Expert Spotlight: Celeb Trainer Nicky Holender & Our Vegan Challenger

Expert Spotlight: Celeb Trainer Nicky Holender & Our Vegan Challenger

C: Hey Nicky!!! Welcome to Blogilates! I am sooo happy to have worked with you on Everyday Health’s YouTrain workouts!

(If you guys haven’t seen our YouTrain workouts for Everyday Health’s YouTube Channel, check this one above! We’re doing abs!)

The POPsters here are soooo excited to learn more about you, how you keep celebs looking fit, and they want to hear your perspective on going vegan! Could you quickly introduce yourself? (Feel free to brag…you’re a star!)

N: My pleasure Cassey 🙂 You did a great job too on Everyday Health! My name is Nicky Holender and I am a fitness trainer to athletes, sportsmen and women, celebrities and everyday people who want to get into shape. I started out as a professional soccer player in England, Norway, Sweden and then the US. I then crazily became a popstar in Scandinavia, don’t ask me how but there is a YouTube video floating about on it! Haha I then went back to soccer and then finally into training.

C: Hmm, you forgot to mention that you’re also the CW’s trainer for Shedding for the Wedding! 

Anyway, who are some of the celebs you’ve worked with? Are they easy to deal with or are they high maintenance!?

N: I have worked with the Cruise family, the Smith family, Ben Stiller, Gordon Ramsay, Gerard Butler, Gilles Marini, Chris Harrison (The Bachelor host), Kendra Wilkinson, Mel B (Scary Spice), many professional soccer stars in UK such as Stephen Ireland and Salomon Kalou as well as heads of Disney and Fox and other huge companies.

C: How did you “break” into the industry and start training movie stars?

N: I got injured playing soccer and while I was trying to recover my Chiropractor asked if I could train a girl how to play soccer. She ended up being the daughter of a very famous actor and thus started my path into this amazingly surreal world!

C: What’s your overall philosophy on obtaining the body of your dreams? Is it diet? Exercise? Genetics?

N: My philosophy is this, anything is possible in looking great and living in great health. Genetics if bad, only loads the gun…the way you eat and exercise is what pulls the trigger. With good nutrition and exercise, we are not slaves to our genetics.

EPIC LIfestyle’s (Elite Performance Improvement Concepts – my company) motto is “Release your inner athlete” and that in a nut shell is my belief in training. Don’t settle for ok or average, when you workout take it to the max unless you are doing a recovery session.

Try to be strong in all planes of motion. With EPIC training there is no such thing as bad form by the time you reach your goal because you are strong in every motion of your body. You should have full range of motion in all your limbs.

I also believe in busting myths and a good trainer always tell clients the hard truth! If someone asks me what ab exercises to do to get a flat stomach or which glute exercises will help them tone their butt I will alway tell them that it is 99% about burning body fat and that can’t be done by spot reduction it can only be done by getting your body to use body fat as energy and that is done by eating fewer calories and expending more calories. I always tell clients you can achieve any look you want with your body but getting in shape is tough, really tough but if you follow the rules it is ALWAYS achievable.

C: Your fave fat blasting move?

N: Well as I said fat blasting or getting your body to use body fat (which is stored energy) as an energy source is done by exerting as much energy as possible for a duration of time. My favorite way to do this is with burpees or with a interval cardio run on a treadmill or a combination of the 2 things, so interval run to burpee challenge!

C: Oh geez that sounds horrible. How about your fave ab move?

N: My favorite an move is straight leg lifts on a roman chair. It hits the abdominal rectus (six pack), stretches the hamstrings and helps me practice my backflips for gymnastics 😉

C: Let’s talk Vegan. I am so excited to be collaborating with you on our Vegan Challenge which will start Monday May 28th! Why do you think people should give veganism a try? What are the benefits?

N: Me too so excited to see what your followers will make of it. I think everyone who has time should read The China Study – it’s the most important book I have ever read in my life and could literally save your life. I believe very strongly that animal protein which is in meat’s and dairy can cause cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, stroke and obesity if you are predisposed to it through your genes.

As I said if your genes have loaded the gun for disease then I believe animal protein is what will pull the trigger and ultimately get you sick :(:( The good news is a vegan diet can stop all ill health in it tracks and this is what is amazing. You can eat as much as you want and still lose weight FAST! I lost 17 lbs in 3 weeks and I literally didn’t think I had any weight to lose! Weight loss is amazingly easy and quick on this plan but I want to remind everyone you can live very unhealthy on a vegan diet too as most candy and sugared products can be vegan, so I like to call my version of the vegan diet as eating a whole foods plant based diet!

