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Nikki: Squatting Deep and Asking Questions

I was able to talk to Nikki, a former military lady who has gotten into lifting heavy. Starting as a former skinny cardio queen, she has been putting in the hours to earn herself a figure competitor’s fit body.  With heavy volume days and hard work, she has been about to put herself into position to get her USBF pro card. Her work speaks for itself as she has been building muscle for her next show and getting ready to cut soon.

How old are you, where are you from, and do you squat ass to grass?
I’m 24 years old, turning 25 actually next month, January 25th, Aquarius (what-what) I’m from New Jersey, south jersey right outside Philadelphia. Lived here all my life and wouldn’t change that, the atmosphere and people associated with living in South Jersey and so close to Philly are totally different animals than North Jersey, I like it down here (lol). When it comes to squats I don’t always squat ass to grass, either it’s because I’m hitting new weight limits or if I’m just trying to hit parallel, pause and reform. Ass to grass is usually when I’m burning out a weight say my last set of 20-25 reps.

What areas in fitness do you train for? And what is your best squat?
Body building all the way, everyday 365 (lol). The only way I like to workout right now I’ve actually started training (which is completely different than working out) in preparation for my USBF (United States Bodybuilding Federation) figure competition. And honestly, I just started working out chest because I was never into doing chest and then I got a lovely breast implant surgery so I’ve just now started benching, squats would be the 225 and dead lifts would be 225 as well like to keep it balanced. My best squat is 225 and it was with the help of my good old trusty back belt and a killer spotter [for] 2 reps.

Where do you train? Do you have a lifting team or partner?
I workout at LA Fitness, they provide a nice array of equipment and free weights and the people there are nice, I would love to go to a real old school gym, but unfortunately, there are non around. I currently train though at Anytime fitness with this awesome older guy who was a pro bodybuilder back in the day that now trains men and women to get their pro cards. Yes, I do have a swole mate, he’s my boyfriend😌 and he loves lifting just as much as I do. Which is great because it’s bonding time for us and we both understand how important it is that we go and we won’t force the other one to stay home if the other can’t go, we understand the amount of dedication and the obsession (lol). I suggest everyone to date another swolie if u get the chance!

How did you into bodybuilding?
Well I’m a veteran and while I was in the military I was into running, we ran three miles a day and I figured I was healthy because I ran, but never lifted. I had no desire to lift because I could stay skinny running, but as most body builders or anyone into fitness know running will give you a runners body and that’s exactly what I had, no curves no ass, no muscle definition other than calf muscles but even those weren’t defined they were just huge. I got out of the military and had my daughter and it wasn’t until then I realized I had the body makeup for a kick ass lifter, the wide square shoulders, the wide back, thick legs etc I wanted the curves I wanted an ass (lol) I think woman with muscles are gorgeous, I’d much rather see a female body builder in a bathing suit as opposed to a runway model with a stick figure body. So I joined a local gym and watched YouTube video after YouTube video and I’d get advice from old gym heads. After I outgrew that gym and what it had to offer as far as weights and machines I’d move to another gym. Talk to more gym heads there and started talking to the trainers, you can learn a lot talking to trainers because they’re never the same and never train the same. I’ve been to three gyms total before I landed where I am now at la fitness and again there I talk to the trainers, I love Instagram for tips and tricks and talk to other male and female bodybuilders. I like to get both sexes involved because as a female I like to lift heavy and a lot more men know heavy workout routines then most females (unfortunate but true) but I talk to females because they know the workouts to get the curves and stay feminine while still lifting some heavy weight, because unfortunately people that do not know about fitness like to assume if they start lifting heavy they’ll look “manly” and judge other females who enjoy embracing their muscular bodies.

What does a normal leg day workout look like for you?
While I’m training like now: 5 sets of 20 reps double leg extensions on 105lbs superset with either 5×20 squat jumps or 5×20 split lunges, then 5×20 leg press with my feet together and my partner pushes the weight down while I push it up 2 plates on each side, superset with straight leg dead lifts I like to take a 20lb kettle bell place two 10lb plates on the floor for my heels to stay on and lower down till my back is straight enough to rest a glass on and come back up not fully straight always keeping the tension on your hamstrings and lower back, then it’s 200 abductores with 115lbs and 200 adductors with 100lbs, I do the adductors lighter because I actually got an inguinal hernia from doing too much weight on this machine (oops) 100 calf raises and 50 lying hamstrings with 40lbs. And always cool down with 10 minutes of walking on the treadmill and stretch, stretch, & stretch!

First, How did you get a hernia from abductors? That is just unreal to me. So what’s next for you? Any goals you have to hit?
Honestly, I have no idea how I got it just too much weight and weaker tissue that tore. What’s next, well I have to weigh 114lbs in one year when I currently weigh 138lbs before my coach will have me stepping on stage. I need to gain more separation in my quads, continue to build on my lats, build a bigger butt and I want bigger biceps. Other than that continue training and in a couple months start cutting weight. I’m excited to compete, win and continue to motivate others. Plus it’d be nice to start getting paid for something I love to do (lol).

When you lift heavy, when was the first time you out lifted a guy? And what do your non-lifter friends think about what you do?
(Haha) The first time I out lifted a guy, I can’t remember a specific time but I’ve had admires in videos while I’m deadlifting and squatting, but I’m always seeing guys look at me when I’m curling because I use 25lbs Dumbbells to curl with and I’ve seen some guys using the same weight or 30s and I can tell they feel intimidated that a girl is right on their ass like that with weight. My non-lifting friends haha they don’t understand my lifestyle at all, they think I’m crazy that I go to the gym for 2-2 1/2 hours a day every day and that I don’t go out on the weekends because I’d rather not be hung over for the gym early morning on weekends, they don’t understand why I get anxious if I haven’t gone yet that day or for some reason have to skip a day, they just don’t get the constant dedication and obsession the gym demands from you (lol) but it’s an amazing feeling being in the gym no matter what’s going on in your life, what kind of day you’re having its like the gym blocks out all the outside noise, you go in and you leave your sweat and sometimes blood in there and all it asks from you is heart.

What are some of your bodybuilding goals (short and long term)?
Short term goals would be to increase the number of unassisted pull-ups I can do to 20, I can do about five right now (lol). Another one would be to get back up to my push up max like when I was in the army, 53. Long term goals would be to get bigger biceps, better quads, more defined calf muscles, shave down my abs like last years prep and get Boulder shoulders.

Anything you would like to tell the younger lifters? and add?
Don’t be intimidated to start lifting. Every new potential bodybuilder I start training always tells me how intimidated they are going to their gym and looking “stupid” because they may not know exercises, correct form, or how to use a machine. Any true bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, what have you loves helping others and does not mind someone asking them for advice, we’ve all started somewhere, we were all once that individual in the gym that didn’t know where to begin. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help. I don’t mind at all when individuals guys or girls approach me and ask me my advice or take on something because I love training people, everyone deserves to be happy with the body they have and shouldn’t feel as though they can’t turn to other people in the gym for help. We’re all there for one common goal, get swole as hell and stay healthy!

Follow Nikki on Instagram 

Founder of Fight Against Chicken Legs, part-time workout stuff, sometimes making websites look pretty, and saving the world #OneRepAtATime