About nicolemjenkins

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.

Less than five weeks until show day

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.

Don’t let your circumstances define your destiny

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.

Bikini competitor chocolate pumpkin breakfast bake

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)


Sometimes things don’t go as planned

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.


Some of my favorite videos!

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!

My “Real” Body Revealed

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. 

A Breif Overview of Competitive Bodybuilding

There is a very small percentage of crazy fitness enthusiast that understand the world of competitive bodybuilding.  This blog post is dedicated to all of you “normal” people that are slightly curious and intrigued by this sport that is spreading like wildfire amongst gym rats.

The focus and goal of competitive bodybuilding is building a balanced physique and changing your body composition (less fat, more muscle) through strength training and strict nutrition.  (Yes ladies, you will have to lift weights)  How you want your physique to look depends on what category you are going to compete in.

For men, the main categories are Bodybuilding and Physique.


Men’s Bodybuilding Example


Men’s Physique Example

I don’t have much experience with men’s bodybuilding so my overview will stop there.  If you are at all interested in competing you should find a reputable coach in your area that and work with them.  Be very careful of online coaches that only post pictures of themselves.  In my experience, having a coach you can see in person and talk with is much, much better.  I would also ask to see or meet some of their past clients.  Has your coach competed themselves?  I am not sure that anyone can truly understand what you are going through unless they have done it themselves.  (Back stage jitters, naked spray tan, dehydration, oily bodies, pumping up, addiction to peanut butter,etc.)

Now on to my favorite topic, women.  For women there are 4 categories; bodybuilding, physique, figure and bikini.  Figure and bikini are by far the most popular categories.  It is very difficult for women to get bulky naturally so I don’t have any experience with the physique and bodybuilding categories.  Those women are beasts and I applause them. However, because I don’t know much about their prep and the kind of supplements they need to take to build that kind of muscle, I will leave it at that.


Women’s Physique Example


Women’s Bodybuilding Example

Women’s Figure is a blend of  bodybuilding and fitness.  Women are judged on symmetry, presentation and other aesthetic qualities such as skin tone, suite color, fit, etc.  The “X” factor is the desired physique with well formed shoulders and back, small waist and round and full glutes and quads. Visible muscle separation is desired but visible striations is not, that would bring them into the bodybuilding category. Women in this category typically get into the 8-12% body fat range on competition day.  At this range your hormones are out of whack and you will stop menstruating.  Your family and friends will not enjoy being around you.  (TRUST ME, I KNOW)


Women’s Figure Example

The final and most popular category is Women’s Bikini.  This is where a lot of amateurs begin and where a lot of us stay.  Women are judged on their lean and firm physiques and scored on proportion, symmetry, balance, shape and skin tone.  Shoulders, abs and glutes are very important muscle groups.  Bikini competitors are fit and lean but not ripped and shredded.  They are typically win the 10-15% body fat range which is still way, way below average.  Bikini competitors do a front and back pose for the judges.


Women’s Bikini Example

So now that we covered all the different categories lets talk about how someone gets into competing and what types of shows they would do.  First, you kind of have to enjoy weight lifting and eating healthy.  If you hate spending time in the gym and eating meat and vegetables then you should just take this off your list.  Women do not get their shapely and toned physiques from long cardio sessions and low calorie/low protein meals.  We lift weights and we eat a lot of protein.  Protein is the building block for muscle and to have the bodybuilder’s physique, you need muscle.

I first decided to compete becasue the trainer I was working out with for a few years had competed himself and coached a few of my friends for shows.  I watched them transform their body in a few months and was absolutely amazed and inspired.  I thought about it for a couple years but finally committed to a show after watching a close friend of mine prepare for a competition.  I stopped making excuses and signed up.  The first thing I did was meet with a reputable trainer and discuss my goals.  He put me on a 16 week program that included weight training 6 days per week, eating ~1600 calories each day comprised of 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat and weekly check-ins.  Based on my photos and changes in weight, he adjusted my macros (protein, carbs, fat).   My progress photos were submitted weekly to him. Cardio was used sparingly until the very end when I had to shed the final few pounds of fat.  I trained legs twice per week at a minimum, upper body was focused on shoulders and back and my core was hit a few time a week.

My first show was a local amateur show put on by the National Physique Committee (NPC).  Shows are held locally at the state level.  If a show is designated as a “National Qualifier” then you can qualify to compete at a national level if you place in the top 3 of Open division.

Besides the strict diet and workout regimen, I practiced posing regularly with my coach and on my own.  Stage presence and posing are extremely important.  You can have the best body on stage but if you don’t present it well you will not place at all.  Another thing most people don’t know about is the spray tan.  This isn’t optional if you want to place well or even look like you belong.  Think of it as foundation for your skin. It evens out your skin tone, covers up blemishes and stretch marks and helps bring out the definition in you muscles.  Everyone does it and yes, you look ridiculous off of stage; however, if you didn’t get the spray tan you would not show off your shredded body and would look extremely white compared to everyone else.

After your show most competitors take what is called an off-season.  It is recommended that you take at least 6 months between shows to allow your metabolism to re-adapt back to normal food intake levels.  During prep you continually drop your calories to get take your body below a natural level of body fat and if you think you can just jump right back into eating like you did before you will be in for rude awakening.  It is not uncommon for competitors to gain 10-20 lbs of fat in only a couple weeks after the show if they do not reverse diet properly.  During a planned off season competitors focus on slowly increasing their calories, reducing the amount of cardio and building up their strength.  When you are prepping for a show you are in a calorie deficit so you don’t build much muscle.  The focus is on maintaining muscle while losing fat.  The off season is where the gains happen in the gym.  I recently maxed out my squat at 190lbs and my deadlift at 220lbs.  I could not have built up to this during competition prep and owe my success to an increase in carbs and protein along with great training partners at MVP Sportsclubs.  #ilovecarbs

So far I have competed in four shows total, three of which were National Qualifiers.  I placed in the top 5 in Open in all of them and took 1st in the Master’s Division (35 and older) in two of them.  I am a 2X Nationally Qualified Bikini competitor and currently enjoying my off season.  If someone asked me today if I would compete again I honestly don’t know that I could answer that. Competitive bodybuilding is a very selfish sport and your whole focus in on yourself.  My meals were planned out each day, my workouts were written out, my cardio, etc.  I could not go off my plan and that made family life a bit difficult.  I currently have been really enjoying helping my clients with their fitness goals and love having more flexibility with my workouts and nutrition. My goal for this month is a 200 lb back squat and I can’t wait to crush it.


2016 Iron Man NPC Competition


Front Pose


Front post comparison during pre-judging


2016 Central States NPC Competition