C: When we were emailing back and forth you said that it’d be great to see us do the challenge for 2 weeks if possible! Tell everyone how much weight they can expect to drop. I was stunned when I heard this.

N: I would say that people should expect to lose at least 10 lbs minimum. Try to stay with fresh whole vegetables as much as possible and then add in some whole grains and fruit too but make vegetables your go-to thing, embrace them. Fake meats are ok sometimes but try to enjoy eating vegan rather than fooling yourself into thinking you are still eating meat. EMBRACE THE VEGETABLES. That may be my slogan. Some processed food is cool too but make sure it doesn’t have oil in it or very little anyway. 4 tablespoons of oil is 500 calories and doesn’t fill you up. It would take you an hour to eat the same amount of calories in vegetables.

C: Give us a snap shot of your daily mean plan:

N: I have oatmeal made with water and almond milk, sweetened with Truvia. Then some blueberries and strawberries.

Raw veggies with fat free hummus.

Whole wheat bread with mustard and jicama, cucumbers and carrots.

Small zip lock bag of goji berries and raw vegan granola.

Roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and small Ezekiel bread croutons that are pan fried with a kale salad and roasted carrots!

C: Oooooohhh!!! Sounds yummy! I cant wait to start this. Finally, give us your FAVORITE vegan dessert recipe…

N: Chocolate unsweetened almond milk with Truvia, stir in chia seeds and keep mixing as it thickens to make a great chocolate mouse!! I’m hungry for it right now!

C: Wow may have to try that with vanilla unsweetened almond milk! MMMM!!!!! Well thank you for sharing all of this great info with us and challenging me to take on this vegan lifestyle for 2 weeks. I originally was going to do 1 week, but Nicky insisted I do 2, so blame him for your extended challenge ;P If you’d like to connect with Nicky, here ya go!


Twitter: @nickyholender

N: I am really excited to see people’s results. Try to be ok with being a little hungry as the calories that you will be eating are very low. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you are burning body fat. Embrace it. Leave at least 3 hours between meals and stay away from refined sugar and oils! Drink lots of water and see your weight come down and your health come up. Anyone with high cholesterol – check it after the challenge – you will be amazed!

FYI: For anyone wondering why I am doing this Vegan Challenge…after the Bikini Comp, the amount of crazy high protein I ate left my stomach and intestines very unhappy and backed up if you know what I mean. I found that the more fruits n veggies I ate, the better I felt. So I am challenging myself to fully cleanse out my system, not with the goal of simply losing weight in mind.

47 thoughts on “Expert Spotlight: Celeb Trainer Nicky Holender & Our Vegan Challenger”

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  1. Aditi says:

    Did someone say Nicky Holender is not qualified!!! They must be grossly ignorant about fitness and the fitness industry!!! And Nicky, thank you for all the information. I follow your workouts on Livestrong. Will try the vegan diet (gonna be difficult 🙁 )..But I would love to see some more fitness videos from you, apart from the ones on Livestrong. Do let me know if you already have it in place.

  2. Normally I do not learn articlle on blogs, however I wieh to say that this write-up very pressufed me to check out and do it!

    Your writing taste haas been surprised me. Thanks, very great

  3. Ysa says:

    Went on the challenge and didn’t lose weight, not that I was planning to, but instead I gained a kg. Probably because I’m already a vegetarian and the only animal products I consume are yoghurt (which is weird because I think fresh milk doesn’t taste nice) and honey, and my typical meal is already clean: steamed veg, sweet potato and a source of protein like tofu, chickpeas or other legumes. Or maybe because I snack on nuts too much?

    What do you think?

  4. This is an awesome interview, Cassey! Thanks for this. This guy is real. He seems like he really knows what he is talking about and he seems like he really wants to give good advice from what he personally experienced. He seems like he really wants to help people! I admire this.

  5. alice says:

    I am really excited I have never been much of a even person.. I was never much of a Pilates person either and now that I tried it and liked it .. I feel like trying some more new thing.. I read your blogs every day and if you don’t post I read old ones. reading what you have to say brightens my day

  6. Rachel says:

    Fav disney princess is Cinderella!

