Meet Inspiring Single Mom and Fitness Model Nichola Smiles
Original story from Mirror/Mirror Episodes
Nichola Smiles has really does have something to smile about! After she discovered she had become a single mom at just 15, she didn’t want to become a statistic. See how this inspiring mom overcame it all to graduate from college and eventually take charge of her health and become a fitness model.
Nichola Smiles is a mom to a teenage boy named Joshua. She’s also a bikini and fitness competitor, a group exercise instructor, and a personal trainer. She seems like most committed fitness gurus, but Nichola’s motivation started long before her health and nutrition became a life goal.
“I found out I was pregnant when I was 15 years old. I knew my life was going to change. I knew I completely devastated my parents. I was a straight-A student. I did play sports, and I just happened to get caught up and got pregnant,” Nichola says.
“Education was a big thing in my family, but [my parents] didn’t want a baby to change my life. They didn’t want me to be a teen statistic parent where I’ll be a high school dropout working odd jobs trying to take care of my son,” she says.
Somehow Nichola did it all. She graduated from high school on time and went to college on a scholarship. She persevered and got her education, all while juggling single parenthood and paying the bills. A few years later, she graduated with a civil engineering degree.
“That was the proudest moment, to have Joshua there to see me graduate with my degree and not be that statistic,” she says.
Right out of school, she landed a job at a big engineering firm, bought a house and continues to give her son a stable and loving home.
“Most teenagers when they have a child, they don’t make it through,” says her son, Joshua. “I’m grateful for her job because it supports our family.”
She defied the odds, but about two years ago, Nichola realized something was missing: her health.
“I went to a friend’s wedding, and I saw pictures of the wedding, and I really ballooned up since I graduated college. I think I put on 50 to 60 pounds. That’s when I knew I needed to make a change,” she says.
She joined 24-Hour Fitness, which had a day care for her son, and started taking exercise classes.
“I remember starting in the back of the room. I was the chunky person in the back and then I slowly, gradually got to the front of the classroom,” she says.
Soon, an instructor inspired Nichola to become a fitness instructor and teaching became her passion.
“I had lost a good amount of weight and thought I reached my fitness potential, and that’s when I thought, ‘How about I compete?’ It was just supposed to be a bucket list and after that competition, I was going to be done and move on,” she says.
She met personal trainer Dewayne Malone, and four competitions later she’s still working out with him. In total, Nichola went from 180 pounds to128 pounds.
While she transformed her health for herself, she did it for her son, too.
“I wanted to show him about making a commitment, setting goals, and reaching those goals,” she says.
“He even has the idea that he has to have a healthy lifestyle.” Her commitment has rubbed off on Joshua, who trains as hard as he can for football and tries his best in school.
“I’m very proud of my mom and everything she’s done to be the fit mom she is,” says Joshua.
When Nichola talks to young single parents, she tries to emphasize education over just getting a job.
“I spent five years in college, and yes, I was broke, but I’d rather be broke for five years than broke for the rest of my life,” she says.
Nichola says it was definitely worth the struggle to create this life for herself and her son.
“I can’t imagine my world without him. Even though I play the mother role, we are best friends, and I am grateful for him in my life,” she says.
For more from Nichola, visit her facebook page.
For more from personal trainer Dewayne Malone, visit AgainstAllOddsFitness.com.