Hey guys! Sorry I've been MIA. Be on the lookout for some much new content, fun tips and tricks soon :) Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries regarding coaching, posing, photoshoots, etc.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
This sport can be tough, truly tough. I'm not talking about the diet, the lifting, the odd lifestyle to the "outsiders" - I'm talking about the mental stress you put on yourself. Now, I'm not looking for sympathy, nor am I looking for others to say "well, you're the one who chose to do this sport, you did it to yourself" or "then just quit", I'm just stating a valid statement. To the "outsider" it seems like an easy fix, but to those of us that compete, it's really not.
I mean if you think about it, we HAVE to be critical on ourselves. We are in a sport that requires us to go on a stage and have our bodies judged/critiqued while asking for feedback from these judges to see what might need to be fixed, changed or completely taken away. The "average" person would never be able to handle any of this. It's the truth. It truly takes a certain type of person to handle stage anxiety and the feedback we receive (this is strength in my opinion), but with this said - you eventually can become the most analytical person known to man.
The trouble with over analyzation is that it consumes you. Every ounce of your body is consumed with picking apart each and every inch of your body. It's a sickness. Really. To "outsiders" your body is something they'd kill for, yet here you sit thinking you're not "perfect". Yes, I said it, perfect. No one's "perfect", I think we all know this - but at the same time I think we all have an image of "perfect" within our heads and we strive to achieve that, however, when we reach that or even exceed that "perfect" image, it just changes.
I speak of all of this through experience. I am probably the most critical person of all in regards to my own body. I can look at another woman, even those that aren't in the fitness industry, and see the beauty of her body - no matter her shape or size - we're all beautiful in our own way, yet when it comes to my own I simply fail at seeing that beauty each and every day.
What I have found though is that in order to keep myself involved within this sport I have to obtain self love and limit my analyzation. Some days are easy, others are tough. Really tough. Whether it be I think I'm too "skinny" or that I look "bloated" or that my glutes will just never grow, I'm always pointing something out in the mirror to myself that I don't like. However, what I am learning is that I need to "live in the moment" and love myself regardless of how I feel that day. When I begin to pick apart a particular area I find another that I love in order to outweigh it. This is essential. Through doing this I've found self love and I've found inner piece with my analytical tendencies.
Bodybuilding is a tough sport, but it's a sport that takes extreme dedication day in and day out on all levels. It can consume you and it will if you let it. What you have to learn and take away from it though is a new respect for yourself and a new way of thinking. A tedious task at that, but it's manageable if you want it.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Keeping a healthy lifestyle and being on competition prep around the holidays is tough. I should know, I'm doing just that. However, it is possible. I might be a bit different than others, as I've really learned how to maintain the "look" of my body, while allowing myself to indulge, but truthfully I think it's crucial. With my prep I allow myself two cheats a week up until about 2 weeks before I step on stage. I try not to go overboard with these cheats and I steer clear of fried foods, but they are legit cheats and not always just a burger - think Mexican queso and chips or a big bowl of pasta, that's right pasta - omg right? Ha!
So here is my philosophy, and as I mentioned everyone is different and everyone's body is different, however, once you've figured out exactly how your body works with lots of trial and error, those cheat meals or refeeds can become pretty beneficial whether it be mentally or also by throwing your body off and kicking it back into gear. I've done dieting where I didn't cheat for months at a time (talk about wanting to cry) and yes, I shredded down and looked good - but I also lost muscle, didn't look full and quite frankly my mind was not where it needed to be. Eventually I attempted adding in a cheat meal once a week and I started seeing pretty incredible changes, where I looked "full" but also lean at the same time. Funny how that works huh?
Well over time with my workouts and my prep dieting my metabolism has decided to speed up to 100mph, thus throwing in another cheat meal on top of upping my portions on my meal plan. I'm also a lot happier of a girl. :)
So with all of that said - those of you that are attempting to lose weight, prep for an upcoming show or just stay healthy - don't be scared to allow yourself a cheat meal here and there. You'd really be shocked with what it can do for you! So go enjoy that Christmas dinner or those potato latkes! I know I will be enjoying Christmas dinner with my family with a show approximately 4 weeks out from there!
Happy Holidays! <3 Nicole
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Well, here it is! The results are in from the North American Championships ... can I get a drum roll please?! I won my class (Bikini Open Class F) AND earned my IFBB ProCard. Can you believe it? I couldn't! Ha! I can honestly say this was such a surreal moment for me, where I literally was shaking on the stage I was so shocked. Incredible. I knew I was at me best, but I really went into this show hoping for a Top 10 placement, just to beat my placement from last year of 11th. Man oh man did I do that and then some :)
Here are a few photos from the show.
