This Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate all the awesome ladies who are making history by being themselves, and inspiring us to be better, faster, stronger. That’s why we spent time with Tonal Coach Nicolette, who inspires us every day to push our limits and be ourselves. She believes strength is about more than how many pull-ups you can do—it’s about having confidence in who you are. We sat down and asked her about the people she looks up to and what goes into making her workouts on Tonal.
Who are some of your biggest female inspirations and why?
My Grandmother was active, even playing soccer, up until she was diagnosed with cancer in her early 50’s. She was one of those extra special people and she continues to shape who I am and the decisions I make today. I remember her yelling at me from the sidelines of the soccer field, making yummy mexican fried rice, kissing me all over my face. To be loved so deeply is a gift.
What drove you to start out in the fitness world?
Soccer was a huge part of my family’s life and I started playing from an early age. I wasn’t a star athlete, but I’d sprint my way down the field to the point of exhaustion, working off of power and adrenaline. I remember the feeling of accomplishment when I had given my all, even if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I stopped soccer when I started college, so I started hitting the gym. My dad worked out a lot, so I always followed and took inspiration from his advice. To this day, fitness is a huge part of our relationship. I’ve been in fitness ever since.
What does strength mean to you?
My strength has been my ability to not let challenges defeat me—physical or emotional. Strength is resilience. My Mom taught me resilience more than anyone else. She has suffered a great deal throughout her life, but still she is the most dedicated, loving mother. As I’ve grown, my admiration and recognition for her resilience has helped fuel my own, like working through the darkness of an eating disorder.
I fuel my resilience through movement—it’s my catalyst for growth and change. My ability to not hang on to anger, frustration or irritation in my day makes me feel strong and even unstoppable at times! You can acknowledge the difficulties of your day-to-day life, but not letting it change how you interact with the world is how resilience shows up for me.
How did your relationship with Tonal strengthen your commitment to fitness?
Tonal has forced me to grow in ways I never imagined. Every time I’m on set doing one of my own workouts, Tonal forces me to look deeper into who I am and what I can offer to the world. Fitness and working out reveals to me that when I want something bad enough, I have to WORK for it. It’s my life’s compass because it reminds me that change, in whatever area of your life, doesn’t come without sacrifice and if you aren’t willing to work HARD for that change, it’s time to reevaluate your direction.
What are some of your favorite workouts on Tonal?
I love the hard ones! When it comes down to it, I love anything geared toward helping my strength. True strength programming is my favorite. Lower reps, nice long breaks (haha), and a goal in mind…GET STRONGER. A few of my favs? My Making Muscle: Intermediate & Advanced. The Intermediate uses a method called Agonist Supersets and it’s so fun! The Advanced uses a Back Off set method, which is different and challenging. I mostly train with my fellow coaches, though—a few I love are Coach Jacksons Go Big or Go Home, Coach Liz’s Lean In, and Coach Paul’s How Paul Built His Body.
What’s your training style for Tonal? What kind of workouts do you create?
I want people to have a better understanding of why they are doing the movements, reps, sets and rests I prescribe. I want them to feel good knowing this program checks all the boxes for their goal. Two of my all-time favorite programs I created for Tonal are Raising the Barbell—a hypertrophy, volume-based program—and Power to The Max, a program that uses a method called Post Activation Potentiation to help increase strength and power. They are goal-specific, intentional and challenging! A mentor of mine once said that thoughtful programming is the difference between working out and training. I coach and train like an athlete, because I am an athlete. So is everyone on Tonal.
What message would you give to girls today that you wish you had growing up?
Let your freak flag fly, baby!! I want young girls to hear less about what they look like and how they should behave, and more about how they will make their mark on this world. I want girls to know they can be powerful, they can make waves, they can be loud, they can yell, they can get angry, they can nurture and love, they can be vulnerable and brave, they can have muscles and be strong. They can be whoever they want to be.