Shouldn't Nice Girls Finish First?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Some of you know my story by now. I once yo-yoed from extreme weight loss to major weight gain for years, and eventually settled in to what I call my "happy" weight, a figure that I'm able to maintain with a healthy attitude toward food and exercise—one that includes rest days and hard days and healthy days and even ice cream dinners.
I exercise because it feels good and keeps me healthy, and what you see when you look at me is the direct result of how much I exercise (or don't) and what I eat. I'm happy with my approach to both: no obsession, no deprivation, no self-punishment.
As a trainer, I try to deliver the same healthy, balanced approach to students in my classes and followers of my workout videos, whether you have a lot of weight to lose or simply want to exercise regularly for the benefits it provides.  I don't look ripped. I don't have a six pack or bulging muscles. In the fitness world, what I represent usually isn't very marketable.  Fitness trainers have to look the part (buff) and deliver the goods (workouts that make you beg for mercy) to make it in this world.  I'm not (and don't do) any of those things.   
But for one day, yours truly, an unassuming trainer from Ohio who was once told that she didn't look toned enough to have a fitness DVD, had an exceptional moment.  Earlier this week, SparkPeople's "28 Day Boot Camp" DVD was the best-selling fitness video on For just one day, I beat "America's Toughest Trainer" (who has been dominating the fitness scene for many years now), a feat that I thought was only a pipedream.  Let me tell you: There is nothing like seeing yourself on the store shelf next to these popular and talented trainers, let alone near the top rankings—or higher—of such a force in the fitness world. I had to take a screen capture just to prove to myself later that it really happened! It was a day worth celebrating (which I did…by eating pie—yes, PIE!).
 Look at me, mom!
This is significant not just for me professionally, but for SparkPeople, which may be America's best-kept secret. As large as our following is, our small, passionate company isn't yet a household name, but we have big plans to be. After all, our mission isn't over until we've touched the lives of millions more people who need our free resources to eat better and get in shape and live healthier lives.
But it's also significant because I see this as a continuation on the theme I'm so passionate about: changing the shape of fitness. Exercise isn't about weight loss or looking ripped, although it plays a role in both, depending on your goals. My goal is to make fitness accessible to everyone—in an unintimidating style that still helps people get results in a safe, practical way.  It's about being healthy and fit at any size, which I truly believe in. The fact that "28 Day Boot Camp" is selling so well shows me that people are ready for this shift in what has been presented as intimating, difficult, challenging, or "only for the elite" for far too long.  And that is an amazing thing!
So thank you for embracing me as your trainer--flaws, cellulite, belly rolls and all (yep, I have all three of them). Thank you for supporting SparkPeople by purchasing our amazing DVD (it really is great, I promise). And thank you for Spreading the Spark to others by telling them about the DVD, reviewing it on other sites, and talking about SparkPeople whenever and however you can.
If you haven't purchased it yet, take note: "28 Day Boot Camp" is 53% off at for a limited time. This sale ends April 2, so take advantage of it while you can. Not only will you be putting your own health and fitness first by trying this sound and effective program, but you'll be helping a nice girl finish first—and giving "America's toughest trainer" a little friendly competition.  The longer SparkPeople can stay in that top spot, the more lives we can positively impact!
Can I get a WooHoo?!

Photo (headshot) credit: Arthur Cohen

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You are a great trainer for people who can't work very hard,but still need to workout to have and maintain a fit body, grow old healthy and still have a real social life. Life is not just a body shape, there is family, work, different responsibilities, home, kids,..... the list is very long. A workout who leaves you exhausted for the rest of the day, or the next couple days, is just wrong, wrong and wrong Report
WooHooo! Report
A huge Woo Hoo from me Nichole. I own a couple of your DVDs and I love them! You go girl! Report
I am soooo Proud for you!! Congratulations! Report
WooHoo. You go girl! Report
Woo-Hoo & way to go girl! Report
Nichole, you don't have to be perfect to be good. Report
I think you are the best! Being healthy is NOT about exercising all day with a person yelling at you to do more and it's NOT about a restrictive diet. These things don't work for most people. We have found SP, it has a great philosophy of moderation in your diet and having fun in your activities. And THAT'S what is working for us. Thank you so much. Report
Big congrats on your dvd being #1 Nicole!
I love this line in your blog: "I'm happy with my approach to both: no obsession, no deprivation, no self-punishment."

I am trying to make that my mindset too. I don't want to have to almost kill myself or dislike what I am eating to be healthier.
Awesome! I just ordered my copy. Thanks. Report
Anyone that radiates honesty, has a healthy attitude, shows she cares, does race reports on Krispy Kreme & Warrior Dashes complete with a hot horn helmet and a half empty box of sugar pills, AND "perspires" during her workout vids is at the top of my trainer list. I will always wish the very best for Nicole and continue to thank her for getting me back to working out with her boot camp vids. You deserve to finish first because you are! Report
Congrats! I know that must feel amazing! I'm a 57 year old, terribly out of shape, former athlete. Just started on SparkPeople 5 days ago. Bought your DVD 2 days ago (still waiting....) and looking forward to getting started. I bought P 90X about a year ago, jumped in with great enthusiasm, then spent 4 months recovering! Your story was inspiring to me and sounds like the common sense approach to fitness I've been looking for. Wishing you all the best in your future. Report
I have to say I just bought the dvd yesterday from Amazon. I'm not a huge fan of fitness videos, but I tried some of your videos on Sparkpeople and I loved them! The biggest influence for me is because you aren't all muscles and yelling. You look like you could be my next door neighbor doing a friendly workout with me.

