Name: Nalani Johnson
Marital Status: Married, husband played 6 years in the NFL, currently retired.
Favorite Body Part to Train: Legs
Best Body Part: Shoulders
I have always been involved in sports, (track, cross country, softball). I started weight training 9 years ago. I was three months pregnant when I decided to pick up a Muscle and Fitness Magazine. I was pleasantly intrigued by the women in the magazine and decided that this was something I wanted to do. I joined a gym and spoke with a personal trainer (who was a bodybuilder), I told him of my desire to give bodybuilding a try and when I told him of my pregnancy he discouraged me from this. That just sparked my determination even more; I started walking 5-6 days a week on the treadmill and gradually start lifting weights. I learned from Muscle and Fitness and Flex as well as watching others at the gym. My daughter was born in August and within a period of 3 months I had lost the 55 pounds I gained during my pregnancy. I attended my first bodybuilding show as a spectator in October of the same year. I was hooked and vowed that I would compete in that show the next year. My family and friends all thought that I was just blowing a lot of smoke and never really believed in my ability to accomplish this. But I did, after a year of hard core training and dieting I stepped on stage, 128 pounds and took 2nd.
A few months later I got pregnant with my second child; this once again put my training on hold. Once my son was born in December 1997, I began training again. May of 1998 my husband was at training camp with the New York Giants, a routine physical determined he had a mass in his chest. Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with Cancer. I had to put training on hold again to be there for him….6 months of intense chemotherapy and radiation but he overcame it. In May of 1999 he was officially in remission and returned to play his final year in the NFL. I started training again, and decided to once again do the Red River, but this time I would do bodybuilding and figure. I wasn’t sure what figure was nor did I know how to even pose. I made my suits the week before the show and used some old shoes from Halloween. There were 17 girls in figure and I took 2nd. I learned how to pose watching others on stage and following what they did. People began telling me how natural I looked in Figure. One other competitor even asked me if I was National Level, I just laughed and told her I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I think Figure chose me, it was the one arena that I felt I could finally be competitive. Four months after that show, while preparing for the next I herniated a disk in my back and had to take a year off.
February 2003, thirty pounds heavier, I flew to Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold Classic and met Mike Davies of the Fitness Factory. I told him of my desire to train with him and hoped he could squeeze me in for a workout while I was in town. Mike told me that I had what it takes to turn pro and I believed him, after all he is one of the best at what he does. He fit me in for a camp that week and 10 weeks later I did the Pittsburgh show. I followed that show with the Oklahoman, Jr. Nationals and finally Figure Nationals in New York. I didn’t place very well at the first 3 shows, but did get some good recognition. I did however come home with 5th place out of 68 at figure Nationals. I was more than elated. I am on a mission…..my dream is to turn pro. 9 years of training and aspiring, overcoming personal and physical obstacles and I feel that I am finally getting my chance to take it to the next level. People ask me all the time, “What drives you?” I tell them, “I want to be that face that inspires even just one person who’s been told they can’t do it, just as I was inspired.