Friday, September 3, 2010

IFPA Pro Nicole Gray OCB Mid-Atlantic Interview

I am always happy to see someone achieve something big. But when that person is a friend I am extra happy. And when that person is someone like Nicole Gray, happy just does not cover it. Nicole won her IFPA Pro card at the OC Mid-Atlantic Battle for the Belt, and knowing how hard Nicole worked for it, I can't tell you how happy I was when I heard the news. Nicole is just an incredible woman. Look beyond the incredible physique, look beyond the incredible beauty, look beyond that, and you will see an amazing woman. The best part is, Nicole is going to keep going and move on to even bigger things and I am honored to be able to watch it all. Nicole, you are awesome and I am so proud of and happy for you. You deserve all your success.

Q: Nicole, thanks for taking the time out to do this.
A: You're Welcome, Jason! Thank you for the opportunity!

Q: For those who may may not be familiar, can you tell a little about yourself.
A: Sure! I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia where I lived with my parents and 2 older brothers. I am currently still in the area where I live with my boyfriend and our 2 dogs and 1 cat. I'm also volunteering with the Women's Humane Society as I study to be a Veterinary Assistant.

Q: I must say congrats on the OCB Mid-Atlantic Battle For The Belt and winning your Pro card. I thought you looked incredible.
A: Thank You so much, Jason. I was very pleased with the package I brought to the stage.

Q: What does winning that pro card mean to you personally?
A: I was never athletic growing up and honestly if you would have told me years ago this is where I would be I would have said you were crazy, but I began to discover myself in the gym and from the moment I stepped on stage, I knew that was where I belonged. I have been through so many struggles on my journey and doubted myself many times, so finally getting that win was a symbol of how all of the work, the struggles were worth it. I know that there is NOTHING I cant accomplish.

Q: What is the first thing that popped into your head when you won.
A: "OMG,WHAT?!?!" Seriously, I couldn't believe it..I was shocked!

Q: As a show itself what did you think of it?
A: The show was fantastic! There was a great group of competitors and it was without a doubt the most well-ran show I have ever been a part of. The venue was perfect, the expediters and promoter did an outstanding job.

Q: How confident were you going in?
A: I knew going in that I had made great improvements from my previous shows, so I was bringing my best physique to the stage but at the same time, you can't get ahead of yourself cause you never know what the judges are looking for or who else is showing up on any given day.

Q: After pre-judging how were you feeling about your chances?
A: To be honest, the judges worked us hard during pre-judging and I was exhausted after getting off stage so I knew it was a tough class. I felt confident that I would place, but I really didn't think I would take the overall.

Q: How did you feel about the overall package your brought to the stage?
A: I was very proud of the total package that I presented. I made significant gains in the offseason and it showed. I was able to bring a leaner, yet fuller, more muscular physique.

Q: What part of your physique would you say was the one you have improved the most the last year?
A: Definitely my Quads. I feel like I was able to build them up to where the complemented the size of my Delts and Back to give me the figure shape I was shooting for.

Q: Probably a strange question considering you won the overall but was there
one aspect of your physique you thought could have been better or you want to
improve on?
A: Not a strange question at all. I think there is always room for improvement, that's what keeps me going! I am still very tiny on stage and I would like to have a little more muscle mass, so that I can dial it in a little more and come in a bit leaner.

Q: Did your prep go as smoothly as hoped for?
A: Unfortunately, No. This was a very difficult prep for me, both mentally and physically. Everything about this prep was different than my previous ones, my body did not respond to the same techniques that it had in the past or at the pace that it had. Lucky for me, my trainer always had things under control.

Q: Is there a point in the prep process where you say "O.K. I am ready"?
A: Yep!! It was around Wednesday/Thursday during peak week. Doing my carb load helped my muscles fill out and I began to tighten up even more and I finally thought "Let's do this!"

Q: Anything about the prep process that you can say you want to do different
next time?
A: Absolutely! I will not allow myself to gain as much off season body fat which is one of the reasons my prep was more difficult. I hate, hate cardio so I plan on keeping tighter in the offseason so for my next prep I can do as little cardio as possible.

Q: After a show like that, are you mentally drained at all?
A: Not one bit! The excitement of it all had me bouncing off the walls. I had an adrenaline rush for days.

Q: The week before a show like that, what were you thinking about? Nervous or excited, or what?
A: The week was full of mixed emotions. I ran the whole spectrum from wondering if I would be ready, to just wanting the week to fly by cause I was so excited to get on stage. The show was close to home and many friends and family members were coming out to support me, so I was nervous about having them all there with their eyes on me.

Q: How about those last 5 minutes before you hit the stage, what were you
thinking about?
A: When I was lined up getting ready to walk on stage, I go over everything in my head, My poses, reminding myself to flex my quads, to stay tight, don't forget to smile and most importantly, BREATHE!

Q: When you are on stage did you try and read the judges reactions at all or
just focus on what you are doing?
A: Not at all..I focus on staying poised and hitting my poses. In reality with the bright stage lights, you really can't connect with the judges anyway.

Q: Whats the first thing you ate once it was over?
A: A HUGE, delicious cupcake! YUM!

Q: Was there any other competitors you noticed who really impressed you?
A: Absolutely! Luray Tobar, the Novice overall winner and Lindsley Mcgrath who I competed with for the overall are both outstanding competitors with incredible physiques. They both have bright futures and I cant wait to see whats next for them.

Q: What will be your biggest memory from the entire weekend?
A: Since the show was close to home, having friends and family coming out to support me was incredible. Seeing how genuinely happy they were for me meant so much. Also, being backstage and competing with my friends. We prepped together and took this journey as a team and having it all come together was the icing on the cake.

Q: How important is support from family and friends at a show like this?
A: HUGE! This sport can be very selfish, when getting ready for a show it can consume your whole life so its important for the people around me to understand and support what I'm trying to accomplish. Especially on the days when I didn't want to get that extra cardio in, or I was complaining about being hungry, they were there to listen and push me forward.

Q: Have you decided when you will be on stage next?
A: I haven't decided yet but it wont be for a while. I need to spend some quality time in the gym and build so I can hit the pro stage with a bang!

Q: Anyone you want to thank for helping you in the process?
A: My biggest "Thank You" goes out to my trainer, Joe Franco and everyone at Team Franco Bodybuilding. Without Joe's help, I would not have been able to accomplish all that I have. He is an incredible Coach/Trainer and Friend.

Q: Has it sunk in yet that you are now an IFPA Pro?
A: Not completely. In some ways it has, but at the same time, I am still in shock!

Q: Answer in one word. How does this sound? "IFPA Pro Nicole Gray"

Q: Nicole again, congrats. You have become a friend and I am seriously so
excited for you. You worked hard for it and deserved it. Any last words before you go?
A: I just want to thank everyone who has supported me on my journey, prep is not easy and there were many times I doubted myself but I am surrounded by so many people who believe in me and I am grateful for your support and encouragement, I adore you all.
Thank you so much Jason, not just for this interview but for all you do to help women in the industry.

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