Dedication. Determination. Drive. Desire. Passion.
For 15 years, I dedicated my life to the hardwood floors of hundreds of gyms, arenas and coliseums around the nation.
For 15 years, my determination broke old records, and set new ones.
For 15 years, my drive paid for my college education and granted me so much gratification.
For 15 years, my desire allowed me to eat, drink, sleep– and live– a life-long dream.
For 15 years my passion never faded, and I didn’t believe it ever would.
But it did; it began to wane. I got scared. I shut down. I was lost. I wasn’t a star anymore. Holy shit, I was no longer considered an athlete. I wasn’t recognized for my greatness anymore and what I thought was the ONLY thing that defined me.
It took me another 5 years to understand that my past was just a part of me and there was so much more to me and for me to express, to show to the world. I look back now and realize how close I was but just didn’t allow myself to open up. In that 5 years I was beginning what would be a failing career and a failing marriage. All of the negatives suppressed the “Nikki” everyone used to know and love. I was in hiding, but from what I didn’t know.
I slowly emerged, surrounded myself with fun people, finally allowed to enjoy my “college years.” I was getting closer, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2006 when David took me to a bodybuilding show that I found a new way to conjure the fire that I thought was lost from those 15 years. I was ready for a new challenge, one that would push my mind and body to new extremes. By the end of that year I had made up my mind to compete. I hired a coach and began a new diet and lifting protocol. I did what I was told but I didn’t understand “why“ behind it all. I didn’t see my body change fast enough. I expected a totally different experience. I hadn’t done my research. I wasn’t ready.
Being an athlete all my life I lifted heavy-ass weights because it was fun and I wanted to beat out all my teammates. I lifted to be the best at my sport, not to look a certain way. I spent countless hours in the gym to hone my skills, which allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. Was I lean, hell no, but I was fast and I could jump, so what did it matter what I ate? Even though I was in school to become an Exercise Physiologist, one class on nutrition didn’t give me the necessary tools for my new endeavor. I had to wait a little bit longer. Several months later I decided to leave my job to work with David as a personal trainer. Trainers and clients all around me were stepping on stage to compete and I was going through my “raw foods, runner, I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-I-want-to-accomplish” phase. I had slipped yet again. Fuck!
David and his training partner would laugh and laugh and laugh at me, but still try to help me get my diet fixed so I could meet my new goals. It was a constant joke and I just seemed to get fatter. David and I became very close friends and decided to take it to the next level and to the next level of fattness. I was a personal trainer and I weighed 190 pounds. Who the hell would want to hire me when I couldn’t even look the part? David was looking quite pathetic himself, but the difference was that he had “gotten there.” He had competed already and had the pictures to show his success, so fat didn’t look so bad on him. But we knew something had to change. After a whirlwind romance we fell in love and married immediately and moved to Columbia, MD to continue our personal training careers.
Before we moved we intended to start dieting immediately. Because we were the newbies we didn’t received the warmest welcome, especially among the members. David once overheard a snide comment a female member had made about my weight. His initial reaction was anger and once the dissipated it turned into, “It’s time to show these people what we are made of!” Five months later David stepped on stage, 5 months later I had dropped 25 pounds. I did it!! It was the first time I stuck with a plan for several months and saw the results of time and effort I had put into my training and diet. But it still wasn’t enough, I wanted to compete, dammit, but I also wanted to start a family.
Unbeknown to the both of us I was pregnant at the time of David’s competitions. Once we found out I realized how much the past 5 months had meant to me and I was determined to eat well and workout during the entire pregnancy. That is exactly what I did. Up until 2 weeks before we had Raven, in July of 2009, I was putting 135 pounds on my back to squat and 6 plates on the leg press. This was my life, this was me, why would I stop if I was healthy and I knew my baby was perfectly safe?
By the end of October I had dropped 35 pounds and maintained through the end of the year. It was time to diet again, but this time I would be getting on stage.
The last 10 months have been one hell of a journey. David tested me, he pushed me and I pushed back , he pissed me off, A LOT, but he lightly held my hand, guided me, and never leg go! I got there, I made it up on that stage. I didn’t just get up there either, I qualified for Nationals, in my first year competing!
My training partner, my best friend, my husband, brought me back and a bit of “new” me has been added. David’s knowledge of the sport and passion for the industry far exceeds anyone I have ever met. Our journeys will be slightly different in the next year and a half; I plan on competing next year (and starting nursing school) while he makes improvements to his physique to come in even stronger to compete in 2012 (and grow his business). Each step of the way new challenges and road blocks will surface but I know that David will be there, as he is for all his clients, to teach, to guide, to push even harder, so that he brings out the greatness in us all. I was already great, that is why he married me, but now I remember it and exude it.
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Thanks for your words…I have always wondered what brought you to the point of competing and now I know. You are such an inspiration, both you and David are, but to see a woman who has just had a baby transform her body to the incredible form you have is more than words can say. Keep it up and remember…you are inspiring lots of people (especially me!).
Nikki-YOU ROCK. and kudos, as always, to David, who pushes us all. Here’s to much success in the coming year. And give Raven kisses from me!
Now I can put the name to the face! 🙂 super excited to be working with you guys!
Hahaha! I still remember you meeting me at Lifetime wearing a shirt that said “I’m not fat, I’m just knocked up!” then racking 150 for some squats! You go girl! Miss you!