  7. Jenn says:

    I agree with Nicky 100%, and I’ve been a certified nutritionist for over a decade. The premise of eating 5-6 small meals per day is going to phase out, as people realize that nutrient dense meals (as he’s suggesting) is enough to sustain you for longer than three hours+. Constantly piling in food through out the day is SO taxing on your digestive system, and guess what happens when our digestive system stalls? So does our metabolism! That little tummy grumble is a blissful green light that your digestive system can handle another import of nutrients. I think it’s important to remember that the constant push for the ‘eat every 2 hours/never let yourself get hungry’ agenda initiated at the same time snack bars were created. Remember when it was just Power Bars on the market? And now we have ten million snack/protein bars to choose from, with every company wanting you to believe that you need to put something in your mouth every hour or you’re doomed. 🙂 Coincidence? Hmmm…I think not! There was no mention in this post of starvation, so don’t read too much into the verbiage of “hunger”. I think 3 years from now eating 5-6 meals per day will be obsolete, and even things like intermittent fasting will be more mainstream. Remember that not every dietary protocol is for everyone, and instead of bashing his credentials…just take the bits and pieces from his advice that you align with, and leave the rest to be! Respect the advice & opinions of others, and remember…you are your own guru. Trust your intuition and do what works for you!

  8. Nicky HOLENDER says:

    Ok guys 🙂 the bit about feeling a little hungry it’s important that I clarify it again I think.
    One of the ways hunger is signalled to the brain is through sensors in the stomach that measure food density and also caloric amount.
    When I say feel a little hungry it is because when u say eat a large serving of vegetables you will natirally feel a little hungry soon afterwards as you have put Ina large amount of density but not a large amount of calories. You should wait to eat again until you are hungry because if you are continually eating and digesting then you are taking a lot of the blood resourses away from other activity while you are continually digesting all day.
    Please don’t think I am talking about being ravenously hungry because I am not. Micronutrients which are vitamins have nothing to do with hunger signals to your brain and so if you do at some points feel a little hungry this is not a sign that you are not getting enough vitamins it is a sign you are not getting enough calories and hence your body will use stored body fat amongst other things to give you energy meaning you will lose weight.
    To the comment about someone going back from being a vegan to a vegetarian, their are no micronutrients in animal proteins unless they are fortified by man only vegetables and Druids have micronutrients.
    The comment about the B12 supplement though is absolutely correct, everyone should take a supplement as that cannot be obtained on a herbivore diet!
    Again any other questions I will be happy to answer between sessions here in Cannes.



    1. blogilates says:

      Thanks Nicky for your responses 🙂

    2. Stepfanie says:

      Nutritional yeast has some B vitamins if it is fortified.

  9. Nicky HOLENDER says:

    To Dana,
    FYI I am qualified! To your point about being hungry means you are not getting enough nutrients that is absolutely incorrect! The object. Here is to pick foods high on the ANDI score from Dr. Fuhrman which means it has the most micro nutrients to macronutrients and calories. If you manage that then being a little hungry is absolutely fine.
    I wish people would do a little research Dana before they tried to tell people what to do!
    Once people have obtained their desired weight they can pick more calorie dense vegan foods to have and will still keep their weight stable. I have hundreds of success stories on this diet and will be happy to give anyone out their additional info to help them succeed!
    Remember embrace vegetables and don’t try and make your diet a faux animal protein diet!

    Good luck everyone :):)

  10. Dana says:

    please everyone be safe. HE IS NOT QUALIFIED!!! please, be open, but you should NEVER be hungry on a vegan diet. if you are, you are not getting the nutrients and the fuel your body needs…. essentially you are starving yourself. this is what i warned about when the vegan challange was brought up. vegan is very time consuming. you must know what and when your eating. use a calorie tracker that shows your nutrient and vitamin count. please make sure you get enough of everything… if you do it right it is really great, but know that that means eating ALOT. I recently moved from being vegan back to vegetarian because i was not getting all the calories and nutrients my body needs. B12 is a great supplement BUT its very hard on the stomach, I for one had to give up being vegan because i wanted to be healthy. In fact, when i was vegan i was basically still on a starvation diet (struggled with anoriexia…ps…vegan made anorexia VERY easy) my body would not respond to my trainings and my attempts to get healthy. Now that i eat the right foods and in the correct amounts I have lost weight and toned up like youd never believe could be possible. please do this right, if you are hungry, you are starving. it is very hard to get everything you need from a vegan diet. be open but BE HEALTHY!!!! please.

