SEMINOLE – For Julia Zammito of Seminole, it has been a quick rise to the top in the world of body building and physique contests.
It all started nonchalantly when the 24-year-old personal trainer paid a visit earlier this year to Tampa trainer Tim Gardner for some tips on how to tone up her body prior to a photo shoot for self-marketing purposes.
A casual discussion about the possibility of training to compete led the energetic, 5-foot, 104-pound brunette to make a decision to move forward on a very strict training regimen.
The four-month program came to fruition in early August when she won the open short figure class in both figure and fitness at the International Federation of Bodybuilders Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Championship.
Two weeks later she followed it up with another victory in the national Physique Committee’s Florida State Championship in Orlando.
Next up is the Junior USA Championships in Charleston, S.C., next spring that will give her an opportunity to qualify as a professional.
“I don’t know what other people do to train,” said Zammito. “I just go out to have fun. When I won it was overwhelming.”
Her four-month training program included intensive daily workouts at the Hers and Body Concepts gyms in Seminole, and a diet that pushed her body to extremes.
“I’ve always worked hard,” she said, “but I never realized how much hard work and dieting is involved.”
In addition to three to four hours of workouts a day, seven days a week, Zammito ate lightly eight times a day. Her diet consisted of seven pieces of chicken, a piece of talapia, two servings of vegetables and a gallon of distilled water. There also was a healthy dose of amino acids and enzymes as well.
She generally drops about 10 pounds for competition, with the most dramatic weight loss the final two weeks before an event.
“It’s tough,” she said. “You get moody and have no energy, and you can get really emotional (during training).”
But through all of this she finds time to train about 30 clients a week.
If successful in becoming a pro, it will provide financial opportunities that don’t exist now.
“I’ve had to sacrifice everything I have to pay for everything so far,” said Zammito. “Now I want to make it big and take it to the top.”
Should she earn pro status, Zammito will be eligible to win cash prizes in competitions and market her own personal training DVD.
Her current status is quite a reversal from where she thought she would be in life about six years ago.
“I thought I’d be working in corporate America,” she said. “I processed for the Air Force but I’m glad I’m not in that. I want to stay in fitness.”
The daughter of Cecelia and Gary Zammito, Julie grew up in the area and graduated from Indian Rocks Christian School where she was a cheerleader and attended Warner Southern College for two years before returning to the area.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “I started working out with my mom when I was 6 and have always had a strong passion for training. I looked in all the (body building) magazines and saw all these women that had these fantastic bodies and always wanted to be like them. Now I’m living my dream.”
Article published on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008