I am a wife, a mother, an engineer, a fitness enthusiast, a group exercise instructor, a Beachbody coach and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. I love lifting weights, long walks on the beach, red wine, dark chocolate, playing cards with my family and snuggling on the floor with my sweet Rottweiler.
My journey to living fit started in my early 30s. I struggled with weight my whole life and never felt satisfied with where I was at. I associated being "skinny" with eating less and running a lot. Well, I didn’t like to run and l love to eat, so my dreams of being “skinny” were just that, dreams. I finally found balance after meeting an excellent trainer and a support group of wonderful women at a local gym. I learned the concepts behind clean eating and choosing nutrient dense foods that would provide my body with fuel. I changed my diet and began strength training 3-5 times per week. I immediately saw changes in my body, and my confidence and energy sored through the roof! I am passionate about health and fitness and started this page to share that passion with others. I have many tips and tricks on juggling your fitness goals with being a working mother and wife. I make healthy choices not only for myself but for my family.
For those of you that have only known me for a few years you may not know this, but I have not always been healthy and fit. I was actually the complete opposite. I ran my first mile (not a typo, my first 1 mile) when I was 30 years old. My weight has always been like a yo yo and I’ve only been thin when I was able to eat less. I never liked my body and had a unhealthy relationship with food.
So how did I change my life around?
Today’s blog is dedicated to my friend and coach Omar Henderson with NuGro Wellness. I met him six years ago when my cousin mentioned she almost puked at a boot camp class the night before but was planning on going back. The trainer was running a 21 day challenge for $50 that include attending unlimited classes and a 21 day meal plan. I dreamed of having a great body and being confident in a swim suit and was sick of being unhappy. I went to class the next night , almost died and signed up for the challenge. I will never forget my hands shaking from the workout while I wrote the check.
I was added to a Facebook team of women on the same journey, assigned a coach, given a 21 day clean eating meal plan and attacked the challenge. Holy shit! In just 1 week I saw changes and by the end of 3 weeks I was a new women. My jeans were large (even after my husband put them in the dryer), I had more energy and I was addicted to the results. 6 years later I am a personal trainer, Beachbody Coach and competitive bodybuilder. I love what I do and sharing my passion with others!
Omar’s gym has changed locations, I moved to the other side of town and I do most of my own training; however I always fall back to him for guidance. He was my coach for my very first competition and took me somewhere I thought only others could go. Three years later he guided me to the stage again and I couldn’t be more grateful. We worked together as a team on this prep and he gave sound recommendations when I was crazy and carb depleted. Although I hid it well on stage, I was scared and insecure. I stood backstage second guessing my physique and posing. He was there to build me up, provide me guidance and make the final tweaks to my posing. I hit the stage with confidence and sass and I crushed it.
Whatever your goal is, don’t go at it alone. Two is much stronger than one. Will I compete again? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know is that it won’t be on my own.
As I look back at this competition and analyze what I could have done differently to have brought a better package I realized I’m being too hard on myself and need to tell these thoughts to shut the f*ck up. Do you have this problem? Like nothing you do is good enough? I’m my own worse critic.
This was my fifth competition and 3rd year competing. In the past if I followed the plan the weight seemed to magically fall off. Well not this time. After 4 weeks of prep (8 weeks out from my competition) I found myself discouraged and blogged about it. Instead of changing my goal we just changed our approach. We got more aggressive with my diet and lowered both my carbs and protein. I also increased the amount of cardio I did. On show day I felt pretty confident with the package I brought to the stage but would have liked to have been about 5lbs less. I was still holding on to fat in my mid-section and thighs. Today I pulled up that 8 weeks out photo from my blog and said “damn, you killed this prep!” Yeah, I complimented myself and it felt good. Go ahead, try it! Look in the mirror and see how beautiful you are. Does your hair look good today? Go ahead, tell yourself that. How about your smile? Whatever it is,remember that you are beautiful and you should be proud of your accomplishments no matter the size. Stop cutting yourself down and build yourself up. When that crazy bitch in your head starts telling you that you shouldn’t have had that cookie or that you are fat just say “shut the f*ck up bitch” and move on. Unless you violated one of the 10 commandments you didn’t sin and you can give yourself a break, just move on and smile.
