Vote for the Next Fitness Star!

Women’s Health Magazine has been on the hunt for the next women’s fitness star. Out of thousands of applicants, 5 of the strongest, most inspirational women have been chosen as finalists. Brown & Coconut had the chance to interview one of the contestants, Rachel Nicks, to learn a little more about her, her experience so far in the competition, and some of her tips and tricks for staying fit!

Rachel Nicks is a certified Hatha yoga, barre, TRX and prenatal and postpartum fitness instructor. She has worked in the wellness industry for the past five years and is currently a lead instructor at BFX Studio in New York City. Nicks is also an actor with roles on network shows including Nurse Jackie and Grey’s Anatomy.

Our Interview with Rachel Nicks, Finalist for the Next Fitness Star

How did you come about being a part of this competition?

I thrive on health and wellness and love my fitness community. When I found out about the Women’s Health magazine “The Next Fitness Star Competition” I submitted a video of myself explaining why it’s so important for me to be a part of today’s health movement, empowering women to be strong in every situation along with my love for teaching. Students on the East Coast can find me at BFX Studio and I’m also a Nike Training Camp trainer. I’m also a certified doula! It’s so important to be strong and prepared for every aspect of your life. When I saw this opportunity I didn’t jump, I leapt!

Can you tell us a little about the competition and your experience:

Being one of the top five finalists in Women’s Health magazine’s “Next Fitness Star” competition is such a blessing. I’m inspired every day by my students and fitness family that does a ton of sharing on social media. It’s so meaningful to see that I am inspiring and motivating so many people as well! It still doesn’t quite feel real. I feel like am having an awesome dream. The team at Women’s Health is incredible. They’ve been so welcoming and down to earth! They make me feel safe and supported and encourage me to always feel comfortable to be myself. It’s also been great to have the support of a real health and wellness network through my work at BFX Studio, Nike, Wilhelmina, Juilliard (my alma mater), friends, family and even my church! There’s a popular hashtag that’s been running throughout Women’s World Cup #SheBelieves to encourage all women to join together to achieve incredible goals. I feel like I’m living that right now! And absolutely nothing beats the feeling of seeing yourself on the cover over a national magazine with four other similarly-minded women. I couldn’t help but buy a copy at a New York City Subway newsstand. When the vendor realized it was me he was ecstatic. That same reaction is happening everywhere I go. Probably one of the most moving experiences was with a disabled woman who lives in my building who is now deaf and works everyday to once again have the mobility she was born with. Having a neighbor she trusts on the cover of a magazine that stands for the goals she’s trying to achieve is motivating her to stay as active as possible one step at a time. It’s a strong reminder of why I do what I do. The outpouring of support has been incredible.

Why do you want to be the next fitness star?

I want to have the opportunity to reach a large audience women to share my knowledge and experiences with them. I want to empower women and teach them to love themselves inside and out (just like my neighbor who I mentioned above!). I believe fitness is a tool to build confidence which allows women to shine. Beauty comes from within. I am all about making sure women feel good on the inside in addition to helping them keep it tight so they love what they see in the mirror. Being skinny and having a 6 pack does not equal happiness. It is all about balance; the complete package. It’s also about celebrating the beauty of being strong. We need to be strong to take on life’s physical and mental challenges whether it is child birth, pulling an all-nighter for a game-changing work presentation, coping with accidents or injury, or simply staying motivated to be your best self every day. Movement has always taken center stage in my life. It’s gotten me through one of the most competitive arts programs in the world. It’s landed me in major acting and modeling roles. It’s gotten me through some of my biggest personal challenges and helped me to gain inner strength in harmony with my outer confidence. It’s a gift to be able to be that motivating coach for others. To be able to do it on a national scale would be epic.

How do you feel being in the top 5?

I am excited and enjoying this chapter of my life. I already feel like a winner. I believe that I have a duty to serve. Working in the health and wellness industry goes beyond teaching classes. As a doula, you have the experience of helping women learn to really honor their bodies and to bring new, healthy humans into the world! That translates to other work I do volunteering with children’s educational, performance and movement programs in The Bronx at Mott Haven Academy and at Harlem Children’s Zone. I also make a point of frequently visiting my hometown of Oakland, CA and volunteering there whenever I spend time with friends and family on the West Coast. This opportunity solidifies my purpose and is opening doors for me to achieve my goal of healing and empowering people everywhere.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay in shape?

I am all about the saying “you are what you eat” I cook as much as I can in order to monitor what is going into my body. I love to eat fresh and local fruits and veggies. Between BFX Studio and Nike Training Camp, I teach more than 15 classes a week! Those include barre, yoga, HIIT and strength training workouts. This can be pretty draining so a healthy diet is essential so I have the energy to balance everything. I’m really big on cold-pressed juices, lots of water, protein and fresh vegetables. You’d think I might not need additional workouts after spending so much time with my students. But time with my students is time with my students! So I practice yoga, go through my own barre workouts and mix it up with HIIT workouts throughout the week with at least one rest day.

What sort of a nutrition plan do you follow?

When it comes to nutrition, words to live by are “fresh” and “local”. As I mentioned, I grew up in Oakland, CA so I am all about farm to table food. I also believe in moderation and balance. I love food and vino! I do not believe in starvation and stressing about food. If you are trying to drop weight then you need to adjust your diet. Cut alcohol and sugar. I am not saying to start a diet! Wellness and nutrition are a lifestyle.
I love vegetables. I cook as much as I can. Breakfast is oatmeal, some berries or fresh juice. Lunch is a salad. Dinner is usually protein and sautéed veggies.

Do you have any advice for young women looking to get into shape?