  11. Sarah says:

    Does anyone know if you can be expected to gain the 10 lbs (or however much lost) back after the vegan challenge? I don’t want to lose weight and then just gain it back! For reference, I eat a healthy diet normally, just with lean meats and low fat dairy. Thanks

  12. Steph says:

    I’m not going to lie, I’m outraged at the ‘hunger is your body burning fat’ comment. That is an awful, triggering thing to say. Hunger means your body needs food/water, vegan or otherwise!

    1. Steph says:

      Also, 17lb in 3 weeks? 10lb in 2 weeks? If you don’t need to lose a lot of weight, that is a very unhealthy amount to lose in that space of time, surely?

  13. hanna says:

    Tell me, how can you take seriously a dieting advise from ex football player who has no background in science and nutrition? He made up his opinion after reading a book, after all. I never blindly trust any celebrity or people without relevant background. I do my own research using on-line libraries, for example. I advise you to do the same. Be open minded, but use your brain too.

    1. Anticonformity says:

      100% agree hanna!

  14. Angela says:

    I wasn’t that interested in the vegan challenge. We don’t eat much meat or milk products, but we are in love with eggs. But after reading this post I think I’ll give it a try. We are in Japan for the 2 weeks of the actual challenge, but when we get home. It’s on! We are very close to vegan anyway. It wontbe difficult at all to replace the eggs and the small amount of meat that we eat.

  15. Jessica A. says:

    Cassey said on facebook that she will put up a food list for the recipes this week so we have a week to find the items and next week she will post the meal plan (recipes) for the two weeks (she said we will start on May 28th)! I know I’m excited!

  16. Sunny says:

    Ok, I think I’m going to do it. I feel like it will be really tough. I’m bad at sticking to things!!! But I will give it my all and be proud of myself in the end. I feel like if I have all the food I need to complete the challenge, it will be better. I’m excited… and nervous.

    1. blogilates says:

      You’ll be just fine! We’ll all be here for u.

  17. Emma says:

    Super excited for this, but I need a meal plan if I’m going to be able to start on monday! As soon as please Cassey!

  18. Marion says:

    May I give you a tip for your vegan challenge y’all. I did it for 3 months (have been vegeterian for 21 years before that) and I had huge medical problems to a point where I had to go and see a doctor. I think it had mainly to do with that I used a lot of soy products because I was constantly hungry and soy protein gave me the feeling of fullness. So may I suggest try to eat as less soy as possible it changed my oestrogene levels so drastically that I’m still having health issues by today. Otherwise vegan food is very yummy and the animals will thank you : ) Good luck everyone!

  19. Marloes says:

    Ah I really want to do the challenge! When does the meal plan come out? Because I don’t know if I can buy everything here in my country.. Have to inform my father though that he needs to buy vegan food for me, haha!

  20. Sinia says:

    If your health is really that important to you, you should probably rather consider a well balanced diet that includes all of the nutrients you and your brain need. For example vitamin B12 and cholesterol are very important for the brain development and hard to get in a vegan diet. Especially if you are pregnant, nursing or for kids a strictly vegan diet can have severe effects.

    I am not saying it is wrong to do a two weeks vegan challenge and of course its a good thing to be aware of the food that you are eating. But there are a lot of interesting theories that may sound very convincing at first but have no scientific validation. So it might be a good idea to check also critical (and scientific) opinions before choosing a special lifestyle.

    1. Erica Cooper says:

      EVERYONE should get extra B12, not just vegans. 😉

  21. Kim says:

    What an awesome interview!! I’m always so inspired seeing other fitness professionals teaching others about the benefits of a whole food vegan diet. It seems far too often people think you need animal protein to build muscle, and the more people that open their minds to the benefits of a vegan diet the happier I am! Looking forwards to seeing the meal plan!

