About a year and a half ago, I met Nichole Alex and her coach, Mike Jackson, at a fitness expo in Toronto. I was there on behalf of Physique Canada, talking about the organization’s leadership when it comes to promoting drug-free physique events.
I could tell that Mike and Nichole were interested in learning about Physique Canada, and Nichole really perked up when she found out how serious the organization is about drug testing – president Brian Robitaille outlined the entire process for her. However, as impressed as Nichole and Mike were with what they heard, she didn’t compete with Physique Canada that year. Later, I learned that she was already committed to compete in other organizations’ competitions, which she followed through with, since her training schedule at the time revolved around them.
But when the 2015 season rolled around, Nichole set her sights on Physique Canada. First, she came to the National Classic, on June 13, to see a competition first-hand, in order to learn how the organization structures shows. Right after, Nichole registered for the Canadian Championships, held on October 17, and with fierce determination began her competition preparations.
Since Nichole already had competitive experience, she was too advanced for Tier 3, which is reserved for novice competitors; instead, she registered for Tier 2, a step up in the tier structure. Competing in Tier 2 also provided her with this benefit – because of the way Physique Canada structures certain events, such as the Canadian Championships, the top three in Tier 2 are able to advance to and compete in the Tier 1 Pro level the same day. That’s why Nichole was able not only to compete in and win the Tier 2 women’s muscular physique category, but also do the same in the Tier 1 Pro category too, the latter earning her a cash prize, a qualification for the WBPF’s world championships, and the distinction of being the nation’s top women’s competitor in that discipline. What a day for Nichole!
Those wins also served notice that Nichole is a female physique force to be reckoned with, who obviously deserves to be featured here, so that the world can know more about who she is, where she came from, and what she plans to do insofar as physique sports go. I caught up with Nichole in the final week of November, just before she left for a well-deserved vacation. Here is what she had to say about the past, present, and future with regards to Physique Canada:
Doug Schneider: You competed for the first time with Physique Canada at the Canadian Championships. Why did you decide to compete?
Nichole Alex: My decision to compete with Physique Canada came to fruition upon my first meeting with people from the organization in Toronto one and a half years ago. I was immediately drawn to the organization’s strict policies surrounding drug testing and fair judging. I finally had stumbled upon an organization where there were the caliber of athletes I had been seeking to compete with – strong, dedicated, inspiring athletes, the true epitome of what a natural athlete should look like, in my mind. And Nadia Moussa, a Tier 1 Pro women’s Muscular physique champion, was one of those women I was immediately drawn to.
2015 Physique Canada Canadian Championships
DS: You won the Tier 2 women’s muscular physique competition, then moved on to Tier 1 Pro and won that too. Were you confident going in that you’d do so well?
NA: I was confident that the quality lineup on stage with Physique Canada would encourage me to bring out the best in my physique. Both rounds were challenging, and I was absolutely thrilled and honored to be finally up there amongst the other woman. It was a quality lineup that I had been seeking from the beginning of my fitness journey – and having placed well was beyond my expectations.
DS: Were you nervous at all on the stage that day?
NA: Looking back now, I realize it was more of an anxious and excited feeling. I was fully prepared with the experience and knowledge that I had acquired through previous competition preparations and was confident that all I had learnt would bring my best physique forward. I felt that I had really grown as an athlete over the past year, and my confidence and stage presence would be testament to this on the stage. My hope was to really show that confidence and pride in all I had achieved thus far, and hoped to achieve that day.
DS: When your name was announced as the Tier 1 Pro winner, how did you feel?
NA: The feeling was overwhelming. It’s something words cannot totally describe; however, I will say that in that moment I thanked myself for pushing through, never giving up on myself, and being proud that I had ventured into new waters. I felt humbled by the win and completely honored.
DS: I know you stand just over 5’5” tall. Do you know what you weighed on the stage that day?
NA: I was 117 pounds.
DS: You were drug-tested right after the competition, but Physique Canada has in place a system to test competitors out of competition as well. What do you think about that?
NA: I completely advocate this type of system. It is instrumental in ensuring fair competition for those who pursue a clean-eating and clean-training lifestyle all year round. I have no interest in competing with those who essentially cheat their way to the “top.” Using any type of drug to enhance your physique is not inspiring to me in any way. It also sends a misguided message to young women and men venturing into the fitness world. The “drug” stereotype of the industry continues to exist due to these individuals, and that should stop.
DS: Do you plan to compete in Physique Canada again in 2016?
DS: Would you recommend Physique Canada to other women?
NA: As I’ve said to many, Physique Canada provides legitimacy – a fair organization with no bogus rules or false promises. Legitimate in-competition and out-of-competition drug testing where you can be assured fair competitions. As well, judges do not discuss amongst themselves during the show. I could see they are strategically seated to deter from this any bias in scoring. Most important for me, you don’t feel like just another competitor or just a number, since Physique Canada recognizes YOU afterwards, whether you win or not. This is not a 15-minutes-of-fame kind of organization.
DS: Would you consider a shot at the world championships in 2016?
NA: Absolutely. This is my priority goal for 2016.
DS: Do you have any longer-term goals for competing?
NA: At this point, I think I will see what comes. Throughout my journey, I have never made concrete plans well in advance. Life has a way of making plans for you, so I will take things as they come. Sticking with quality organizations that have integrity, such as Physique Canada, and doing this for as long as I feel joy from the journey and can continue to inspire others is my plan right now.
DS: Thanks Nichole!
NA: Thank you, Doug.
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