Start off by telling us about yourself and your journey so far!
I am the owner of Optimum Training Centre, Editor-In-Chief of NL Women’s Magazine, transformation specialist and fitness expert, personal trainer, published cover model, fitness competitor, motivational speaker, and a proud Mom of 4 young boys. 3 years ago, I resigned from my 15-year career as a police officer to pursue my love of health and fitness.
How did you get into fitness?
Fitness has always been part of my life. I used to be a competitive kickboxer and boxer. But when I got married and started a family, I found the demand for training for a fight was far too much. I went to watch my best friend compete in a fitness competition and decided to pursue that sport because the training could be done on my own time.
What's your fitness specialty?
I love weight training but if I had to pick a specialty, it would definitely be kickboxing and kettlebell training.
What's your preferred style of encouragement?
Tough love and being told to try harder.
What would you recommend to someone that is new to the city, or working out, in terms of meeting and connecting with others?
Hit up a gym that offers a great community vibe. Group classes and small group training are a great way to connect with others. Join a social media network or a group on who you can interact with. Those interested in the same things as you so you can support one another and stay accountable to each other. Searching Google for areas near your location is always a great way to find gyms, studios, places to try. Some have introductory specials or free classes that you can try to see if you like it before committing.
How do you track fitness goals?
I keep a journal to track my eating habits as well and record my workout progress. It helps me stay focused and organized. I also use progress pictures along the way. It helps me visualize and objectively see my progress. I wear the same clothes each time and try to take them at the same time of the day.
What is the best way to check out your work and provide support?
Personal (Fitness): www.nichellelaus.com
My Gym: www.otctoronto.com
My Online Magazine: www.nlwomensmag.com
Who are your fitness icons/mentors/heroes/inspiration?
Strong women (and I don’t mean only physically) inspire me. Those who have been through adversity, and hardship and still manage to come out on top. Watching their journey inspires me because I know how hard they are working to make it happen despite the obstacles they face.
What is your favorite food?
A nice hot stew. It has a bit of everything and is so tasty and comforting.
What’s your go-to song or artist at the gym?
Anything current and hip hip most of the time, although I can go from hip-hop to rock in roll, or alternative rock depending on my mood.
What are three interesting facts about you?
1. I need to sleep with a noise maker or a fan on.
2. I was born with one club thumb, also called “toe” thumbs that I am somewhat self-conscious of. The medical term for it is called “Brachydactyly type D”.
3. My first “real job” was a computer programmer for an insurance company.
What is your greatest achievement and how has it shaped you?
That’s a tough question because all the different hats I wear have been major achievements in my life and have each brought me life experiences that have all shaped and molded me into the person I am today. I am grateful for all my struggles and obstacles because, without them, I would not be who I am today, a strong woman, wife, and mother.
If you could master one skill you do not have, what would it be?
I have always loved languages. I would love to have the ability to speak and translate in many languages. It would allow me to communicate more effectively with people around the world, and open so many other doors of opportunity, collaboration, and exploration.
PERSONAL WORKOUT – Kettlebell Circuit
Go at your own pace. Perform each exercise one after the other with little or no rest in between. Once you complete the circuit, rest 1-2 minutes and repeat it as many times as you have time for.
20 Kettlebell Swings
10 Kettlebell Snatches (each side)
10 Around the Worlds (each side)
15 Goblet Squats
10 Kettlebell Tricep Extensions
10 Kettlebell Bicep Curls (each side)
20 Kettlebell Deadbugs
Photography by Dave Laus