Well it’s over, my competition that is. It’s the morning after and I can’t sleep so why not walk on the treadmill and blog about it? (I did eat way to much chocolate yesterday and could use the cardio)
So yesterday I competed in The Michigan State Natural Bodybuilding Championship through the NANBF. My previous 4 competitions were through the NPC (separate organization). Since I’ve competed before and placed first in my division (Masters) I was only allowed to compete in the Open class for the competition and not Novice. 1st place in this class wins a pro-card in the natural league and is kind of a big deal. Honestly, going into the show I wasn’t confident with where my physique was at. I struggled with weight loss through this whole process and could not lose the extra weight around my midsection. When I found out that there were only six other competitors in my division I was a little worried that there would be strong competition but when I saw all the strong and beautiful women backstage I knew it was a great competition. All six of us looked fabulous and fought for that trophy. I ended up taking third overall and then won the best female posing award. I feel very comfortable with my placing based on the package I brought to the stage and know that 1st overall is just within reach. Winning overall poser shows how far I have came with my stage presence and confidence. Although after the show I found myself feeling slightly down and out I woke up with a much better outlook. Going into this show my only goal was to beat the girl I was last year on stage and nobody else. I crushed my goal! I brought a whole new confident woman to that stage and left last year’s Nicole in the dust. Will I compete again? I honestly don’t know. Today the competition is fresh and I’m hungry for the win but in reality, the stress of prep isn’t something my body or family can handle back to back. I was over impressed with this competition and might just plan to come back next year and go for gold. Now it’s time to hit the gym and putting all those calories to building up my glutes!
If you are curious about my coaching I did hire help. I am a personal trainer and confident in coaching others but you are your own worst critic. I’ve always had a coach and will never go at this alone. For this prep my coach was my friend and the man that helped me transform my lifestyle 6 years ago when I attended his boot camp class and almost died. He watched me go from not being able to run 400 yards without puffing on an inhaler to the strong woman I am today. He has his own gym here in the Grand Rapids area and promotes overall health and wellness. You can check him out on Facebook and Instagram@NugroWellness .
If you would’ve asked me how I felt about my upcoming competition 4 weeks ago I would’ve had a negative response. I was feeling discouraged and I was not happy with my progress. Instead of quitting I decided to change the plan but not the goal. We made some pretty drastic changes to my macro nutrient intake and I brought the focus every day to my strength workouts and cardio. Four weeks later I couldn’t be happier with my progress pics and I am beyond excited to push myself even harder the next four weeks. I have three more full weeks of working out in the gym until peak week. There’s only one month between these photos. I cannot wait to see what one more month will do before I hit the stage. Happy Monday friends! Today I am feeling good and I am working one day at a time toward my goal.
All right, I am five weeks out from my competition and the scale finally started moving. Last time I blogged I was frustrated because I just wasn’t seeing results and the fat was not leaving my body. I’m not saying things are going great but I did finally drop some weight and I’m seeing much more definition. The weight I am at now is still much higher than my previous competitions but that could have to do with the change in my body composition and all of the weightlifting I’ve done in the off-season.
The struggles I’ve had the past week have been pretty real. We lowered my complex carbs to only 75 g per day with one refeed and one lower carb day when I rest. I feel great in the morning and have tons of energy and my mood is positive. At about 4 PM I lose my shit. This is no joke, I literally lose it on anyone that walks near me. If you don’t want to bitchy response don’t call or text me after 4 PM. I’ve been rude to my father-in-law, my kids and husband (daily), and even my husband’s friend who was being nice and offering us a treadmill for sale. Hopefully they read my blog because I was too bitchy to even apologize. Carbs are in essential nutrient that provide your body with fuel and affect your brain function. When you deplete them you don’t just have low-energy it affects your mood, your focus and much much more. I do not recommend low-carb diet for any of my clients unless they’re looking to compete in we are in the final stretch and in need to really tap into fat storage. Your body can burn fat while you eat carbs, I’m just in a very tight timeline.
