Dance and gymnastics carried Nicole through her younger years, but resistance training helped her reach a mature level of fitness. She first found out about real training by signing up for the Jamie Eason LiveFit trainer, but now she builds her own workouts.
Girly magazines can only take you so far. Excuses can only last so long. Once Nicole cleaved herself from these stereotypical tropes, she was able to discover the kind of fitness athlete she wanted to be. Read on to learn about her path to the WBFF stage.
Name: Nicole Aristides
Weight: 130 lbs. (59 kg)
Years Bodybuilding: 1-1/2
How did your fitness journey begin?
I was part of a gymnastics squad from the age of 6, which then led me into dance. Being involved in the dance industry, I became familiar with the pressure of looking a certain way. I saw many girls make themselves physically and mentally ill from the pressure.
I grew up with grandparents who owned a typical Greek restaurant in London. My family members are all absolute 'feeders'—which made it hard for me to watch what I was eating. I wanted to have a good body for dance, so I decided to exercise more rather than diet.
I started to educate myself on what I should do in the gym and slowly developed more love for the gym than dance. I bought fitness magazines rather than girly magazines—unlike all of my friends or family. I was a typical cardio bunny when I first started training, but I was so intrigued by the fit-looking women on magazines. I wanted muscle, so I started getting into weights.
I have short limbs and knew my body would look better with some muscle. I was never going to be skinny and didn't want to be. I was happy with how my body was changing without dieting, and to be honest I had no education in nutrition. It wasn't until I developed eczema that I had to look into nutrition.
I learned I could control health and fitness, so there were no excuses. It opened my eyes and made me want to help people and change their lives the right way. I decided to be a personal trainer and I started to educate myself even more. I wanted to do it the right way, unlike many dancers around me.
What fitness regimen delivered the best results?
Nothing changed my body more that weights. It gave me the best results! I base my programs around what I think are the four most important exercises: squat, deadlift, pull-up, and an upper-body push exercise. I vary my program when I am training for something in particular—like a competition—with more accessory exercises, different rep ranges, and a variety of cardio.
The bikini category is all about firm, feminine curves. I added shoulder and glute workouts using supersets during my prep so my waist would look smaller. I keep my rep ranges around 10-12 and use lower rep ranges for the bigger lifts at the beginning of my session to keep my strength up. I enjoy slow, steady jogs for mental rather than physical benefits. I will only do this once or twice a week. I find intervals more beneficial for me. I enjoy single-leg work; it helps me focus more on the muscles I am working.
Core activation, glute activation, lower back and hip flexor mobility.
What nutrition plan fueled your body?
I eat differently most days. For each meal, I try to make sure I have a source of protein and vegetable or fruit. I eat at least every four hours. This stops me from overeating and helps me keep my cravings down.
I love food, so I try to keep it interesting. One way which I find works for me is manipulating my carbohydrates and fats. I have higher-carb and lower-fat days, then lower-carb and higher-fat days. This allows me to enjoy carbs and fatty meats—which I love in moderation.
Below is an example of a high-carb, low-fat day.
Egg Whites: 2
Kale: 1 cup
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Chicken: 80 g
Whole-meal wraps: 2
Asparagus: 1 cup
Jamie Eason whey protein with water: 2 scoops
Turkey mincemeat balls: 100 g
Sweet potato: 1 medium
Vegetables: 2 cups
Oats: 1 cup
Jamie Eason whey protein: 1 scoop
What supplements gave you an edge?
I try to get most of my nutrients from actual food; however, there are some supplements I recommend.
Bodybuilding.com multivitamin: 2 caps
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
My passion for the fitness industry started to emerge more when I completed my degree and got a career in the industry. I started training more frequently and learned more about nutrition. My body started to change, and training became a huge part of my life.
The body is an interesting thing and I love feeling strong and healthy. I also use training as a way to clear my mind, to help me make decisions, and keep focused. Since competing, I have seen many opportunities in the fitness world!
What or who motivates you to live healthy?
My biggest motivators are my clients, but it also keeps me motivated to be a role model for my family and friends. The benefits from being healthy keep me training and eating well. I want to still be lifting when I'm a grandma!
Where did you go for inspiration?
I'm lucky to have lovely friends and family! When I was feeling tired or unmotivated during competition prep, seeing them and having a laugh really helped!
What are your future fitness plans?
My future plans include improving and progressing with my physique. I hope to compete again and would love to represent a fitness brand I respect in the industry.
What is the most important fitness tip?
Train smart, ask yourself why you do what you do, and always listen to your body!
Who is your favorite fitness competitor?
Oh I have lots! To narrow it down, the first two fitness models I came across were Andreia Brazier and Jamie Eason. I love how they make muscle feminine and share their stories and progression with everyone.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
Bodybuilding.com was one of the first sites I looked to when I decided to compete. I used the Jamie Eason LiveFit program as a template. It opened my eyes to fitness.
Nicole's Favorite Gym Tracks
"Hit 'Em Up"
"Runnin' (Dying To Live)"
Mary J. Blige
- WBFF London 2014