Nicole Wilkins Answers Your Hardbody Competition Questions

The defending Arnold Sports / Ms. Figure International Champ, Nicole Wilkins gives us an update on her contest prep and answers your questions. Nicole talks stretch marks, politics, cardio and more.

Wow! What a week! I feel like my training has kicked up a notch this as my entire body is sore and my appetite is through the roof! 7 weeks out from the Arnold and things are going smooth – my metabolism has kicked up and I’m feeling strong. Today was a higher calorie day and tomorrow I have a massage scheduled, so the week will be off to a great start. I also picked out my color suit for the show – it’s a color I have never worn before. I can’t wait to see the final outcome! Other than the usual, I haven’t traveled for almost the entire month so I have been enjoying my time at home 😉

I have gathered some of your competition questions to answer. Feel free to ask away on my facebook page and I may pick yours for a future blog.

1. I always hear everyone say that doing competitions is all politics and about who you know to win. Someone may look better but doesn’t win because the judges favor the other person more. Do you really think that happens?
The sport is very subjective. This is the reason that there is a panel of judges and not just one or two of them. It is a collaborative score between at least 7-9 judges at local NPC shows and even more at the National and Professional competitions. The high and low scores are eliminated when tallying up the totals, so if one judge tends to favor one girl and the scores are way off from the rest, it won’t matter because that score would be eliminated. For a competitor to win that didn’t deserve it because of politics, all of those judges would have to agree and the chances of that happening are very slim. Aside from the fact that if he/she gets caught, they would be removed from judging any future competitions, the risk just wouldn’t be worth it.

Bottom line, you must come in to each show looking the best you can. If you didn’t place where you thought you should have, ask why. Don’t blame it on someone else, take a real honest look at your physique and see where you can improve. In my experience it is only those who don’t do well that blame it on the politics. I do believe that if a competitor continues to come back with improvements to their physique and has a good attitude each time they step onstage, the judges may take that into consideration.

2. What is an appropriate intensity and amount of cardio for the offseason vs when preparing for a contest? How many days a week? Alone or after weights? Would cutting calories be more effective than hours of cardio?
The appropriate intensity and amount of cardio will vary from physique to physique. If there was one set plan, it would be easy 🙂

If you tend to pack on the pounds fairly easily, then you may keep the duration around 45 minutes each day. If you are trying to gain muscle, then keeping it closer to 30 minutes a few times a week may be sufficient. I usually recommend doing cardio immediately after weight training or at a separate time. This way, you will have more energy for your weight workouts. I also believe that your diet makes up 80% of what you look like and that hours upon hours won’t make much of a difference if you are eating like crap. So yes, cutting calories and eating clean is more effective than hours of cardio, but the most effective way to get in shape is obviously a combination of both.

3. I’m in the process of having laser treatments to remove my tattoos. I wanted to know if there are any good products I can use to cover them up now? I am concerned about having them and competing. Is this something that the judges frown upon? Thanks!

Jan Tana makes a tattoo cover-up that can be placed under the tan onstage. It can be found here.

This product is great for photo shoots or day-to-day life and goes on smooth. However, sometimes onstage it can make the tan a little thick and if it rubs off or you have too much on, it could look a little muddy. If your tattoo is not big and distracting, I would leave it alone. Although skin tone is taken into consideration, the judges won’t mind minor tattoos. Men and women compete with them all the time.

4. How extensive can stretch marks / scars be on a woman and she still have hope of doing well in competitions? I know the fake tan covers a lot of flat stretch marks and scars, but I used to weigh over 230 lbs at 5′ 6″ tall and when I was cutting to see how I looked, I found that the stretch marks and loose skin were very apparent. I was around 130 lbs when I stopped cutting down due to being discouraged by this. I feel my build is great, but the loose, bumpy, and scarred skin troubles me. I don’t want to set myself up for embarrassment or severe disappointment.

First of all, congratulations on having lost 100 pounds! Before you get discouraged due to stretch marks, take a look back at how far you have come. Your health is better, energy is higher and you have extended years to your life.

I am pretty certain that nearly everyone reading this blog (men included) have stretch marks somewhere on their body. I have them on my upper right thigh and the top of my glutes. Unfortunately some have them worse than others. Exercise, staying hydrated and keeping the skin moisturized will help tighten the skin. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they won’t ever completely go away. They will most likely go from a darker pinkish color to a lighter clearer color, similar to a scar. The only way to remove them or loose skin, is to have it surgically removed.

When it comes to competition, a portion of it is based on skin tone. If there is a lot of loose skin, it could effect your placing. However, if your dream is to get onstage because you are proud of your body and what you have accomplished, who is anyone to tell you no? Every single competitor up there has a story. The tan, the cut of the suit, as well as your posing could make some of the stretch marks less noticeable. It is ultimately your decision. But please, competing is for fun. You are being judged on someone else’s opinion, so don’t take it to heart and think that you do not look good. You have already won with the changes you have made to your body.

Until next time….

Be sure to check out my 2012 Motivational Calendar.

Make sure to visit her website for more info on Nicole and how you can train with her. Follow Nicole on twitter @NicoleMWilkins.

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