Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nicole Phinney Interview



Photo Credits:
Photos 1, 3 and 4: NPC News Online
Photo 2: Hot Shotz Photography






Nicole Phinney's second year competing is off to a great start as she took second in a tough class at the natural NPC Eastern USA's and then this past weekend won her class at the NPC Ohio Naturals. Nicole brings a great overall package to the stage, highlighted by her amazing legs. Nicole is definitely someone who with some continued experience and improvements will be the holder of a pro card one day.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I got started six weeks after I had my second child. When I walked into the hospital in labor with my son I was a hundred and sixty pounds and I am 4'11". Six weeks later I decided that it was time to get my body back.

Q: What made you compete?
A: I started lifting in the summer, in July, I realized that I had exhausted my knowledge base and I hired a trainer through my gym. She said "let's set a goal." I'm not a runner, so I knew a marathon wasn't in the cards. So, I decided on a bodybuilding competition. It was simple as that.

Q: A lot of people I interview say they do the first show and it becomes addicting to them, was that the case with you?
A: I don't even think I finished my presentation and in my head I was thinking "when can I do this again?"

Q: Last week you did the Natural Eastern USA's and took second, in a case like that are you more happy you took second against good competition or is it more "what do I gotta do to get first?"
A: To be perfectly honest, I was just elated. The first time I competed I didn't place at all. I took tenth out of twelve girls. To go from that position to being in the position of second in a strong class, I was just elated. Of course I asked the judges "what can I do to improve for next week?" because the sport is about continuously evolving. But I couldn't be anything but ecstatic.

Q: Then this week you came back and won your class at the Ohio Naturals, how happy were you with everything?
A: Honestly, it was surreal. I still cry thinking about that moment when my number was called for first place. Having a year ago standing there through first call-outs and second call-outs and finally being called for last call-outs to being called as the class winner was a moment of pure joy.

Q: One thing I like is something some other competitors over look is hair makeup and the right suit, it is something you hit spot on, for those not familiar, how important is that?
A: Thank your for that wonderful compliment. That is a lesson I learned hard my first year of competing. I stepped on stage with platinum blond hair which under stage lights turns real white. My suit, I just ordered on-line and my makeup I did myself based based on someone telling me you wanted big dramatic stage makeup. I cringe when I look at pictures because it was overdone, it needed to be toned down. One thing I spent the year studying is what is the best of the best, Nicole Wilkins, Erin Stern, Candice Keene, how are they looking on stage? They are presenting a beautiful natural physique and it looks like effortless beauty. They aren't going over the top, just trying to make it look like they are done just right.

Q: You look confident on stage, are you really that confident?
A: I genuinely do not know how to explain what happens when I step on stage. All I know is somehow I am able to slightly disconnect and feel like it is just me and the judges. I am thankful for that because if I realized how many people were really in the audience, I might not step out there. When I hit that stage it is a moment of "this is you and the judges and you are gonna show them what you have been practicing for a year. It is your time to nail that routine that you have been practicing."

Q: When are you competing next?
A: I am competing this Saturday at the NPC Cincinnati.

Q: In such short time, is there any way to make improvements?
A: I would say no. I think my best plan of action is to make sure I come in this week looking exactly as I looked last week. My goal is to not look like a girl who the judges are saying "holy cow, how many contests has she done in three weeks, she looks like a train wreck." I want them to see a girl who brought her best package just like every contest she has done this season.

Q: After going through prep, is it hard to not go ahead and pig out after that first show knowing you gotta do it all over the next week?
A: The strange thing for me is that the strict structure of the nutrition plan and following through is very comforting to me. After the contest I have that post contest meal. Depending on how I'm looking, sometimes the next morning I have a special meal and then back on the diet. At that point I am ready to go back on that plan. I think it is because even in my off-season I follow a plan. I always feel like it is just a slight tweak of what I do in the off-season anyway.

Q: How hard is it to balance the training and prep with raising children?
A: My first season it was incredibly difficult. You are dealing with the emotion and anxiety of stepping on stage, learning how to prep and train. That first season was pretty rough. This season I approached it differently. We made small and slow tweaks to my plan. It wasn't like "this Saturday your in-season prep starts". It made it much easier. The other thing is that I have a home elliptical. My cardio was done in the morning while the kids were sitting at the t.v. watching a movie. So that made it easy cause for them it was just movie time while mommy ran. The other change was I went ahead and decided that while my children go to child-watch at the gym, I have an hour and a half time limit and I needed to accomplish everything in that hour and a half. I wasn't gonna go back a second time. If it was back, abs and posing, then back, abs and posing would get done in that hour and a half. I train in the morning and come lunch time I was able to focus on the kids. Yes, I still had my meals to get in, but the training and contest while still dominant in my life, had their place.

Q: You have a body-frame that can hold muscle, your legs are insane...
A: Thank you!

Q: Would you ever consider physique?
A: I love the frame and the power and strength that come through in the physique frame, but to be perfectly honest I am terrified of the routine part. From that aspect, I am not sure I could handle it. I am confident in the figure frame and I know I still have to put on more muscle to support the figure frame. So my mind-set is in figure.

Q: Can you give an idea of what you do for legs?
A: Sure! I alternate two different style of workouts. Each always includes some sort of super set. Leg presses, squats, hack squats, leg extensions and walking lunges are all essential to my leg workout. My leg day is quads and then I have a separate day for hamstrings and another for calves.

Q: When you are at the gym, do you get the stares or attention?
A: Of course! I workout at the same gym. When I started it was "who is this tiny little blond chic in the weight room?" I stood out like a sore thumb. It is always the same group of guys in the weight room in the morning so I have been adopted as a "bro" over the past two years. Now I am common place to them. When I go at other times of the day I do tend to feel like an oddball but that is not to say that I am not treated with respect. I never feel uncomfortable. I recognize that not everyone trains like a figure gal.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you never trained with, who would it be?
A: Dana Linn Bailey. Her shoulders are killer, her quads are insane, I admire her physique so much. Also I would like to train with Dusty Hanshaw. I follow him on facebook and inspired by his words. The mental guidance you can receive from him for one day would be so empowering.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My coach Dave Liberman. I thank him once a day just because he genuinely cares and wants the best for his athletes. Without his guidance there is no chance I would be where I am. My husband, he is my number one fan. He pushes and helps and supports me. He doesn't compete, but he trains like a bodybuilder and it is something we have bonded over. We absorb this lifestyle together and it has been amazing. My family and kids, they support me and are genuinely excited for me. My wonderful group of friends who compete, we spent two weekends competing together and it was the best two weeks ever. Some of us are in the same class and genuinely wanted the best for each other. Celeste Harsa and Suits by Celeste.

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