Meet the Judds….
I was super excited about doing this interview as it’s a rare kind (absolutely nothing to do with Nic being an outrageously hunky hottie!). Usually I just interview the superstar but the Judds are unique because they are very much a team.
Zoraya is the talent for sure, and my pole idol, but there’s a saying that ‘behind every great man is a strong woman’ right? well, this interview is also unique because this time I get to hear from the other side of the coin, in this case –
‘behind the great woman is her strong man.
I wanted to interview Nic because he too has made his mark in pole as being something of a super hero himself. So I wanted to find out how he has managed to dodge becoming a ‘pole widow husband’ and helped his talented wife succeed, how he maintains support and where we can get ten more like him!
All about Nic …
Tiny: Hey Nic. First of all, tell us a bit about your background, where did you grow up, what sort of lifestyle did you have as a kid?
Nic: I grew up in San Jose California. I had chronic Bronchitis, pneumonia and was asthmatic. Because of this my mother took me to swimming lessons at 18 months. I began competing when I was 4 and still have records in my home town. I swam at fundraiser events and alsongside Olympian heros.
I moved to Utah when I was about 13. Utah sits at 4500 feet above sea level making it difficult for me to swim. So I took up hockey. I skated all the way through a Junior National level and had a blast at it.
Tiny: So you were always interested in sports and fitness then huh?
Nic: Absolutely. These things were VERY important to me growing up. I love to do anything active.
Tiny: What are your top tips for guys who want to get into shape!
Eat well. Sleep well. STAY CONSISTENT.
Eat well. Sleep well. STAY CONSISTENT.
Tiny: It’s relatively clear that strength training is an area you seem to know something about, we would be very interested to know what advice you could share for strength and core training for WOMEN…who pole.
Nic: Going to the gym is great. However, I see people wondering aimlessly around, or copying others. The most important thing is to do something that’s functional for YOU. Sure, something is better than nothing. But, womens bodies are designed very different from a man. For example, women will still build muscle at 15 rep sets, where a man would NOT. Women must keep in mind what their goals are and to perform exercises that will help them in REALITY, not theory.
Tiny: I see that you studied medicine – brains and brawn! What did you want to be when you grew up?
Nic: My ultimate goal is to go into Naturopathic Medicine. Or to become a D.O. It is a MAJOR passion of mine, and something I have always been not only drawn too, but have had a gift for. But, this wasn’t a childhood goal. This came from a lot of reflection, pondering and focus on specific things and times in my life.
Tiny: So you now own a gym (Atlas) AND work as a nutritional supplement consultant too? Tell us a bit about both.
Nic: ALTAS FITNESS is a company I started when we moved to Utah. Going to the gym I saw how people had no idea what they were doing, even a majority of the trainers. I started this company as a means to educate and empower people. I wanted them to understand their bodies and how to use the gym as a tool to better their everyday lives – without needing to depend on the trainer too busy texting or checking out the gyms meat market!
As far as supplements go, I have found some that work for me and have also done amazing things for others. I became involved with a company because I saw their integrity in quality products. Because of my background I know that we can NOT get all our essential vitamins and minerals from our food alone.
But my philosophy on diet and exercise spawns from the bible. I guess *chuckle. I would rather teach a man to fish and benefit him for the rest of his existence, than to merely feed him for the moment, thus giving in to his natural desire to have something now.
Tiny: Does Zoraya help you run Atlas? How does pole fit in?
Nic: Zoraya teaches under the same philosophy of training that we have a ATLAS. We give education and understanding. If a student or client is not learning, then it is our responsibility to change our teaching methods so they do. Zoraya and I have a traditional marriage. We do everything together. We fight, and work it out. Bottom line, we are friends first and this is the foundation of our marriage.
Tiny: You and Zoraya have been sweethearts since high school yes? Did you always know this was the girl you would marry?
Nic: Actually… Zoraya and I had a ceramics class together in high school. She and I were both very shy. We always sat at the back of the class, there were no seating assignments, so you could literally sit anywhere you wanted. But, even then, we always chose to sit right by each other. There was something so fascinating about her. I was so intrigued by her, though, we never spoke. We were content with merely be close and working by each other.
