Our next guest has been involved in both the Canadian and the US fitness industry for many years. She has been passionate about training and fitness since early childhood. In addition to her passions she’s now involved in various fitness projects, everywhere from tv-productions, to personal training and coaching.
Thereby, let us welcome Nancy Di Nino AKA “The Redstorm” for an interview on Beyond the Stage!
Deputy Superintendent Operations/Fitness Expert/Media Personality, Personal Trainer
Height: 5’4 ft / 162 cm
Contest background: North American Nationals – Pro Qualifier , 3rd Figure Masters, 6th Figure – B
RM: Nancy, do you remember the first time you went to work out in a gym and what that experience was like?
ND: Oh yes..see I was a competitive gymnast growing up so the training and conditioning was quite intense. By age 6 I was already doing almost 1000 sit ups a night, pull ups and sitting in splits. As most know, a gymnastics career span is short-lived and if not in the Olympics by 16 you are almost too old, so at 15 years old my cousin brought me to sign up for my first membership and instantly my love affair started,” Now I got to work out with machines!”..(not use my own body weight or a balance bean for training). It was an instant love to be able to mould my body using the free weights and machines. And I loved that at 15 years old I could beat most of the boys in an arm wrestler LOL.
RM: What got you eventually hooked into the fitness culture?
ND: As part of my gymnastic training, included dance training, and once retiring from gymnastics I took on my dance more seriously whereby I studied hip hop, Salsa and Latin Ballroom Dancing. My love for Salsa dancing allowed me to become a Professional Salsa dancer and part of a professional dance company where we had the fortunate opportunity to be invited to perform at the Bacardi World Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico. (Similar to an invite to compete at the Arnold Classic). I love dancing …it sets my soul free. During this time I still kept my gymnastics conditioning and I was approached by someone in the gym who suggested that I try fitness competitions since I already had the conditioning from gymnastics and such an entertaining dance background. When I initially heard the suggestion, I laughed and thought there was no way I could get my “booty” to look like those girls on stage. That person said to me…”are you saying you can’t”…And that was all the ammunition I needed to set foot on stage….never challenge me to the word “can’t” Once I graced the stage for the first time, I was addicted and so were the fans around me.
RM: Where do you see bodybuilding and fitness developing in 20 years from now?
ND: Hmmm that is a hard one, well I think and hope it will go back to the days of the early 70’s and 80s’s, mirroring the physique’s of Corey Everson, a much more healthy and marketable look. For awhile the girls were getting way too big and hard. Fortunately with the introduction of Bikini, this swayed the whole industry from on stage to the publications to want to promote a more attainable, healthy and marketable physique that the general masses could relate to. Also with this generation that lives off on Internet, I see the industry professionals specifically Magazines, not being able to generate the revenue through print any longer, and they are the ones taking the hardest hit.
RM: How often do you train a week and how would you describe your training philosophy?
ND: My training regime is ever-changing depending on what I am getting ready for. It is pretty intense regardless of whether I am training for a show, photo shoot or appearance. I like to always maintain a physique that is fit, marketable and model friendly, in so that I am able to cater my physique to whatever projects or goals pop up whether it be a competition or modeling assignments in either the fitness, urban or Latin industries. Yes I am a two-timer! I like to have the best of both worlds. (wink! wink!) Now that I am no longer competing ( never say never though), I have altered my training to training, smarter ..not necessarily harder. Its not about spending hours in the gym or on a cardio machine like I used to up to 2.5 hours a day. Now I train 5-6 days a week using a HIIT- High Intensity Interval Principles coupled with Plyometric training. Short bursts of sprints is a must for me whether on the track, skipping, or through plyos. There is no need for me to train heavy weights any longer. I do lighter weights with higher reps to maintain conditioning. Ironically most people are killing themselves to put on muscle whereby I am doing my best to maintain or even lose muscle especially in my legs. I carry a lot of muscle that was developed over the years from my competitive gymnastics and dance. I will have the odd heavy day but for the most part I am gasping for breath throughout my entire workout with very little rest in between sets/reps. Sometimes my reps are up to and between 20-40 reps per exercise.