Your goal should not be a number on a scale. Try to workout to feel good. If you enter the room with negativity you will leave with that same energy. Try to enter your workout with a positive attitude. Celebrate yourself for making the time to honor your beautiful body. Try different workouts and see what works best for you. I think it is also great to vary your workouts throughout the week to keep it interesting. Not only that, you’ll avoid plateaus. Try to fit in Cardio, Strength Training and STRETCHING. Sometimes people skip stretching, but it is essential. Don’t be afraid of trying yoga and other workouts that might put more a challenge on your flexibility. Everything you do doesn’t need to be super, super intense.
My biggest piece of advice is BE PRESENT and FOCUS on your form and alignment. It’s better to do less with proper form than more without it. If you aren’t practicing the right form you really wind up cutting the benefits of your workout.

Do you have any advice for new moms looking to lose the baby weight and tone up?

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty obsessed with moms! Not only am I a doula, but I’m certified in prenatal yoga as well as prenatal and postpartum fitness. New moms are too often overlooked and not given the support they need.

I always tell new moms to BE PATIENT with yourself and take it easy. When you are active again after those first six weeks when the baby finally arrives you don’t need to jump straight into what you did before your pregnancy. Your body is still healing. New moms (and all women) need to do kegel exercises. It is essential to work on strengthening the pelvic floor. Even if you had a cesarean you still need to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles because you had the weight of the baby sitting on it for almost a year!
Remember, you were pregnant for 40 weeks. This is a new body. Do not compare your postpartum body to your prebaby body. Those are 2 different bodies. And guess what? The postpartum body will probably end up being even more fabulous. Nursing moms remember you will retain at least 10 extra pounds around your belly button and in your arms. That will not go away until up to 6 months after you stop nursing. So be patient and don’t feel the pressure of fast results.

Can you give us a few effective moves/workouts to share with our readers?

Cardio:

  • 40 Mountain climbers
  • 20 Pushups
  • 20 Tricep Dicps
  • 20 Jump Squats with a feel click
  • 30 Second Squat Hold
  • 20 Jack outs/ Jumping Jacks
  • 1 minute Forearm Plank
  • 20 Pulses in a Side Plank Right Side
  • 20 Pulses in a Side Plank Left Side
  • Downdog
  • Pigeon Pose on right and left

Burn Booty Burn:

Remember to never arch your back. Engage your kegels and you cannot arch!!

  • Table top: Shoulders over wrists hips over knees
  • Right leg extends Pulse 20
  • Reg Leg extends Full Range of Motion toe taps 10
  • Bent left flexed foot 20 pulses
  • Bent leg toes pointed full range of motion…knee down to mat and life back up
  • Extend Right leg on Right diagonal Pulse 20
  • Extend Right leg on Right diagonal Toe Taps 10
  • Draw a circle with Right leg about the size of a grapefruit 20 in both directs
  • Stretch Ankle to Knee or Pigeon and then repeat on the left side.

You can vote for Rachel Nick’s as Women’s Health Magazine’s next fitness star here: http://thenextfitnessstar.com/rachel-nicks

Voting Ends August 3rd!

Learn More About the other 2015 “Next Fitness Star” Finalists:

Jana Hare, 29 // Lexington, KY

Jana is a trainer specializing in multiple areas of fitness–certified in boxing, Bodycombat, beginner/intermediate sparring, mixed martial arts cardio, Zumba, Hip Hop Hustle, AquaFit, strength training, dance aerobics, spinning, and a focus on Ariel Yoga. She has her Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and a thriving passion for health and fitness. Dubbed the “Cardio Queen” in Kentucky—Hare also recognizes the power of weight lifting for maximum results. She has launched her own company Dumbbell Bombshell Fitness, an e-commerce and editorial destination site for fitness tips, videos and workout plans.

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Dina Juve, 41 // Fresno, CA

Dina is a Certified Kettlebell Instructor, Battling Ropes Coach, TRX trainer, Barre instructor and Co-Founder of FitnessSocial Studio, with 12 years experience in the health & fitness industry. At a young age, she was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and spent years overweight and inactive. Now a mother of four, Dina has successfully lost (& kept off!) over 80 pounds in the last 20 years, working through several medical issues including arthritis, spinal stenosis, and an autoimmune disease. Dina is the creator of the “Lean Out Cleanse & Slim Down Program,” an ambassador for lululemon Athletica, and is currently enrolled with Deepak Chopra at the Chopra Center in the Perfect Health Teacher Training. The workouts she selects for herself and her clients provide fast results; both weight loss and a quick lean out.

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Christine Bullock, 33 // Redondo Beach, CA

Practicing what she preaches, Christine Bullock has turned her expertise and passion for fitness, nutrition, and beauty into a dynamic lifestyle business. As an accomplished ballerina who started dancing at age three, Bullock has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and insight into the importance of a consistent athletic routine and ongoing healthy eating habits. Passionate about helping others attain health and happiness, she has spent over 17 years working with health and beauty industry leaders all over the globe and has counseled and trained thousands of people to improve their health and well-being both inside and out. Bullock has certifications in Pilates, Barre, Yoga and Pre & Post-Natal, and is also certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Counselor.

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Nikki Metzger, 29 // Scottsdale, AZ

Nikki Metzger is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nike Master Trainer and Owner of BODI, a high intensity gym in Scottsdale Arizona, which recently won 7 Best Of Our Valley awards, including Best Gym & Best Trainer & Fittest Female. Metzger’s mission is to set a new standard for group fitness. She has created a unique, focused, and competitive environment that forces her clients to test new boundaries. Prior to BODI Nikki was the General Manager and Lead Instructor at Chicago, ENRGi Fitness and was also nominated as one of Chicago’s Hottest Trainers in 2013 by Racked Chicago. Metzger has trained clients of all different fitness levels and has taught a variety of group fitness classes over the years with a focus on strength & conditioning bootcamps, dance fitness and barre.

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