You say you’ve never heard of Shay Niessen?
Then it’s time you found out who this figure phenom is.
The 24-year-old started in bikini, but transitioned to figure. On March 18, 2017, Shay made her figure debut. Not only did she step on stage as a first-time figure competitor, but to add a huge exclamation mark, she walked away as the figure overall champ. That’s how you make a debut.
What are your stats?
Just under 5-6 tall; competition weight 140-145 lbs; off-season heaviest I’ve ever held was around 163 lbs. However, more consistent off season I’m usually around 155 lbs.
Why did you move from bikini to figure?
I started in bikini because I was new to the fitness industry – more specifically the competing industry. I did tons and tons of research, but I was still a “baby” and had a lot to learn. My shoulders grew very fast and I always had figure in my heart from day one.
Bikini is beautiful, but if you know me in person, I don’t have the persona. I’m kind of a tomboy at heart, so I really had to practice the twists and turns and hair flips and such (haha). The muscle required for figure always captured my interest. I find it so incredible and there are so many figure physiques I look up to.
With that being said, I took around 2.5 years off to grow, grow, grow. I became really interested in powerlifting and focused on eating and lifts for a long time. I also took the time off to focus on building a life and career. Competing takes up a lot of time in your life AND MONEY. I said the next time I compete I want to be 200% mentally and financially ready.
How old were you when you did your first show?
I believe I was 21-22 years.
How did you get started lifting weights and training?
I was always interested in nutrition. I would use all my free time at university spending hours and hours researching what foods were good for the body and the benefits of each. I would experiment with different “diets” etc. However, I was in university and of course I partied etc. and lived quite an unhealthy lifestyle until finally one day I was really tired of it.
I remember always liking photos of tiny, tiny models until I came across a female bodybuilder on Instagram and I was in awe. I couldn’t believe someone could look like that. I remember being like, “Damn, this girl is not superhuman which means I can do that too.”
I started YouTubing different bodybuilders and how they ate etc. and it all stemmed from there and I never looked back.
What is your profession?
I work for a builder/developer for condos and homes. I do everything AFTER sales from lawyers, to final closing, PDI’s, dealing with trades, etc.
What’s one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?
I made a bet with my friends that I could be a raw vegan for three months and I did it. No cooking food. Nothing. Just fruit and veggies. Twenty plus bananas a day sometimes (LOL).
What are your goals as a competitor?
My only goal is to keep getting better and better for myself. Bring an entirely new package when I decide to go on stage. I want to BRING something to the stage each time I go on.
What three words best describe you?
Goofy. As. F*ck.
Favorite curse word?
F*ck for sure. See comment above
Were you athletic growing up?
Yes! Used to compete in 100m sprints, basketball, volleyball, soccer and dance.
What do you think is the strongest part of your physique?
I won’t lie – I love my delts.
Favorite female competitor and why?
Oh boy, there are literally so many I look up to.
What’s your favorite cheat meal?
Sushi, followed by Menchie’s stacked with white chocolate, peanut butter, Reese’s, Oreos, and Nanaimo bars (LOL).
If you could look into the future and see yourself at age 50, what would you want to see?
I want to be one of those badass healthy moms who get up at 5 AM for a jog and come home to slay the kitchen and prepare a healthy breakfast for my beautiful kids and husband and my 2-3 dogs… and then also comes home and drinks red wine and eats pizza in bed.
If you had an all expenses paid weekend trip to anywhere in the world, where do you go and who do you take with you?
I want to travel EVERYWHERE.
Find Shay on social media and follow her journey.
Originally published March 2017