My overall calorie consumption is on average less than 1300 cal a day. I’m lifting daily with weights and then doing about 45 minutes of a steady state cardio. I don’t have much energy to do high-intensity training and I burn out quickly. Some days I have fun at the gym other days it feels like a total chore and I hate every minute. I found that it’s best if I work out before 1 PM otherwise I have zero energy and my mood sucks.
Although my mood isn’t very enjoyable my kids fully support me and watch every damn thing I put my mouth. I took a bite of an apple the other day and Bryson asked “um, are you allowed to eat fruit?” My oldest came home from college and even went to the gym with me to train back. I think he got a little irritated with all of my instructions I was giving on the proper way to lift so I will try to bite my tongue next time. (Heaven forbid his mom who is a personal trainer gives instruction on proper form).
My goal this week is to order my new suit and lose another 1 to 2 pounds. I’ve consistently lost at least a pound over the last three weeks and want to keep that going in the right direction. When you’re trying to maintain muscle while losing fat it’s healthy to lose 1 to 3 pounds a week but nothing more. I’m consistently losing 1 to 1 1/2 pounds a week. For my suit I am switching colors this year and debating between a deep emerald green or a black with colored crystals. It takes about 3 1/2 weeks to get your custom suit so I need to order it this week. I’ve also started tanning so that my butt isn’t super pale. Even with the spray tan if you have white butt cheeks it shows through.
I am not a competitor that stays show lean all year and I still have a lot of work to do over the next 5 weeks.
August 1998 I was a scared 17 year old that just brought home an infant on oxygen and an apnea monitor after watching him struggle for his life in the NICU. He was 88 days old when I finally cared for him on my own. Was I prepared? Nope. Was I scared? Hell yes. Did I let my circumstances define me and determine our future? Nope. I pushed through college part time, lived at home for awhile, worked and bought us our first home at the age of 21. (With my parents co-sign of course). Shortly after that I met my husband, and the best stepdad, graduated with my bachelor’s degree and had 2 more boys.
August 2017 I am the proud mother of an intelligent, confident and healthy 19 year old young man that is starting his adult life at Saginaw Valley State University! All I ever wanted was for him to be healthy and have opportunities that I did not. Today is the first step towards him accomplishing more than I ever did. He is moving out and going away to college!! The only thing standing between him and whatever he wants to accomplish is himself.
Alright fellow competitors and friends looking for a quick and easy macro friendly breakfast bake, here you go! As my competition approaches my macros decrease and I need to be very strategic with each meal. If I don’t balance my macros between 5 meals I run out at about 2pm and that creates a hangry monster (just ask my kids).
I normally make protein muffins but last night I didn’t feel like creating a recipe in myfitnesspal or cleaning the damn muffin tins so I made a breakfast bake that spits evenly into 4 servings.
Here is what you need:
Round baking dish
1 cup muscleegg in Chocolate Carmel (you can use liquid egg whites but I can’t guarantee it will taste as good)
3 scoops GNC Amplified chocolate Whey
1 can pure pumpkin
1 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp cocoa
Stevia to taste
1 tsp backing soda
Macros: I used myfitnesspal to enter the ingredients and put 1/4 as serving. 25g protein, 25g carbs and less than 2 g fat!!
