Interview with Martial Artist & Bodybuilder “Ninja” Nancy Lefebvre

"Ninja" Nancy Lefebvre

When camera shutters start clicking, the phenomenal athlete Nancy Lefebvre — better known to throngs of female muscle and martial arts enthusiasts as Ninja Nancy — becomes a scene-stealing sensation the likes of which few can top. Longtime fans on the studio will no doubt remember her capturing the spotlight in this small but dazzling set of images from the Arnold expo in 2008. That was just a sample.

Today, the multi-talented brunette beauty is back and better than ever, headlining a new photoshoot loaded with enough entertaining features to carry two slots — mixed and matched armwrestling, lift & carry tandems, impressive side by side comparisons, muscle measurements and plenty of spirited flexing generously dotted with delightful aplomb. And we haven’t even gotten to the video yet!

But of course, there’s more to this stunning 25-year-old star than the alternating sexy glances, disarming smiles and intense stares that flash in front of the lens. Nancy has been an accomplished martial artist since she was a teenager and after some time away from the sport is looking at returning to the MMA scene shortly. In addition, the strapping native of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania has a natural bodybuilding contest and possibly a wrestling gig in her plans for later this fall.

Nancy generously discusses all this and more in our interview. She also shares a scoop about being a finalist in the Arnold Classic Best Body contest, the winner of which will appear in an upcoming issue of Muscle & Body Magazine. We want to be able to say we helped her win so please click on this link and vote for her — she’s the one flexing biceps!

Ninja Nancy casts her signature fierce -- and seductive -- stare at the Arnold in '08.

Dean: Nancy, one of your most recognized athletic distinctions is that you are a highly skilled mixed martial artist and instructor. When did you start and could you explain a little about the disciplines and styles you compete in and coach? What are some accomplishments and awards you’ve won?

Nancy: I am a 2nd degree black belt going on 3rd in Taekwondo. I started when I was 12 and did that until I was 20. I started teaching at the age of 16. When I was 18, I became #1 in my region and top ten for worlds in weapons. I also practiced Okinawa karate and jujitsu for a bit when I was 17 till age 21 and was considered a 1st dan (blackbelt) in that and helped to teach as well. I am now starting to take MMA which I have to retrain my old habits!

Dean: Judging by the fierce expressions you have in some pictures, it seems that you could be a very intimidating competitor from the moment someone sees you. Have you ever been able to psych-out anyone before a fight this way, or is your tremendous height and strength enough to make opponents nervous?

Nancy: [laughs] Yes. When I would spar my classmates, they would always comment on my facial expressions and they were a bit scared. Even the board holders would become scared and say a little prayer before I would break the boards.

Dean: Can you recall any details from some particularly challenging or important matches that you’ve had? How did you get the nickname Ninja Nancy?

Looking Up: At six-feet tall, the martial artist and bodybuilder's strong, towering physique dominates the frame.

Nancy: To be honest I can’t recall any challenging matches. I just remember the day I beat one of my old judges in weapons! That felt great since she was 2 degrees higher in rank than I was at the time.

The nickname Ninja Nancy came from when I had to choose an aol AIM name. I came across an old paper I had done in 2nd grade where you had to put a noun beside each letter in your name. So for “N,” I put “Ninja.” Ninja Nancy seemed like a good aol aim, and before I realized it everyone at school, work, etc started calling me that.

Dean: What inspired you to start training in the gym? Were you involved in other sports while growing up?

Nancy: I have always been attracted to muscle since the age of 4. Then I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle [laughs]. I purchased my first pair of 8lb dumbbells when I was 11. It wasn’t until the age of 16 when I met a natural bodybuilder in kickboxing class that I started getting involved in lifting.

I tried softball, basketball, etc, however I always wanted to do martial arts. I actually did wrestling when I was in 2nd grade, but when I made a girl cry I felt so bad and never went back!

Dean: Which muscles would you say are your strongest and are there any you are targeting to improve?

Nancy: Well bodybuilding wise, my biceps and calves seem to always beat my competitors. I am trying to grow my delts and quads upon which have grown and improved since my last competition in September of 2006.

Nice Try: Even two hands isn't enough against the Ninja.

Dean: Speaking about your photoshoot, I’m sure our fans are impressed with your ability to perform those strength moves — arm wrestling, lift & carry — like you did with a lovely smile at the Arnold. You looked like a super-strong, super-fit princess during that shoot! Did you ever get tired? Does showing off your strength this way make you feel more empowered?

Nancy: Thank you! I did get a little bit tired but not much. I was carrying around heavy bags all day at the Arnold before the shoot. It does empower me when I know I am giving my fans what they want and that I am doing it steroid-free and on my own.

Dean: Have you ever competed in or thought about competing in a fitness or figure show?

Nancy: Yes. I used to do runway modeling, and I do enjoy getting all done up, however walking in hooker shoes is rare for me because I’m already 6-feet tall! My physique is perhaps more made for figure due to the long muscles vs short stocky ones. I would want to do a bicep pose though which wouldn’t be good [laughs].

Dean: It says on your myspace page that you are a college student and also an aspiring actress. What fields are you studying at school and what kinds of things are you looking to do in acting? Do you have any other ambitions you could share?

Nancy: Looks like it’s time to update myspace! I graduated with a business degree and just last summer my massage therapy degree. I took acting in high school and college but not towards any degree.

I would love to get into action films or even better professional wrestling for WWE!

As far as the degree/certifications go, I am leaning towards having my own wellness center/gym. I would love to target families who suffer from obesity.

Dean: What does the rest of your athletic calendar look like? Are there any other contests or expos that you are planning to attend or any MMA tournaments you are competing in later this year? Do you have any other photoshoots coming up or launching a website?

All Smiles: Nancy has some fun with a posedown during her 2010 shoot.

Nancy: Due to some circumstances that came up, I was unable to compete this spring/summer. However, my client and I are looking to compete this fall for battle for the swords OCB or NPC Natural in Pittsburgh. This summer I may fly out to Florida to give wrestling a try.

I am currently a finalist for the Arnold Classic magazine! Go to www.muscleandbodymag.com to vote for me! I will be shooting soon for DIYmuscle.com so fans can see me in the off season. Photos from this year’s Arnold should be posted soon on herbiceps.com and athleticwomenmagazine.com. I hope to have a website of my own soon!

Dean: Nancy, thanks so much for doing this interview! I hope you enjoyed it and we can catch up again. Is there anything else you can share about yourself that fans might not know, or any shout outs you want to give to those close to you who have helped motivate you?

Nancy: Thanks, it was fun! I am so thankful for the good people in my life and the wonderful, inspiring fans that motivate me every day. After the Arnold I was in a car wreck and my baby (custom ‘98 WS6 Trans Am) is never going to be the same due to the custom paint. It is currently in the shop. Then my mother was very ill in the hospital a week after that. Needless to say my diet and training suffered, but because of my fans and the great people God has put into my life, I am back at it.

Strength is not just on the outside, it comes from within. A blackbelt is not just something you earn, not just something you wear, but something you become.

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~ by Dean Sucich on May 10, 2010.

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