  22. Jean says:

    This whole vegan thing sounds really interesting, but what Nicky said at the end about “getting used to being a bit hungry” seemed totally misplaced and not in keeping with the spirit of the vegan challenge. Towards the beginning of the post, he says you can expect to lose ten pounds by going vegan for two weeks, but it seems that would be because you’re hungry all the time (as in, not eating enough), not just because you’re eating different types of food. If you’re hungry, you should eat! Just make sure it’s vegan and healthy. If you’re hungry all the time, you’re just going to mess with your metabolism or blow the challenge by wolfing down a bunch of crap when you can’t take it anymore. And doesn’t Cassey (and pretty much every other health professional out there) say you should eat when you’re hungry? It’s your body’s way of telling you you need to replenish your energy stores. I don’t think Cassey intends the vegan challenge to be a weight loss thing, but more as a way to see how people feel while eating a cleaner diet. This is a nit picky comment, I know, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to send the message “you should be a bit hungry all the time” to impressionable readers who can sometimes take the things they read on blogs way too seriously. I’m still excited about seeing what sort of vegan meal plan Cassey & Nicky come up with!

    1. Brianna says:


      1. Cynthia says:

        i think his hungry comment isn’t referring to that so hungry you can feel your stomach empty. It’s that slight hunger right after you eat telling you to go eat some more. It make sense to me because meats and dairy cause you to feel full and I think your body has to adjust from a full stomach from meat and dairy to a full stomach from a plant based diet.

  23. Ariana says:

    I think this sounds great, but I don’t understand how it’s a good thing to feel hungry and have a lower calorie intake. I know the foods you’d be eating are super clean, but still…

  24. kate says:

    I was going to mention forks over knives as well. i don’ t eat much meat anyway, but couldn’t totally live on vegetables. i’ll stick with my organic meats.

  25. emily says:

    Where do you find fat free hummus? i have never heard of such a thing.. anyway, sounds great, cant wait to see the meal plan

    1. Pilot says:

      That would be a really difficult feat: hummus is made with sesame paste which is very oily and high in fat.

  26. Hiba says:

    This is actually the second time in the past few weeks I have heard of that book. My doctor actually told me to read it. It may be time to pick it up.

    I’m already a vegetarian and have played with being vegan but not really considered it until now. My reasoning was always that I loved eggs and cheese so much. But I guess my health is more important lol

  27. Imogen says:

    I’d really like to do this challenge, but I’ve noticed that there are a lot of nuts, I guess for protein. I have a nut allergy, would it be possible to the vegan challenge cutting out nuts? What would I substitute them with? 🙂

    1. Audrey says:

      I’ve got the same problem, are there any substitutions people with nut allergies can make? PS: Soy is never a great recommendation substitution (many nut allergy sufferers can have soy allergies as well, including me), but one I always seem to hear.

    2. Chantal says:

      Though I obviously don’t know what the whole plan is going to look like, you can definitely be vegan without the nuts (and there are tons of non-nut or processed ways to get vegan protein 🙂 The only mention I saw of nuts in Nicky Holender’s daily eats were almond milk and you can easily substitute that for rice, hemp, or soy milk! There are also lots of nut free granolas. You’d be surprised by how little protein we actually need, but also that you can get lots of it through peas, broccoli, tempeh, tofu, sea veggies, seeds, and loads of other stuff!

  28. You should watch Forks Over Knives! It’s based on The China Study and is really informative and interesting! I watch it whenever I need a healthy eating refresher 🙂 It’s streaming on Netflix right now!

    1. Allison says:

      It is an awesome documentary! I’ve be considering going vegan since I watched it.

  29. marta says:


    Btw girls…all informations about tjis vegan challenge are in previously posts 🙂


  30. Kate says:

    Stoked for this challenge! Probably going to pick up a copy of the China Study too! 🙂 <3

  31. Ruth says:

    What a great expert, Nicky seems extremely qualified and knowledgeable, I’m really looking forward to this challenge! Thank you Cassey 🙂

  32. Zena says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m totally onboard.. Will you be providing a specific meal plan for the two weeks. I’d hate being left to my own devices with trying to create vegan meals. I look forward to starting on Sunday.

  33. Diana says:

    I SO cannot wait for this challenge. I’ve always wanted to try going vegan but I had no idea where to start. So how will this work exactly? Is it going to be like the 90 day challenge? Are you going to post vegan recipes daily? An eating plan? How long is it going to last? Details, woman!

  34. Kerry says:

    Surprised at the comment he makes about hunger, it being fat being burned so embrace the hunger. Someone like myself who had an eating disorder thought this way about hunger & took it the wrong way so please don’t misconstrue this people. Be sensible! Be healthy & happy x