Interview Series: Strongman Competitor “FitNika”
I’m very excited to bring you BE Beauty’s February interview with vegan strongman competitor, Nika (aka FitNika). I first came across Nika on Instagram and was blown away by her story. Like myself, she has struggled with an eating disorder and has been able to overcome her constant battle with food by embracing a healthy and kind plant-based diet.
1. Tell us about yourself? What do you do?
I’m Nika, 21 years old, and I’m pretty into fitness. I work as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutritionist, as well as go to school full time. I attend Saint Louis University, and I’m studying psychology and biology, and I’m still unsure what my future holds in regards to my education, but I’m pretty interested in Neuroscience!
2. Did you have a specific “aha” moment that led you to a vegan lifestyle?
Way back when I was 16, I decided that I wanted to go vegan because I saw a few celebrities with amazing bodies were vegan, so I gave it a test run for a couple weeks. My diet at the time consisted of cheese, pastries, eggs, meat, and lots of processed foods, so switching over to a vegan diet was SO hard then because I seldom ate fruits or vegetables, and my entire diet was made up of animal products. Needless to say, I failed miserably and went back to my old ways.
A couple years later, I was bored and decided to watch “Vegucated” on Netflix, and I was really inspired. At this point in my life, I had already adopted a much more whole food diet, meaning I was eating a lot of oats, fruits, veggies, and lean meats. I had cut out dairy beforehand because it was the cause of my terrible migraines and stomachaches, so the only thing to cut out were eggs and chicken (Since I stopped eating red meat a few months beforehand). I found the transition to be really simple and easy, and I wanted to see how I would feel. After a month or so, my skin cleared up, I had an incredible amount of energy, my recovery time for workouts was cut in half, and I all around felt amazing, so I stuck with it.
I realized that I wouldn’t eat my dog, so why am I eating a being that is much more intelligent than my dog? Why am I supporting industries who tests on animals and chemically burn their skin and eyes. Why was I so disconnected to the reality of the meat and dairy industry? A few months after that, I watched Earthlings, and that solidified my choice to be vegan, and I took more proactive measures to cut all animal products and products tested on animals, out of my life.
3. What advice would you give your teenage self, if you could talk to her today?
Oh how I wish I could go back to my 15 year old self and talk to her! I’d tell her:
* Your body is magnificent. You are magnificent. You don’t need to eat 500 calories a day, or throw up all of your food to be beautiful. Your interpretation of yourself is disordered and ill, and you are so much more wonderful and beautiful than you think you are.
* Stop caring about what others think about you. For the most part, everyone is so concerned about what others think of them, that they don’t have time to judge you. And if they do, who cares? They aren’t living your life. They aren’t going through what your going through, and that’s okay. Be proud of you who are, and do your best to do what YOU want, not what you think other people want you to do.
* You don’t have to be a doctor to be successful.
* Don’t give your heart to the first boy who gives you the time of day. Be patient, and find someone who thinks you’re the most wonderful human on earth.
* There are much more important things in life than getting an A, being a size 2, or being the star athlete.
* Be nicer to your parents, they love you more than anyone, and will be there when no one else is.
* The entire universe will not come to a halt because you have a pimple… or 10.
4. What makes you feel beautiful?
A few years ago, pretty much nothing made me feel beautiful, but now, so many things do.
I feel beautiful when I’m working out. Sure, being a sweaty hot mess may not be on the cover of any magazine,but it makes me feel strong, both physically and mentally.
I feel beautiful when I take the time to put on some cute clothes and do my makeup.
I feel beautiful when I help someone get a little bit closer to their goals.
I feel beautiful when I laugh and smile.
5. Have any extra tips or tricks? Any favorite cruelty-free fashion or beauty products you’d like to share?
Practice self love every single day. It is the hardest relationship to build and to maintain, but it is the absolute most worthwhile. It is a choice you must make every single day.
For toiletries and skin care, Lush has some AMAZING products!!
Make up wise: I absolutely love Physicians Formula for foundation, powder, mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow. I also recently found out that Kat Von D products are mostly vegan and all cruelty free, and are expected to be completely vegan in the near future, so I’m excited about that! I also just discovered Fairy Girl lipstick, and it’s the best thing I have ever come across. They use all organic and natural ingredients, no chemicals, and are 100% cruelty free and vegan!
As far as fashion, lulus.com has an entire section of vegan shoes, so I’ve been getting all of my boots there!
How inspiring! Thank you, Nika, for sharing so many wonderful tips and tricks.
The most important lesson I hope everyone takes away is that the road to feeling beautiful this: we should all strive to be healthy and should not compare ourselves to others. It’s OK if you don’t like weight lifting. Maybe yoga is your thing! Perhaps you’re naturally tall and thin. Perhaps you’re (like me!) short and curvy. It’s all OK!
If you’re feeling inspired by this interview but aren’t sure what to do next, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!