I really am beyond words with this accomplishment! So happy and feel so blessed. Now it's time for the training to begin for my Pro show debut. Whoot! I will be writing a much longer post here soon all about the weekend, it was amazing :) Til then! <3 Nicole
Thursday, August 7, 2014
I truly think mentally preparing yourself for a competition is far more intangible than any of the physical actions like training and sticking to a strict diet. So often I find myself looking in the mirror and fighting with myself not to think "oh this could be better", "this needs to go", "why is that not more built?" - the list goes on. Unfortunately, in this sport that's what we do - we critique our own bodies in order to be critiqued on stage, which can become really a vicious cycle and if you aren't a super strong individual it really can cause you to have a lot of body image issues that get taken to another level. I will honestly say, I do have body image issues, I've had them my entire life - don't think that just because I started competing and working my tail off that all these image issues just magically vanished, because they haven't and quite frankly never will. What I have learned though is how to deal with them, accept them and be proud of myself. That right there is a victory in my eyes! Now with that said, I have my good days and my bad days. Some days I feel like I'm a boss and like I should be strutting my stuff on stage and winning shows left and right (ha!), then there are those other days where I feel beyond bloated and *gasp* fat.
With this particular show prep that I'm in the midst of right now (3 weeks, 2 days to go) I feel probably the best I've ever felt. Granted this is my 5th show on the horizon, so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of how things go, but what I really mean is in my mental state. I have finally accepted that some days wont be great, some will be down right terrible and make you want to throw in the towel - but in the end I have a goal and nothing and no one will stop me from acheiving that goal. What's helped me throughout this prep, as vain as it may sound, is taking progress photos of myself. These photos are fantastic references for me to go back and take a look at myself from just a few days before where I felt bloated or just not together and see that ya know what? I looked pretty darn good. Also, each day gives me the opportunity to see what parts of my body are changing and what parts may need more work. We are always a work in progress, never will I settle, I can always better myself - in a healthy way.
So with that said I'm so very excited to bring this package to the Pittsburgh stage in just a few weeks and know that no matter what my placing might be - I am already a winner and on my way to meet my goals by just pushing myself further and further and accepting myself each and every day. <3 Nicole
Monday, July 14, 2014
6 1/2 weeks out til the IFBB North American Championships as of today! I am so beyond pumped for this show as I felt that these last few weeks from the Jr USA's I've really made some dramatic changes in my physique. I've made some changes in my diet incorporating more protein and additional carbs and man have I started to see the gains come in. My hamstrings and glutes are more defined than ever and my obliques have really started to pop out as well. As far as my training is concerned I've stuck with my two leg days a week, one being an exclusive plyometric day and the other being a heavy weight day. On top of my two leg days a week I also have my glute specific training day that I also incorporate shoulders with. Big changes to come and I cannot wait to bring my new package to the stage!
Meanwhile, I've updated my portfolio with a couple of local photographers - Alexander Sikwitit and Jon Ruby and am excited to share some of their work with you. I'm awaiting some more shots from the shoot with Jon as that one was a bit more recent, however, take a look at what I've gotten back so far :)
Hope you guys love the shots as much as I do!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Cross-posting this from my daily life blog Real Life Reality.
As you know, or might not know, about 8 months ago, I began volunteering in the children's program at my church in an absolutely amazing environment for children 6 weeks - 4 years old. It's the same program that Blake attends, and she absolutely loves it! Every Sunday I not only looked forward to attending church, but also giving myself to the children for an hour of my day. I became to know the children so well - their quirks, what books they loved, the toys they loved and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about their lives outside of our classroom, they became like my second set of children, I adored each and every one of them. Seriously.
As time went on I longed for more. Now, I'm not downplaying the significance of working with younger children, but I just felt like I needed to expand my horizons and share my faith with other individuals outside of my every day life being I have a three year old. With that said, I decided to move on to the middle school ministry program, crazy, right? Yeah.
With some heavy thought on this decision, I went up and down on if I would be the right "fit" for this program, just knowing that I too am new to my Faith and I was weary of being asked the unknown or not knowing how to answer a question the "right" way, however, when it came down to it I decided that it wasn't about that, it was about God empowering me to deliver my Faith to these kids and to share my love for Jesus. It was that simple.
