ranges.
The result is a hybrid athlete who is capable and ready for anything – stage or platform.
Currently I train with my coach five days a week for about 90 minutes. We are training for a powerlifting meet and the program for this is more of the main lifts, less accessory work, and substantial strength gain goals each week.
3 week strength cycles and a week off for deload and recovery.
Monday and Fridays are squat days, Wednesdays is back/deadlifts, Tuesday is chest day and Thursday is shoulders.
I do about an hour of fast paced walking in a hilly nature area or jump on a trampoline for 30 min daily. Weekends I don’t train, I rest! I get outside and walk and do soft tissue recovery to prepare for the week of training that lies ahead.
Training for me is very mental so that’s how I prime myself before a workout. I don’t take any real pre-work out, anabolic‘s or performance enhancing substances.
My pre-workout regimen consists of waking up at 6am and immediately taking my temperature and tracking where I’m at on my cycle.
I’ve found that this form of natural birth control and hormone cycle tracking is really helpful as a natural athlete to better understand how my natural estrogen and progesterone fluctuations will affect my strength, scale, mental focus and muscle growth at different times in the month.
Then, I meditate in my garden for 30 min and bring my brain and body together to prepare for the day ahead.
I’ve practiced vipassana meditation since 2013 and am grateful for being able to use it as a tool in so many areas of my life especially my training.
An hour before I train, I eat breakfast, which usually consists of brown rice crisped cereal with a high protein, lowfat plant milk.
30 min before training I have black coffee and a protein shake with micro dosed creatine. I use Humapro as my vegan protein of choice as well as con-crēte for my M-F micro dose of creatine.
Training starts at 9:30am daily and I finish around 11am. After, I change shoes, eat a small piece of fruit and head out into nature for my daily power walk.
I eat again after walking, this time a higher carbohydrate, lower fat meal with about 25-30g of protein.
I stretch, ice, theracane or whatever I need to recover my body and shower, always ending with cold water to wake the body back up!
Once all that is finished, I start my day helping my clients. I really believe we can create a lifestyle that leaves enough time to care for ourselves so that we can better care for other people.
When I travel for work, which is often, I work 12-15 hour days and have become very disciplined about my routine on the road. I travel with a portable stove or have my protein sources meal prepped.
I research grocery stores, find images of a hotel gym to help my coach w programming and I find a nearby backup gym in advance. I look up cost of cars vs Uber and rent one if gym isn’t within walking distance.
As hard as it is, I make sure I get up as early as needed to complete my workout, if I miss a morning it’s getting done on a lunch break or at night.
I’ll save my daily walk for either nighttime once work is finished or on a break as well. Even traveling I find if I show up for myself and honor routines, I show up whole and more capable for my clients.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I find lifting to be a lot of fun, but it’s also a challenge that is constantly asking you whether you’re gonna beat it or let it beat you.
I love the feeling of beating it, I grow mentally, physically and spiritually stronger every day with every session. I am pretty good at motivating myself in life and very inspired to help others keep going to achieve their fullest potential.
I’ve been through a lot of challenges but have always come out stronger! I believe we have the choice; we can either thrive or die.
I found out at 30 I had ton of bone structural issues when I had an X-ray taken after a minor bike accident. The doctor was certain I had been in car accidents or had major force trauma.
Until asking my mother I knew nothing about these trauma that I’ve lived with since birth. I always believed my body was normal and capable just like everyone else, my parents never told me otherwise so I never questioned it.
I was super flexible in yoga and I could lift heavy weights without pain. Ends up I had severe scoliosis, birth trauma that impacted the structure of the cervical spine, a sesimoid growth on T12 and Blounts disease in my legs (I was in leg braces and corrective shoes but just thought I was slightly bow legged and they were fixing it while I was young).
I laughed when the doctor was amazed I wasn’t on pain meds. I tell this story to reiterate how mental everything is – if we acknowledge pain or where we are lacking, we are giving that area power.
I never knew I was broken and for that my structural dysfunction never had power. I was thriving because that’s how I picked to live everyday.
If that wasn’t enough convincing for you that mentality is everything – here’s another story as to why I keep going and pushing harder.
When I moved to California officially in November of 2019, less than 48 hours of moving in everything I owned into my new home and work place; the Wolsey fire raged through malibu burning everything to the ground.
I had no home and no belongings. I looked at what was spared in the fire as signs from the universe on where to put my energy – my massage table, my lifting shoes, my art kit and the pictures of my family I stuffed in backpack before the cross country move.
I had faith that if I woke up each day and primed my mental to be strong and not a victim, I would THRIVE.
Using meditation now more than ever, breathing and using the least amount of stress as possible I was able to figure out how to make this fire challenge my bitch and not the other way around.
I know what I’ve been through and how on top I’ve come from it all. It keeps me going hard towards my goals every day and I hope to inspire others to keep thriving in the face of challenge.
I am grateful for life and the opportunity to grow each day.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today has been posing all kinds of new challenges with the stay at home order and COVID, but as always – I’m making the most of the situation.
Before lockdown the plan was to compete in a NPC bodybuilding show in the wellness category at the end of May.
Since the lockdown and the lack of training equipment as well as the stress of the world situation and trying to diet down – it wasn’t the prime time for me to continue to cut and prep for a show without a definite date in sight, we want to be in this for a long time.
