CARLSBAD — One former Carlsbad graduate will be kicking off the new year on a national stage.
Nika Sedghi, 25, is one of 64 contestants (32 men, 32 women) who will compete for $100,000 grand prize on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new show, “The Titan Games.” The show premiers on Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Sedghi said she was one of 10,000 applications for the show, which pushes contestants through physical tests, a sort of combination between “American Ninja Warrior” and “American Gladiators.”
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something I’m thankful for with ‘The Rock,’” she said. “He set out to create a platform for ordinary people to do extraordinary things and that’s genuinely exactly what he did. The opportunity to extend my reach on a national level is something that warms my heart.”
Raised in Carlsbad, the current San Diego resident said she is inspired by Johnson’s goal of showing everyday people they can accomplish the most difficult tasks. Johnson, one of the biggest movie stars in the world, was a former Division I football player at the University of Miami and star wrestler in the WWE before turning to Hollywood.
As for Sedghi, she was a standout water polo player and swimmer at La Costa Canyon High School, before joining the water polo team at San Diego State University. While there, though, she said her final years were tough as she experienced a drastic change in weight.
Sedghi, who works as a gas turbine mechanical engineer at Agilis Engineering, put on nearly 40 pounds after an injury training for a triathlon.
Even though she was an active DI athlete, she said the dramatic change had a profound effect. She also learned she had a heart condition, supraventricular tachycardia, which is an abnormally fast heartbeat, but turned it around with better nutrition and was able to stabilize her weight and health.
After graduating, she found bodybuilding, which has been her passion over the past several years. Then, earlier this year, a friend showed her the application for “The Titan Games.”
Sedghi applied earlier this year and months later while on the Stairmaster at the gym, she received a call informing her she was in.
“I remember I got the call and shocked would be an understatement,” she said. “I didn’t believe it. It led to an immediate physical spring on the Stairmaster.”
Her passion for health and fitness is a driving force in her life she said. And the opportunity to bring her story and message to a national audience is inspiring.
Sedghi said weight is not the only measurement of health. Standing 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, the chiseled woman is also looking to inspire others the way Johnson is doing with the show.
“Being active and fit means the world,” she added. “My transformation was about 20 weeks. I found such a passion for fitness, nutrition and health. I want to help other people reach their fitness goals and not struggle through the things that I did. What I preach on my social media platforms is focus on health, not the scale.”
As for the show, filming has already ended, although results are kept secret, according to Rob Tobias, a public relations director for the show. Each gender will compete against each other in an elimination-style format, with the male and female winners squaring off against each other for the grand prize.
“It’s exactly like what you’d get from the March Madness tournament,” he said. “Each week they dwindle down. They did it all in Los Angeles and built a massive arena.”
Follow Sedghi on Instagram (neeks93) or Twitter (neeks_93).
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.