After completing the interview process I was asked to be apart of the program and truthfully, I couldn't contain my excitement. The thought of being a part of a young girls middle school journey, the roughest years of her life, and being able to help her in her walk with or to finding Jesus seemed like one of the most amazing experiences I could experience to date. That to me is HUGE. I attended an all day training with all of the other new group leader volunteers, met some amazing individuals, and had a complete blast. Our first day in worship all of the new 6th grade leaders (including me) were introduced by eating ice cream sandwiches on stage competing to see whom could eat it the fastest. Getting on their level. After attending worship I felt great. Here I was, excited. Pumped. So ready to get my group and begin this 3 year journey with these girls, but that's when the curveball came.
A few days after our first worship group setting I received a friend request from the director of the middle school ministry, in which I accepted. This is where things went astray. It was brought to light that I am a bikini fitness competitor. Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to what I do, but let me start off by saying what I do is in NO WAY provocative nor does it suggest that I don't have good morals and believe in modesty. Yes, I do wear a rather small bikini on a stage in front of 100's of individuals to be judged on my body - BUT - I work for that body, very hard. I apply so many valuable life tools to preparing for a competition and just staying healthy in general. It takes dedication, hard work, motivation, strength, FAITH and so much more to step on that stage and not one part of my body is shown that is not shown in an every day magazine or at the neighborhood pool. So where the pit fall is on this matter I'm not quite sure and really haven't figured that one out.
Anyhow - where am I leading to huh? Well, I received an email the very next day after receiving the friend request asking if I would be available to meet with the director briefly. I instantly knew what it was about. I mean why else would she be asking to meet with me? Reluctantly I went into this meeting feeling as if I could explain more to her about my love for fitness and what competing meant to me. It was expressed to me that my competing may portray a bad image to the young girls in regards to being modest and honoring their bodies, and that their parents may find it inappropriate and be uncomfortable with me leading their children in their walk with Jesus. Yes, you heard that. My competing may interfere with leading children to help finding and walking with Jesus. Now, I may be wrong here but doesn't Jesus love everyone? Did Jesus judge anyone? .....
With that said, in short, I was told I could choose to quit competing, remove all photos from my Facebook account and then I could continue being a leader in the program otherwise I would not be a good fit for the position. My heart was torn a part. I sat there and cried as she spoke to me, stumbling over my words and not even knowing how to express to her how badly I wanted to be a part of this program and how unfair this was. After leaving church that day I felt defeated. I felt as if I was being shamed for what I do. Shamed for taking care of my body and showing other individuals that they too can do it. I lost 65lbs after my pregnancy, turned my life around health wise and became a stronger person than I could ever have imagined and not just on the outside, but completely on the inside as well. I learned what dedicating yourself to something you love can bring you and how you can help motivate other individuals and show them they too can do anything they set their mind to. Yet, here I am basically being portrayed as a whore. Yes, I said it - a whore. That's how I felt.
That day when I pulled into my driveway my daughter sat in the backseat asleep. I looked back at her for a few moments, then turned and looked at myself in the mirror and thought - is what I'm doing wrong? Am I portraying a bad image to my daughter? What would Jesus say about this? Tears began to flow from my eyes and I just balled my eyes out. I was defeated, or at least I felt that way. After all that I put myself through deciding if I would be the right "fit" because I was new to my faith was a waste. I put so much thought into the decision of joining these kids' lives, only to have it taken away from me because of another love I have. I felt like I was being asked to choose between sharing my faith and my competing. It hurt. Bad.
I prayed that night, talked and cried to God and asking him what he thought I should do and if I should completely forego my love of competing and fitness to give myself to these children. I thought that the answer was going to be yes, but I was pleasantly surprised, it wasn't. Every part of my body was told to let go of this chapter, that He has bigger plans for me and that I am where I am meant to be. To trust in him.
Faith has brought me so many friends in this industry and we all bind together in our faith and love for fitness. From our prayers together before going on stage to our talks of our love for Christ in casual conversation, the fitness world is a place of so much more than just dumbbells and iron - it's a place of love, a place of sticking together and sharing our love for our bodies that Christ gave us.
Now I'm not sure where Christ will lead me and what exactly his plans are for me, but I do believe they involves fitness and sharing the word through it. The sky is the limit and I will not let a bump in the road take that away from me. I will continue to share my love for Christ and not only that, but I will push myself even harder in this journey so that I'm able to share the word further than I could ever imagine.