Motivation Monday: Nicole Ari Parker chats about everything from fitness to love

It's time for your Monday motivation! Last Friday I posted the first half of my interview with actress and business woman Nicole Ari Parker about her new venture, Save Your Do gym wrap.  Nicole was such a fun interview and she had great perspective on being a mom, a wife and a fitness lover.

Nicole recently competed in a IFBB tournament and placed first in two categories of the Pro Figure Bikini competition.  I wanted to know what she learned about herself by working on this goal.  One of the first things she said was how gratifying the entire process was to go through.  We live in an age where everyone wants the quick fix whether it be surgery, creative massages or a pill.  Nicole worked it butt off literally stating,"when I saw the butt in my picture after 14 weeks compared to the butt of the woman in the beginning I couldn't believe it.  My waist line was shrunk and there was no cellulite".  All of those things were accomplished the right way, with hard work.  Nicole said she lots of lunges, leg presses, squats, triceps, biceps and cardio.

I mentioned that I thought it was amazing what she accomplished and that it was good for other women to hear about that fitness success.  There are a lot of women out there who trying to do it all.  It can be easy to push your own personal fitness to the side.  Having a goal was really important to her and she wanted something new to accomplish.  Nicole was 40 years old and has two kids and decided to accomplish this goal.  We could all use that courage with every goal that we each set.  The whole fitness competition world was very new to Nicole, as well as probably most of you.  Nicole mentioned she was getting airbrushed, buying clear 5 inch platform heels and sequin swimsuits.  She had to practice her walk and her posing. I said it was just like being in a pageant.  I know those shoes well and I have two sides, airbrushed Ashley and non airbrushed Ashley.  There is a great deal that goes into these types of competitions.  Nicole said she was ecstatic when she learned she had won.  One of the greatest things about winning was that her son thought she was the coolest mom for bringing home two trophies.  I think that's important to remember as women that you should always strive to reach your goals.  We tend to feel guilty when we focus on our selves, however we forget the lessons learned and the joy our accomplishments bring to those who love us.

My next thought led me to ask her how she found the time to work out? For her it's best to get it done first thing in the morning.  She either gets up and works out before she gets the kids up and ready for school or she drops them off in her gym clothes.  That way she has no excuse not to go work out right after she drops them off.  Further, I wanted to know how she balances fitness, kids, acting, business, and being a wife.  Nicole admits that she has help and she priotirizes everything.

Nicole is accepting in knowing the fact that she can't do everything.  She can't possibly pick up her son and get her daughter, Sophie to ballet at the same time.  Nicole's kids are first priority and everything else trickles down from there.  When her husband is out of town her nanny will help out with practicalities. Nicole trusts a great deal of her business to the wonderful president of her company.  Lastly, Nicole stated she has a wonderful husband.  For those of you who don't know Nicole is married to Boris Kodjoe. She called him, "her partner in crime, my soulmate and my friend".  She continued to talk about their relationship and why it works.

They want the same things is what Nicole said when she was asked about the two of them together.  Half of it is romance and half of its practical.  When you're committed to someone you are going to be sharing a home, finances and raise kids together.  It works when two people are on the same page.  Nicole finds it astonishing that she knows women who wouldn't leave their children alone with their husband because they couldn't possibly make breakfast for example.  Nicole thinks it's important to look at all factors when falling in love.  She also has a few suggestions for those out there falling in love.

One thing is can "you imagine yourself with this person 80 years from now.  Can you see it? Do you love the core of this person? Without changing them do you see yourself with them? Looking at all aspects of the person in front of you is important.  Because, the person in front of you will be the person you marry and if you don't look at all of them they will be the person you end up divorcing.  Deep down people are who they are". I think that's an important thing to remember as well as knowing that whoever you're with is someone you can grow and share experiences with.  People change and things change but do you learn, change together and become better in the process?  Another tip Nicole had was to vacation with your boyfriend.

I said oh that sounds like fun, and she was quick to say not the umbrella drink beach laying type trip.  But a trip in which you the language, food and environment are so different than what you're used to.  You have to see how the two of you stick together? The trip will allow you to see how this man deals under pressure, how he works with money, treats other people and moves in other cultures? Is he adventurous does he care about the things that you want to do or does he sit in the hotel room and sulk?  You can learn so much from someone in a five day trip to another country.  Is there a tv for sports center, this food stinks etc. "The man you have on this vacation is the man who will show up after seven years of marriage" Nicole added.  The small investment sounds worth the years of life wondering if this is the right person. The other ladies in the room jumped in and we began laughing and chatting about this concept.  Someone threw in that this is a great way to learn more about your girl friends as well.

Being on a vacation forces you to be out of your comfort zone Nicole stated.  Further, in life and with kids you will constantly be out of your comfort zone.  It's inevitable that your kids spill on your white outfit right before you're supposed to go to an event.  It helps you learn to improvise and helps your realize what's really important in your life.  I thought Nicole's suggestion was really interesting and a very wise suggestion.

I went on to ask Nicole how she looks so stunning? She said there wasn't one thing that she credits it to. Nicole eats a lot of vegetables and drinks a lot of water.  She is sure to get her exercise in.  One suggestion that she has remembered forever is that a makeup artist told her,'it's not about what you put on your face it's that you take it off'.  Every night Nicole makes sure to take that make up off.  She suggests keeping wipes by your bed if you have a hard time remembering.  Occasionally, Nicole admits to using Pond's.  So, clean your face at night ladies!

Nicole also had another tip for us ladies pertaining to our health.  Nicole and her husband Boris created Sophie's Voice Foundation in honor of their daughter.  The money goes to raising awareness of Spina Bifida and helping those affected by it.  It also goes to research.  Nicole stated that Spina Bifida is 70% preventable, for example if 8 babies were born today with Spina Bifida 5 of them did not have to have it. Part of Sophie's Voice Foundation is dedicated to educating women of childbearing age how important it is to take care of your body.  Surprise pregnancies do occur.  It's one thing to know you're trying for a baby and taking the proper steps to have a healthy one.  It's another to not be prepared properly if it does occur.  Folic Acid has been proven to lower birth defects.  Multivitamins do have folic acid but it's in a blend form.  Studies suggest taking a little more on it's own to ensure your body is absorbing the amount your body needs.  Nicole fell into the 1% of women whose body didn't absorb the most.  She was taking a multivitamin, didn't have a family history and was a healthy woman.  The recommendation for taking extra folic acid at child bearing age is because Spina Bifida occurs within the first 3 weeks of conception. It's important to know how you can keep your body as healthy as you possibly can.

Nicole was such an amazing person to meet.  I found our meeting and interview very inspiring and motivating. That is why she is being featured on Motivation Monday.  I hope you enjoyed learning more about her as I did.

Have a fun and fit day, Chicago.




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