Abel Albonetti, who grew up in Eudora, never played sports because he was home schooled. But, where an organized athletic program wasn’t available, Albonetti filled the void himself to become one of the top bodybuilders around, in demand by fitness companies willing to send him worldwide to promote their products with his looks and physique.
Most recently, Albonetti’s image was found on the September cover of “Muscle and Fitness” magazine, representing one the firms who pays him to promote Muscle Tech.
While visual inspection will instantly tell you that Albonetti is “ripped,” the fact he doesn’t appear like a huge Mr. Olympia-like bodybuilder actually works to his advantage, he said.
“Back then it was about all the huge bodybuilders, but now it’s more about what people can actually look like,” Albonetti said. “They want to buy a magazine that they think they can actually look like. It wasn’t like that with the big, huge bodybuilders back then.”
Albonetti took to fitness as a teenager, working out at the YMCA in Olive Branch, where by happenstance he was seen by an agent who kept after Abel to do some modeling work, until Albonetti finally agreed.
That started a career in working events that showed off clothing as much as presented himself as someone who was “easy on the eyes.”
“From there he got me to do some runway stuff for places like Dillard’s when they had expos at convention centers,” Albonetti said. “However, at about 20 years old, the rue21 clothing line people were telling me I was getting too big for the clothing. So, I had to make a decision if I wanted to stay smaller or if I wanted to keep working out.”
The decision put Albonetti on track to use his physique to promote products for some of the larger supplement firms around, such as Bodybuilding.com.
“From there, all my other sponsorships came from them because of how big their brand is,” Albonetti said. “Then, I got involved in another huge company, Muscle Tech, and they pay me to advertise for them. They have a huge social media following, like 2.5 million.”
Today, Albonetti, who now lives in Austin, Texas, has a busy schedule working out and traveling the country and the world, doing events, photo shoots and appearances to promote products. Part of what he does is also to use the power of social media to promote himself and the people he represents.
“It’s mainly advertisement, because I have such a big social media following,” Albonetti said. “They want me to post supplements I take and tell them what exactly I do, spreading free information that people can learn from.”
Maintaining his solid appearance means a daily regimen of workouts and a specific diet. Albonetti said he still thrives on his work in the gym.
“I work out about six days a week for about a couple of hours every day,” he said. “That’s in the off-season, when I’m not getting ready for anything. I do cardio first thing in the morning while I’m waking up and then later in the afternoon I’ll go work out for about two hours, and then start all over again.”
Approaching the weightlifting side, Albonetti said he is always trying to up his game.
“Weightlifting involves heavy weights,” he said. “Being a natural athlete, you have to lift heavy weights to build muscle, in the 10-12 rep range. You’re trying to do things you are not used to, so if you’re using lighter weights, you’re not building muscle. I’m doing bench press, squats, nothing really fancy.”
Away from the gym and at the table, Albonetti maintains a diet aimed at keeping the fat away.
“I do low-carb dieting, so I will have very low carbs throughout the day,” Albonetti said. “Your energy will go down but I’ve found it’s the best way to lose body fat by doing a lower carb diet.”
Expecting he can continue his career for a long time, Albonetti said he feels fortunate to be able to help people on the road to good fitness, a road that started in Eudora and an Olive Branch YMCA, taking him to all parts of the world.
“I can just travel around all over the world, do meet and greets and such,” Albonetti said. “It’s a blessing I’m able to do that.”
If you need a closer look at Albonetti and what he is doing, search Abel Albonetti on Facebook and YouTube, @abelbody on Twitter and AbelBodyGym on Instagram.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.