Family, culture, and a hunger for the gold medal motivate this Bikini Olympia top contender.
Narmin Assria has so much spunk and packs so much energy into her tiny frame, it’s hard to think of her as an underdog in any situation. The line-up of the 2016 Bikini Olympia, however, looks to pack the most talent on one stage the young Bikini division has ever seen. Three-time winner Ashley Kaltwasser is back, along with the top six competitors from both the previous Arnold and the Olympia. In short, it is a murderer’s row of world-class bodies.
Assria is unfazed. Coming off a win in the IFBB Stockholm Pro last May, she is more determined than ever to prove that she has what it takes to capture the top spot on the Bikini podium—and more confident. Standing five feet tall, Assria will be the shortest competitor onstage, a factor she counters with her stunning muscularity. She refuses to be overshadowed by the taller athletes. In a dramatic moment at the athlete roundtable in Stockholm, she made her intentions known. “I told Ashley onstage in Sweden,” she says. “I looked her right in the eyes and said, ‘Ashley, I am coming after your title.’”
Mike Carlson: I have to get one question out of the way: You have great glutes and your name start with “A-S-S.” How often do you hear a joke about that?
Narmin Assria: All the time. “At least you represent your last name!” It’s so funny. People always ask me, “How do you say your last name? Is it Ass-ria?” Yeah. I laugh. It’s funny. I love it.
MC: I know you’re just starting your Olympia prep. How will it be different this year?
NA: I talked to my coach, Kim Oddo, the other day, and we are going to burn off a little bit of my muscle but not too much; I want to keep my fullness. We’re going to switch up my training and incorporate a little bit more plyos, more drop-sets, and more supersets to switch it up a bit. And we’re going to add more fat to my diet.
MC: Why more fat?
NA: Just to bring me in a little bit softer. As soon as I’m on the regimen of wake up, do fasted cardio, come home, eat, prep my next meal, and then train again, I lean down really fast. Keeping my fats higher will keep me softer. I get shredded and hard really fast, and the way Bikini is going, they’re not looking for that.
MC: Do you ever get frustrated trying to predict what the judges want?
NA: Yes, but it’s part of the process. Some judges will love your look, and some judges will like somebody else. It’s out of your control. You got to just put a smile on your face and keep going.
When I first started I was 85 pounds. I turned pro at 85 pounds. Now I step onstage at 103 pounds. I’m finally in the triple digits. You have to imagine how hard I had to work, how much time and effort I put into the gym, to add that muscle. I worked so hard for all this muscle and then I hear, “You’re coming in too hard and you need to be softer.” Which is fine, I can still have the size I have, but with my coach tweaking my diet the week and the day of, he can soften me up.
MC: What do you weigh in the off-season?
NA: Around 114. I love my off-season look. I love my fullness. It’s two different looks. I need a wardrobe for my off-season and a wardrobe when I’m lean. I wear a lot of leggings in my off-season, let’s just say that.
MC: Do you feel sexier with a few more pounds on you?
NA: I do. I love it. I love having more pounds; I look more like a woman. Don’t get me wrong, I love muscle. When I see a woman with shoulder caps, I love it. You can see the hard work and dedication. Not everyone can do it. Otherwise everyone would be walking around shredded. You just have to have a balance.
MC: What bodyparts are you working on for the Olympia?
NA: I’m always working my glutes because Bikini is all about the glutes. I’m going to work harder on my midsection. I’m going to come in with a tighter smaller midsection than I have right now. I can’t bring up my shoulders because they are already too big, so just a wider back and bigger glutes to give me the illusion of a smaller waist.
MC: You are one of the few women of Middle Eastern descent in the Bikini division. Do you feel like a pioneer in that way?
NA: Yes, I do. It is really hard when you come from a family that is always covered up and does not show their body. It was very hard to let my dad know I was doing this. To him, I am showing my body to the world and only my husband should see me like this. A lot of Middle Eastern women won’t do it because of the religion, but I love what I do. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything wrong. We are healthy, training, eating right. We are getting up onstage in a bikini, but it’s like we’re doing a pageant. I see nothing wrong with it. My dad finally came around and accepted it. I’m happy he has.
MC: Were there some rough moments between you and your father?
NA: Yeah, he didn’t talk to me for a couple weeks. He was really disappointed. I knew one day he would come around because he loves me and he’ll accept anything I do that makes me happy. Family is family, they always come around.
MC: Have other Middle Eastern women reached out to you on social media?
NA: They have. They tell me they are proud of what I have done. I’m one of the only Middle Eastern girls who have been on the Olympia stage, and I represent the religion and the nationality. They give me props. I have not had one negative message.
MC: Walk me through some of your toughest competition at the Olympia.
NA: Ashley Kaltwasser is awesome. She is a great girl. I love her glutes. I love her athletic look. I give her mad respect, but a lot of girls are coming after that title. Justine Munro has more muscle. I look up to Justine because I can see all the hard work. Her legs and glutes are amazing. I don’t know if they will be too much, though. Janet Layug is gorgeous. I love Janet. She brings in that softer look, and you never know what the judges are looking for.
MC What does the future hold for you?
NA: Eventually I’ll come out with my own bikini line, so look out for that one day. My sister will be my next little project. All of my sisters [she has four]. We will have all of these mini Assrias onstage. Someone has to do it. Once I retire I need someone to take my spot. My sister will be my little rising star.
MC: Do you ever think about retirement?
NA: I won’t be retiring anytime soon. This is what I love to do. If I get married and have kids, I might stop for a year or two, but you’ll see me back onstage. It’s something I’m obsessed with. It has become a part of me. It is who I am. IM
Name: Narmin Assria
Lives: Southern California
Profession: IFBB Bikini Pro, fitness model
Favorite Drink: Diet Coke
Go-To Website: Instagram
Desert Island Exercises: Burpees, walking lunges, squat jumps
Binge TV Show: Sons Of Anarchy
Ultimate Vacation Spot: Hawaii
Sponsors: BMR Sports Nutrition
Website: coming soon