Fit Feature: Grand Ledge’s Nikki Racine

It’s often said that if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. “I wanted to make a difference in this world. I took my heart health into my own hands and I concentrated on my healing.”

“Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle is extremely important to me,” she said. “I have had many roadblocks along the way in my own personal health journey, but it has made me who I am today — determined, committed, and completely motivated to lead a long, healthy lifestyle for years to come.”

Here’s what she faced on her journey:

At 16 she was in a severe car accident and suffered a cervical neck fracture and a closed-head injury. She had more than 360 stitches to help fix her battered body. “I was incredibly lucky to walk away with injuries that eventually healed,” she said.

Around that time, she developed an eating disorder, being obsessed with calories and her appearance.

“After a huge weight loss in a short period of time, I sought help for my eating disorder,” she said. “I began to realize that I had to treat my body with the respect and dignity that it deserved.”

After college and law school, she suffered from a jaw infection resulting from a root canal. She had to have all of her teeth pulled out. “It was excruciating,” she said, “and for years, I was unable to chew and properly nourish my body.”

And then, as a result of her weakened immune system, the same infection spread to her heart. She was diagnosed with Viral Cardiomyopathy — her heart was only functioning at 30 percent.

Instead of giving in, Racine began to do what she could to be healthy.

“I knew that my story hadn’t even begun,” she said. “I wanted to make a difference in this world. I took my heart health into my own hands and I concentrated on my healing.”

She began getting in shape by walking just a few minutes a day. After some time, and improving her diet with whole, unprocessed food, she began to run. Her heart function slowly returned, and she eventually began to compete in 5Ks and other running events.

“My heart function had come back,” she said. “Even though it was discovered that I will need a heart valve transplant in the future, I am not inhibited in any way with my physical activity. In fact, I have completed over 100 5Ks, over 30 half marathons, and crossed the finish line at three full marathons in the last three years.”

When she turned 40, she ran the NYC Marathon, shaving an hour from her marathon time. She also began HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training) at a local gym, and began to do meal planning each week.  As a result, she lost 45 pounds in a few short months.

“I have finally made time for me,” she said. “It is such an incredibly difficult thing to do when you are juggling so many hats each day, but I realized that when I am healthy and happy, it resonates to the rest of my family and friends. It isn’t selfish — it is a necessity.”

With her passion for fitness, she became a certified trainer and is currently an instructor at Ledge’s Sweat Shop in Grand Ledge. She teaches a HIIT class there twice a week.

“Watching my clients get stronger and more energized is priceless,” she said.  “I absolutely LOVE being a beacon in the journey for others as they become a healthier version of themselves. Being a motivator in that arena has become part of my mission in life.”


One thought on “Fit Feature: Grand Ledge’s Nikki Racine

  • April 25, 2017 at 10:45 am

    That is such a good story and I am so sorry Nikki went through all this trama. But it has made her a stronger person, both inside and out. I raise my hat to you Nikki for getting through all that you have been confronted with. You are an amazing friend, mom and woman. You are an inspiration to all women and I truly admire you. I will always remember this while I am engaged in high intensity interval training for it will be my encouragement to keep going.

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