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Getting to Know Nicole Rakowski

Nicole Rakowski

Muscle Insider is thrilled to welcome Nicole Rakowski to our editorial team. Nicole's journey from overcoming personal adversity to co-founding the innovative fitness app Fitsentive highlights her resilience, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for health and wellness. With an impressive background as an entrepreneur, speaker, and currently pursuing a PhD in Health Management, Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and fresh perspectives to Muscle Insider.

We recently sat down with Nicole so we can help you, our audience, get to know her better and to learn a bit more about what you can expect to see from her in the editorial content she will be providing.

Early Beginnings:

Nicole, could you share with us what initially sparked your interest in the fitness industry and led you to co-found Fitsentive?

From my early childhood of being immersed in any sport you could think of, to my current position as a visionary entrepreneur, my passion for fitness and dedication to empowering others has been incredibly rewarding.

My interest in the fitness industry was sparked by a personal journey of resilience and determination. It started with a traumatic accident I endured back in 2017 that ultimately led me to redefine my relationship with fitness and health. I was also introduced to some of the greats like Jay Cutler and Victor Martinez who have inspired me and continue to motivate my own journey. Through my own struggles and triumphs, I found a new purpose in helping others discover the immense rewards of living an active and healthy lifestyle.

Co-founding Fitsentive was a natural progression, as I saw an opportunity to join my partner, Zack, in highlighting a platform that not only benefits users but also empowers certified trainers to showcase their expertise. With a clear vision to revolutionize the fitness industry and promote a culture of well-being, my commitment to excellence and innovation has set Fitsentive apart from all other fitness apps on the market.

As I take on the role as a content writer for Muscle Insider, I genuinely believe my unique perspective and experience in the field of fitness will undoubtedly inspire readers and fellow fitness enthusiasts alike.

Entrepreneurial Journey:

As a young entrepreneur who's made significant strides in the fitness world, what challenges did you face in the early days of Fitsentive, and how did you overcome them?

As a young entrepreneur in the fitness industry, I faced numerous challenges when coming on board, and joining the role as a co-founder. Attracting users and gaining credibility in a saturated market were just a couple of the obstacles I encountered. However, through determination, resilience, and an unclouded vision, I navigated these challenges and turned them into opportunities for growth.

One of the main challenges I faced was convincing users to try out Fitsentive, especially since we as still a relatively new player in the market. With so many fitness apps available, standing out and gaining traction was tough. To overcome this, the biggest focus is on creating a unique selling point - the fact that Fitsentive actually pays its users to workout. This innovation captured people's attention and helped us attract our many users.

Another obstacle was establishing credibility in the industry. As a young entrepreneur, I had to prove myself to potential partners, certified trainers, and the media. I overcame this challenge by displaying our team's expertise, highlighting our partnerships with reputable brands like Pure Vita Labs, and consistently delivering high-quality workouts on our platform.

Overall, the key to overcoming these challenges was staying focused on our mission and being adaptable in our approach. By constantly learning, iterating, and staying true to our vision, we were able to turn obstacles into opportunities, ultimately paving the way for Fitsentive's success in revolutionizing the fitness industry.

Academic Pursuit:

What motivated you to pursue a PhD in Health Management, and how do you think this will enhance your contributions to the fitness industry?

I was motivated to pursue a PhD in health management in order to be better equipped with knowledge and skills necessary to make substantial contributions to the health and wellness industry. This advanced degree will allow me to delve deeper into understanding health systems, strategies for promoting wellness, and effective management techniques. With this enhanced knowledge and expertise, I can bring about positive change, drive innovation, and lead initiatives that benefit individuals and communities striving for a healthier lifestyle.

The pursuit of a PhD in health management not only signifies a commitment to personal and professional growth but also reflects a desire to make a meaningful impact in the fitness industry and beyond. It opens up opportunities to conduct research, develop evidence-based practices, and implement programs that promote health and well-being on a larger scale. Ultimately, obtaining a PhD in health management has empowered me to enhance my contributions to the fitness industry, shape the future of wellness, and drive positive change in the pursuit of a healthier world.

PhD Timeline: How far along are you in your PhD journey at McMaster University, and when do you anticipate completing it?

Let me tell you, a PhD in Health Management is an intensive and long program (especially when working full time at the hospital, being the co-founder of Fitsentive, training as a bodybuilding competitor, and being a mom to two incredible dogs). That being said, it’s about a 6–7-year program. I am four years in and hope to complete the degree within the next two years.

Keynote Insights:

Having established yourself as an internationally renowned keynote speaker, what key messages do you aim to convey through your talks?

As an internationally renowned keynote speaker, TED Talk Speaker and a member of the Speakers Bureau of Canada, I aim to convey key messages of empowerment, perseverance, and personal growth through my talks. Drawing on my own experiences as a visionary entrepreneur in the fitness industry, I strive to inspire my audience to embrace a healthy lifestyle, prioritize their well-being, and strive for excellence in all areas of their lives. With a tone of passion and authenticity, I share my journey of overcoming adversity, transforming challenges into opportunities, and ultimately, achieving success through hard work and determination. Through my engaging speeches, I encourage individuals to unlock their full potential, pursue their passions with dedication, and make positive changes that can lead to a fulfilling and meaningful life. My key messages resonate with audiences worldwide, leaving a lasting impact and motivating others to strive towards their own personal and professional goals.

TED Talk Experience:

Delivering a TED Talk is a significant achievement. Can you tell us about your experience as a TED Talk presenter and the impact it had on your career?

Delivering a TED Talk is a monumental milestone in my career. It was truly an incredible experience that has had a profound impact on both my personal growth and professional journey. Speaking on such a prestigious platform allowed me to share my story, insights, and vision with a global audience, inspiring others to pursue their own passions and dreams.

