Cover athlete and champion figure competitor, Nicole Wilkins is a woman on a mission. Following her 2014 Figure Olympia win last fall (her fourth O-win to date), she’s poised to take the stage again in 2015 to defend her title. But it takes months of prep—physically, mentally, and emotionally—to claim first prize, and she’s not one to back down from a challenge. Read on to find out what gives this all-American beauty the strength to push through tough days, and how she bounced back from injury.


SFM: Who is your support system?

NW: My family and friends are amazing. They are totally supportive and realize that this is who I am, and I’m not going to change anytime soon. I stressed that their support was important to me from the beginning, and that’s really helped.

SFM: What is your off-season training and diet like?

NW: Very similar to in-season. If you want to look like a competitor, you have to train and eat like one, too. My weight fluctuates between 8 to 10 lbs in the off-season. I have more variety in my diet and I do go out to eat more often, but I am still very conscious about the decisions I make. I do cardio every morning (it wakes me up and provides stress relief) and I train with weights about five days a week.

SFM: You suffered an injury recently. Tell us about that.

NW: I had tendonitis in the supraspinatus, AC joint effusion, and bursitis in my left shoulder last year. I had to take a little over a month off from any pressing movements; I went to therapy as well. I worked around it, but had to be patient with the recovery so that I didn’t worsen the injury. It was very frustrating, but just because my shoulder was hurt, didn’t mean I couldn’t go to the gym and train my legs.

SFM: Along with being an athlete, you’re also a busy entrepreneur. What work do you do?

NW: I run an online and one-on-one personal training business, I promote two NPC/IFBB shows a year (one in Michigan and one in Finland), and I own and manage my website I also promote PHAT Camps around the world (, I recently launched a clothing line, and I am a sponsored Met-Rx and 6 Pack Bag athlete.

What are your top 3 favorite body parts to train?
Shoulders, back, legs.

What kind of music do you train to?
Fast and upbeat, usually dance music or Top 20.

What’s the weirdest or most interesting thing
you keep in your gym bag?

A note from a friend with words of encouragement.

What’s your favorite time of day to work out?
In the afternoon.

What’s your go-to pre-workout snack or meal?
Salmon and rice.

What’s your biggest gym pet peeve?
When people don’t put their weights back.

When you feel like you can’t do another rep, what do you tell yourself to get through?
I don’t give myself the option of quitting.

What’s your favorite place to travel?
Back home!

Favorite movie?
Any Marvel movie.

Proudest moment?
Winning the Olympia four times and having my own International IFBB Competition.

For the full interview, see the January/February issue of STRONG Fitness Magazine, on stands now.

Written by Sandy Braz, Deputy Editor  |  Photography by Paul Buceta

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