Competitiveness (def: possession of a strong desire to be more successful than others) is occasionally shrouded under the umbrella of negativity. Whether it’s at school, work or life, people who are fierce are the ones who are often feared.

Competitiveness is also the word I would unapologetically use to describe myself. “Why are you such an over-achiever?” or “Why can’t you take a break?”, would earlier get me into a defense mode. Not anymore.

You see, a spirit of competitiveness forces you to not lose, and kicks complacency out of the window. It forces you to rise above the challenges that were meant to bring you down. It serves as an inspiration, and never an abomination. In my picture dictionary, competitiveness would look something like this:

An American fitness expert.
Meet Nichelle Laus aka Transformation Specialist, Top 100 influencer, figure athlete, mother of four boys, former police officer and founder of Optimum Training Centre in Toronto.

Laus is a bundle of badass inspiration — she has helped transform over 100 women. Her personal life is no less motivational. Having survived sexual abuse as a child, Laus’ life story is a witness to the fact that your rocky past needn’t always dictate your future. By focussing her negativity into something positive, Laus continues to harness the strong desire to not let the past demonize her present.

Q1. How do you derive strength from the incident of sexual abuse you experienced in your childhood?

A day never goes by without thinking about what happened to me in my childhood. But a day also never goes by without me being a stronger person because of it.

Strength is derived from
vulnerability, pain, and struggle.

I am blessed with a network of very important people that I keep close to my heart. Through sharing and nurturing, I am able to help others who are going through something similar. We all may not have the power to erase what has happened to us, but we do have the power over how we react to those situations.

Q2. When you have thousands of people looking up to you, it’s a challenge to not be hard on yourself. What are the insecurities you are presently dealing with?

Being so “out there” can definitely have its challenges. Some people legitimately want me to do well. Others, well, they are just waiting to see me fail. Both fuel my fire because it pushes me to work harder. My current insecurities involve body changes that I have been experiencing in the last year or so. My 40’s have certainly been an eye-opener. Weight doesn’t come off as easily and gets distributed in different areas than before; different foods have also been affecting my body differently. I keep pushing through such challenges because I know my clients look up to me for motivation.

A woman works out in a gym.
Q3. As a mompreneur, television personality, and a fitness expert, you are doing 100 different things in a day. What’s your secret to staying on track?

Being a mom to 4 little ones and owning a business is pretty hectic. Sometimes I don’t even know how I fit it all in but I do, because I have to.

Early mornings: My average day starts early. I usually get up at 5 am and hit the gym at 5.30 am for my daily workout. I like to get it done early so it doesn’t interrupt family time.
Work hours: After getting the 4 kids off to school, I head over to work to train clients and also look after the administrative stuff.
Mom Mode: After 3 pm, I go into full-time Mom Mode again, which involves looking after school activities, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and snuggles. Once the kids go to bed, I relax by having a bath/shower, and then I work on my online business.

Scheduling and consistency is the key. Although I do wish I had more time in a day, I do manage to get most of my daily tasks done. If not, I prioritize them for the next day. A daily to-do list and learning to multi-task help in making all the pieces run smoothly together.


Q4. What have been some of the key life-changing events that drove you towards pursuing your current career?

Fitness has always been part of my life. I used to be a competitive kickboxer and boxer. When I got married and started a family, I found the demand for training for a fight was far too great. Later, I went to watch my best friend compete in a fitness competition and decided to pursue that sport as well. Soon, I started coaching, and by word of mouth, my online training business started to grow.

All this while, I had a career as a full-time police officer. The work shift and days off made it easier to have a second job. At the same time, my husband who was also a police officer started working as a fitness photographer. Over the years, our second businesses became so successful that we decided to take it to the next level. My husband looked for a studio space of his own, and came across this beautiful, well lit, easily accessible location in Toronto, and asked me if I wanted to train clients there. That’s how we decided to open Optimum Training Centre (OTC) Toronto.

We decided, in order for us to perform at our full potential, we had to take an important, risky decision. After 15 years as police officers, we resigned to nurture our baby, OTC. It was hard to leave my comfort zone. I had a secure job, with great benefits and a pension. But sometimes, you have to take a risk.

You have to follow your heart and passion, and realize that there are greater things meant for you. Almost 3 years later, and we are still going strong!

Q5. As one of Canada’s top 100 health influencer (2018) and a renowned transformation specialist, what’s the favorite part of the job?

The best part of my job is knowing I make a difference in people’s lives. The daily messages I receive from clients telling me that I have inspired them to start their own journey, or that I have helped them transform, not only physically but also emotionally, makes the hustle worth it. My game plan for 2018 is to continue to inspire, teach, and help others.

If I can help at least one person a day,
my job is done. The rest is gravy.

Author: AD

Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.

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February 28, 2018

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