The impact of being a TED Talk presenter has been far-reaching. Not only did it provide me with a platform to amplify my message and reach a wider audience, but it also opened doors to new opportunities and collaborations, such as being selected as a keynote speaker for the Speakers Bureau of Canada. It helped me connect with like-minded individuals who share my passion for fitness, health, and entrepreneurship, leading to meaningful relationships and partnerships.

Being a TED Talk presenter has also boosted my credibility and visibility in the industry, positioning me as a thought leader and influencer in the fitness community. It has allowed me to demonstrate Fitsentive's innovative approach to fitness and highlight the positive impact it’s had on individuals' lives.

Overall, the experience of delivering a TED Talk has been incredibly rewarding and empowering. It has encouraged me to continue pushing boundaries, challenging myself, and striving for excellence in all aspects of my career. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story and inspire others to pursue their passions and make a difference in the world.

Facing Adversity:

In 2017, you faced considerable challenges. How did those experiences shape your approach to both your personal and professional life?

My traumatic accident in 2017 and subsequent medical challenges of vision loss were life changing, but also transformative, shaping both my personal and professional life in profound ways. Enduring a traumatic accident that year and being told I was on the verge of blindness, I found myself facing considerable challenges that tested my resilience and determination. However, instead of letting this setback define me, I used it as fuel to drive me forward, to push myself beyond my limits, and to ultimately emerge stronger than ever before.

In both my personal and professional life, I adopted a mindset of perseverance and growth in the face of adversity. I channeled the lessons learned from my experiences in 2017 into my work at Fitsentive, harnessing my inner strength to fuel my vision of revolutionizing the fitness industry. This resilience and determination became the cornerstone of my approach, propelling me to new heights of success and accomplishment.

Policy Advocacy:

Your work in shaping government policies is commendable. Could you elaborate on your efforts in promoting health and wellness and advocating for mental health awareness?

I am truly honored by your recognition of my work in shaping government policies and promoting health and wellness in our society. My efforts in advocating for mental health awareness are driven by a deep passion for creating a world where every individual has access to the support and resources they need to thrive mentally, physically, and emotionally.

At the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, I am privileged to have the opportunity to educate and inspire the next generation of business leaders on the importance of prioritizing mental health and well-being in all aspects of their lives. Through my role at the university, I strive to incorporate mindfulness practices, stress management techniques, and self-care strategies into the curriculum to empower students and even other faculty to take care of their mental health while pursuing their academic and professional goals.

My work in promoting health and wellness extends beyond the classroom as well. I actively engage with community organizations, government agencies, and advocacy groups to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to push for policies that prioritize mental well-being.

Together, through a collective effort to prioritize mental health awareness and wellness promotion, we can create a society that values and supports the mental well-being of all its members.

Partnership with PVL:

You're sponsored by PVL (Pure Vita Labs), a pioneering brand in the supplement industry. How has this partnership supported your career, and what aspects of working with PVL align with your personal and professional values?

Working with PVL (Pure Vita Labs) has been an absolute game-changer for my career in the fitness industry. Their commitment to providing the highest quality sports supplements aligns perfectly with my personal and professional values.

PVL's dedication to creating all-natural products without any artificial ingredients resonates with me deeply. Knowing that their supplements are Informed Choice Certified gives me peace of mind, allowing me to focus on achieving my fitness goals without any worries.

The partnership with PVL has not only supported my career but has also helped me elevate my training and performance to new heights. Their top-notch products, from whey protein to BCAAs, have played a crucial role in my fitness journey, enabling me to push my limits and achieve my best.

I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work with PVL and proud to be associated with a brand that shares my passion for health and well-being. Together, we are empowering individuals to reach their fitness goals and lead active, healthy lifestyles.

Content Contribution:

As a part of the Muscle Insider community, what kind of content can our readers look forward to from you? Are there specific topics you're eager to explore?

As a part of the Muscle Insider community, readers can expect a deep dive into the science of building muscle with me. I’m passionate about exploring topics related to training, nutrition, supplements, and the latest research in the industry. I have a strong background in science, biochemistry, and biomedical sciences. With over 15 years of experience in the fitness field and as the co-founder and Chief Fitness Officer of Fitsentive, I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. Through my journey with Fitsentive, I aim to revolutionize the fitness industry and promote a culture of health and well-being. Stay tuned for informative and inspiring content that will help you unlock your full potential and achieve your fitness goals!

Inspiring Others:

Finally, what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and fitness enthusiasts who look up to you as a source of inspiration?

As someone who has experienced both the highs and lows of entrepreneurship in the fitness industry, my advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and fitness enthusiasts is simple - never stop believing in yourself and your vision.

Primarily, it is crucial to maintain a relentless passion for your goals and dreams. This passion will be the driving force behind your success and will push you through any obstacles that may come your way. Remember, every setback is an opportunity to gain experience and grow stronger.

Secondly, surround yourself with a supportive community of like-minded individuals who will lift you up and help you thrive. Building a network of mentors, partners, and friends who share your passion for fitness and entrepreneurship will provide you with invaluable support and guidance.

Lastly, stay true to yourself and your values. In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, it is essential to remain authentic and true to your beliefs. Your authenticity will not only attract others who resonate with your message but will also set you apart in a crowded market.

Overall, my advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and fitness enthusiasts is to stay true to yourself, never give up on your dreams, and always strive to make a positive impact on the world around you. Through dedication, perseverance, and unwavering belief in yourself, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Remember, the journey may be challenging, but the rewards are truly endless.


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