Monday, February 29, 2016

PHAT CAMP WITH NICOLE WILKINS!

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending Phat Camp with Nicole Wilkins in Burlington, NC.  For those of you who don't know, Nicole Wilkins is a 4x Figure Olympia Champion and she looks like this:
Amazing, right?  I've been following Nicole on social media for about a year now and I subscribe to her monthly membership where I can view Nicole's workout videos and Q&A Sessions.  If you're serious about building your physique (or you're passionate about fitness, like me), I highly recommend subscribing to her online membership (www.nicolewilkins.com).  

Throughout the year, Nicole travels around the world and brings together a large group of women who share the same passion for fitness.  These "Phat Camps" were originally created by fellow fitness celebrity Jen Hendershott and now Nicole Wilkins has taken the helm.  If you're unfamiliar with Phat Camp, perhaps this quick video will help explain what it's all about: Phat Camp Promo Video

The closest Phat Camp to me (I live in the DC Metro area) was in Burlington, NC (about a 4.5-hour drive).  One of my fellow fitness friends joined me on the trek to NC and we had so much fun!  Below is a layout of the weekend.

Friday
Registration began at 4:30pm.  We checked in at Get Phit Studio which happens to be where Jen Hendershott trains her clients!  I had no idea what to expect when walking into that studio but my nerves were put at ease quickly since Nicole Wilkins was right there at the registration desk ready to HUG each and every camp participant!  She was so friendly and personable!  Another bonus was all the freebies we received upon arrival...check out this loot:
I'm not a huge fan of supplements but I can always use a new bag (not really, but who doesn't love getting new bags?) and I'm so psyched over the food scale!  I now use it regularly and I'm wondering how I ever lived without it!

Once everyone was registered and gathered in the studio gym, we had a brief introductory session where we were introduced to Nicole's assistant (and best friend) Maureen Ashley (IG: @moefitness).  I also had a chance to get my picture taken with Nicole:
Then there was a Giveaway (yay!) that included t-shirts, 6-Pack Bags, and coupons from Egg Whites International.  Unfortunately, I didn't win anything but it was fun anyway!

Then it was time for Boot Camp!  We did about an hour of light group fitness - mostly agility work.  We were divided into 6 small groups and had fun with various fitness "games".  After Boot Camp, we were free to leave the studio.  This is one reason why it's fun to do these types of camps with a friend.  Not only do you save money when you sign up as a pair, but you'll also have a buddy to hang out with in the off-hours.  No meals are included in Phat Camp so my friend and I walked over to a restaurant right next to our hotel.  Overall, Friday was light and easy.  I barely broke a sweat during Boot Camp but I enjoyed the workout and basked all night in the glory of meeting Nicole. 

Saturday
Saturday morning started at 10am.  At this particular Phat Camp, there were about 60 women so we broke into two groups of 30.  One group did an hour of cardio while the other group did an hour of strength training...and then we switched.  One thing that I learned at camp was that Phat Campers hate cardio!  Wow, was there a lot of moaning and groaning!  Lol!  But there was also sarcasm peppered throughout the cardio session.  At the end of the hour, one camper asked, "Is sex considered cardio?" Another camper chimed in to answer, "It is...if you do it right!"  Nuff said.

The cardio was completed outside (hooray for nice weather!) and we did a lot of running.  I hardly ever go running so this was a little different for me.  Perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much.  If all I did for cardio is run on a treadmill or exhaust myself on a step mill, I'd hate cardio too!  I'm so glad that I have a ton cardio options in my home including my spin bike and HUGE workout DVD library!

When my cardio group swapped places with the other group, we found ourselves inside the studio and did an hour of circuit training.  We were broken down into small groups and each group worked at their station for about a minute.  There were 6 stations and we did a few rounds at each station, with each round containing a different set of exercises.  The only downside was that there were limited hand weights available so if you wanted to do an Overhead Press with 20's, you may have been stuck with 10's if you didn't grab the heavier ones fast enough.  It was a fun hour though and I felt like I had thoroughly worked each muscle in a "Push" fashion.  In a Push/Pull rotation, all Push movements include Shoulders, Chest, and Triceps (Nicole added in some Core as well).

