Photo by Kai York

Photography by Kai York | Model Ana Delia de Iturrondo

How did you start in fitness modeling?

My mom had me taking modeling classes at a young age in an attempt to take the shyness out of me (something I still struggle with at times). Thanks to that I landed a couple print & TV modeling gigs. After a chain of family deaths, I fell into depression where I even lost my speech. I felt like life was taken away from me and through this time I stopped doing everything, no training, no modeling, I was like an empty shell. It was only through faith and the love and support of my closest family members that I was able to slowly start coming out from it. I started going back to the gym little by little just to do something and get all that bad energy out of myself.

In the meantime, Bodybuilding IFBB Bikini division had opened and one day looking through a fitness magazine I saw the competition schedules and from there I decided it was time for a new challenge. My husband and I took a trip to see the first inaugural bikini show at the Arnolds Sports Festival in Ohio. When we came back from the expo I was fully motivated. The show I was to compete in was only a few weeks away, so I immediately got a coach, I mailed my NPC show application and was ready to take charge of my life again.

I went to my first show with no expectations–just the satisfaction that I had made it to the stage was enough for me. Then, to my surprise, I placed 2nd in my first show! From there I was hooked and my love for life and fitness was renewed. This is when my fitness modeling started kicking off. I met some amazing people in the industry and I started getting interviews, photo shoots, TV requests & sponsorship offers. I kept training in my hometown of Puerto Rico, competing and placing in the top spots at several shows. Later I won my first show, the “Flex Model Search”, at the Olympia expo, then a second win at the “Bikini Olympia Masters” in Miami and later earned my pro status at Team Universe in N.J. I then landed my very first international fitness cover.

It has been a tough journey but that just makes me appreciate things even more. I didn’t get my Pro status or big modeling chances as fast as I might have hoped, but it has been one of the most humbling and gratifying experiences. Having the opportunity to represent the Latino community and my island of Puerto Rico in such an uplifting industry like fitness is very rewarding for me.

Have you always lived an active lifestyle?

I’ve pretty much been active my whole life. My mom got me started into ballet, dancing and gymnastics (which I was too clumsy for). My dad also got me started in karate, inline speed skating, scuba diving, and from there I kept exploring with other disciplines. When I wasn’t in school or training for my sport, you could find me around the neighborhood jogging, biking, skating or pretending I was an aerobics instructor at my friend’s garage.

What do you like best about the fitness lifestyle?

Fitness has taught me a great deal about perseverance and myself. What I love most about fitness is that it makes me feel alive. When I workout, it’s like time stops and it’s just me against myself. It’s empowering to learn what we are capable of when we put our minds something.

What made you the confident woman you are today?

I am actually a really shy person and have to constantly fight against that. But I can honestly say that all the good and bad moments have made me the woman I am today. Life can be your greatest teacher when you are willing to pay attention. Others can help guide you but ultimately it is you who has to take charge of your journey. One thing I always keep in mind is that in order to help and love others we must start with accepting and loving ourselves.

Where does your drive to stay in such amazing shape come from?

God, family, friends and the people I reach through my fitness journey. As fitness model, I try to stay on track all year round so that I can be ready for when a last minute shoot, presentation or big opportunity comes up. If you are not ready, there will always be someone else who is. Like Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Ultimately, I want to motivate others to live happy and healthy lives. I want look back at my life and see lots of laughs and great memories and I want to see someone who no matter how bad she fell she always found her way back up. Life isn’t about a perfect journey; it’s about making the best out of your own path.

Any big goals that you are currently working towards?

I have a couple big projects coming up, my main focus at the moment is growing my brand, ANA DELIA. Looks don’t last you a lifetime but the lives you get to touch is what truly matters. I’m really excited about the launch of my website, ANADELIA.com, where I’ll have training programs, e-books, posters, recipes, fitness gear and more fun stuff. I’m also planning upcoming meet & greets and possible boot camps in different cities/countries, so stay tuned!

Fav Food (first thing that comes to mind)?

Humm, this is always a tricky one. PIZZA is definitely on my top 3! When I think of my fav food it’s more like a collage of images that pop into my mind. I just love food, period!

Are you a sweatpants around the house kind of girl, or hanging out in your
underwear (or naked)?

Ohh boy, and here is where I start blushing! It depends on my mood, but I live in Puerto Rico where it’s hot and humid, so mostly underwear or naked. I like to be as comfy as I can be, I totally hate getting dressed.

If you could go to any country in the world on vacation, where would you go?

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Greece. Hopefully I will see it happen sometime soon. 🙂

Follow @anadeliafitness on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Check out Ana’s full photo series, photographed by Kai York, in the March 2016 issue of ANDIVERO!