Nicole Duncan “Keeping It Real” – Hardbody Road to The Arnold

Nicole Duncan is a veteran to the Fitness scene and will be making her fourth appearance at the Arnold Sports Festival. She has some of the best gymnastic moves in the IFBB Pro League and is know for her high flying routines. You can always count on Nicole to mix in some dance moves and get the crowd excited with her routines. The former NFL cheerleader joins us en route to the Fitness International. She chats about the Fitness sisterhood, what it’s like to prepare for a show during the winter months and more.


Nicole Duncan, 2013 Fitness International Contender

Keeping It Real
Nicole Duncan here, checking in from Oxford, GA. I actually grew up here and my neighbors have horses in their yard. There are cows, guard llamas, goats and even chickens at various yards in either direction with in a 5 mile radius. This is home where I was born and raised. Everyone here knows me as the “Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader” but most have no idea what a fitness competitor is. They think Olympics when I say Olympia. I got my pro card in 2006 and have been competing in competitions since 2002.  This will be my 4th appearance at the Arnold and I am truly honored to be representing such a unique and exhilarating division. The fitness girls share a bond like no other. It’s a true sisterhood of hardcore, hardbody women both amateur and pro. You have to be a bad ass to do fitness – I’m just saying.

Prepping for the Arnold is never easy.  My body and health does all sorts of wacky things during the winter months. I can’t recall ever getting ready for this show and not being sick. Oddly enough, embracing that and accepting the challenge has made prep just a little more bearable. I’ve somewhat changed my mindset as well. Six years ago when I started prepping for my first pro show, my only focus was winning. Now, I have quite a few goals in mind that keep me motivated.

1.  Focusing on Being the Best Me – This industry ain’t no joke (pardon my grammar).  If you get so focused on winning it will chew you up and spit you out. There are politics in everything but who cares! When I finish my career as a fitness competitor, no one will remember exactly where I placed and when, but they will remember my routines, how much fun I was back stage & that I hung in there and improved year after year. I started competing because it was fun and allowed me to express myself in a unique and rewarding way. Fitness is the fountain of youth. Competing keeps me young & healthy. And if I look like I’m having a blast during my routines, it’s because I AM!

2. Maintaining My Professional Career – Competing can be a full time job. In the past I’ve put everything on the back burner during competition time. I’ve recently been hired to work at a new fitness club in my area plus I continue to coach gymnastics & choreograph routines for fitness competitors. This time I’m working around the clock to keep my business and finances in check, working smarter so that my foundation is set.  It’s right back to work when the show is over. I’m getting older and realizing that I want other things in life too! It’s time to put my big girl panties on and set a foundation for my future.

3. Keeping IFBB Fitness Alive! – I got into this because of competitors like Nicole Rollolazo, Jenn Hendershot and Carol Semple. They had the skill and the personality and totally put on show for the crowd. I hope to encourage other women to go for their dreams and compete in fitness regardless of where the trend may go. I coach young gymnasts, dancers & cheerleaders. I hope that one day they will have this avenue to continue their skills as healthy adults. Fitness has totally shaped my life. I’d be sad if that option wasn’t available for others.

So, there you have it.  It’s been quite a tough week but God is good and I will manage.

Fitfully Yours,
Nicole Duncan

Follow Nicole on twitter at @fitnicinc, like her Facebook page and visit her website Check out Nicole’s competition photos here. For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

A “Typical” Day with Fitness Pro Bethany Cisternino – The Balancing Act

Bethany Cisternino has one of the top physiques in the Pro Fitness ranks and as her routines continue to improve so do her placings. She’s coming off a runner-up finish at the Ft. Lauderdale Cup at the end of 2012 and has positioned herself as a leading lady heading into the 2013 Fitness International. She joins us on her Hardbody Road to the Arnold and shares what a “typical day” is like. As you can see her day is anything but “typical” to most but she gets it done!



Bethany Cisternino – 2013 Fitness International Contender

Balancing Act
Hello Hardbodies! Happy New Year!
I can’t believe it is a short 7 weeks until I step on stage at the 25th Anniversary of the Arnold Classic! This will be my fourth appearance and it is still a huge honor and blessing to represent IFBB Pro Fitness. I remember competing in my first Fitness International feeling so lost and overwhelmed. It was so nerve racking to be up against the best and being judged by the best. To top it off (no pun intended) I had a costume malfunction and didn’t get to finish my routine! Needless to say I have improved in my performance at the Arnold and I have learned to focus that nervous energy into a fierce focus that has helped me in the gym and on the stage!