RM: If you could change something in the fitness industry what would that be?
RM: Okay, so someone was reading my mind because this a question that surfaces my thoughts quite often. That’s easy ! My number #1 pet peeve over the last 10 years is the inequality financial rewards and working opportunities between men and woman athletes. It still amazes me that both a male or female competing will put the same dedication and commitment into preparing for a contest. They each will equally prepare their meals, follow their diets, train balls to the wall, yet the women will make not even close to 50 percent of what the men make on stage. Look at the Olympia and the Arnold , the 2 most prestigious shows in the world. The winner of Arnold Classic will make over $150,000 dollars take home a Rolex watch, and a hummer, however, the women combined in each of the respective categories of Bodybuilding, Physique, Fitness, Figure and Bikini will not even amount to what the winner makes. Even the top 5 bodybuilders make more then what the women make. Sorry, that hits me like a bad rash when most women can’t even make enough to cover the cost of their hair, makeup and suit that often runs over 1500 dollars. Trust me I have been there. The same goes with sponsorships. The men are getting $50-100,000 dollar sponsorships where the women can barely break 10,000. And then we go to the judging, it can often be quite subjective, and varies from show to show, year to year, federation to federation. Too lean…not lean enough… too muscular…not toned enough….There is a large window for interpretation that you never really know exactly what the judges are looking for. So you can only present yourself as your own personal art structure and hope they like what you’ve cultivated.
RM: Nancy, please Name three goals you have in the future:
ND: To always create a better version of me. I am an innovated and like to create new projects.
I would like to continue to have a prominent voice in the media by landing a solid assignment or radio or television branching into the TV/Radio Entertainment industries.
ET..Watch out here I come. Your host….I also want to continue to inspire those around me in everything I do. I think of people like Betty White and she her near 90 years of age is still a fan favourite…and I hope I can continue to leave such a lasting impression and influence on people.
Remember I am one who likes to think outside the box of life…so if God chooses to have those wonderful things happen , they happen, and if they don’t then I had another plan and another path to follow….I see myself as the Madonna of the industry..I tell it like it is and always lookiing to reinvent the wheel someway or another 🙂
RM: Would you like to tell us about your new fitness management project Bravado?
ND: Bravado Marketing & Management assists models and athletes with personal and professional career development. Bravado’s services will help define your goals, create a strong artist presentation for yourself, and act on the most effective strategies in doing so. Services include social media marketing strategies, brand identity, email campaigns, increasing your exposure, press and media kits and networking with industry professionals. Sometimes, aspiring models/athletes need to be directed and referenced into “the right hands” of people in “the scene”. I started Bravado after realizing that many models and athletes, whether brand new , veteran, amateur or pro, lacked the essential skills to marketing themselves and therefore needed direction on how to do so. The perception is once you enter the industry and win a couple of show that you will be summoned with an influx of opportunities, which is on the contrary. Opportunities don’t just present themselves but rather you need to develop the skills and a plan of action to seeking your goals.
RM: Time for the round-up, if there is anyone you want to mention or something you might want to add please feel free to do so.
I am really looking forward to 2015! Being part of the IFFB Pro League and NPC/OPA is like family. I have just finished up a few photo shoots and RM is getting some of those photos hot off the press! LOL I am already busy with work assignments.
I love to be in front of the camera and I am really focusing on TV and Radio assignments at ths point. Where ever it takes me it will be a red carpet affair. I do know that whatever it is I am doing I want to continue to have a front line influence on helping and inspiring people . It gives me such a great feeling knowing I have made a difference in others. I think I may have to tell Oprah to move over..just kidding! Hosting is wonderful. I am the media personality for the Toronto Pro Super show which I am looking forward to as it’s like a smaller version of the Arnold or the Olympia.
Nancy, thank you for participating in this interview with Rising Muscle and Beyond the Stage. We are really looking forward to seeing more from you in the future and wish you all the best with your new projects! Team RM
Modelling pictures: Paul Buceta
Picture with Candice Lewis: Chris Nicoll.