As a little girl, every time Nicole Wilkins, a member of International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB), saw fit women with sculpted muscles, she knew she wanted to look like them. But, it took the reining Figure Olympia two serious knee injuries to achieve her goal.
The 27-year-old turned adversity in her favour by doing strength training while recovering from her injury. "During rehab, I started weight training and just loved the way it I looked after that. I began seeing more definition in my body. It was a great feeling to see the hard work pay off," says the body builder born in Michigan, US, who took to ballet at the age of five, and competitive gymnastics at eight. Wilkins, who recently won the title of Figure Olympia 2011 second time (she was also Figure Olympia 2009), was in India to attend Sheru Classic, an Asian Body Building event. Her first experience of travelling to India was full of surprises.
"I didn’t know what to expect before I left the US, though I knew there would be many exciting things to do. The body building here was greater than my expectation, and I didn’t know I have so many fans in India," beams the pretty athlete, who made sure to check out Mumbai’s Sea Link, shop to her heart’s content and even ride in a rickshaw. "I gorged on chicken curry and rice. It was too spicy but I loved it," says Wilkins, who has always been more of a tomboy since childhood and was often seen climbing trees and riding bikes.
Wilkins says that more than looking good, the aim of body building should be to be healthy on the inside. "Body building gives me energy and keeps my skin glowing. It’s also my shield from a number of disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease," she says.
Wilkins advises all fitness buffs to do what makes them happy rather than blindly follow a routine. "There will be people who may not like what you do and disagree with why you eat certain foods. Stick to your goals. You have one life and one body and one chance to live the way you want," she says. Also, the athlete does not believe in short cuts to fitness. "You cannot diet for two weeks and expect to lose 10 kg. Fitness is always the result of years of hard work," she says.
What does Wilkins do to stay fit?
How has Wilkins got those sculpted shoulders and washboard abs? Here’s her fitness secret: To get enough protein, she eats fish, chicken and turkey at every meal. She also eats green beans, spinach, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, almonds, olive oil, and avocados. Wilkins eats at an interval of every two-three hours and drinks one gallon of water daily. Her diet is sugar-free, she does not eat bread and stays away from alcohol. Her favourite pre-competition meal is oatmeal with cinnamon. She swears by shoulder press and she is also an outdoor running freak.