Oxygen: What have you been working on with your physique this year?
Nicole Wilkins: My goals were to round my glutes out more and develop a wider back. Last year, my feedback from the judges was to come in more conditioned, so I am going to try to come in slightly leaner. I feel like I am ahead of where I was last year already, since in 2015, I was coming off a fabulous vacation and was behind in terms of body fat and conditioning. This year, I am starting my prep from a better place — I kept my offseason a lot tighter and started a lot earlier.
Oxygen: How did you change your mental outlook?
NW: When you don’t have a title to lose, you don’t have as much pressure. I have the capability to win, and I am going into this knowing I am doing everything I can, and that is all I can ask of myself. I am working on what I can control — I can’t control what the judges decide, but I am keeping my mind open for whatever happens.
Oxygen: What about your nutrition, did you change anything about that this year?
NW: I am a pretty boring contest dieter. I am not a creative cook, I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I try to stick with what has worked in the past. Pretty basic.
Oxygen: How is the UFC program you’re doing different from your Phat Camps?
NW: The UFC program is a 12-week transformation open to anyone, and Phat Camp is a three-day weekend retreat for women. We teach motivation, basic nutrition, exercises, cardio methods and so on. The UFC thing started out as a program for competitors, but in the end, so many people signed up who just wanted to lose weight and get in shape that we changed the focus.
Oxygen: So Phat Camps are not focused on competition?
NW: I don’t promote it that way. We have people in the very beginning stages of weight loss as well as advanced athletes. They all train together at their own level, and we have had 70-year-olds and 15-year-olds in the same class! Pretty cool.
Oxygen: How do you stay on track during the holidays?
NW: Depriving yourself of the things you enjoy is a setup for failure. If I know I am going to a party on Saturday and there will be wine and dessert, I will save my treat meal for that day and the rest of the week I will eat healthy. I won’t regret it and can move on. Also, setting a concrete goal helps. Personally, I set up photo shoots in the offseason and work out with other people to stay accountable to maintain that pressure to stay on track.
Oxygen: Do you follow your competitors on social media?
NW: Of course! Definitely the top six from last year. I wish they posted more, though! I post twice a day, so I always feel like everyone should do that [laughs].
Oxygen: Who else do you follow that might surprise people?
NW: I like following comedians like Kevin Hart, and I follow a lot of fashion blogs. I get inspiration from clothing companies and things like makeup tutorials because I am not good at those things on my own. I have a really hard time picking out outfits that aren’t gym clothes!
Can't get enough? Check out Nicole's favorite strength and cardio moves in the November/December issue of Oxygen on newsstands now. Follow her on Instagram here.