A:No. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon which is where I got my start in bikini. After 21 years of rain I decided to change the pace and move to San Diego to be with my husband.
Q:Describe your first time at the gym...
A:I went to the same gym from the time I was 8 to 22 years old. I got my start there for their renowned rock climbing wall. Eventually as I got older I turned my attention away from that, and focused on training for dance. While I have always been an active individual, I never spent much time inside a gym lifting or doing cardio. I was always afraid if I lifted I would get too big or "manly" looking. So most of my time spent inside a gym was in the studio dancing and working on my core. I didn't focus on lifting or spending much time doing cardio until I began my training as a Bikini Competitor.
Q:When did you realize bikini was your calling?
A:I never had the desire to compete, and instead lived vicariously through my brother's body building and men's physique career. In the beginning of 2012 I went to watch him compete and happen to come across some bikini athletes. As a competitive natured person I thought to myself, "I could do this!". The next day my dad approached me, sensing I had an inclining to try it, and told me I might as well compete in one show just to say I did it. I called a local coach and started my diet, training, as well as posing that very day. We choose a show that was 2 and a half weeks out. My goal was to get top 15 considering this was my first show and I had little time to prepare. All of my attention prior to this idea to compete was focused on earning my accounting degree so I really had to re-direct some of my attention to learning a whole new sport. However, to my surprise, I received fourth place at the 2012 Emerald Cup, on April 21st. From there I knew I wanted to see how I could pan out on a national level, so I did another show to qualify and never looked back.
Q:Describe how difficult it was to make it to the IFBB...
A:Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to competing. As a dancer, posing came very natural to me. I was used to performing, and was accustomed to being judged on a stage. What was difficult was building muscle. My first show I had 2.5 weeks to prepare (which basically consisted of loosing body fat), and my second show I had three weeks to try and put on some muscle. From there I decided to go to nationals. With a little over a month to prepare, I had to spend some serious time bulking. It required a lot of will power to convert from a very simple weight training and cardio plan, to heavier weight training, with a high protein and carb loaded diet which my body wasn't accustomed to. By the time Nationals in Las Vegas came around, I had put my all into preparing for my third and first national show ever. I was taking 22 credits of accounting courses, a husband on deployment, along with daily doubles, so my stress level was very high. However, I was determined to get top 15 so I did not find any excuses. All of my hard work paid off, and I earned my pro card with 2nd place in the Bikini Class C division. So, yes it was very difficult for me because I packed three competitions so close to each other in a 4 month period, I had no room to mess up!
Q:What does your pre contest diet look like?
A:Considering each show I looked different, my nutritionist at the time planned accordingly. On a regular basis I eat a balanced diet of lean meats, vegetables and fruits, along with complex carbohydrates.
Q:What kind of music jacks you up in the gym?
A:I listen to Hard Rock Strength Training radio on Pandora to pump me up. However, when I am doing cardio I find that Skrillex really gets me going. I believe music in itself is a motivator to lift the hardest that I can. I am tuned away from the noise and distraction of chatter and plates hitting each other in the gym and can focus on why I am there.
Q:How do you remain motivated to keep coming back for those gym sessions?
A:When my husband was on deployment, my family encouraged me and pushed me as hard as I could. I knew that I had to try my hardest for my support team so that they could be proud of what I accomplished.
Luckily for me, my husband is just as a dedicated fitness enthusiast as myself. Anytime that I feel as though I cannot get myself up to do cardio, or get my leg day in, he reminds me that I didn't get here by sitting on the couch. All in all having a great support team around you is key. All in all remembering that you've invested so much time and resources to get to where you are is motivation enough.
Q:Who do you credit as being your greatest inspiration?
A:Besides all of the amazing people in my life who have and continue to push me- being healthy is my greatest inspiration. I suffered from chronic migraines before I ventured into this sport, and had been getting headaches since I was a little girl. After trying everything I was convinced I would deal with it for the rest of my life. After two weeks of clean eating I realized I had not felt a migraine in awhile. From there I knew the power of a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it feel amazing to have worked for your body, the energy and clarity from eating well is inspiration enough to want to keep on going and avoid all of the temptations around us.
Q:What other hats do you wear?
A:Along with being a Military wife and training my Belgian Malinois puppy, I am a Regional Coach for Team Bombshell. I help with training and posing for our bikini athletes in Southern California, and help recruit girls to the team. It's nice to take what you love and turn it into an occupation. Plus I am excited for the day when one of the girls I train goes Pro and I can say I was apart of her journey! P.S. I am recruiting on a continual basis so don't be afraid to contact me.
Q:If you had to give someone who is starting out in the gym and has thoughts of going pro some advice, what would it be?
A:Never ever let temptation or negativity get in the way. There will always be people who will try to bring you down, and let's face it they're just jealous! Those with determination, will and drive are those who will ultimately succeed. Luck can only get you so far- but the rest comes from your ability to push yourself as hard as you can. Eat all of your meals, go until you fail in the gym, pose until you cannot walk in your heels any more. Join a team with girls whom you feel comfortable around and push you to be your best, not compete against you. Knowing that others are experiencing the same thing as you makes it easier and less scary. This is a lifestyle, not just a competition!
(Thank you very much for this opportunity. After going pro my husband and I experienced the death of someone very close to us. Because of this all of my attention was tuned away from my bikini career and it got left behind and even turned down a few sponsorship offers in the process. Since we are not allowed to interview with just anyone I hope you take the compliment that you have done a very good job creating a great website.)
Q:That’s very humbling and I sincerely thank you! Can you give us your Twitter,Instagram,Pinterest,Facebook,blog and website handles?
Facebook For adding friends and subscribers : http://www.facebook.com/NicoleMarieWitbeckProPageOfficial
Fan Page on Facebook (I use both): http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-Witbeck-IFBB-Pro-Bikini-Athlete/210523272408171?fref=ts
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven LLC