Interview With IFBB Professional Figure Athlete Akane Nigro-Ismeal

Akane Nigro-Ismeal Interview

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started training?

I was born on April 2, 1982 in Oakland, California. I am half Italian and half Japanese. I currently live with my Husband, Malik, and my dog, Peanut, in Castro Valley, California. I have a Bachelors degree in Health and Human Performance from Baylor University (Waco, TX) and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

I have always participated in some sort of organized sport, whether it was soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball or basketball, I have always been an active individual. After I graduated from college in 2005, I returned to California to begin working for my family business. My mother encouraged me to join her gym, Express Fitness in Pleasanton, CA. It was here that I met my (now) husband, Malik. My husband mentioned that he had previously competed in an all natural league and that initially sparked my interest in Figure. As a regular “gym-goer” I was looking for something more! Something to take my body to the next level. It was then in 2007 that I began to train for my first show.


How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by reading up on the latest contest winners and reading my Oxygen magazine. I study this sport like guys study sports. I believe in order to do well and improve, one must do their homework! I also participate locally as an Official NPC Judge and Expediter and I absolutely love being around the stage and watching the competitors take the stage.

Akane Nigro-Ismeal

What is your current workout routine?

Sun – Hams/Glutes
Mon – Chest/Triceps/Abs
Tues – Back/Biceps/Abs
Wed – Leg Circuit (Rest Day – every other week)
Thur – Shoulders/Abs
Fri – Quads/Hams
Sat – Whatever

Cardio – Daily 30-45min (AM), 30-55min (PM)


What is your diet like?

Pre-Contest, my diet consists of clean proteins (egg whites, chicken breast, ground turkey breast, tilapia). Carbs include oat bran or steel cut oats, brown rice or yam. Fats come from Almonds and ground flax seeds. I try to maintain 1500-1200 calories (precontest) depending on how many weeks I have remaining and how my body looks.


What gives you the best results when cutting?

When it was legal, Ephedra! But now I’ve started experimenting with Forskolin in addition to AllMax Razor 8 Shredded and Acetyl-L Carnitine. Carb cutting and eating vegetables with diuretic properties also help me.

Akane Nigro-Ismeal

What are your top 3 favorite exercises, and why?

Arnold Press Singles – I do these one at a time with each side. It really focuses on the front and top of the deltoid head and helps round out the shoulders.

Stiff-Leg Deadlifts – I particularly like these because it really helps me stretch out my hamstrings.

Walking Lunges w/ weights – these are really good for both quads and hams, it feels good to have the two muscle groups working at once.


What supplements do you use?

GNC Multi-Vitamin, Species Nutrition Lipolyze (stimulant free thermogenic), Species Nutr. Somalyze (PM fat burner), Species Nutr. Omegalyze (great combo of EFA’s and Evening Primrose Oil), Life Extension Super Digestive Enzymes, NOW brand Acetyl-L Carnitine, Vit E, Vit C, and Vitalyze by SNAC.


What is the most common training question that people ask you?

Q: What do you do for your calves?
A: Honestly, I do not do much. I may focus on them while on the stepmill or when running on my toes on the treadmill, but other than that I rarely train them.


What is your greatest achievement so far?

Besides earning my pro card in 2009, having the opportunity to step on stage with Olympians at my first two pro shows was quite an incredible feeling. After earning my pro card at the 2009 USA’s, I continued on to do the IFBB Borders States Pro Figure show in Oct 2009 and the IFBB Sacramento Pro show and placed 5th at both shows.

What is your favorite quote?

I have many but when it comes to training and competing I refer to this one from Bruce Jenner “Being competitive is about doing the work when no one is watching”.


What are your plans for the future?

I plan to continue competing for as long as I can. My husband and I plan to have children in the next couple years, but until then I will continue to train hard and participate in the local NPC shows.


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