There is life after cancer.
Mother-of-three Alessandra hopes her incredible transformation can help inspire other men and women going through the same nightmare she did.
Back in 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then two years later her cancer came back again.
Battling through this hellish period taught 49-year-old Alessandra the importance of health and giving herself the best quality of life she could.
When she felt ready, she came to Ultimate Performance Kensington with the simple goal of feeling strong again.
But what she achieved at the end of her transformation has fundamentally changed her life, her health and her mindset.
“There are no guarantees when it comes down to cancer – we just don’t know enough.
“However, I know this: whether I have three months or three decades to live, I want them to be with quality of life.
“What U.P. taught me was how to make ‘quality of life’ for myself.
“The impact it has had on me mentally has just been life-changing. How you feel and the quality it gives to your life is just transforming.”
Alessandra had always lived a healthy lifestyle. She never drank, never smoked and she had been eating organic foods for over 25 years.
That’s what made her cancer diagnosis six years ago all the more inexplicable and harder to take.
Since that day, it has been a long road to the point where she is now – in a place of optimal health and happiness.
When she was first diagnosed, it sent her looking for the next new latest lifestyle or diet trend to improve her health.
“I went vegan for three years. I ate ‘clean’ food and did cardio and tried the ketogenic diet and everything else you read in places like Goop or any other outlet that preys on housewives.
“It was whatever was the flavour of the week – fasting, vegan, paleo, keto.
“It was one thing after another. I had tried them all but they had not worked. I was not happy with my body, not just in terms of appearance, but what I could do with it.
“Especially, with life with three children and the physical demands. I just didn’t get out of my body the level of energy I needed.
“I needed something that was a completely different approach to health and fitness.”
Four years after her second cancer diagnosis, Alessandra found herself at a point where she couldn’t go on like this.
She wanted change. But not just another fad diet or supplement – she was looking for something to give a fundamental shift in the way she was living her life.
“I had come from a Christmas holiday and I was feeling drained. I wasn’t happy with how I was feeling physically.
“I didn’t want to try everything I had tried before – and I had tried absolutely everything.
I wanted a change of lifestyle.
“I wanted to get stronger. I wanted something that was not a superficial fix. It was not about losing weight. My major objective was to get healthier.”
A few years back she had looked into working with Ultimate Performance, but now it felt like the right time to jump in headfirst.
She had never liked gyms, but she understood that U.P. was something altogether different.
“I hated gyms with a passion since I was a teenager. I just wanted a place that was real and that there was a science behind it and that took things seriously – a no-nonsense place.
“And this was it! It’s not a gym. It’s a completely different concept than a gym, and it works.”
Having a personalised plan tailored around her specific needs and goals was a game-changer for Alessandra.
Through the process, she learned what worked for her body and what she needed to feel strong and energised.
“Just joining U.P. and having someone educate me about things – the need for protein, for example.
“If you don’t have nutrition that supplies you with the energy you need to meet all the demands you have, of course, you’re going to feel constantly drained.
“That’s what I was feeling. Everything I had tried before was about limiting calories or losing weight, which are all misguided goals because it’s not about getting healthier with what you specifically need.
“So what changed for me at Ultimate Performance was that it was something tailored to me, that worked for me.”
After years of training cardio, learning about the power of weight training was a real eye-opener.
“Nobody tells women to weight train. I was programmed to do cardio and everything was focussed on losing weight, but never to put on muscle.
“I was never educated that as you age how important it is to preserve your muscle mass.
“You lose percentages annually as you age, so if you’re not working out, eventually you will be much more prone to osteoporosis and all kinds of ageing and decay that we all face.”
Under the keen eye of her trainer, Kane, she learned how to train with precision and purpose.
It is gratifying to feel her strength increase, see her body shape change, and experience the positive benefits on her mind.
Training is no longer a chore; it’s a pleasure.
“My passion for training! It is the highlight of my week. It is something that I crave. My body needs it. It’s the one thing that keeps me sane.
“It helps me with my nutrition. It helps with my sleep. It changes my mood – everything is interrelated.
“Just feeling that you are getting stronger is intoxicating.
“It’s not just the endorphins that you release, it is just feeling good, feeling strong, and doing all the things you couldn’t do before.”
Alessandra really committed to the process from the outset.
Even when the lockdown set in, she was able to keep progressing with virtual workouts which gave her a positive focus and an outlet for stress.
Her dedication and commitment have been richly rewarded with incredible results that go way beyond just the physical changes.
“As a result of training with U.P., I found strength I did not know I had.
“I found how to take care of myself better. I found a quality of life I did not have before.
“Everyone comments on my muscles and my arms – I am still working on the Ronaldo six-pack, but I will get there – the results have been amazing.
“Seeing that I am the best version of myself is really inspiring. It makes me want to make myself a priority so I can be the best for my children and my family.
“Not as a frivolous thing, but because it’s a healthy choice for everybody, not just for myself.”
Alessandra’s amazing transformation is a reminder that it doesn’t matter where you start, you just have to start.
She says she was never good at sports, not very coordinated and even the thought of weight training was intimidating.
“You always think of the things you won’t achieve because you’re ‘not good at that’.
“Especially at 49 years old and pushing 50 and you think ‘at my age?’ – but that’s an excuse.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s just committing. Then showing up. That, to me, was the key to succeeding.”
Alessandra has come so far in such a short time because she set aside her fears, ditched her excuses and trusted in the process.
For anyone who is in the position she was when he first started, she has this message:
“If someone is watching this and they are thinking of all the reasons why this is intimidating or that they won’t be able to accomplish it.
“It’s incredible how we self-sabotage and try to come up with reasons why it won’t work for us – ‘I’m too overweight’. ‘I’m too far out. ‘I haven’t worked out in years.’ But I think those are excuses.
“Just push yourself because you are the best cheerleader in your life.
“If I can do this with three children, after having cancer twice, in the middle of Covid, then anyone can do it. It’s just a question of commitment.”