June Cover Model: Ms. Fitness Competitor Nicole Avellina

Nicole Avellina is your basic down-to earth girl from Long Island. The twenty-five year-old hails from Elmont and attended Sewanhaka High School.

She attended New York College for Holistic Health where she received her license as a massage therapist which is her primary vocation, although she also teaches gymnastics at Five Star Academy in East Rockaway several days a week.

Nicole has always followed a healthy and fit lifestyle. Competing in gymnastics all her life, she naturally segued into competing in fitness competitions which usually require a fitness routine that is gymnastics based.

"I was watching a fitness competition one day and I thought, 'I can do that!', Nicole says. "So I looked into getting a personal trainer and started training and competed." It didn't take her long, only six months to be competition-ready. She won Ms. Fitness New York last year, came in third in Ms. Fitness USA in Las Vegas and recently placed sixth in Ms. Fitness World out of a field of 22 competitors.

Nicole is currently training for the Ms. Fitness USA again which will be held in September. She spends six days a week training; six days she does cardio; three days a week, (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays), she does weight training with a personal trainer; Tuesdays and Thursdays, she does Pilates, Yoga and gymnastics.

Nicole loves teaching children gymnastics and sees herself doing that for the rest of her life. "It all goes with what about I'm about and that's living a healthy lifestyle, she says. "I believe you're never too young to start living a healthy lifestyle.

For me, to work with children and to teach them about living fitness and to teach them how to take care of themselves, about good strength and flexibility, that's really important to me. That's something I'm going to do for the rest of my life regardless of what else is going on in my life."

Although she's a massage therapist, she doesn't go as far as calling herself a "healer." She helps injured people recover and feels good knowing she's helping others. Nicole is a dancer and massage therapist for the NY Dragons, an arena football team that plays regularly at the Nassau Coliseum.

To keep herself balanced, Nicole takes a multivitamin and tries to keep a balanced diet so she doesn't have to take supplements. When she's training, she's a walking advertisement for a popular sandwich chain. "Believe it or not, I eats tons and tons of Subway," she says. "They have those subs that are under 6 grams of fat!" She also eats lots of protein--- grilled chicken, salmon, turkey and egg whites and oatmeal. Yoga helps her stay mentally balanced while the Pilates helps her strength and flexibility.

As for words of advice from Nicole: "Actions have consequences. That's why I got involved in fitness. I had an eating disorder when I was younger and I had gotten really sick. I learned how important it was to really take care of myself. That's when I really focused on fitness and watching what I was eating and taking care of my body cause I want to be on this earth for a long time. I want to be healthy. I don't want to hold back anything cause I'm sick."

For more info about Nicole, please visit the Ms. Fitness Organization's International Fitness Sanctioning Body's website: www.ms.fitness.com