Nicole Wilkins’ Hardbody Q&A – The Champ is Back!

We’re excited to have Figure International, Figure Olympia Champ (and a few other titles), Nicole Wilkins here to answer YOUR questions. Nicole has not only been winning on the competitive Figure stage she’s also been blowing up the modeling scene too gracing the current issues of IRONMAN and Fitness RX magazines. Let’s check in with the champ and see what’s up…


Hey Hardbodies, I hope you had a Happy Halloween! Hopefully you stayed away from all the treats 🙂

Hard to believe it is already November. These last couple of months have flown by so fast. And what a month September was! I have to say, it was the best month of my career. I won three contests in a row – the Tournament of Champions, the IFBB Figure Olympia (yes!!) and the Sheru Classic in Mumbai, India. What a trip that was! For photos, check out my facebook page ( It was an experience I will never forget.

Nicole with the Sheru Classic promoters in Mumbia, India

I also re-signed with my sponsor Met-RX and have been enjoying a short off-season filled with traveling before beginning my prep for the Figure International at the Arnold Sports Festival on March 3, 2012.

I chose four questions from my Facebook fan page and my personal email to answer for you. If you have a question you would like answered in a future blog, I’d love to hear from you.

How do I choose between figure and bikini?
I am asked this question on a regular basis. Both categories have similarities and differences which can at times be confusing for a woman whose body seems to be in the middle of the two.

Here are the similarities:
• Presentation – must be confident onstage
• Skin tone – must be dark enough and have a healthy even color
• Hair and makeup – face must match body color (I have seen faces too light or dark for the body), hair should be natural and healthy looking
• Suit – should fit the body correctly and the color should accentuate your features
•  Athletic shape with a small waist and tight glutes

• Figure girls tend to be mesomorphs. They have more muscle mass, broader shoulders and less bodyfat. Bikini bodies emulate a dancers body with more curves. These ladies tend to be ‘hard gainers’ and have smaller frames. The bodyfat of a bikini competitor is a bit higher than a figure girl.
• Figure suits are more elaborate with swarovski crystals whereas bikini suits have scrunch butts, do not cross in the back, and are a bit more affordable.
• Figure competitors do quarter turns for posing and bikini competitors do front and back poses only. Bikini scoring has more emphasis on personality so competitors have a bit more leeway with the posing than a figure competitor does.

It is important to determine which division best fits your body type. This will help gear your training program and diet to shape your body to meet the given criteria.

What is your current diet and training program now that you are in the offseason?
Right now I am currently following a carb cycling program (2 days low, 1 day high) and doing 45min-1hr of cardio 6 days a week (sometimes more or less depending on how I am feeling).

My workout split is as follows:
Monday – Shoulders and calves
Tuesday – Legs (track)
Wednesday – Arms and abs
Thursday – Back and calves
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – Chest, hamstrings and light shoulders
Sunday – Yoga

An example of a high day would be:
• Meal 1
1/4c cream of rice
4 egg whites
spinach, cabbage, green beans mixed in egg whites

• Meal 2
1/2c quinoa
4oz extra lean ground turkey
green beans

• Meal 3
4oz sweet potato
4oz chicken

• Meal 4
1.5 scoops Met-Rx Whey protein
2 corn tortillas

• Meal 5
1/2c kidney beans
4oz salmon

• Meal 6
4 egg whites
2 rice cakes
1tbsp almond butter

I have been traveling almost every weekend the last couple months and November will be the same. Because of this, my workout schedule varies a lot as does my meals, but I stay on track because I get all workouts in no matter what time or day, and my macros stay the same even though the sources (proteins, carbs and fats) vary. I always have food prepared with me. I will go out to eat in the offseason although I have only had a couple cheats. I do not like to have a cheat meal every week. I don’t need it, and it honestly throws me off mentally because I don’t like the way it makes me feel. Thanksgiving on the other hand, WILL be my day off 🙂

Is it hard to compete in back-to-back contests? What is your rebound like? After your first show, how do you reintroduce your water? How did you cut it? What about carbs?
For me, competing in two shows is not a problem. Competing in 3 shows back to back is very tiring. Making sure I am getting enough sleep and rest is extremely important to make sure I stay healthy. This is going to vary from person to person, but what works for me is dropping my sodium and tapering water without ever cutting it completely. I keep my carbs a little higher but rely moreso on fat sources. After the contest is over, I add a little bit of sodium back in the form of egg whites and mustard for a few days and also keep my water up. If not, my body will go flat and smooth. A few days from the next show, I will repeat the same process.

How do you decide when you are ready to compete?
This is not only a physical sport, but in my opinion almost more of a mental sport. You have to have a focused mindset 24/7 and surround yourself with people who are there to support your journey. If mentally you are not focused (due to overwhelming responsibilities with school, family, work etc) I would wait until you are ready to give it 100%. You need to be ready to prepare all meals and never miss one, train daily in the gym, drink enough water, and get enough sleep throughout the prep. The sacrifices made make the experience very rewarding. Expect good days and bad days. I also do not recommend picking a competition three months away if you have 40lbs to lose. Choose a realistic competition date so that you are not killing yourself to try and get the weight off. When in doubt hire a coach/trainer. I did all my own prep for the first 3-4yrs of my career, but hiring Kim Oddo pushed me to that next level. Often times we have a distorted image of ourselves because we look in the mirror daily. By having that second eye, it relieves a lot of worry. Enjoy the experience. You will learn a lot about yourself and what you are capable of. Most of all have fun!

Until next time….


Nicole with's Isaac Hinds in India.

Check out Nicole’s new Met-RX calendar! Follow Nicole on twitter @NicoleMWilkins.

Lead Photo Courtesy of Nicole Wilkins’ Facebook.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.