Cover Model Insider With Nathalia Melo

Meet the recently crowned 2012 Olympia Bikini champion!

Our December cover model Nathalia Melo was recently crowned the 2012 Olympia Bikini champion, so she knows exactly what it takes to get a tight booty. Recently this Brazilian beauty took the time to share some personal struggles, sources of motivation, as well as some tricks, tips and insider advice for shaping an award-winning body.

For more with Nathalia, be sure to check out her butt-shaping workout in the December issue of FitnessRx for Women. In addition, you can follow along with her each week in her 10-part butt-shaping video series, beginning November 2! (

Lisa: How does it feel to on the December cover of FitnessRx for Women?
Nathalia: This is my second time on the cover of FitnessRx, and it does not feel any different than the first time… the excitement is exactly the same! It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment, and that hard work DOES pay off! I also love the surreal feeling of seeing myself on the magazine stands everywhere I go!

The first time I was on the cover of FitnessRx, I was a bit intimidated to tell people at the store that it was me on the cover and sound like I was “showing off.” THIS TIME? Forget about it… I am telling everyone everywhere I go! Is there a better reason to show yourself off than to be on the cover of one of the biggest fitness magazines in the country? LOL

Lisa: You provide a great butt-shaping workout in this issue. What are some secrets for getting a tight booty?
Nathalia: The secrets for a tight booty are: 1. Doing exercises that target specifically the rear. 2. Eating clean (say bye-bye cellulite!!). 3. NO Yo-Yo dieting (the skin has a hard time keeping up with the “fat-skinny-fat cycle,” so for a tight tush avoid crazy weight fluctuation).

Lisa: Why is the workout you share in this issue so effective?
Nathalia: As I said previously, one of the secrets for a nice booty is to do exercises that target the glutes. You can add these specific booty exercises to your existing legs routine as a superset to what you are already doing, or you can separate a day just for glutes. You will most definitely see the difference!

Lisa: Is cardio also important for a tight booty, and how often do you do cardio?
Nathalia: Cardio is VERY important for a tight booty and for my sanity! LOL…

Seriously now, high-intensity cardio with intervals and some plyometric is a great combination to keep your heart rate up (say bye-bye fat!), and to keep your booty muscles nice and tight! And regarding the importance of cardio for my sanity… I feel like it’s my moment to think about life, enjoy some music… so I try to do cardio six to seven days a week.

Lisa: Do you prefer to work out in the morning or at night, and why?
Nathalia: Morning all the way! That’s when I have the most energy, and it makes me make healthier food choices throughout the day when I think about all the hard work I have already put into training. Also, working out in the morning gives me more energy all day!

Lisa: Your story is very inspiring. You came to the U.S. from Brazil at the age of 20, all by yourself. Tell us more about when you first came here. How did you get into fitness and became so successful?
Nathalia: Well… I was in law school back in Brazil, but I didn’t feel like it was for me. Then one day I decided I wanted to move! When I told my mom, she thought I was out of my mind and said she wasn’t going to finance my “nonsense.” So… I sold my car, and by the time I got here I only had a few hundred bucks! Those were tough days, but I never for one second thought about giving up… I had a feeling there was something extraordinary waiting for me!

Fast forward a few years…. I used to work out in a gym and Christine Wang (Figure Pro) told me I should compete, and gave me the contact info to get in touch with Shannon Dey (Team Bombshell). I waited, because I didn’t feel I was fully ready to take on such a big challenge in my life. Then when I felt like I was just “drifting” in life, that’s when I knew it was time to dive into such a challenge! I called Shannon… and here I am! =)

Lisa: Tell us a little more about your competition history. Are there any memorable moments that are particularly special to you?
Nathalia: I started competing in the end of 2009 and haven’t stopped since! This thing is addicting! LOL…

I was the runner-up in the previous two Olympias (2010 and2011), and placed 3rd and 5th at the Bikini International in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The most memorable moment was winning the 2012 Bikini Olympia! I honestly can’t find words to describe what I felt when I heard my name being called. My legs didn’t wanna move, and I couldn’t stop crying! That was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life! I will be 80 years old telling people I am a Bikini Olympia champion! Hahahah!

