Nicole Ferreira - And All that Jazz
All fitness competitors undergo challenges that make contest preparations very trying; however, they find a way to do it.
For Nicole Ferreira this meant leaving a job that, by its very nature made the training consistency needed for competition impossible. In short, for 8 years, Nicole was a clinical social worker who provided treatment for a variety of populations in a variety of settings.
The 1996 Boston College graduate with a Master's in Social Work, Cum Laude, was the Clinical Director of an inner-city mental health clinic where she supervised over 20 master's level therapists and oversaw the clinical treatment of over 850 clients. This was a 55-60 hour work week, with 24 hour emergency on-call duties (holidays and weekends). Clearly this occupation required more time than Nicole had to reach her fitness goals. With the support of her loving husband, Nicole has been able to appropriately transition herself into a new career of personal training. This career shift will not only permit for time and consistency needed to compete on the national level, but allow Nicole to continue to help people, and best of all help herself.
The 5'-2" - 30 year old, blond-haired, green-eyed athlete from Massachusetts competes at 108 pounds and has 12 years of weight training experience, a history of dance instruction since she was 6 years old, and a history of competitive cheerleading. Competitive fitness was just a natural progression from the types of physical activities she loves. Nicole has only been competing in fitness for 1 year. Her first contest was the July 2001 Fitness Massachusetts Pageant Regional which she placed 2nd, runner-up. This contest qualified Nicole for the Fitness America Pageant National Championship in Las Vegas and in only her second competition she placed 35th out of 100 competitors!
Nicole competed and placed 8th in 2002 at the Fitness Atlantic Pageant in New Haven, Connecticut and again qualifies for the Fitness America Pageant this year held in Southern California in November. Her favorite aspect of competing is definitely the routine. Nicole loves to be creative and express herself through the dance and theatrical aspects of any presentation. She does however, receive choreography instruction from both fitness choreographer Cathy Savage and dance instructor Rachel Machado for her fitness routines.
One of the best times she has had competing was at the 2001 ESPN National Championship when she was selected to dance with 8 other fitness competitors during the "jazz" portion of the opening number. When she finally saw herself on ESPN she felt all of her hard work had paid off, it was a great motivator to continue competing.
Nicole gives herself about 16 weeks to prepare for a contest, and she adjusts her training and nutritional needs as the contest date approaches. A typical week consists of 4 weight training sessions (alternating body parts) with 30-35 minutes post workout cardio sessions; 2-3 days of practicing her fitness routine, and morning cardio sessions (30-45 minutes) on the non-weight training days. She makes sure to have one full day of rest every week.
In terms of diet, she eats in a range of 1100-1800 calories per day, eating 6 small meals every 2-3 hours, and she tries not to have any carbohydrates after 4:00pm. When she received personal training from Mia Finnegan (Fitness World Champion) in 2000, Mia suggested eating and training in this manner for competitive fitness.
Her off-season training and diet regimen consists of weight training and cardio 4 times per week and 2000 calories a day with only one cheat on her diet each week (i.e.: slice of pizza or ice cream sundae). If she exceeds 115lbs she tightens up her diet.
Watch for Nicole in the upcoming Fitness America Pageant ESPN National Championship in 2003 and the 2002 Stunning Fitness Girls calendar where she was featured as "Ms October".