In 2012 I competed in five shows! I ended my season placing 6th at the Olympia and 2nd at the Fort Lauderdale Cup in October. In fitness the two-piece round counts for 1/3 and the routine round counts for 2/3 of the total score. My goal in the two-piece round this year is maintaining a fuller look and keeping the same conditioning I have in the past. Therefore, after my last competition I took a 6 week hiatus from the gym to let my mind and muscles recover. My goal in the routine round is to bring a faster more explosive routine that the audience can get into.  Sometimes the audience is so quiet during our routines; I hope I have picked a theme and songs the crowd will like!

Every year my biggest challenge is finding time to fit in all my training without becoming mean, short-tempered, emotional, and overly tired (I’m sure the list could go on). The Arnold is always the first week of March, which means I am teaching and full into coaching indoor track. Time is precious so I stick the same routine every day.

A typical Weekday (7 weeks out)

6:15am – alarm
7:00am – walk my dog Roxy
7:10am – leave for work
7:35am – school starts (I teach high school Biology, Anatomy, and Biomedical Science)
9:00am – meal 1
1:00pm – meal 2
3:00pm – track practice begins
5:15pm – home / meal 3
6:15pm – train and 55 min cardio
8:30pm – meal 4
9-11:30 – shower, lesson plans, grading, emails, tweet, instagram, laundry, prep meals, etc
11:30 – meal 5
12:00 – bed

Each week I look forward to sharing with you news about my training, my diet, and how I am achieving my goals for this year. Stay tuned for my experiences with massage therapy and ART as I incorporate those into my training!

Follow Bethany on twitter at @BFitness80. Check out her competition photos on For more information on the Arnold Sports Festival visit and use #ASF2013 in all your tweets.

Top Fitness Competitor Myriam Capes OUT of Arnold

Canadian Fitness Pro, Myriam Capes has steadily refined her physique and honed her fitness routines into one of the best in the world. She’s a threat to the top spot in every show she enters. The 2013 Fitness International was looking no different. Until today. The folks at the Arnold Sports Festival first shared the news that Myriam has withdrawn due to injury.


Myriam finished fourth at the 2012 Olympia. Behind only Adela Garcia, Oksana Grishina and Tina Durkin. On paper it looked like this year’s Fitness International could be between her and Oksana for the win however that battle will have to wait. Myriam’s powerful routines and incredible gymnastic skills will be missed. She finished 6th at the Fitness International last year, fifth in 2011 and 8th in 2010.

An unconfirmed report of an injured back is cited as her injury. If she recovers in time we could see Myriam at the 2013 Arnold Classic Brasil. Join us in wishing Myriam a speedy recovery and return to the stage.

Update: Myriam posted a statement on Facebook. While it’s in French some of you may understand it better than BING translated if for us. HA!

Je vous annonce officiellement que je ne compétionnerai malheureusement pas au Arnold Classic cette année suite à une blessure au dos. Rien de majeur ne vous inquiètez pas mais mon état ne me permet pas de me lancer à nouveau au travers d’une autre préparation. C’est après 12 années sans répris, plus de 30 concours Pro à mon actif dont 4 OLYMPIA et 3 ARNOLD que mon corps me demande un peu de repos!! Alors je me dois de l’écouter afin de revenir en force en septembre pour OLYMPIA afin de monter à nouveau sur le podium!!! Ou qui sait peut-etre avant étant présentement en traitement intensif avec les meilleurs thérapeutes!!! À suivre… Je vous tienderai informer!! Mimi xo

I announce officially that I do competionnerai unfortunately not at the Arnold Classic this year due to a back injury. Nothing major do not worry but my State does not allow me start again through another formulation. It is after 12 years without resumed, more than 30 competition Pro to my assets including 4 OLYMPIA and 3 ARNOLD my body a little rest wonder! Then I have to listen to him to return in force in September for OLYMPIA in order to reach the podium again! Or who knows maybe before being currently under intensive treatment with the best therapists! To follow… I inform you tienderai! Mimi xo
(Translated by Bing)

UPDATED 2013 Fitness International Field:
Fitness International (10)
Bethany Cisternino
Regiane DaSilva
Nicole Duncan
Ryall Graber-Vasani
Oksana Grishina
Fiona Harris
Amanda Hatfield
Tanji Johnson
Kizzy Vaines
Trish Warren

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