Nicole Nigrani: From Labs to Abs!

Spending the majority of her time in Sage Hall, Nicole Nagrani may seem like any other biology/ chemistry major, but as the saying goes “never judge a book by its cover.” It just so happens that underneath this cover are rock hard abs. Nicole began competing at the age of 14 in Teen figure, and eventually at the age of 18 she started competing in the Bikini Division. She has won over 10 competitions and is currently the reigning champion of the 2012 IFBB Sheru Classic, which were held in Delhi, India! HC got a chance to catch up with Nicole this week and get to know this world renowned superstar!

Age: 21 (October 29)
Major/minor: Biology/ Chemistry
Graduation year: 2012 December

-How did you get started body building and at what age did you know this is something you wanted to pursue professionally?
"I was a competitive all-star cheerleader for over 10 years and also enjoyed sports like flag-football, wakeboarding, and track during my teenage years. I was always very active and enjoyed competing in any sport I participated in. When I was 14 years old, I competed in my first teenage figure and fitness competition. From the very moment I started lifting in order to train for the show, to the day I stepped on the stage, I was hooked to the sport. My parents had been travelling to the Olympia every year since I was born so I always had exposure to the sport. I began competing again when I turned 17 and eventually transitioned to bikini when I turned 18. After my first show in bikini, I went on to compete at a national level competition where I won the overall and turned professional. I was the youngest pro in the international federation of bodybuilding and then one week later I won my first pro show. I didn't necessarily know that I wanted to pursue a professional career in bodybuilding, but I always wanted to do my best and hopefully win. I am a perfectionist and I’m always striving to improve, so once I made it to the pros, I wanted to keep doing better!"

-How many titles do you currently hold/have held and when was your first competition?
"I have been very fortunate in my bodybuilding. As an amateur, I only had first place titles, and as a pro I have never placed below third place. When you are competing against the best bodies in the WORLD, this I believe is a huge accomplishment. I currently have won 6 of the 9 pro shows I have competed in, and two of the largest titles I hold are Arnold Sports Festival Ms. Bikini International 2011 and Ms. Bikini Olympia 2011, which ranked me number one in the world! "

-How often do you train and how do you stay so in shape?
"In season or off season I still train five days a week where I work a different muscle group every day. When preparing for a show, I can do up to two hours of cardio a day and a weight training session! The key to staying in shape, however, is 99% diet! I eat clean year round so I don't yoyo with my weight like crazy. I eat 5-6 small meals a day with carbs, lean protein, and vegetables."

-You must be extremely organized to balance school, training, competitions, and a social life. How do you do it?
"I get this question so often and really there’s no good answer other then I just do it because it’s something I want to do. I want to be a doctor and this has been a lifetime goal of mine, so I really love learning and studying. On the other hand, I love competing and will always find time in a day to work out because it's a good stress reliever as well. I don’t have the same social life as a typical college student but when I’m off season I take plenty of time to enjoy friends and family."

-What do you do in your downtime and what’s your favorite way to unwind after a tough competition?
"In my downtime, I love doing anything active outside of the gym. I like to shop and go to the beach, but who doesn't?!? lol After a tough competition, to unwind I usually don't work out for like a week, but then I go back to my normal regime. Off season, I like to spend a lot more time with my brother, Mark, who is also a student at Stetson. He’s not only my brother, but my best friend :) "

-What advice would you give to our readers that are looking to amp up their workout regimen? Any tips or tricks for our HerCampus readers?
"If you want to begin working out, take small steps. Maybe start working out a few days a week and then do cardio on other days. Look up workouts online using websites like and to get you going. As a pro, I write workouts for these magazines all the time and provide advice on diet and training so women can make advances in their fitness routines."