I met "Gonzo" while I was stationed onboard the USS Iwo Jima from 2013 to 2016. We checked in right around the same time when the ship was dry docked at Norfolk, VA. During our time on the Iwo, we left dry docked, changed homeport, went underway countless times to prepare for deployment, deployed and then back to the barge after deployment. Working with her, I can tell you this chick is a strong and intelligent woman who also isn't afraid to speak her mind.
I recently talked to her to check up and see how she's doing now as a civilian.
What have you been up to? What are you doing now?
Currently, I'm attending DelVal as a full time student for Equine Business and Management.
How do you stay fit?
How I stay fit really depends on my goals at that particular moment in time. I compete in Figure class for body building so during my prep my exercise regime is pretty strict and can range anywhere from 1 to 2 hours of cardio in addition to about 1 to 2 hours of weight training depending on my conditioning. When I am not competing I still go to the gym and weight train 6 days a week but I also spend a majority of my time outside doing a lot of hiking, horseback riding and more sports oriented work outs. I like to think of my off season as a way to experiment with my workouts and diet to see how my body responds, plus it's a nice break for both myself and my poor family that has to put up with me during prep!
Best and worst moment in competition?
Best moment: Oh man! I honestly couldn't tell you. I have been so blessed that I don't think it would be possible or fair for me to narrow down my "best moment" into just one event in my life.
Worst moment: I can sometimes be a bit of a drama queen so if you were to ask me my worst moment this morning I would have told you being up at 4am doing an hour of cardio haha! What seems like a big deal initially tends to lose its impact as time goes on so my worst moment is forever changing.
How long have you been competing in bodybuilding (BB)?
I've always played some sort of sport growing up so I was use to competing and living an active lifestyle. It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I really got into the gym atmosphere. My first competition took place December 2016 shorty after returning from deployment, where I won my height class as well as overall. I was so proud of what I created and it truly was fascinating to me to see how far you can push yourself both physically and mentally.
Goals accomplished and future goals BB or in other areas?
Although I haven't won every competition, I am extremely satisfied with where I was placed each time. I am still very new to this sport so my greatest achievement so far would be that I have consistently improved each time I step on stage. For now I will continue to compete until I reach my current goal of becoming an IFBB Pro, after that who knows what I will do next!
As for personal goals I plan to graduate with hopes of using my degree to become a certified instructor that uses horses to aid in therapy sessions for military members and their families.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about competing in BB?
Do it! Don't be afraid of trying new things! Not only when it comes to deciding if you want to compete in body building, but life in general. Nobody was born an expert or champion it takes patience and effort but it can be done. My biggest piece of advice would be to find someone that has experience in the sport and pick their brains for every bit of information you can. Treat everyday with an open mind and always be willing to learn. Work hard, stay focused, and trust yourself.
Favorite quote or saying?
"It is what it is"
I never realized how much I say this to people until a close friend pointed it out to me a few years back. I guess its just my way of dealing with the fact that things happen, and there are certain things in life that are inevitable. Everyone has a choice when faced with adversities either you push forward or you let it destroy you. I don't have the power to plan out every detail of my life but I do have the power to decide what I do next.
Follow Nicole's fitness journey on IG @gonz.swolo