Rising Star : Nikki Piwowar Talks With Mindandmuscle.com

Nikki Tricep Pushdowns

Quick Stats:

Age: 24

Height: 5’ 1.5”

Weight: 128 lbs


How did you get started with bodybuilding?


When I was 16, I started working as a lifeguard at a recreation center in my hometown. One of my coworkers was really into weight training and since I was starting to get bored with just dancing and running to keep myself in good health, I figured I would give it a shot and try it. Once I started lifting I fell in love with it. About a year after I had found this new love, though, I, unfortunately, had a loss in my family. When I was 17 my dad had passed of a massive heart attack. It took a toll on my family and I slowly started to fade away from lifting and just use running and dance as my way of coping for my heavy heart. Once I graduated high school, I started to hang around the wrong crowd and thought that partying was more important than my health. I felt like crap all of the time and even though I ran I just never felt good about myself, until one day in one of my physical education classes in college I was told about how to become a personal trainer and that it would be so rewarding helping people and prevent them and their families from suffering any heart/ health issues before it took their life.


Fast forward to the age of 21, after becoming a trainer I learned that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, that people weren’t as excited about health and fitness like myself. I knew that I needed to find a way to get people excited about working out and training. After exploring my resources and creating new programs, I slowly realized that it’s not just my programs for clients that needed some reinventing, but also my own training. That was when the fire was reignited for my love of lifting. I started focusing my own lifts on gaining muscle versus just going through the motions to maintain what I had. I loved the muscle that I was able to put on over time so quickly and it started to become addicting. Not only was I getting noticed for my muscle growth, but I was also getting more credibility from others which in turn helped people trust me with their bodies and eventually motivate them to move.  At this point, I decided I wanted to go to the next level for building my body and started to look into body building.



Where does your motivation come from?


That’s a tough question to answer to be honest, as I sit here typing this I can think of multiple reasons why I am motivated to do what I love to do. The first being my father. Growing up my father was always a very competitive individual when it came to sports. He just loved watching my siblings and I compete and to really push ourselves to the limit. And I could see just how proud of us he was when we gave 110% into something that he knew we loved and were passionate about. So for that reason knowing my father is constantly watching makes me want to make him proud.


Another reason is for my friends, family, and clients. When you ask someone about their dream, typically they either talk about it and explain how they are going to achieve that dream and make it a reality someday, but it never really happens. When I lift, I know I am working towards my dreams and want to become more than just a chick with muscles. Sure I could just compete here and there, say I’m a body builder and leave it at that, but I’m not truly working towards my dreams. I want to prove to everyone that even someone who is an average individual with a crazy goal in life can make it happen and possibly inspire them to change the way they look at a dream and to get their butt in gear to achieve it and see that anything is possible. Knowing that there are people out there who look up to me as a fitness role model inspires and motivates me to keep on pushing.


Lastly, the person who I once was is one of the most motivational tools I have. When I decided to party at a very young age and to try to drown my sorrows in unhealthy habits, I truly disliked the individual I had become. And looking back on it from where I stand now, I honestly am so lucky and blessed that I was able to pull away from that lifestyle before it took a turn for the worst. Realizing that it would be so easy for me to just turn to that way of life again and to just take the easy road motivates and drives me to keep my head up, don’t look to the past and to just keep moving forward to be the best individual I know I can be.



What workout routine has worked best for you? 


The type of routine that has worked for me thus far is 10-12 reps with moderately heavy to heavy weight. With my genetics, I am lucky enough to be able to put on good solid muscle quickly with little cardio needed.


  • Super set chin ups and dumbbell pullovers 10r/4s
  • T-bar row 10r/3s
  • Reverse grip bent rows 8r/3s
  • Super set wide grip and close grip seated rows 10r/4s
  • Close grip pulldowns 10r/7s (45 sec rest)
  • EZ bar curls 10r/7s (45 sec rest)
  • Rope Crunches 20r/5s

Nikki Pullups


If you had to pick only 3 exercises what would they be and why?


Seated close grip cable row, dumbbell shoulder press, and hamstring curl machine are what I would say are my 3 strongest lifts, so, of course, they are all my favorite! I like doing seated close grip row because I can really feel the contraction of my lats when I move the weight toward me and I can get a good stretch as I come back to the negative of the lift. My shoulders were the weakest point on my body for the longest time. Once I started to work with CJ though, that wasn’t the case anymore. Because my left shoulder bothers me on every other shoulder movement it can become discouraging to want to lift my shoulders some days. But I decided to push past this and focus on using shoulder press to increase my strength and as it turns out, my shoulder isn’t much of a problem anymore. So with this being the case, I really enjoy doing shoulder press!


The last lift that I put was hamstring leg curl. Growing up I have always had stronger legs, being less than 5’2”, typically that just comes with the territory. What I have learned with girls legs when it comes to figure competitors is that having well-built hamstrings can either make or break you. As much as I first hated doing hamstring curls almost every single leg day (Thanks, CJ), I started to really appreciate the movement and how efficiently and quickly they have built up my hamstrings.

Nikki Pulldowns


What is your diet like? 


Because of the fact that I was primarily trying to put on muscle, my caloric intake was much higher in the offseason than what it is during prep for a competition. Also, my carbohydrate intake is higher in the offseason and slowly decreases the closer I get to a show and eventually turns into carb cycling.


Here is a sample of my off season diet:


Meal 1:

egg whites

whole eggs

green veggies

Ezekiel bread

Meal 2:

Large salad mixed greens

lean turkey or chicken or fish

coconut oil

Light dressing

Meal 3:

greek yogurt


Meal 4:


green veggies

lean beef, turkey, chicken or fish

Meal 5:


mixed berries

Meal 6:

oatmeal squares

almond milk

Meal 7:

rice cakes

peanut butter

Meal 8:

casein protein

Intra workout:


Post workout:

APS Isomorph Whey Isolate

ripe banana

glazed donuts


When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?


When trying to cut down, I prefer normal cardio. As much as I love the fact that I only have to do 8 min of HIIT cardio before my leg day and that its done and over with fast, I like having the longer cardio bouts to allow myself to reflect on my day or to get a kick start of energy before I have to go to work, or to force myself to study for an exam I have later in the week!

Nikki RDLs


What is your supplementation like?


For my supplementation, I usually keep it very simple. In the morning, I take a multi-vitamin and my omega-3s as well as milk thistle for my liver health. For my shakes, I typically use APS Isomorph 28 Pure Whey Isolate. For my BCAAs during my workout I have been using Mind and Muscle Intra Fuse and for my fat burner , I have been using Mind and Muscle T2 fat burner.


Favorite Quote?


“Train hard, Have fun.” Which is a quote that my dad used to tell us before a game when we were young. Even though he would tell us to play had and have fun, I put it in the context of lifting knowing he would be happy with it either way.

post-workout recovery

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