When a friend of mine came to the school he and Zoraya started dateing. He was the kinda guy that would always go for the girl I was interested in. They dated for about 2 years. So meanwhile I went to New Zealand and worked as a missionary for my church. Seriously. I WAS A MINISTER. Lol. When I came home (my family had moved to California at this point) I made a trip to Utah and ran into Z. She wanted me to come with her to a family function and called me about 17 times to get me to go. To this day her family doesn’t believe me. She is the girl that called boys.
Six months later, at Christmas, I ran into Zoraya again and this time sparks flew. We spent 10 days together. Every waking moment. Two weekends after this Zoraya surprised me by driving out for the weekend. Every other weekend she would either drive or I would fly her out to me. A few months later she moved out to California. And its all pretty much history from then.
Tiny: So as pole’s ‘Brad and Angelina’ what is it like being a husband and wife team?
Nic: Other than our children, it is the biggest blessing we have. Pole is something that Zoraya was instantly passionate about. Because Zoraya is one my major passions in life, this works well. I get to be bodyguard, manager and husband. Now with Zen Arts we are also performing together. Nothing like travelling the world doing something you love at the side of your best friend.
Tiny: Do you train together?
Nic: Depending on where Zoraya is in her competions, yes and no. Remember? Its all about using the gym as a tool to make you better for your life outside the gym. But, 98% of the time we are at the gym together. This is nice fuel. Knowing she is watching.
Tiny: Do you practise pole and perform yourself?
Nic: Not like you ladies do. I like the hard things. Flags, handsprings and flexibility. As far as performing, I like to be a prop in Zoraya’s routines. I don’t need the spotlight, but I would do anything to add to hers.
Tiny: Being quietly in the forefront of a female dominated sport as special as pole, what do you make of it all? What are your thoughts? A man’s point of view…
Nic: I think it is an incredible sport for women. It is amazing what it does for an individual woman, and what it has done for so many. In exercise women need a distraction (something a friend helped me see). Doing tough work outs can be unenjoyable. But, the thrill of conquering a new move, hold or transition is a gorgeous distraction for a woman to keep pushing their bodies to new limits, not even realizing the massive workout they are getting.
The only problem I see in the industry in the jealousy. I don’t like to see public drama or hear about girls talking poorly on one another. The only thing this does is shows something ugly in that individual. I wish there were more women who would help lift those around them without a fear of someone being better. Every woman on a pole brings something different. You are all gorgeous! I wish everyone could focus more on the positives and unite in the amazingness of the sport.
Tiny: What do you have to say to the pole curious, macho non-gay men who are on the edge of trying it?
Nic: Stop being a pussy! I don’t know if men will think you’re are automatically gay for trying pole or what. But, this is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Besides, you think hetero men in our industry are having a hard time finding women? LOL.
Tiny: You and Zoraya have two boys as well? And snakes? How do you juggle family life? Do the boys get involved in health and fitness with you?
Nic: The boys are very much involved with our life. It is hard to leave them when we go on trips for work or competitions. But, when we are home life is ALL about them. They are THE most important thing in our lives. Having a family is a huge blessing. It keeps us extremely grounded. We love our pets and babies. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tiny: Will we see more from you in the future in pole? Leading a men’s only pole championships, or a he-pole dvd?
Nic: I have no intention on competing. But keep an eye out. We have some fun stuff in the works.
Tiny: Your online presence in pole shows you as a supportive rock to your talented wife and … her biggest fan! It’s a pleasure to see. What tips can you give the boyfriends of the UK (and worldwide) on how to become the ultimate HE-MAN husband Hero type?!
Love your partner. Simple as that.
I got an email from a friend who was having a hard time with his partner becoming a star in pole. He asked me how I coped with my wife being a sex symbol and out there for every man to see. I first responded by saying, “My wife is a sex symbol?” LOL. I went on to tell him that no matter what the gig was my wife always came home to ME. Other men out there are nothing but the audience, and I don’t mean to be rude or condescending by saying that. I trust my wife completely and know she loves me as much as I love her. Show her you love her by supporting her. Go to gigs. Help her train (if you can). Train with her! If she is dieting, then SO ARE YOU! Be as dedicated as she is. Let every action you take and every choice you make reflect your feeling about her.
Tiny: One last thing ….. How old are you?
Nic: What year is it? LOL. I’m 31.