My coach and I sat down and decided it would be a great time to do another clean bulk, add strength and lean muscle by training to compete in a powerlifting meet this summer and then potentially cut for a bodybuilding show in the early fall.
I really like this plan and cannot stress enough how important it is to have a coach or someone who has your best interest in mind. It’s because of this careful thinking we have avoided injury, burnout and a crashed metabolism.
I’m excited to continue training and am grateful to have been introduced to this method of training while I’m still young so I can stay in it for a long time!
I look forward to expanding my business this year to include working with more clients interested in learning how lift with proper form for their body and tailoring programs to accommodate each athletes individual needs.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
As I get older rest and recovery are becoming more important to my daily performance as an athlete and business operator.
My coach and I are both HUGE on form. If I can’t move the weight with good form, I will drop the weight slightly so I can execute each rep with proper form.
I believe it’s important develop the right motor patterns in your body to prevent injury. If you’re tossing around weight that’s too heavy and have bad form you’re only making it easier to get injured and teaching your body a stress pattern that will have to be unlearned eventually.
Teach good habits from the start and be patient, don’t rush what’s earned with time and training; do this and you’ll be lifting major weight in a progressive amount of time with the most gorgeous form and least chance of injury.
After lifting workouts, move your body throughout the day. I keep a stick in my house to do mobilization exercises when needed.
A lacrosse ball, theracane and self massage/soft tissue trigger point release are daily tools I use to keep my body in prime condition. Follow my Instagram for tips on self care, massage, yoga and mobility techniques @christinalongobardi.
Last but not least, sleep is one of my favorite ways to recover.
I shoot for 8-9 hours a night and the only time I will move a workout are instances when I’ve taken a red eye or haven’t slept because I know my chances for injury are much higher and I’m better off getting rest.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I’ve been vegan since March 2017 for health reasons. Since making that transition, I’ve had more stamina and strength in my workouts.
My cycle is no longer abnormal and the issues I used to have (gout, hormonal chest sensitivity, cystic acne) are no longer occurring.
I don’t really have cheat days anymore because I like to stay away from that mentality. I make room in my nutrition for the day to accommodate whatever I have planned.
When training for a power lifting competition, I am eating for performance. I don’t track my macros during a clean bulk but I track meticulously when I’m eating for physique competitions.
For now, I’m carb cycling; each day can vary from 125g to 325g carbs. My protein is consistent at 170g daily and my fats will be different daily depending on a few variables like workouts.
Nutrition has been the secret to my success. I have sustained fat loss for over 15 years now because I find nutrition research fascinating and I have taken a deep dive into studying my own eating habits that weren’t so great.
By doing this, I’ve identified which habits and emotional triggers have sabotaged my progress in the past. Instead of being dependent on food as a reward and comfort system, I’m able to look food like a fuel source.
We have to put the right stuff in so our engine runs optimally.
I def can let go every once in a while and being flexible has allowed me to enjoy a social life. When I’m in prep for a bodybuilding show I just make sure I have meals with me and don’t mind being the weird one at the table who’s sticking to her goals.
I take probiotics and the following herb supplements daily for general health and to aid my vegan diet:
- ginkgo biloba
- kola nut
- gotu kola
- ginger root
- vegan DHA
- red algae
I try to drink a gallon of water a day also.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
For the last ten years I’ve been working with division I collegiate athletes. There is nothing more inspiring to me than seeing someone show up to greet their greatness and watch their careers develop professionally for years after.
I’ve been privy to incredibly inspiring speeches by the best coaches. I’m humbled to have been honored as part of teams and loved just like family. These are world class athletes, who everyday, decide to show up for themselves and thrive in this life.
The level of dedication, mastery, study, practice, sleepless nights, talent and selfless team mentality inspires me daily to show up and be the best that I can be daily. They’ve inspired me to never, ever give up.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Don’t be afraid to fail. We improve the most when we get back up and try again. Nothing happens overnight. We live in a world of instant gratification and comparison.
Remember to focus on YOUR journey. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling less than because of what’s being presented on social media.
Focus on your goals and be realistic about what it takes to achieve them. Then do that everyday and don’t give up on yourself! Get good people in your corner; surround yourself with healthy people who support your goals – and if you can’t find that in person then look for it online in fitness forums.
This is more than a physical improvement journey, it’s mental and for a lot of us, it’s very spiritual – don’t rush your mastery.
Keep a healthy, injury free body with a mind that believes what it sets out to achieve and a spirit so dedicated to achieving their goal that leaves the person next to them inspired.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am currently taking on new clients online and in LA for one on one weight training, yoga, meditation, nutrition instruction, and accountability coaching.
My main specialty is medical massage, yoga/mobility and intuitive therapies.
I take clients on a referral basis for in home appointments. Modalities used include soft tissue manipulation, manual ligament therapy, deep tissue, vaccu therapy, cupping, travell trigger point therapy, myofascial release, graston, Thai yoga massage, shiatsu, reiki and reflexology.
Nationally Certified since 2010. California and Virginia state certifications.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
I hoping to have my blog up and running on my website soon. In the meantime, I’m pretty active on Instagram.
To see videos of me in the gym, kitchen and garden or to learn more about me personally, you can follow me on my personal Instagram @christinalongobardi