FITBODY Magazine Cover Model Nicole Szynski has made an incredible change in her life over the last 2 years, losing 45 lbs and more than 20 inches! Check out my interview with Nicole about her fitness journey, what helped along the way and what advice she has for women that want to follow in her footsteps!
Tell us about your fitness journey…alert-info
I played sports in high school but I would not have described myself as healthy or fit back then. I did a lot of crazy crash diets like ones that promise that you will lose ten pounds in three days not having any idea of what it was doing to my metabolism and how unhealthy it actually was. Not to mention, whatever “weight loss” I did have on the crash diet would come right back once I resumed my normal diet again. Once I got to college, I became less active and then after college I held administrative positions that rendered me sedentary for the majority of my day. I was tired all the time and my self-esteem was plummeting as my weight continued to creep up. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
I started attending Zumba classes to start. At first it was just once a week and I slowly started to make room in my schedule to attend more days per week. Once I got the hang of Zumba and had a routine down, I started mixing in other group classes; my favorite one being body pump. That is where I started to learn some of the basic compound exercises such as deadlifts and the class time always seemed to just fly right by! That is when I started to realize that working out did not need to equate to running for hours on a treadmill and that weight lifting was not just for men. I started to get more confident in my form and began lifting on my own. I was noticing progress in my strength, but I wasn’t noticing a lot of changes in my weight on how my clothes fit me. I knew that I was lacking the nutritional piece to really get me going in the direction I wanted to go. That is when I decided to hire Julie Lohre. In the first six months of Julie’s training program I was able to lose 25 lbs and completely transformed my body. I was amazed and addicted to my progress and that is when I started researching what it takes to get on the NPC stage and compete. I worked with Julie to make a plan and in June I competed in my first figure competition. I am fairly shy, so being on that stage was a big deal for me and incredibly terrifying but also so very rewarding and I am pleased to say that I have my eye on my next show this August after taking some time to put on some more muscle mass.
What has helped you the most along the way?alert-info
Meal prepping has been so crucial for me. I love my Six Pack Bag and I take it with me everywhere. It can hold up to four meals in it with ice packs so it stays cold all day. Always having meals with me means that if a meeting or errand runs longer than I expected, that I am not so hungry that I hit a drive-thru somewhere and derail my nutrition plan. Packing many small meals for the day also means eating more frequently, allowing me to keep my metabolism going. It has also been helpful for me to learn how to make my favorite foods in a more macro friendly version so that I don’t feel deprived from the things that I enjoy.It has actually kind of turned into a date night event in my house where we have fun concocting new recipes.
What challenges have you faced in trying to reach your goals?alert-info
As a society, everything seems to center around food. We get together for big feasts around the holidays. At work coworkers celebrate birthdays or special events with potlucks or going out to lunch. Date nights with significant others usually involve dinner out at a nice restaurant. Friends want to catch up over drinks and appetizers at happy hour. Sometimes it can be difficult to attend these functions and resist temptation or field a barrage of questions about my choice to order the grilled chicken breast and broccoli instead of the deep dish pizza. It can be a challenge to maintain a social life and still make healthy choices. I like to suggest meeting up with friends for walks and coffee to catch up instead of lunch or drinks. I will order mocktails at a bar instead of calorie filled alcoholic drinks. I review the menu ahead of time if I am going out to a restaurant and plan what I am going to have in advance so I can allow the proper macros for it in my day. Making healthy choices does not mean you have to deprive yourself and it doesn’t have to be miserable, it is just about balance.
What advice do you have for a woman that is struggling finding a healthy balance in their lives?alert-info
Start small. If you aren’t exercising at all, don’t start with a goal of going to the gym five times a week. Maybe you make it a goal to go twice a week. Or maybe after work you take a walk after dinner every night. Then make it a priority. Treat that time like it is an important scheduled meeting that you cannot skip. It will be difficult at first, but eventually it will become a habit and you will look forward to that time. I have also found it helpful to tell others about my goals. That way I surround myself with people who will hold me accountable. For my last show, I hung the flyer at my desk and I told all my coworkers about it so they were constantly asking me how my training was going and encouraging me. Knowing there were people in my corner cheering me on made me keep pushing through, even at times when I felt like chickening out.
What role has weight training played in your life?alert-info
I absolutely love weight training. There are days that I look over and notice that I am lifting more than some of the men in the gym… and those days make me so proud. I have gotten so much stronger than when I first started lifting and my body has taken on a whole different composition. I love the way that clothes fit me. I can’t wait for warmer weather now so that I can wear tank tops and show off my arms and shoulders. Weight training has just given me so much more confidence.
Favorite Healthy Recipe?alert-info
I am the pancake queen. I literally eat pancakes almost every single day in some form and can make a pancake out of whatever macros I have left for the day. One of my favorite pancake recipes is to combine:
1/2 c. of uncooked oatmeal
1 scoop of Cookies and Cream UMP
3/4 c. of liquid egg whites
I top mine with 1 Tbs of birthday cake flavored Nuts n’ More nut butter and drizzle it with Walden Farms sugar free syrup. Delicious!
Ready to take your fitness to a whole new level? In 2 training sessions, the average woman taking part in Julie Lohre’s Online Personal Training program DOUBLES the # of strict pushups she can do, decreases 1 mile run times by 2 mins, 30 seconds and increases their sit and reach flexibility by 3 inches.