TFS: How did you start your health/fitness journey?
NE: I think my attention to cleaner eating really started around the time that I was finishing my degree at University. Between a busy school schedule and my teaching and performance schedule, I had really started to neglect my body. I was having ongoing stomach issues and found that I was often eating unhealthy “comfort” foods and not making any time for exercise. As a result I was carrying some extra pounds and overall, just felt like my energy was not what it should be. The desire to pursue a performance career post university really helped me to focus in on what my body needed - not only was I in poor physical shape, but I was also compromising my heath, making me more prone to the virus of the day. Being sick makes my job nearly impossible, and traveling can sometimes make those goals harder to achieve. With a good plan, some research and a commitment to making a change I found that the pounds came off and I felt so much better and stronger. I even started craving the healthy foods and snacks that I had incorporated in to my diet.
TFS: What does your normal fitness routine consist of?
NE: I try to move my body in some way every day for a minimum of 30 mins. I have a number of exercises that I enjoy and I rotate them throughout the week to make sure that I am getting a good total body workout. My workouts also are also portable so that I have no excuses. Body resistance training for strength and conditioning, running for my longer cardio days and yoga for recovery seem to work best for me. Best of all, I don’t need a gym membership to do it. I just have to wake up in the morning and commit to getting it done. Sometimes that means getting up a bit earlier, having one of my daughters follow me on a bike, or shutting off the media distractions earlier in the evening to decompress with some yoga. It’s me time, and I always feel better after doing it.
TFS: What impact have you noticed on your voice from your healthy lifestyle?
NE: Staying healthy is key - especially with two young girls who both go to school and have brought home some nasty viruses. If I am eating healthy my body has a better chance of fighting of those virus. I also take supplements daily such as Wellness and B vitamins to keep my immune system in top form. It is not always possible to get the best nights sleep or to avoid stress, but fueling your body with nutritious foods and supplementing wisely can help you stay on track.
TFS: How do you maintain your lifestyle while traveling?
NE: I am committed to finding the healthiest non processed foods no matter where I am. Often asking locals where the best produce or organic selections are will help to make sure that I can cooking or eating healthy on the go. Otherwise, I can always simplify what I would normally cook in my own kitchen by cooking with whole ingredients and using jarred spices to add flavor.
TFS: What do you do on a performance day?
NE: I try not to do anything to different from a normal day, except that I will try to relax and meditate in the afternoon before heading to the performance venue to hit the “reset” button. Having two young girls who often travel with me means that I am still on duty during the day and I although they know that we won’t be doing any big activities on work days, we still spend time together and sometimes even share a meal before I leave. I still workout on performance days and find that a good sweat will open up the body and make my vocal warm up faster.
TFS: What’s your guilty pleasure? NE: Chocolate - dark chocolate and a glass of white wine.
TFS:What advice do you have for other singers?
NE: Treat your body with respect and it will perform for you. Be realistic about your goals, both personal and professional and don’t compare yourself to others.
TFS: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now?
NE: I plan to just keeping doing what I am doing for as long as I can. I love being a mom, and Music is such an integral part of my life. I can’t pinpoint anything too specific that I hope to have achieved, but I know that the health and happiness of my family is very important to me and I will strive to hold that as my goal as the years go by.
TFS: What have you found to be your most physically demanding performance?
NE: I recently performed in a “Beethoven Marathon” performance with the SF Symphony Orchestra, which was the combination of two concert programs, one beginning at 7:30 and the second beginning at 9:30 wrapping up around midnight - the challenge, however, was that I got up at 5am the next morning to run a Half Marathon and still somehow managed a sub 2hr pace. :)
TFS: That is amazing! Thank you so much Nikki. Hope the rest of the run of Mice and Men goes well. The opening night performance received great reviews!
If you happen to be in Winnipeg you can still catch performances of Of Mice and Men on Tuesday, April 26 at 7 pm and Friday, April 29 at 7:30 pm at the Centennial Concert Hall.