Lisa: What’s a challenge you have faced on your fitness journey, and how did you deal with it?
Nathalia: The biggest change for me was the lifestyle change, and having to make choices according to what I wanted of my life. I had to ask myself, ‘’Do I wanna be ordinary or extraordinary at this?’’ To be extraordinary, you must have discipline and commitment to bring the best out of you! Yes, people are going to say that you are crazy. Yes, people are going to say that you’re obsessed… but, in the end of the day it is YOUR life, and you have the right to choose what YOUR dreams are!!

I followed my dreams, and did what I thought was best for me… and I can assure you today that it was pretty darn worth it!

Lisa: Going back to booty training, how important is nutrition when it comes to getting a tight booty?
Nathalia: Proper nutrition is pretty important to keep cellulite (aka fat) at bay and to avoid crazy weight fluctuation.

Lisa: What’s your typical diet like?
Nathalia: I eat lots of lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs…), veggies and complex carbs (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice…).

Lisa: How often do you have cheat meals? What are your favorite cheat foods?
Nathalia: On my off-season I have one or two cheat meals a week, but contest prep I avoid them starting 10 weeks out.

I know a lot of people talk about the importance of a cheat meal, but I have noticed better results by having no cheat meals during contest prep. When I do this I don’t have crazy cravings.

Hmmmm… favorite cheat foods? I think we would need several interviews for me to list them all! LOL… I love sweets, mainly chocolate. But, I have been trying to behave myself… so I have trail mix with a bit of chocolate in it… it does the job! =)

Lisa: What supplements do you use?
Nathalia: Muscle Infusion Chocolate from Nutrex Research
Lipo 6-X, Nutrex Research
Hemo-Rage Turbo Shot (green apple), Nutrex Research
Vitamin C
Vitamin E

Lisa: What advice do you have for women who want to get into shape like you?
Nathalia: Wishing for it won’t get you where you wanna be, sista! Gotta get to work and make it a lifestyle, and not only a two-month thing! I know it can be hard, but think about how proud you will be of yourself when you get where you wanna be!

Lisa: How do you stay motivated?
Nathalia: All the awesome stories and kind words I receive on a daily basis via e-mail give enough motivation for the rest of my life! It is amazing how all these fans tell me their stories, and how I motivated them…. and, at the same time they are motivating me to become better every day! Thanks, ladies!

Oh…. I also like quotes! Motivational quotes! I write them all over my bathroom mirror. It really helps me to stay motivated too!

Lisa: Why do you enjoy fitness so much?
Nathalia: I like the challenge! Whether it is to run faster or further next time, or to lift heavier or to do better the next competition… there is always a challenge! Also, the confidence you get from achieving your goals in fitness can be used in your everyday life as well.

Lisa: What’s next for you?
Nathlia: I don’t know… and I kinda don’t wanna know! For now I just wanna enjoy the Bikini Olympia Champion title and grab the opportunities that are coming with it. If you think too much about “what’s next” you end up forgetting to enjoy and live what’s NOW.

Special Thank You:
To FitnessRx for giving me the honor to be a cover girl for the second time!
To Nutrex Research my awesome sponsors who believed since day one.
To my management company FMG (JM and Debbie Manion).
To Team Bombshell for giving me the right tools to bring the best out of me.
To my family and friends for having the patience to put up with me during contest prep! Hahaha

Pick up the December issue of FitnessRx for Women for Nathalia’s full butt-shaping workout, and don’t forget to follow along with her weekly 10-part video series beginning November 2! (

Lisa Steuer

Lisa Steuer is the managing editor of FitnessRx for Women magazine. E-mail Lisa at