Interview with Figure Competitor Nicoleta Chiorean

Muscle in the Mirror: Nicoleta strikes a pose during her photoshoot at the Arnold Sports Festival in March.

Recently, I caught up with enchanting European figure girl Nicoleta Chiorean and she generously shared some thoughts and insights on her intriguing fitness journey. For instance, although athletic early on, this future star didn’t start weight training for figure until a few years ago and was teased when she did. But just look at her now.

Today, Nicoleta’s considerable accomplishments — from becoming a personal trainer and opening her own gym in Ireland, to winning the Irish Figure Nationals, to sharing the stage with other world-class competitors at the Arnold this year — have made her an influential instructor of fitness and a championship-caliber physique athlete.

A girl who once thought of herself as too skinny to pursue such a physically demanding new sport has proved stronger than she knew, debunking cynics who chided her along the way and inspiring newcomers to take on the dream.

Still a youngster by figure standards at only 30-years-old, the fetching and fit Nicoleta — a shapely, 5-foot-3 bundle of feminine muscle and curves (105 pounds in contest shape, 125 off season) with luminous blonde highlights, 13½ inch biceps and 14 inch calves — is in the best shape of her life and aiming to get better.

We’re going to be seeing plenty more of Nicoleta, so it’s time we get to know more about one of our beautiful new international talents…

Strong Core: In this dramatic shot, the brick wall in the background supplies a visual analogue for Nicoleta’s chiseled abs.

Nicoleta: “First of all I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

Dean: You’re welcome, Nicoleta. I’m delighted at the chance to interview you. Have you always been athletic, fit, muscular?

Nicoleta: “I actually never thought I’d become a bodybuilder because I was very slim (100lbs before I started to train) except my legs. I always had muscles on my legs.”

Dean: Did you play any sports when you were younger?

Nicoleta: “I did a lot of sport when I was younger like tennis, swimming, athletics, dancing, basketball; actually I used to do sport instead of playing or watching TV like other kids since I was really young.”

Dean: When did you start lifting weights and what made you keep going at it?

Nicoleta: “I started to do weights in 2005 just to maintain my look.”

Dean: What inspired you to become a figure competitor?

Nicoleta: “I started competing by mistake I could say. I used to go to bodybuilding competitions with my husband who is a bodybuilder too. I liked the way figure girls look and wished I could look like them one day, but I was sure that I could never achieve that because I was too old to start a sport and too skinny.

Girl Power: Asked about armwrestling, Nicoleta said, “I did it once with a guy from high school and I won! Poor guy, everybody laughed at him.”

“Then a person in my gym suggested that I could be a good figure competitor and that made me think about it but unfortunately everyone else started to laugh at me when they heard about it. This made me do it. Also I met a few bodybuilders and realized that bodybuilding is just an illusion and that you might be slim but look big enough on stage. After one year of training, I won the Irish Nationals.”

Dean: Do most people in your country react differently to women with a muscular physique?

Nicoleta: “Unfortunately, people in Ireland are totally against bodybuilders and they can’t get it. I own a gym now and sometimes I have women who are size 18, for example, and they come to me and they say, ‘I don’t want to look like you if I train here and I don’t want to get as big as you.’ Hello! I’m size 6 when I’m competing and 8 in off season! Another time I gave an interview on the radio and the women asked me how do I cope with the fact that men find me unattractive? And so on…”

Dean: Unattractive?! Nothing could be further from the truth! Could you try to explain what it means to you as a woman to have such a healthy look and strong muscles?

Hot Pink: The European figure champ shows off her contest-shape physique.

Nicoleta: “Thanks for your compliments! To be honest with you, I never thought of this; I am used to the way I am and I don’t realize that I am different than other people. The only time I realized a bit maybe was when I turned 30 this January and I thought, ‘Well, you look better than you looked when you were 20 except the dark lines under your eyes,’ so it’s not too bad.”

Dean: What would you say are your strongest body parts?

Nicoleta: “I think my strongest parts are my back, abs and shoulders; or they used to be before I started to train different because I heard you have to be smaller and softer for IFBB figure competitions.”

Dean: Do you have any competitions coming up?

Nicoleta: “I meant to go to Europeans in April, but after Arnold Classic in March I felt like I need a break. I used to compete in other federations (I was second at the 2009 NAC World Championships in Holland and fourth at the couples with my husband). I need to realize what are they really looking for in IFBB because it’s different.

“Also, I looked at the photos of last year’s winners at European, Worlds and Arnold Classic and they look very different. In Europe, girls are more conditioned than in America. I have to wait and see in which direction figure is going because at the moment I am a bit confused. So until I decide which show to do next I have to focus on improving my look. I am sure I won’t be able to stay too long without competing though.”

Dean: Likewise, we won’t be able to wait too long without seeing you on the stage, Nicoleta! Best of luck and I hope we can catch up again.

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~ by Dean Sucich on April 21, 2010.

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