Nikki Bongiovanni Grillo is someone I have known for years! We started working together during competitions and the last time we did this was about 5 years ago! I wanted to bring her on and talk with her about her experiences with a coach because she has been an elite athlete her entire life, competing in gymnastics, and has had multiple coaches! Once her gymnastic career was over, she wanted to keep focusing that energy she had elsewhere and that is when she found competitive fitness. But this time she needed a different kind of coaching. Someone that can help her focus her energy on something else while staying healthy and doing it the right way!
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Nikki was an elite-level gymnast and started at a young age and committed her whole life to it. From 3 to 23 she was fortunate enough to do gymnastics, at the national level, earning a spot on the Olympic National Team, and go to D1 college for gymnastics. This was a HUGE part of her life and it actually helped her to get to where she is today. That perspective she gained from it, made her who she is.
But part of where she came in, was a whole other learning curve. She couldn’t shake this intensity that she had her whole life with the career she had. And she was stuck in this place of, “If I am not suffering for this achievement, I am not working hard enough!” And this was the only space she knew how to live in and train in. And Nikki isn’t alone in this. This transcends across our entire culture. And if not in sports or from an athletic perspective, a lot of people put the same approach into their career. For some reason…. Our socially glorifies suffering and being busy! And Nikki was done with Living like that
Her gymnastic career was done, and she was in a scary place. Struggling with who she was and needing to put her energy in a specific place, she stumbled upon fitness competitions! “This was a beacon of hope for me that I could utilize the best part of me from my gymnastics career and move them into a whole other hobby/career and take those good parts that I learned all those years. I could now move forward with something else that can fill my heart!”
When you started working with me, what were you looking to improve or achieve?
I was a go big or go home kind of gal. But this changed over the years. When I first started, I was all gung ho to be, Miss Fitness America, the highest level I can get to! But I had to learn a lot though. I had to learn how to focus on my physique because I never ate and trained to look a certain way, just to do certain things. I need to learn alllll about that! And competed for about 15 years.
Throughout my career in this, I definitely matured over the course of it. And I went from wanting to win to doing it for my HEALTH!! I was always looking for a title and it turned into doing things for me after my daughter was born and being healthy and happy! I then went on to be a personal trainer because of what you guys taught me and how you were impacting other people’s lives! I wanted to do the same thing!
When I followed the protocol the way it should have been, it felt easy. And there was a sense of peace and ease with me into that last competition that I did. It felt great and it was so fun, and I didn’t suffer along the way.
I wasn’t depleted and had so much energy!! And this was all post baby!! I always make sure that I remind myself of that in my life and now with my clients. I went through it with suffering, and I went through it with ease, and when I went the route of ease, I ended up with a better physique at the end of it!
How do you think going to the easier route has grown you as a personal trainer and maintaining your health?
I don’t think I would be comfortable in my own skin if I did not go through that with you.
I needed that hard lesson. I needed someone saying, “No this is right, this is right for you.” But ultimately, you just have to trust the process and you will get to where you want to go.
Nowadays I can maintain a happy physique without going to the gym every day! I own several businesses with my brother, and I am a busy mom of 2! I have realized that you don’t have to exercise every day and I am happy with that. I learned to have grace with myself, and I have such a good foundation now. I am no longer setting that bar through the ceiling! The bar that is here is my happy and I know how to live in that HAPPY!!!
I don’t need to be stage-ready every day. I feel good now if I have energy, if I get a good night’s sleep If I can move my body any day of the week and eat healthy food! I feel good when I have the energy for my kids. THIS is what I need and that is what I am after… A peaceful way to live!
What would you say to someone who is considering working with me as a coach?
I would say if you were thinking about it, there is a reason for that. You are being called to that and don’t hesitate, just jump right in! You seriously don’t have anything to lose by trying! You are not BS… You got me out of my suffering and do things on an easier route but at the same time, you are not a pushover of a coach. You don’t tell me what I want to hear, you tell me what I NEED TO HEAR. So, someone who works with you can expect tough love in the best way possible!
I have just learned so much from you and it has opened my eyes to possibilities with myself that I didn’t even see until we worked together.
If you are going to hire a coach, just remember that you are not in the driver’s seat anymore. They are the experts. So please have an open mind and be open to trying things you haven’t tried before! By taking that step, you will have the courage to do things differently!
When you work with a coach it is all about trial and error. So, ask all the questions you need!! You are on a team together to get to that set goal, so you will need to work together through adjustments and changes. That is what a good coach will do because it is not a one size fits all approach. This is custom to each person and their needs and wants, so that team mentality is there.
You have made such a big impact on my life, so I am forever grateful for you. Working with you helped me to change my approach in all aspects of my life. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use something I learned from working with you!
Listen up, ladies!! You don’t have to struggle. You don’t have to suffer. It can feel easy. And if it feels easy, it’s not because you’re doing it wrong! It is because you are finding something that goes and works well for you!!! So, are you ready to do this!? Hit me up and let’s chat!
Nikki Bongiovanni Grillo https://www.facebook.com/nikki.bongiovanni
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kimbarnesjeffersoncoach
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fitgirlmagic/
Reboot and Refocus