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Nicki Gillilands Practice

Nicki Gilliland is a busy 25 year old local Red Deer resident. Nicki works as a full time caregiver, and enjoys practicing yoga.

A few years ago Nicki’s love for yoga took her on a trip to Thailand where she spent 5 weeks getting deeper into her yoga practice. While in Thailand a friend of hers took her on a trip to Phuket. In Phuket Nicki had the pleasure of watching an authentic Muay Thai bout for the very first time. She watched as the first fights took place which were young kids from the ages of 7-10 years old. She was amazed by all the older competitors who showed such incredible technique and skill. The trip into Phuket, Thailand sparked Nicki’s curiosity for the martial arts. Nicki said that it was a super exciting event, and she felt that Muay Thai would be a useful skill to learn.

When Nicki got home from her trip, she wanted to search for a place where she could train in the art of Muay Thai. Her goal was to begin training and see if it was something that she would even be able to do, and if she was able to do it, she wanted to compete in it. However Nicki was very busy with work and her continuing yoga practice. It took Nicki nearly a year and a half before she started looking for a place to train. Determined to learn and understand this new practice she searched the internet and found an ad for Absolute Fitness. She made a phone call, asked about our Muay Thai classes, and got scheduled in for a consult and a complimentary class.

At first Nicki was very nervous about jumping into classes because this was something that she had never done before and she didn’t know anyone in the classes. She says that changed quickly, right when she stepped into Absolute Fitness she felt very welcomed, the staff was friendly and the people who trained there were just as friendly and accepting. Nicki also noticed, while training at Absolute Fitness, that the trainers talked about the mind and body connection when it came to training, similar to her views with her yoga practice. Nicki was convinced that Absolute Fitness was the place to train and signed up.

The martial arts to Nicki was something “different, fun and useful to learn”. She says "classes are a ton of fun, and I get to meet new people all the time."

Watching others around her enter into competitions really got Nicki excited, she was determined to compete, Nicki fell in love with the sport of Muay Thai. Nicki trained hard and consistently beginning with only Muay Thai classes and then adding in strength, then conditioning, and on top of all that she started running 5-10km 2-3 times a week.

After training consistently for 13 months Nicki was set to participate in her first competition. Even though she was very nervous about competing she felt that her coaches believed in her, and her teammates were there to support her which made her believe she was capable of competing in the tournament.

She walked in and surprised everybody with an amazing performance, winning two gold medals, one in Kickboxing and one in Muay Thai. A month later she competed again and won a gold medal in Muay Thai and a silver in Kickboxing. Nicki says she has surprised herself with all that she has done with the martial arts. This was way out of her comfort zone, but being a part of a team, that supports and pushes her to achieve more than she thought she was capable of, has increased her confidence in herself. In fact she mentioned that was the best part of training at Absolute Fitness,

“The coaches believe in me and inspire me to do better. The team atmosphere is kickass and the company I get from my teammates is amazing, we all push each other to achieve more”.

Nicki mentioned that one of her major challenges was strength training which she had usually shied away from. She was very flexible from years of yoga training but had never done much strength training or used weights in her training before. When she first started strength training she was only able to do sub max weight with kettlebells and bodyweight exercises, which was very frustrating for her, but with consistent training she managed to increase her strength and advance up to use the barbell with control. She says that proper coaching has been a major reason for seeing such great results. Progress has been slower then she might’ve wished at times but not allowing her ego to get in the way and trusting in the steady progressions have been what has made her

stronger then she ever thought she could be.

When we asked Nicki if she wanted to say anything to anyone that is struggling with achieving a fitness goal she said:

“Your goal is very important and will determine whether you reach your desired outcome or not. Having a goal of losing weight, or getting fit, is not enough to get you anywhere, it’s a weak goal that has an attitude of just getting it over with. It’s not going to drive you to make it to training when the training gets tough. The goal should be about learning how to get the outcomes you want in your life. You have to want to learn how to lose weight, learn how to be fit.”

Nicki says that’s the attitude she brought with her when she began her search for martial arts training. She wanted to learn the practice of Muay Thai, to learn what that meant for the people that practiced Muay Thai, to learn the skills that are taught in Muay Thai, and incorporate them into her life.

Nicki says;

“having a strong goal such as wanting to master a practice to the fullest of your potential is what’s going to carry you through the tough times when you might be sore and not feel like training or when you’re not progressing fast enough and get discouraged. A strong goal and a strong team will get you where you want to be."

Awesome words of encouragement we couldn’t agree with you more Nicki. Having strong goals and a strong support system is a great way to get anything done.

If you’ve got fitness or Martial Arts goals and need a team, or strong support system give us a shout at 403-347-9669 or send us an email at We’ll get you on your way to your fitness goals.

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