Photography by Binais Begovic
There are thousands of bikini competitors in the world. Out of them, Narmin Assria is one of the best in the world. I remember first seeing Narmin in 2012, competing in the West Coast Classic, a national qualifier. She won first place in her division and then went on to take first at the USA Nationals and get her pro card. When I saw her on that stage, there was something about her that stood out: She had the “it” factor—her stage presence, confidence, determination, and an obvious love for competing. That “it” factor has brought her multiple wins over the last few years, including top five at the 2015 Mr. Olympia.
Dr. Cat Begovic: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Where did you grow up? Were you always athletic?
Narmin Assria: I was born in Chicago, and I moved to California when I was about four years old. I come from a big family. I have four brothers and five sisters! It’s awesome having a big family. There is never a dull moment! As a teen I was very active; I loved playing sports. I have always been the most determined and competitive person when it comes to any type of activity. That’s probably why I love competing so much! I am always trying to better myself in any way possible, on and off the stage. I was also very active when it came to high school performance. I danced all four years and still love dancing and putting on a performance.
CB: So 2015 was a big year for you! Tell me more about it.
NA: Yes, it was an amazing year for me, and I feel truly blessed to be able to compete at the Olympia! I have been honored to step on the Olympia stage the last four years. It’s truly an amazing experience. I just got done competing this past weekend and was able to win back-to-back shows! First, I went out to Iowa and defended my title for the third time this year. Then I came home to L.A. the following week and was able to take home the win there, too! I ended my season with a bang! I am ready to have some time off and recap all of my accomplishments this year.
CB: What do you love best about competing? What do you hate?
NA: The thing I love about competing is that I get to travel all around the world and meet such amazing people along the way! I met some of my closest friends doing what I love. I love that I get to inspire women daily to go after their goals and truly believe anything is possible. I love being in charge of sculpting my physique into the body I want. It pushes me on a daily basis to know that what I do at the gym and what I put into my body can really change my look. Competing puts a routine in my daily life. I get up, do my fasted cardio, come back home, and get the day started. I don’t mind competing all year because I enjoy it so much. There really isn’t anything I hate. The only thing I can think of is being away from family because of traveling so much.
CB: You and Jeremy Buendia are a true power couple in the world of fitness. He won the Men’s Physique Mr. Olympia for the second time this year, and I know that behind every man’s success is an amazing woman. What’s it like being part of a fitness couple?
NA: Honestly, being with Jeremy has been awesome. Having his mentality and motivation around me really pushes me to better myself! I don’t know what I would have done without him. He’s truly my inspiration! Having the mindset that I’m number one and I’ll work as hard as I can to make that happen is how I think, and he has that same mentality. We definitely feed off of each other when it comes to hustling in and out of the gym.
CB: Do you guys train together? When you get closer to competition, does it get more stressful?
NA: We train together every day. We do everything together, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. We do fasted cardio in the morning, then train together in the afternoon. I find it really easy working together, and I find myself motivating him just as he motivates me! When it gets closer to show time, we still have each other’s backs regardless of how stressful it can get.
CB: Do you give each other advice, or does one person take the lead?
NB: He gives me more advice, and that is amazing. I definitely saw a change in my physique training with him! He also taught me different ways to target certain muscle groups to make them pop.
CB: What does your training and diet look like?
NA: Fasted cardio is a must right when I get up. I take a scoop of my Amino Action BCAA from Reaction Nutrition with me while I’m on the StairMaster.
Monday: Legs and glutes
Thursday: Biceps and triceps
Friday: Off day, just cardio
Saturday: Shoulders and calves
Sunday: Glutes and hamstrings
I usually do my cardio in the morning, but depending on my weight and how far out I am from a show, I do more or less. My coach, Kim Oddo, will usually take a look at me, and that’s how we determine how much cardio I end up doing. My diet is clean for the whole prep. I stick to chicken, turkey, egg whites, and steak for protein. I usually get about four ounces with each meal. For my carbs I only use oatmeal, sweet potato, and brown rice; however, I found myself manipulating my carbs at the end of my prep because I was so lean and my coach gave me sweet potato fries or white rice. It’s amazing what your body can do when you’re so close to a show and how things start to look! My favorite veggies were always my green beans!
Lives: Murrieta, California
favorite vacation spot: Miami
Listens to: Hip-hop, rap
Favorite cheat food: Burgers
Favorite quote: “A fit body is the ultimate fashion accessory”
Reaction Nutrition, Celestial Bodiez
CB: What kind of supplements do you take?
NA: I used Reaction Nutrition while prepping for all my shows this year—my go-to supplements were the Amino Action, Pre Action, and Lean Action. Amino Action helps with building muscle, and with as much cardio and how much I train, it’s the number one supplement I make sure is on hand. It also helps with recovery, and that is really important so I can get up and train the next day. Pre Action gets me wired and pumps me up to get through my workouts. I love the pump I get! It increases my focus and performance while I’m training. Lean Action is my go-to fat burner. It’s the best pick-me-up, especially when I get up in the morning and feel exhausted.
CB: What’s your favorite body part on yourself?
NA: Glutes and my shoulders.
CB: What’s your favorite body part on guys?
NA: Chest and shoulders.
CB: Your pictures for this feature are incredible. What was it like shooting for Iron Man? What were some of your favorite pictures?
NA: I had one of the best times shooting with Iron Man! These are probably some of my best images I have ever seen. My favorite pictures were the ones in my jean shorts and gray sports bra! They are seriously flawless images! I was in love when I saw them, and I can’t wait to see more! IM