Nicole Polachek - Figure Competitor

How did I start? Well, I’ve always been athletic. I played sports my whole life, and after having three kids in under three years. I decided I wanted my body. After nursing my son for a year and a half. I started to diet and exercise, and lost over 50 ponds. I joined a gym to get more toned and to be more social. Months later, a friend of mine, asked me to run a Spartan Race with her. So I started training for the race. After the race, I found a new passion. I was hooked on Spartans. I continued to race for a few years, and my last session would be my hardest. Six races, three different race lengths. All so I could earn my 2X Trifecta.

A few of the gym members had seen my body changes and asked if I’d ever consider doing body building. At first I said no, but after watching a couple of members who were prepping for a completion, I decided I wanted to try it. I’ve always like to push myself to the next level. See how far I could go. So I started training with a coach. I had 6 months to put on more muscle and tone up. I learned what prepping was, and how diet is everything.

Nicole Polachek

Contest Prep

My diet from off season to pre- contest is drastically different. It’s been one year that I took on this lifestyle change. Leading up to my first show, I had counted and weighted all my food. Higher protein, low carbs. Looking back, even though it was my first show, I learned a lot about my body and how it reacted to the prep. First show I looked too thin, and my muscles were flat and deflated. I had cut my carbs too low and my water intake way too soon. After my first show, I had teamed up with a new coach, and he had a different approach. I had six weeks till the next show. This time I was going to compete in two shows back to back. My coach Rob, had me eat around 150 grams of carbs when I would train with him. The week of my show, he wanted to play with my carbs. Varied them day to day. My second show was an improvement, but I was still hesitant to listen to him, and it showed. So, after seeing what he was talking about, I gave in, and followed his orders. My 3rd show and my last one for the season, was my best. My body responded to his plan.

After my first season of competing, I was now in off session training. I struggled……… no one tells you how your body will react after you go back to “normal” life. I slipped into a depression. Not knowing what the future had instore for me. It was hard not to weigh and count everything that went into my mouth. I had freedom so to speak, to eat what I wanted or drink alcohol again. I met with a few of my friends that I met along the way, who have been competing for years. I opened up to them about how I was feeling. They all reassured me that this was totally normal to feel this way. And to embrace the off session gains or “fluff” as we like to call it. As far as my off session diet went, I still ate a lot of protein to build healthy lean muscle, and ate carbs for energy. It was an adjustment to put on “fluff”, but knew it would pay off.

I’m now back on prep as of the new year. I’m back to weighing and counting everything I eat. I limit my carbs to try and burn off more body fat. My coach had me do the ketosis diet (no sugar, no artificial sugars of any kind) and lowered my carbs. I did this for two weeks. I’ve increased my cardio and added HIIT cardio to burn off my body fat. Drink a ton of water of course, and eat 6 meals a day. I also take a lot of supplements.

I haven’t followed any specific completion diet. My coach monitors my diet and looks at how my body is reacting to the modifications we make. I’ve told other competitors, that there is no set diet plan. Everyone’s body reacts differently. What might work for me, may not work for someone else. You have to trust your coach or nutritionist.

My components of my training are to lift heavy, add cardio 3-4 times per week, with HIIT to burn off body fat. I try to keep my protein high, and carbs low. My coach will have me carb cycle, so some days will be higher and somedays very low. I allow myself one day for rest. As a show gets closer, I’ll spend more time in the gym. I train a different area of my body every day. I try to train shoulders and chest two days a week, as well as back and legs. Il incorporate core multiple times a weeks too.

Nicole Polachek

On Stage

As a first time competitor, it was scary, but I enjoyed every minute of it. My first show went so fast, that I never had the time to get nervous and panic. I rolled with it. Took my time, and took the whole experience in. I’m not good with going out on stage, but I didn’t know any of these people, and they didn’t know me. My eyes meet with judges, and that’s all that mattered. I had the privilege of having my posing coach as one of the judges. So that eased my nerves. I had spent six weeks prior to my first show, learning how to walk in heels and pose. I was confident! I was extremely proud of myself, that I was able to step out on stage. Each time I went out on stage, it got easier.

The three shows that I have done, all of them have been dramatically different. The first show was a huge venue. So that meant that I would have more down time. I had to be ready to go on stage for 2pm. I arrived at 8 am to check in, and the pre -show meeting. Prior to stepping out of stage I got my hair done, make up, and tan touched up. I ate periodically and got to meet many competitors who shared the same passion as me. The show was very well organized, and everyone helped you, to make sure you got out on stage when you’re supposed to.

My second show was very small. I was rushed and almost missed my stage time, because I was busy getting my hair and makeup done. And I still needed to be sprayed again. I was frazzled, but tried to stay calm. The show started at 10 am, and I was done before 12pm. I wouldn’t go back on for finals till at least 7pm. So I found my friends, and we camped out in the hall. We relaxed and put our feet up. By night, I was ready to go and pleased with my placing.

My third show was a huge venue again. Being that my last show was the previous weekend, I was ready to go. I was on time for everything, and it showed in my face and posing. I placed 2nd in novice and 4th in open D. It was a great day, and a great way to end the season. As long as you can get through pre- judging, everything else will be a piece of cake by the time you go back out for finals. You can eat and relax. The judges have made their decision about you and hopefully you stood out in their minds. Finals go real fast because you don’t have to do all your poses and turns.

My future planes are to continue to grow and put on enough muscle each season. I’d like to go to nationals, and hopefully get my pro card someday. You can do anything, as long as you put your mind to it, and have a strong support system. This sport is not for everyone. You have to dedicate yourself 110%. Be willing to dedicate a lot of time in the gym. No one can push you or tell you what to do, unless you believe in yourself. The diet is a lifestyle change, and you have to be willing to be dedicated to it. The diet makes all the difference. I’ve been married for over ten years, and I have three beautiful children. I want my kids to look up to me and see how beautiful I am, and that you can do anything. They know I’m strong, and they know that mommy doesn’t eat junk food. I hope that I’m a role model for them. My husband has stood behind me and supported me the whole way. He wants me to be happy and to see me succeed. He is my biggest fan.


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