Nicki Bucci has come a long way from the kid who barely passed PhysEd.  Image from Arsenik Studios.

Nicki Bucci has come a long way from the kid who barely passed PhysEd. Image from Arsenik Studios.

To end 2014 strong, we decided to give our readers some advice for one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions people make at the beginning of the year – getting fit.

Since we’re not experts on the subject, we were fortunate to interview fitness model and competitive bikini athlete, Nicki Bucci.

She’s beautiful, smart and also doubles as a professional photographer.

Nicki was kind enough to give us a background on how she got into the fitness industry and any fitness advice she can give our readers before they make their resolutions for 2015.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in the fitness industry? What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced in your career? What are your accomplishments to date? Also, what are some of the things outside of the health and fitness industry you are involved with now?

I was never a sporty kid growing up; I was more of a bookworm.

I got straight A’s in academics but consistent C’s and D’s in PhysEd! Most of what is offered to children in terms of physical fitness is team-sports related and that was never my thing.

It wasn’t until Grade 9 when we had an Aerobics & Weight Training class that I realized I actually liked being active. From there I got very into it, but unfortunately went too far on the wrong side where I was doing 2-3 hours of cardio per day and eating next to nothing.

It wasn’t until I was about 20 where I saw a fitness magazine and the light bulb went off in my head – muscle was sexy and you had to eat and lift weights to get it.

I dove into the lifestyle, educating myself on everything I could get my hands on.

Nicki Bucci knew she eventually wanted to compete and started when she was 30 years old.  Image by Mark Bradfield.

Nicki Bucci knew she eventually wanted to compete and started when she was 30 years old. Image by Mark Bradfield.

I eventually got a job at a gym and my personal trainer certification. I knew I wanted to compete and be a fitness model but that didn’t happen until after my 30th birthday – I got my head in the game and competed for the first time.

Everything snowballed from there. I met some fantastic people and had my first photo shoot – the photos from that shoot were published in 3 different international publications and the rest is history!

There have been obstacles along the way (of course)!  I’ve always been very shy and it took a LOT for me to overcome that feeling of shyness. I knew my success in this industry (or any industry for that matter) would be contingent on my ability to network and be comfortable with people.

I did a lot of thinking and worked hard on overcoming my shyness – certainly out of my comfort zone! It has paid off and I’m doing things I never thought possible – I’m networking, public speaking and having the time of my life!

Outside of this industry, I’m also a photographer. I specialize in glamour and fitness studio shoots and I absolutely love watching people come out of their shells to get amazing images. To hear “I never thought I could look like that” is the most wonderful thing!

When I’m not working in either industry, I’m sitting on my couch watching TV… balance is key. 😉

When Nicki's not working as a fitness model, competing or doing her photography, she's a couch potato.  Image by Arsenik Studios.

When Nicki’s not working as a fitness model, competing or doing her photography, she’s a couch potato. Image by Arsenik Studios.

If you could break it down to 3 pieces of advice, what health and fitness advice would you give our readers who are just starting out? What 3 pieces of advice would you give those readers who are on a more advanced level of fitness? And for those that are in the middle?

People just starting out:

  • Don’t do everything all at once – you don’t need to train 6 days a week and be in crazy amounts of pain! Take baby steps, add in more when you can!
  • If you can afford it, hire a qualified personal trainer. If you can’t afford it, do your research and read every magazine you can and read forums or other internet resources to teach you how to set up your program and get the most out of it.
  • If you fall off the wagon don’t beat yourself up, just get up and start again!

Advanced levels:

  • Don’t get complacent – switch up your routine every couple of months.
  • Always push harder through each workout. Did you deadlift 200lbs last week? Try 210 this week. Even if you only get 1 rep and then have to go back to your lower weight, at least you challenged yourself.
  • Ensure your diet is 100% on-point for your goals.  If you’re pushing yourself to the limit you need to feed your body and now is the time to really see how far you can go.

In the Middle:

  • As with Advanced, always push yourself with each workout.
  • As with Beginners, try out a personal trainer to show you some new stuff to get you out of your comfort zone.
  • Eat to fuel your body – you don’t have to be super stringent but you will start to notice the difference in how you feel even with replacing only 1 or 2 meals a day with something healthy.
Nicki Bucci gives some great fitness advice for everyone on the fitness spectrum.  Image by Mark Bradfield.

Nicki Bucci gives some great fitness advice for everyone on the fitness spectrum. Image by Mark Bradfield.

Finally, at ESM we’re all about style. Describe what men’s style you like best on a man? Does being in the fitness industry affect your preference?

Style is so important but I think it’s imperative that a guy is true to himself and his style.

Just wearing something you see in a magazine that isn’t really “you” will show through! Confidence is key!!

Personally though, I like a bit of an edgy style in casual wear. T-shirts and jeans with biker boots are always a win! Tailored suits with polished shoes and a clean-shaven face are perfect for work and social outings.

Being in fitness has affected my preference in style though; I really like to see some tighter options on a well-muscled guy!

Male models don’t hold a candle to fitness guys in my opinion.  Wear the clothes and fill them out, don’t let the clothes wear you!

Nicki Bucci putting in the work as a bikini competitor.  Image by David Ford.

Nicki Bucci putting in the work as a bikini competitor. Image by David Ford.

To keep up with Nicki Bucci, you can visit her official website at www.nickibucci.com, follow her Twitter account at https://twitter.com/nickopatra, her Instagram account at http://instagram.com/nickopatra and finally, you can check out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NickiBucci.Fitness.

ESM

To create Essential Style for Men, mix 2 parts petrol, 1 part secret agent, 1 part rock and roll, 1 part hip-hop and a shot of tequila in a shaker with ice and vigorously shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a martini glass rimmed with explosives and have a supermodel serve for all your friends to enjoy.