Nancy Di Nino is full of energy and you can't help but smile when you're around her. Miss Nancy, as many tend to call her, shares her tips on eating healthy while traveling as well as what it's like being a correctional officer. As if that wasn't enough she's also a professional Salsa Dancer and on the fast track to becoming one of Canada's newest IFBB Figure Pros.
Name: Nancy Di Nino (Italian with traces of Venezuelan... half/half)
Born in: London, Ontario Canada
Currently Reside in: Toronto, Canada
[ Q ] Do redheads have more fun?
I know I do! Maybe because we tend to stand out 'just a little'. I have an exotic look and an infectious energy that exudes in my personality and presence. Someone once told me:
Probably the best analogy someone ever made about me. I always say, I am happy to inspire and infect people with my passion and energy. Whether it is in a casual conversation, candid laughter, or viciously on stage. It's my "Addictive foreplay". I always want to leave people wanting more.
[ Q ] I understand you're a professional Salsa Dancer, how does one achieve professional salsa status?
Like most sports you start in an amateur division and move consecutively to the semi-pro/advanced and then the Professional division. Placing top 3 will allow you to qualify and advance to the next level in most competitions. You can also dance for a professional dance team/company through an audition process as I did with 'Strickly Salsa Dance Company' which specialized in Latin Dancing and Hip Hop.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Nancy & Sanford Boutiller Competing
At The CAN-AM Dancesport Gala In Toronto.
As a professional team we had the opportunity to compete and perform in various places including the World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico, which is the equivalent to "The Olympia". It is an honor to be selected through a submission and audition process where the best dancers from across the world are invited on one stage to perform.
Now that is an "addictive rush" It's what every dancer strives for... to grace that stage.
[ Q ] How has weight training helped you with your dancing?
On a psychological level, it's helped me develop "thicker skin" as it taught me the true meaning of 'sacrifice' and training like a true athlete where it envelopes your entire thought, being and existence. With weight training I really develop 'the eye of a tiger'. I am so focused; with every rep I visualize me on stage.
As I tell people; I taste it, feel it, smell it and drool over it before it's going to happen. You gotta talk about it until you feel yourself living it. I train like a winner. I carry this with me in my dancing, hungering for victory. And when I perform, I feel so 'free', like a switch has just been turned on and I am invincible.
God gives me an unbenounced, divine power that stands within me. On a physical level, it really has built up my endurance, especially with the cardio and plyometric work I do from my trainer.
[ Q ] Are you still a correctional officer?
Even though I'm not there much, yes. Being a government shift worker allows me to take a lot of time off due to the 12 hour schedule at hand. This is the one benefit of the job which allows me to travel for weeks at a time.
[ Q ] What's the craziest thing you've seen on the job?
If you could only know what I see in a day, it's definitely a different side of reality once those doors lock behind you. No one could ever understand unless you've been on the inside. Everyday there's something crazy: a suicide attempt, an inmate drug overdose, a stabbing and the craziest thing?
You wouldn't believe how much contraband (drugs, smokes, money) one can "hoop" (use the jail lingo) or rather stick up their body crevices, if you know what I mean (to sneak things into the jail, and then searching them and telling them to pull it all out). This is all just part of a 'normal day'.
Is that enough of a description for you? Oh and we can't forget the ones that finger paint the walls with their own feces. What's ironic about all of this is that I have become so immune to the activities I really don't get fazed anymore. So glad that I have a University degree in Sociology and Criminology!
[ Q ] Why did you decide to start competing in the NPC?
I already have my Pro status as a Pro Fitness Model and Pro Figure Athlete with WNSO and FAMEWorldEvents and wanted to compete with the NPC/IFBB.
I started competing in 2004 with Canada's IFBB amateur division and placed 1st and 2nd (World National Qualifier) in the Figure class. From there, I new I found my niche and wanted to continue to grow.
NPC/Canada's IFBB amateur OPA (Ontario Physique Association) equivalent has a long standing reputation. I remember always watching fitness and bodybuilding shows on TV and thought one day. Then the conception of the Figure Division was born and I knew that the Figure division depicted what I wanted to strive for, an equal blend of lean muscular tone. One day gracing the stages of the Arnold and Olympia; what everyone strives for.
I am a national level figure competitor and really look forward to trying for my pro card.
[ Q ] I understand you're working with Mike Davies now. How did you come to work with Mike and become part of the Fitness Factory?
Oh ya, you mean the one who kicks my butt! I am so blessed to be working with Mike. He gives you the "tough love" that you need whether you like it or not. This inspires me even more.
I came to work with Mike through a friend and fellow figure competitor of mine Nina Luchka. She has been working with Mike for the last couple of years and I have witnessed the remarkable changes in her physique. Mike molded her to becoming our latest pro figure athlete at the North American Championships this past September.
Mike really makes you feel like part of a team, a family and is really concerned about all aspects of you and your health. I trust Mike completely and feel so fortunate to be mentored by him. Whatever he says... I do!
[ Q ] When can we expect to see you on stage again?
We are in the process of looking at my contest schedule now for 2006. It will definitely include the national level shows: the Canadian Nationals in July and the North Americans in September in attempt for my pro card. I will perhaps do some warm-up shows before that such as the Pittsburg show in May, but as soon as I know I will definitely let you all know.
[ Q ] Word on the street is you are working with the new reality show, Road to the Pros, can people expect to see you at Nationals in Atlanta and can you share more about your involvement?
