Interview with Michele Cicalese



Age: 25

Weight: 125lbs

Height: 5’7″

What got you started in the fitness lifestyle?

I was always an athletic kid growing up I loved playing sports! Whether it was being on the diving team, playing softball, cheerleading, even playing sports I just wasn’t good at like basketball, I did it all! Then about seven years ago I decided to try a new sport, weight lifting. It was then that I became a total “gymrat”. Now I plan my day around going to the gym. It was just about 9 months ago I decided I wanted to start competing as a bikini athlete in the National Physique Committee. I had just started working out at a new gym, and I was determined to change up my entire gym routine. Prior to that I felt I hit a major plateau and I was ready to set some new goals! I switched up my routine by changing my diet and workouts. I even started working with a trainer and for a solid 10 I trained for my first show, which was in August 2012. I saw instantly all my hard was worth it! I had won my height class and the overall in my first ever show!! I was more than excited and decided to compete again a week later. At that show I won my height class and the overall, again! I was so proud of myself and realized how much hard work really pays off! I am still competing and plan to continue improving in hopes of gaining my pro card this year!

Where does your motivation come from?

What keeps me motivated is having a positive attitude! I am a firm believer in mind over matter, so if I think positive I will be positive. I am also fortunate to have a very supportive environment where people not only encourage me but feel inspired by me and credit my hard work. I enjoy setting a good example for others and prove that anything you want in life is possible if you put in the work!




What are your next goals?

First and foremost my goal right now is to gain my IFBB pro card as a bikini competitor. I am currently training for my next National show in July. I would like to improve my legs making them more defined and strong as well as toning up my glutes! In the future I would also love to see myself in fitness and health magazines as a sponsored athlete!

What is your training routine like?

My training schedule differs for my offseason and training season. I always like to switch up my gym routines and keep my body guessing. Right now I am doing a lot of heavy lifting and cross fit training along with interval cardio and total body cardio sessions. I believe it is important to gain solid muscle mass before leaning out for a show. I like to do three sets of ten maxing out at the tenth rep. and adding some supersets in between. I typically warm up for ten minutes and then do 20-30 minutes post workout interval cardio.
Sample workout routine:



3×10 bench press SS walkout push-ups

3×10 incline dumbbell press

3×10 cable crossovers SS pop push-ups

3×10 peck deck



3×10 pull-ups

3×10 wide grip lateral pull downs SS medicine ball throw downs

3×10 wide grip rows

3×10 t-bar rows

3×10 hyperextensions



4×10 skull crushers

4×10 wide/close grip barbell curls

3×10 dips

3×10 bicep cable curls

3×10 tricep overhead cable press

3×10 hammer curls



3×10 dumbbell shoulder press SS shoulder taps

4×10 cable lateral raises

3×10 plate raises SS shrugs

3×10 rear delt machine SS push-up jacks



3×10 leg press SS star jumps

3×10 squats SS pop squats

3×10 deadlifts

3x15x15x15 calf raises (inner, outer, together)

3×10 cable glute machine

3×10 leg curls

3x7x7x7 leg extensions (drop set)

High intensity cardio

50 minutes high intensity total body cardio

Have you had to overcome any obstacles to get where you are today?

The only obstacle I have had to overcome is the one I have with myself. Training and dieting is not always easy and everyone has bad days, but the trick is to get through the bad days to get to the good days. I just take a step back and remember why I started and think about all my goals I still have not accomplished.

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What’s your preferred form of cardio?

My most preferred form of cardio would definitely have to be high intensity interval training. I believe that works best for anyone interested in shedding some lbs! It is good to mix up cardio sessions since the body gets used to steady cardio. The body will burn more calories in a shorter period of time by adding high intensity intervals. I like to do high intensity with short breaks to keep my heart rate at a safe but high rate.

What does your diet consist of?

My diet and nutrition plan differs from offseason training to pre-competition. When I am in competition mode I enjoy eating meals that are very high in fat and proteins, and have moderate to low carbohydrates, adding higher amounts of carbohydrates one day a week. The further out from a show I eat more balanced meals. I always eat about five times a day, having three bigger meals and two small meals/snacks.


I believe proper nutrition is very important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Most people believe getting in shape mainly involves long sessions and the gym and endless amounts of cardio. Wrong. It is all about fueling your body with the right foods and supplements. Taking daily supplements is also very important, whether you’re training or not. I take AM and PM multivitamins, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Calcium & Magnesium, L-Glutamine, Creatine, and Whey Protein Isolate.


My favorite meal is probably my Vanilla Coconut Protein Pancake:

  • ½ scoop Vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 6 tbsp egg whites
  • ½ tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Stevia (optional)


Sounds like a lot of work, but its not, and it’s totally worth it!!

Another favorite more simple meal of mine is Ground Bison meat with Portobello mushrooms sautéed in coconut oil with sea salt and topped with Franks Red Hot. Delicious!

Do you bulk/cut or stay lean all year?

I don’t have a “bulking” period. This sport and lifestyle is still so new to me but I have been fortunate enough to stay fairly lean naturally all year round. I enjoy staying in shape and chose to eat clean and healthy meals, but I have a major sweet tooth and can definitely do damage when it comes to eating junk food and binging here and there, I am only human!


Do you listen to music while working out?

Depending on my mood I typically am listening to techno and dance music while working out, I love upbeat music to get my pumped up and ready for my work out! But I do have my days when I am in the mood for some rock music!

What are you most proud of?

I am definitely very proud myself for achieving as much as I did in such a short period of time and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for me! It is such a rewarding experience to get up on stage and show off all my hard work!

Are there any athletes, fitness models or bodybuilders that inspire you?

I don’t practically have any specific athletes or fitness models that inspire me, but there are a ton of fitness models and IFBB bikini pros that I admire and credit their hard work and hope to one day be at that level!

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Any tips for readers who want to get a physique like yours?

My advice to anyone looking to change his or her physique is to trust the process! Progress does not happen overnight. It is a slow process, but it happens, don’t give up! Also when it comes down to it, it is all about keeping a healthy and clean diet. It won’t matter how many hours you put in at the gym, if you aren’t fueling your body with the proper nutrients, you won’t see the results you want.

Anything Else?

Most importantly, be positive and keep your head up! Set goals, and at the end of the day be able to look at yourself and say, “I did my best today and tomorrow I will do better”. Lastly, worry about yourself, and only yourself. If you are happy with what you are doing and are staying committed that’s all that matters. Don’t let others bring you down or tell you otherwise.

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Photo Credits: LHGFX Photography , , Daves Lasting Impression Photography