Big Switch! Elli Nichole: From Bikini, Angels, Sports Model & Gown To Figure & Athletic!
“I’ve always wanted to be a more muscular girl…I inevitably reached a point where my true dreams were calling.”
Elli Nichole surely switched things up at the 2020 1ST Annual IPL New Year’s Classic Pro/Am in Burbank California on January 18th. Over the past several years Elli propelled to incredible heights on the IPL stage. Including earning 17 Pro titles. The second most Pro wins in the history of the IPL. Six Pro Bikini titles. Two Pro Fitness Angels titles. Three Pro Sports Model titles. And, six Pro Evening Gown titles.
In 2020 Elli decided to make a huge leap into new divisions. Starting with Figure, she would earn 1st place in Novice. Then 1st in Open, earning her IPL Figure Pro Card. Shout out to Kristy Appelhans in 2nd. And she still had one more new division and two classes to go!
Elli Nichole’s final division to dominate at the New Year’s Classic was Women’s Athletic. Here she would repeat her performance, taking Novice 1st place and Open 1st place, earning her second Pro Card of the Day.
BEN YOSEF: So, wow! Where do we even start?! –laughs- Pro Bikini, Fitness Angels and Evening Gown. 17 Pro titles amongst these three divisions. And now the switch to Figure and Athletic. That being said, you just entered Evening Gown for the Grand Prix this month. With so much success in the other divisions, why the switch? And what made you go back to Evening Gown?
ELLI NICHOLE: I’ve always wanted to be a more muscular girl. The first Coach I ever worked with I had told that I wanted to do Figure and she basically told me that it wouldn’t be possible for me. So I stuck with Bikini and really loved it. But I inevitably reached a point where my true dreams were calling. I absolutely love the glamour of Evening Gown. I love dresses. However, if you know me, I never wear make up and it’s always gym clothes or jeans and boots. I feel like I didn’t want to give that one up because it makes me feel so glamorous and I love the posing.
BEN: Your IPL debut in Figure and Athletic was at the New Year’s Classic this past January. At that contest you were awesome. Earning your Pro Cards in both divisions. It was clear that the impact you had over the last few years in the other divisions translated over to the new ones. What was your experience like hitting the stage for the first time in Figure and Athletic?
ELLI: Thank you very much! It was an amazing experience as always with the IPL. I definitely had to really focus on my posing. It’s funny how once you do something a certain way for so long it becomes habit. I really had to reprogram my brain to tell myself I’m not doing Bikini posing. I absolutely enjoyed every second of that show.
BEN: What was it like for you being on stage with no shoes on in Athletic?
ELLI: I actually love it. It has made posing very different and challenging.
BEN: Congratulations on your Pro Debut in Arizona! Of course, I was not able to be at the show to see you on stage, which I deeply regret. But I am reviewing tons of pictures right now and you looked amazing! How are you feeling about your Pro Debut and what you presented on stage in both Athletic and Figure?
ELLI: Thank you! I feel really great about how everything turned out. Hands-down the best I’ve ever felt. Most importantly, I love the way I look and feel. I’ve never felt more confident in my physique.
BEN: Love that! So you had some pretty tough competition in both Professional classes. In Pro Figure, were you feeling pressure or were you just taking everything in stride? And what did it feel like to earn your first Pro Figure title?
ELLI: Yes! The competition at this show was amazing. Everyone looked great! It was nice to see people really pushing themselves during this time. Super inspiring. I never look at, “who there is to compete with.” All you can do is the best you can do. I know I put in my best work. It’s not my job to judge. I just do MY best. It felt amazing to earn my first Pro title. I know what I want to work on and how I want to improve and the victory was just icing on the cake.
BEN: Well said. And that is a very good point with regards to people pushing themselves during this time. As I have said many times this year, it is tough a enough to prep for a show under normal circumstances. So, staying focused, pushing forward, staying on prep and making it to the stage during the current times is so inspiring. What has it been like for you to stay on track in 2020? A tough time, or did you just take it all in stride?
Elli: Yes, agreed! And 2020 has been different. Blake and I are lucky to have a very complete home gym. We didn’t suffer really at all. It was just different. The vibe at a home gym is different than going out. It’s easier to just do laundry or other household chores. Other than that, our lifestyle didn’t really change.
I work my coaching business from home and work on a farm part time. We literally already lived like we were in quarantine. I would say the most challenging part has been all of the other crazy stuff that is going on. I would say, mentally, this year for me it has just been harder to stay in the game due to the sadness I have about all of the riots and hateful things. I believe it was even more important for me to stick to my plan and be disciplined during this time.
BEN: Up to this contest you had earned seventeen IPL Pro titles. To date this is the second most Pro victories in IPL history. And including the Arizona contest you made it eighteen Pro titles with your Figure win. However, in Pro Women’s Athletic you placed 2nd to Sarah McManus. It’s safe to say that the vast majority of your experience on the IPL Pro stage is winning. What was it like to land in 2nd there? And were you surprised at all, or disappointed?
ELLI: That’s crazy. Would it be nineteen with my Evening Gown win? Sometimes it doesn’t feel like that many! I’m grateful! Taking 2nd place was still an honor. I was very happy with how I came in. I really like my physique and I love my style of posing for Athletic.
Everyone wants to win. Of course I always strive for 1st. The judges don’t always agree with you. There will always be people that say “oh, it should have been this way or that way.” But there are so many variables inside of competing. Not everyone likes the same look. That’s why I don’t get upset. I brought my best presentation and physique to the stage and that’s my job! I can’t control the rest.
BEN: YES! Nineteen! Spoken like a true champion! Elli, it is always a pleasure catching up with you and chatting about your journey. You are definitely a very exciting competitor. And I can say for a fact, and I’m sure you know this, you are a huge inspiration to so many people. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me directly or have posted on social media that you are their absolute favorite. So please keep doing what you’re doing and inspiring everybody to be their best! What’s next for you?
ELLI: Thank you very much. I truly appreciate that. I never imagined I’d be doing what I’m doing and it is so very flattering to have people watch my journey and be inspired. I will be in growth mode! I want to make some serious GAINZ. My goal is to be freakishly natty big. So, it’ll take time.
About the interviewer:
Share this post:
If you’re not sold on taking a day off from the gym, read on to discover what benefits it can provide…
“…for Sports Model…try not be too predictable. The goal is to give the judges something they’ve never seen before.”
“I had a lot of growth and change, both physically and mentally. But I know I can do better. There is always room for improvement.”
“Words can’t even begin to explain all the excitement, confidence and emotions that ran through my body…”
“One of my biggest passions is teaching people, especially women, about lifting. It gives you so much confidence and power.”