Yes I will be in Atlanta Nov 17-19th for the NPC Nationals. I auditioned for the show at the Olympia, using that "infectious personality of mine", and as a result, I am on a segment called the "one's to watch" which is a group of athletes that are elite in their accomplishments and RTP's . They felt they needed some exposure in addition to the selected athletes.
[ Q ] As if you're not busy enough... a birdie told me you're lending a hand in helping Shawn Ray with his camps. Any info on the Shawn Ray camp for our Canadian friends reading this?
Yes I am working with Shawn in bringing his 1st ever "Shawn Ray Muscle Camp" to Toronto Canada for the summer of 2006, with the prospect of making it an annual event. We are still in the initial co-coordinating stages now but it will present itself by uniting other US Pro Athletes/Bodybuilders as well as some Canadian Pros and give individuals an up close and personal opportunity to train with Shawn and his guests.
The day will also include seminars, nutrition, a luncheon and hittin' hard... hands on in the gym... a day with the Pros. As we all know, Shawn is one of the most consistent bodybuilders in the history of bodybuilding placing top 5 in 12 consecutive Mr. Olympia's.
We hope to plan this day next to one of our national qualifying amateur events so that we can attract people from across Canada. Stay updated for more info through www.shawnray.com or www.nancydinino.com. Once we confirm all the details, the promo will be in full effect.
[ Q ] Who's been your idol or inspiration in the fitness/figure/ bodybuilding world?
Some of my favorites, for various reasons are: first, Davana Madina. I think she really represents an equal blend of femininity and lean muscular tone. I am one who is really big on stage poise and representation aside from the physical component.
Second, Monica Brant because of her longevity in the sport. No matter what happens on stage, I respect Monica for returning to the stage each year and marketing herself over the past 10 years, regardless of political interventions etc.
Bodybuilders: Shawn Ray on and off stage for his continued attempt to stand up for what he believes in. For being outspoken, for helping make change for others in the sport and doing his best to give back to his fans. Ronnie Coleman... for being in a league of his own, that's what makes a winner. Also Dexter Jackson, Flex Wheeler, etc.
[ Q ] How do you hope to inspire others yourself?
I want others to be comfortable in their own skin, and what I mean is to love them and be comfortable from the inside as well as the outside.
We get so 'caught up' and fall victim to the 'not good enough' syndrome as athletes questioning ourselves: "Am I lean enough," "am I muscular enough," big enough? The physical demands and expectations of this sport allow us to forget about nourishing our insides, our souls.
This sport we love is not only physically demanding but mentally and emotionally consuming so therefore I feel it's important to reflect upon your spiritual convictions. I hope I can help people allow for their own personal inner growth. As with reflection comes personal growth, inspiration and opportunity.
A better you on the inside makes a better you on the outside! With your full heart, soul, mind, inspiration and positive karma energy will flow right back into you and your goals.
[ Q ] What tips do you have for people who travel as often as you, yet want to continue to eat healthy and stick to a workout plan?
How perfect since I have been living out of a suitcase for the past 5 weeks. Traveling basics 101, and don't be surprised when the customs officers ask you a billion questions when you have enough stuff for a relief team.
Pre Planning Is The Key:
- Pre book a hotel that has a mini kitchen/suite. And if that particular hotel doesn't have that option see if they can arrange to have a mini fridge or microwave in your room. This alleviates your main stress of food preparation. If at all possible I like to stay at the Homestead Suites or Extended Stay hotels as they have a fully equipped mini kitchens and their prices are affordable!
- Pre-cook food to bring with you, especially your protein sources. I will cook about 10 chicken breasts and freeze them, and put them in my suitcase.
- Also carry easy food items/appliances in your suitcase such as oatmeal, tuna, protein powder, shaker cups, Tupperware, can openers, hot plates. These are all things you can use easily in your room and saves you from running around looking for them which is stressful, especially during competition time.
- Grocery shop when you are there.
- Be sure to bring a lunch bag with you (as a carry on) on the plane. You know airports; there is a lot of waiting which sometimes transpires into a full day event. Having your food on your side once again alleviates stress of food and binging episodes with it right at your side so you can eat, anytime, anyplace. You know us competitors, "if you gotta eat, you gotta eat!"
[ Q ] What's in Nancy's iPod?
Gotta have my R&Hip Hop and Salsa Music!
[ Q ] Sponsors:
Always a special thanks to them all for believing in me and watching me grow and to help me do what I do best! Interactive Nutrition, lululemon athletica, Nature's Source, Personal Natural Foods, Desert Sun Tanning, and Extreme Pita.
[ Q ] What else is in store for Di Nino in 2006?
Well just as important as the stage, is marketing yourself, and I am a real trooper when it comes to that! I see myself as my own "walking billboard" so I will be busy establishing relationships in the industry, promoting, marketing and networking.
As a positive role model "fusing fitness, fashion, poise and dance", I would really like to use my talent and expand into television and hosting etc. I really love being on stage and in front of the camera... that place is home to me.
[ Q ] Any parting words for the fans of Nancerella?
Thank you for believing in me and appreciating my talent and creative intelligence. You are part of my everyday inspirations. Thank you for watching me grow, develop and blossom at each stage of my life, through all the ups and downs - physically and mentally. God has given me such a gift of artistic creativity, a talent that I love to share with the rest of the world.
I feel very fortunate that I can influence and inspire other people like my fans in their everyday life. That sense of giving is so satisfying to me.
Keep posted to all the good things that are up and coming with me through my web site at www.nancydinino.com. I promise you there is a lot more to come.
[ Q ] Thanks for taking the time to share a bit more about yourself Nancy. You're positive energy is infectious and best wishes in 2006.