Growing Up on an Idaho Farm Formed the Muscles for Success

Article by Shelly West

Photography by Greg Sims & Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Touted as one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurs in the country, Cristy Nickel is much more than a successful businesswoman; she is an inspiration and a role model. Raised on a 100-acre ranch in Orofino, Idaho, she came from humble means in a strict household where she was taught to work hard and be disciplined. One of three girls, Cristy relates her life on the farm as “I worked like a boy.”  She continues to say, “I’m a classic rag to riches story. I clawed my way out of the mold of getting married, staying home, and having kids. I wanted to pursue more and make a difference.” Cristy explains.

Cristy got her start by studying exercise science. While in school, she competed in NPC Figure competitions, placing in the top 5 in the three shows. This success led her to become a federally licensed boxer, competing around the globe and eventually earning the distinction of “Top 3 Most Dangerous Females on the Planet” by Ring Magazine. This notoriety landed her a coaching role on MTV’s Made. The success from her appearance on that show took her to New York City, which then catapulted her career into training celebrities, professional athletes, and the who’s who of business. Years later, after Cristy retired from boxing and training, she returned to her home in Idaho, settling in Boise with her husband Miles and their rescue dog Annabelle.

Cristy jokes, “I’m powered by potatoes, and moving back here to this way of life made sense.”

Returning in 2009, Cristy drew on her extensive training and nutrition experience to work with clients worldwide, developing nutrition programs to help them get healthy. Cristy is also a bestselling author of “The Code Red Revolution” and “Code Red Cookbook” adding to her success.

When asked if she would consider herself a role model, she hesitated for a moment before answering. “If one girl looks at me and thinks that I’m a cool chick and if I inspire her in some way, then yes, I would say I’m a role model,” she humbly replied.

Cristy also never forgets her roots. She began as a 4-H girl, raising steer and pigs to sell at the county fair to raise money to pay for her first car. From her hard work and tenacity, Cristy now embraces her success as a platform to be an outspoken supporter of the 4-H and other organizations like Chrysalis, a women’s halfway house. She seeks out local organizations that she can support to give back to the community that she feels has given her so much.

“I live with the idea that you should be kind to every single person you meet, and strive for excellence.”

As a young girl, Cristy’s mother taught her there is nothing she can’t achieve, turning the phrase “I can’t” to “I can.” The powerhouse that she is today results from those early teachings and her desire to help others. This is evident in her day-to-day life as a woman who walks the walk; she doesn’t just talk.

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