I don't want to look like a weight lifter. I don't want to have a six pack. I want to be healthy, and your videos help me get there.

So to you I say...WOOHOO!!!!!!!!! Report
You've got my WOO HOO! Report
WooHoo! What I am loving about SparkPeople is that it is easy to make it an exercise in self-love and self-nurturing, rather than a torturous event that hurts and is difficult to get motivated for.

Way to go, Nicole! Report
!!!!!!!!!! Report
I just squeed out loud in my office (yes, I got weird looks from my coworkers) when I saw that picture. Congrats Nicole! You rock my stripey sock!!! Report
Woohoo!! Congrats and thanks for being there for the 'ordinary' folk Report
Woohoo - you rock; thanks to you and SparkPeople for all you do to help US be our best or better! Report
So true, Nicole! Congrats on being #1......but we already knew that :) Report
WhooHoo Nicole! Congratulations, and thanks for your wonderful DVD! Report
Nicole, I am so happy and proud of you. I am glad that you didn't change your personality to try and fit in with others who are deemed successful for the moment. Continue to be who you are and the rest will always come. God bless! Report
WOO HOO!!!! Congrats Nicole!!!! Report
Congratulations on a job well done. I love your videos, even though I feel like I have three left feet for the first few tries. When it's a nasty day outside I turn to either you or Leslie Sansone for my workouts. Both of you tend to target the average Joe or Jane and have come up with routines that are fun, but make you sweat. I can work them over and over and never get bored.
Keep on keeping on. Report
That is just absolutely wonderful. I have used and love your exercise videos and have found them to be really good. Report
P.S. The person who told you that you didn't look toned enough to have a fitness DVD was obviously a misogynist with no room in his/her mind for the appeal of a real woman.

I would be terribly disappointed if you went to the extreme of becoming "ripped" and rubbing oil all over your body - trying to look like a female "Ah-nold"

My personal opinion is that those ladies might possibly have more than a touch of BDS (Body Dysmorphic Syndrome). Report
Woo Hoo!

I, for one, am glad that you don't have a Drill Sargents mindset. It is a short term wonder when you are young and you absolutely must get into shape in the shortest possible time, but it's not much on long term motivation. I prefer your style at this stage in my life. Report
Woohoo! I quite enjoy your video. Especially the balance challenges : ) Report
a personal congrats to you!! but... can't bring myself to give the wahoo because i don't fully agree with the post/nicole's POV :P but very excited for more and more people to know about SP! Report
WOO HOO!!! That is AWESOME!! I love your story and love to see the nice girl finishing first! Report
WOOHOO! You are awesome. Such an INSPIRATION! Report
Congratulations - you deserve to finish first! Report
WooHoo! I am happy to say that I released 5lbs and inches during my first round of the 28-day bootcamp. That was January. Not only have I maintained that loss, I am continuing to lose incorporating other cardio (step aerobics) and Coach Nicoles, strength training from the 28-day bootcamp. Its a simple, yet tough and effective workout.

Congratulations Coach Nicole for being OUR #1 Trainer!

May God Bless you as you continue to Spark the world! Report
Good information. Report
Woohoo! Woohoo!! Woohoo!!! THANK YOU, Coach Nicole! Report
You can - you WILL - always get a major "WOO-HOO!" from me, Coach Nicole! A nice girl who's #1 in every respect will always finish first, as you have. But when this same girl has managed to do so by overcoming so many of the very same obstacles we-in-the-Spark-trenches have, she's also earned our deep respect - and has the rare kind of authenticity which compels us to trust her as a credible expert. Congratulations!! Report
Woohoo!! I'm proud of you. You have been a nice, balanced motivator for me and I appreciate your good attitude! Thank you. Report
What a blessing your videos are to so many people!
Congrats on a stellar success.

And yes, nice people can certainly finish first! Report
Woo Hoo and thank you Coach Nicole. Love your DVDs Report
Go the nice girls!! I bought a copy online last week from amazon, and it is currenty winging it's way to New Zealand, so hopefully my purchase helped you get one p on JM! In fact, I bought 2 of your other DVDs while I was at it - cardio blast and firm, fit and fired up! Can't wait to get them :o)
K. Report
WOO HOO and thanks for making this DVD available to us. I have done an number of your on line vidos and they are always do able. Looking forward to purchasing this one soon. Thanks to you and Sparkspeople for this incredible site. Report
woohoo hoo! Report
Man, oh, man, girl! That's absolutely incredible! I can't even imagine how over the moon you must feel! You deserve it! Report
Whoo hoo. Your success and that of Sparkpeople is truly changing our culture. Thank you for setting the greatest example to that of Being ourselves and being healthy. It is so greatly appreciated! Report
Congrats Nicole! I purchased the boxed set with The Spark and your two DVD's last Summer and I really love them. What you have done to help all of us is so significant and means more to me than any other program I've done. It's so easy to do 10 minutes and I really feel the results! You should be proud because you make a difference! xo Rebecca Report
Woo Hoo for you! And for those of us who benefit from your style and expertise too!
Many thanks, Nicole. Report
I have tried the 2nd most popular--and I am waiting for YOURS to come--I ordered it this week to help make it #1! Woohoo!! Thank you for the help Spark has given me on my journey!! Report
:) WooHoo!
And congrats! Report
WooHoo - I think nice girls should ALWAYS finish first. I am exercise resistant - I hate to actually sweat and I hate that exercise videos are usually made by tough chicks with bodies I can never aspire to....but your video makes me feel like i can do it - that whatever level I can do now is alright - and maybe I can do a little bit more tomorrow. That approach is working for me - thank you... Report
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