Nicole Chaplin is a Master Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, CrossFit Athlete, Fitness Model, and Author. Chaplin has Caribbean roots and grew up in Miami, Florida. During her high school and college years, Chaplin was very active and attributes her work ethic to her Jamaican roots and Miami’s health centered culture. Recently, Chaplin published her first book entitled “YES MAM! Your Muscle As A Motivator”, a book that communicates her passion for exercise, fitness, healthy meals, and encouraging people to strive for success in all areas of life. You’ve probably seen Nicole providing exercise tips on ABC’s Good Morning America, VH-1, Fitness Rx for Women, and Oxygen Magazine. Below is my interview with Nicole about her life as a celebrity trainer, her new book, and fitness tips for our readers.
Phillips: What suggestions do you have for African-American women who are unwilling to exercise because of their hair?
Chaplin: What most women are concerned about is sweating out their hairstyle. If you are doing an intense workout, you are going to sweat. We have two options. We can fix our hair so that after we finish a tough workout, we can quickly wash our hair and go. But some women aren’t comfortable with a quick wash and go hairstyle because that’s usually something like a pony tail. And most women aren’t comfortable with wearing a pony tail every day. The other option is to wear extensions. Personally, I prefer to wear extensions. I don’t wear extensions all the time but I do when I’m on the go because it saves me lots of time.
I’ve heard this excuse before. I understand the importance of hair in the African-American community and for most women of color. Collectively, as women, we have to be honest with ourselves about our overall health. I know I’m speaking to a hair magazine but I have to pose a challenging question and that’s how bad do you want it? I’m not talking about losing a few pounds, fitting into a sexy dress, or slimming down for your class reunion. I’m asking how bad do you want to live? If we allow our hair to dictate how we maintain our body, well our hair has too much control over us. In many American cities, women are dealing with health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and stress. Over time, these issues can become matters of life or death. Whether you are natural, relaxed, or wear extensions I suggest that you find a hair stylist that can recommend some styles that allow you to exercise regularly.
Also, I want the single women who are overly concerned about their hair and afraid to work out to know that they are missing out on single men who have an active lifestyle. Sometimes, I hear women complaining about having trouble finding a man. Single men aren’t hiding. Many of them are in the gym working out. I’m not saying this to brag on myself but I get approached a lot by men while I’m working out. The majority of men who have an active lifestyle find women who workout very attractive. They love to see women in the gym working out. In addition to becoming healthier, exercise will give women a competitive edge with men who are attracted to women with an active lifestyle. If what I said earlier didn’t get your attention, hopefully the part about the available guys in the gym did!
Phillips: Can you share some exercise tips for those who have been inactive but are ready to get back into shape?
Chaplin: Spring is the time when people remember their broken New Year’s Resolution to get in better shape. If you took most of the winter off, there is still hope. But what I see most often are people who try to get back into shape but they start out with a routine that is too rigorous. As a result, they quickly burn out and return to their couch. If you haven’t been very active, I recommend walking for 20 minutes per day. Then you can build up to a 20 minute jog with walk intervals. After you get comfortable with the walk/jog, then you want to increase your work out time by 2 minutes per session.
I recommend hiring a personal trainer when you have a goal to lose weight, gain muscle definition, or increase your stamina. You hire a trainer to help you meet your goals. The job of your trainer is to develop a plan to help you reach your goals. When you hire a trainer, you are developing a relationship with a professional to help you maintain and improve your body. Before hiring a trainer, I suggest that people check out their trainer online (Google Reviews, social media, and LinkedIn). Before you lock into a long term agreement, I suggest that you pay for a few trial sessions. Picking a trainer is like dating, you don’t become exclusive on the first date.
Phillips: Do you have an “inner fat girl”? If so, what unhealthy food does she crave?
Chaplin: Yes! I do have an “inner fat girl.” During the holidays, my inner fat girl craves white chocolate covered Oreos that drive me nuts! The way that I keep her in check is that I don’t bring my favorite treats home. When my sweet tooth is kicking in or my inner fat girl starts talking to me, sometimes I’ll give in. I’ll go to Ben and Jerry’s to get a small portion of ice cream but nothing comes home with me. I have to trick my inner fat girl because if her favorite treats come home with us, they will get eaten.
Phillips: Do you advise exercise during a woman’s menstrual cycle?
Chaplin: For me, exercise makes my cycle twenty times easier. During my cycle, sometimes I don’t feel like I have energy for my intense workout routines. But once I get in the gym and start working out, within five minutes, I feel much better. Also, when we exercise we release neurotransmitters and the release of these hormones gives us a natural high which combats the sluggish feelings that often occur during our cycle. During our special time of the month, it’s also good to juice (especially dark green) to cleanse our system and replenish the iron that we naturally lose during our cycle.
Phillips: Any closing comments?
Chaplin: I am very grateful for New Growth Hair Magazine extending an opportunity to me to share my story with your readers. I hope that something that I said in this interview will encourage, inspire, and motivate some of your readers to take action toward becoming healthier. Also, I invite your readers to pick up a copy of “YES MAM! Your Muscle As A Motivator” which is available online or in your favorite bookstore.