Mix all ingredients together, pour in baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray, bake at 350 until done in middle. (About 40 min)
So I am less than eight weeks out from my next competition and I am not feeling ready at all. I went into this prep with confidence and excitement and after four weeks of dieting I am not seeing the results I had expected. The scale hasn’t really moved at all and I’ve only lost a few inches. I’ve compared my eight week out photos this year to the ones I took last year and I am noticeably larger. I know that I put on muscle this past 12 months but I’m still not as lean as I feel I need to be eight weeks out from the show. The first time I ever prepped for a physique competition was over two years ago, and to be honest, the weight-loss part seemed almost too easy. I followed the macro plan, executed my workouts and the pounds seemed to shed off. They actually came off so quickly that my trainer had me do a show earlier then we originally planned for. My second show was a 12 week prep, it went smoothly, I took first in my class and felt amazing on stage. For my third and fourth shows I switched to a different trainer to learn another approach and experience a new challenge and came in even leaner yet. We cut my carbs a lot sooner than previous preps and added more cardio, which brought my lower body to the leanest it has ever been and gave me a more balanced look. My plan for this show was to take all that I’ve learned from the last four shows and formulate a perfect plan for me. The problem is, I have grown older, my body has adjusted to this lifestyle and things just simply don’t always go as planned. There was about 24 hours where I contemplated calling it quits. I realized that this was not something I was willing to do because when I set off to accomplish a goal, and go public about that goal, I am the last person to back down. I also want to set an example for my children and show them even when things don’t go as planned you never quit, you adjust the plan, but never the goal. Quitting is not an option.
For those of you interested in what my plan consist of I am lifting weights six days a week, doing 45 minutes of steady state cardio five days per week on either a stairmaster or incline treadmill at 8.0 or higher, eating 120 g of protein, 34 g of fat and now carb cycling between 125g carbs, 100 carbs and 75 carbs on my rest day. My total calories started around 1600 but currently are below 1300. This is my fifth competition prep and all five have been different. Do not read my macros and set yours to be the same. Everyone’s body is different, everyone’s metabolism is different and no two competitors should follow the exact same plan.
Another thing I did this competition prep that is probably made me dislike my progress pics more is that I have put on a competition suit for my progress pics ever since day one. These swimsuits are extremely small and should never be worn in public unless you are doing a bodybuilding show with a crazy orange spray tan and huge spotlight. I normally wear my normal bikini all the way till about four weeks out and then I am brave enough to put on the itsy-bitsy sparkly bikini. To have true progress pics I decided to wear it from day one and obviously I do not look good in it. For modesty’s sake, and the fact that I have three kids, I will only show my front pose and keep the back pose to myself. I do not consider myself overweight at all and I am not posting this so that people can tell me I look good. I am simply sharing my progress pic to be out in the open about competition prep. I hope to be about 10 pounds lighter when I walk on stage and obviously way more defined. I have 7 1/2 weeks to go and there is no holding back.
For those of you that follow me on Facebook at See Mom Lift you know that I love to go live and just speak what is on my mind. Since it is Friday and I like to keep things real, here are some of my favorite videos for you to enjoy or share. The first is me enjoying my last glass of wine before giving it up this month. Spring break is just around the corner and I would like to reveal my abs for the beach. They went into hiding this winter after I indulged in a few too many bottles of wine.
My random thoughts of a glass of wine!
A few of my favorite things:
Some days I have my shit together and some days I just don’t!
What I think about people that cut others down for eating healthy!
This is what I really look like. This is me today. This is me after a weekend of enjoying food, family, sun and some wine. This is me after working out a minimum of six days per week. This is me after eating clean 85% of the time. This is me.
I am not a fitness model. I am a wife, mother and a healthy woman. Today is day one of a three week Beachbody challenge group I am hosting online and this is my before picture. After sharing with my group I thought why not share with everybody. I have nothing to hide. I do not act fake on social media and the person you see is the person that I am. When I am competing I share my pictures so why not share every other day of the year? The Nicole you see in my profile picture is the body that I worked my ass off for 16 weeks straight. I was hangry every day, exhausted, yelled at my kids regularly for no reason, lost my shit at least once a day on the first person that pissed me off and I pushed myself beyond my limits. It took 16 weeks of strict dieting, daily exercise and zero alcohol to achieve that. That body is not something most women can achieve without extreme measures and it is a look that is not maintainable throughout the year. Do I regret competing, hell no. Will I compete again, maybe. Do I want to lose a few pounds before spring break, yes. Will I lose a few pounds and be more confident on spring break, hell yes! You are only constrained by the limits you have set for yourself. Today I vow to love my body, thick or thin and work towards being the best version of me.