After an hour-long lunch break, we gathered in the studio for a Q&A Session with Nicole and if there's anything I can say about this part of the weekend, it's that Nicole is an OPEN BOOK!  I love how she's willing to answer ALL questions posed to her.  I admire her honesty and I found the session to be quite helpful.  While there were several questions asked about various training techniques, the majority of the session centered around Nutrition.

After the Q&A Session, we drove (in our own cars) to a local gym and focused on "Pull" exercises for Back and Biceps.  Again, we were broken down into two groups of 30 and while the cardio group used the various cardio machines, the strength group tackled every machine that we could get our hands on!  It was actually quite fun.  We each grabbed a partner and while one person worked on a machine (all Back exercises), the other person did Bicep Curls.  There were quite a few stations and our Backs and Biceps were thoroughly worked after an hour!  So, two hours of strength and cardio in the morning and two more hours of strength and cardio in the afternoon...yeah, it was an awesome day of fitness!

We finished up around 4pm and since this camp was a little smaller than most (actually called a "Retreat" instead of "Camp"), we were invited to join Nicole and her crew at a local restaurant.  We had enough time to return to our hotel to freshen up and then we took over a corner of the restaurant and got to know each other a little more.  Nicole also made a point to sit down with each table for a nice chat.  During most of the meal, my friend and I got into a discussion with some of the campers that are either in the midst of competing or are about to begin their contest prep.  It was amazing to see the amount of detail and effort that has to be placed on their diets.  It definitely requires a lot of discipline!

Sunday
On Sunday, we were back at the studio but our hour-long cardio session took place on a shortened outdoor track.  It was actually quite fun since I don't normally train on a track.  But, as mentioned earlier, there was a bit of grumbling from the campers.  Very anti-cardio!  As we all know, cardio plays an important role in a well-rounded training program...so it must be done ladies!

Usually Nicole inserts another Q&A Session right after the morning cardio workout but we were all on a high after the track runs so she decided instead to lead us through an hour-long workout for LEGS!  We all grabbed one heavy weight and did Squats, Lunges, Curtsy Lunges, Glute Bridges, etc.  It was a great way to conclude the workout portion of the weekend.  After a quick lunch break, Nicole conducted a tutorial on competition posing.  This was an optional session that utterly fascinated me.  I did not participate (happy to be a spectator on the sidelines) but posing is more difficult than it looks!  It was nice to see so many women stand in front of a large group with complete confidence and allow Nicole to mold their bodies into the perfect pose.  Kudos to all of the women who will take their improved poses to the stage this year!

One final Q&A Session wrapped up a fun and exciting weekend.  I have so many positive things to say about Phat Camp.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fitness.  You don't have to be a competitor to benefit from a program like Phat Camp.  There were quite a few campers who came alone and while you will indeed meet other fitness friends, I would suggest you grab a friend and have them join you!  One thing is for sure, when you gather a bunch of women together in a fitness environment, like a Phat Camp, you are surrounded by the most supportive and inspirational women!  There's no bitchiness, cliques, or cattiness.  Nothing but positive vibes floating around Phat Camp!

Do I have anything negative to say about Phat Camp?  Yeah, I do...but nothing that would deter me from attending another Phat Camp.  I was a little disappointed that the studio where we spent most of our time only have one bathroom.  Yes, ONE.  For all 60+ of us!  I think future camps at the Burlington location should include a Porta Potty (or two).  There was also only one microwave which brings me to the food situation.  Upon registering for Phat Camp, we were encouraged to order our meals from Icon Meals.  Unfortunately, the ordering process wasn't very clear and some campers didn't receive their food (because their orders were shipped to their homes instead of to the studio).  I actually liked the Icon Meals that I ordered but I don't like their Customer Service nor did I like having to wait in line for 30 minutes to use the ONE microwave available.  Even though the Icon Meals themselves are relatively inexpensive, the cost of shipping is ridiculous ($30+). If I attend another Phat Camp, I'll just bring my own meals (perhaps the kind of meals that can be consumed without needing any re-heating).  But seriously, those are my only complaints.  The fun had over the weekend far outweighs the inconvenience of bathroom or microwave use (or lack thereof).

So, if you're considering Phat Camp with Nicole Wilkins, I say GO FOR IT!  You'll meet one of the most amazing women in the fitness industry and I'm so honored to have had the opportunity to workout with her.  And how hilarious is her assistant, Maureen?  Trust me - she's VERY entertaining and I enjoyed chatting with her as well.

Here are some more pics from the weekend:



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