California-based bikini competitor Nicole Grant knows that it sometimes takes good things falling apart for better things to come together. In the throes of a tough breakup and battling self-esteem issues back in 2014, Nicole sought solace and fulfillment within the four walls of her local gym.
The validation and encouragement she received from the gym regulars motivated Nicole like nothing else. “When one of them asked me, ‘You’re always here – what are you training for?’ I decided I needed to have a bigger goal,” says Nicole. “That’s when I set my sights on the NPC stage.”
Knowing full well that dominating a bodybuilding stage requires more than your average clean eating and regular workouts, Nicole sought out advice from pro bikini competitor Christina Williams. Nicole’s rise after beginning to work with her new coach was, by any standard, meteoric.
Nicole took first place in novice and third in bikini open at the Sacramento Pro show, then proceeded to win overall in Vegas a mere two months later. Amidst some steep competition, Nicole finished out her season placing third at the Miami Pro, inching ever closer to her certain status as an IFBB pro.
When in need of motivation, Nicole – who spends her days as a full-time registered nurse – doesn’t have to look far. This big-hearted country girl cites the example set by her grandparents as the inspiration that keeps her going. “They’re both almost 90 years old, have worked extremely hard, and really epitomize what it means to live a healthy, successful life,” says Nicole. “I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without them in my corner.”
Although Nicole’s star continues to rise, the extreme fluctuations characteristic of bikini competitor life are a big challenge for Nicole who has struggled to maintain a healthy weight for much of her life. As far back as elementary school, Nicole recalls throwing away her food and skipping breakfast to avoid consuming too many calories. At one point, Nicole was down to 90 pounds – a very low weight for her 5-foot-2-inch frame.
Nicole’s saving grace in managing her eating and maintaining a healthy body image has been tracking her macros. “This is something Christina taught me to do very early on,” says Nicole. “It really takes your mind off the roller coaster obsession with calories and forces you to think about food the way it’s meant to be – as fuel!”
Nicole’s best piece of advice for other competitors – and for life in general – is to smile through the good times and the bad “Dont be ashamed by your past. Embrace it, love it, grow from it”. This motivated fit chick is definitely one to watch as she looks toward competing in one more regional show this year before taking a crack at the coveted pro card.