Long Island's Tammy Lorraine Gatto

Being in a gym as often as possible has its advantages. Twenty three year-old Tammy Lorraine Gatto works out at Armitraj in Bay Shore and Gold's Gym in Deer Park. Her day is well spent. She does an hour of cardio 6 days a week and starts the day off doing leg training in the morning. She often returns to the gym in the afternoons. Gatto eats a lot of fruit because she says the high protein diet she had been following just wasn't working for her. She was finding her energy levels were diminishing and needed to get them up again due to the demanding rigors of modeling where a certain energy and vitality needs to come through in her photographs.

"I dropped weight once I switched my diet over. Before, it was sporadic. I was eating on the run and not really paying attention to what I was eating. It was also too much sugar and refined carbs like white bread." She has a 1/2 banana before her workouts and eats lots of citrus fruits, or she'll have some pineapple mixed in a light whey protein shake. For some people, following what the experts say is the best nutrition plan may not be best for your own unique body, metabolism and genes. Gatto followed the wisdom of her body and she is feeling much better for it. "Anytime you get rid of the junk, the energy levels go right through the roof," she says. Gatto says before she got rid of the white foods in her diet, she was falling asleep in the afternoons in the middle of her college classes.

She also drinks a lot of water. To find her without a water bottle in hand is a rarity. "Even if I go shopping, I'm always carrying a water bottle." The importance of drinking lots of water can't be stressed enough. Water is essential to all metabolic, detoxification and elimination processes in the body. It's crucial to weight loss, building muscle and cognitive functioning. That's why top fitness people are always stressing that everyone drink more water.

"It's funny, but in high school, I was never really into gym, then, when I started working at the gym, I was motivated to get into. It was funny, my high school gym teacher bumped into me while I was working at the gym. He was shocked. He said, 'Tammy what are you doing working at a gym? It was the most bizarre thing for him," she laughs. Sports I could never get into. Working at the gym, motivates me to work harder. I blast the music, otherwise, I don't know how I would get through an hour of cardio." In the warmer weather, she likes to walk a lot.

Gatto's modeling career got rolling 5 months ago when she accompanied one of her friends on a photo shoot. The client, a Maxim-type magazine, was doing a commercial shoot for a jeans company and asked Gatto to pose for some shots. Gatto is currently building up her portfolio and is looking for more work.

Gatto is studying to be a psychologist and will be enrolling at CW Post in the fall. Originally, she wanted to go into counseling, but friends urged her to follow a psychology degree because they said it would pay better than social work. "I don't really care about the money. It's not money that you go into things like that. I love the field so much. I'm drawn to it because I want to be able to help." Gatto says she would like to be a school psychologist because she wants to be there to help teenagers who have come from hard times. "I want to help kids who are going in the wrong direction, to be a real person for them to talk to."

People and books that Gatto has found inspiring and helpful include Deepak Chopra's "Spiritual Guide to Healing" which she says is all about relationships and effective communication between people. She has read all Chopra's books and gets much help from them. Her professor Dr. Kaplan has inspired her too. "He's cool. You'd love him. He's written books through the college." Gatto reads all kinds of self-help books. "I love all that stuff," she says.

In her spare time, Gatto is thinking of going back to being a youth counselor at a Catholic school near where she lives in Deer Park. Gatto provides a good role model for Middle school teens who go to the school once a week for counseling and on retreats. "You get to hear where they're coming from. A lot of them are very depressed," Gatto says. "They don't come out with it and it affects them throughout high school."If I can be a positive influence on a teen, then, that's all that matters," she says.

Gatto is looking for modeling work and will have a website soon. For more information email: tams11881@aol.com. Photos courtesy of: Keith of Roberto Photo and Tony Papale. www.tonypapalephotography.com