Douglas detective wins Best of West Women’s Figure Division |

Douglas detective wins Best of West Women’s Figure Division

by Jessica Garcia
Douglas County Det. Nadine Chrzanowski performed at least 90 minutes of cardiovascular workouts daily, receiving training from fellow law enforcement officer Mike Courtney in preparation for the Best of the West competition in October.

Officer and trainer Mike Courtney typically tells his clients before taking them on that he won’t babysit them, that the hours to train as an athlete or bodybuilder would be crazy and that he wouldn’t compliment them unless they’d earned it.

But Detective Nadine Chrzanowski of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office needed little encouragement from Courtney during her preparations this past year. She won the Best of the West Women’s Figure Division of the National Physique Committee’s annual amateur bodybuilding competition that took place Oct. 13 in Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort and Casino.

“It was definitely different than I expected,” Chrzanowski said of the contest. “I was expecting to be on the outside, but everybody made me feel welcome.”

Women who enter the NPC Women’s Figure competition for female physique are judged based on muscularity, condition and presentation or posing. According to, athletes must demonstrate muscular development with their quads, back depth and width, and particular emphasis is placed on balance and symmetry, possessing tight glutes with separation between the hamstring and glute area.

In essence, Chrzanowski said, the judges look for a “wide shoulder, smaller frame and bigger legs,” as well as stage presentation, hair and makeup.

Chrzanowski credited her trainer, Courtney, a correctional officer at High Desert State Prison, with making changes to her diet as needed and creating meal plans, her workout regimen and ensuring she was following restrictions.

“Officer Nadine’s been an awesome client,” Courtney said. “Everything I’ve asked her to do, she just executes it 100 percent. She’s very hardworking. Career wise, she’s very driven … and she takes that same effort and applies it to her bodybuilding. She’s been an absolute pleasure.”

Courtney instructed Chrzanowski to perform 90 minutes of cardiovascular workouts, weight lifting in the gym every day, practice her posing, spend time in a sauna and she was working on top of all of that, he said. Yet, the fact that they were both officers worked to their advantage as trainer and client. He also helped to ensure she kept things in perspective.

“It’s hard to understand, the way you look on stage, you can’t look like that year-round; that’s not realistic,” he said. “If you go at the rate she wants to go, and I know she’s capable of it, she’ll burn herself out. You can’t sprint through a marathon. … But she’s been awesome. She listens and puts it to work.”

She said it often became tough to adhere to the plan trying for her first competition, especially when attending special events or parties where snacking was tempting, but she felt more prepared for this October event.

“People are really understanding once they get to know what you’re doing,” such as having to pass on taking a six-pack of beverages or abstaining from eating birthday cake at parties, she said.

It also helped to have her family cheering her on throughout the process.

“I couldn’t do it without a support system,” she said.

She was inspired to become involved with similar competitions in the first place when she’d first entered a supplement shop and saw a picture hung up on the wall who’d done the same thing, and Chrzanowski asked the owner if that would be something she could do herself. He told her yes and gave her advice, and her first show was April this year after she first began bodybuilding in October 2017.

Chrzanowski has worked in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years and currently is assigned to investigation, primarily focusing on child sex crimes. Her promotion to sergeant is pending. She has served as a defense tactic instructor, a fight instructor and is a part of the department’s honor guard. She is also a training officer.

She is married with one daughter, whom she says she’s always encouraging to shoot for the stars with her passions.

“Right now, she wants to be an astronaut and she wants to be the first woman to walk on Mars, and I think it’s cool she wants to pave the way,” she said. “I hope that she does that. I hope that she sets goals … no matter how challenging and impossible they may sound and that she keeps dreaming. … My joke is when (she gets on Mars), I want that sign, ‘Hi, Mom!’ ”

Chrzanowski said she received support from her peers at the DCSO as well going through her workouts and getting ready for Best of the West. If she ever was tempted to “take a day off” and eat something that didn’t fall in line with her diet, she said her colleagues always reminded her she still had so many weeks to go until the competition, continuously pushing her to stick with her healthy routine even when she felt like quitting.

“The sheriff himself cheered me on,” she said. “He was excited I was doing it. He asked me all the time how it was going.”

Chrzanowski said competing in Best of the West was a friendly experience, and she enjoyed getting to know her competitors.

“Every girl was amazing; they’re goal-oriented, they’re moms, they work, they have families, they have kids,” she said. “It’s more like a family once they get to know each other. They’re fixing each other’s suits and hair.”

The physical aspects of bodybuilding for Best of the West have served her particularly well for her career, she noted. Increasing her physical size gives her an advantage to use to ensure someone else’s safety on the job.

“The reason I switched from pageantry to bodybuilding is that it’s more conducive to what I do for a living,” she said. “When I train (for a pageant), I train for aesthetics. When I train as a bodybuilder, I train for life and the job. If I’m small and I can’t drag my partners out (of a dangerous situation), that doesn’t do anybody any good. It complements what I do for a living.”