Getting a pro card in Europe: Success comes with a positive attitude and a strong will
I was born the 24th of April 1970 in Umeå and as far as I can remember I have been active in sports. As a small kid I spent lots of time with my father orienteering in the nature. I was interested in swimming and gymnastics and I was active in these sports until the start of high school. During the period I spent hours and hours in the pool I also tried different methods to strengthen my body. When I was 18 years old I started bodybuilding more intensively and I was really fascinated of the positive results of that kind of training.
From skinny as a stick to a curvy feminine body
I have always been very thin and from the beginning my goal was to build a more female body with curves. When I went to see the Swedish National Championships in bodybuilding in 1992 I was hooked. It seemed fun and I decided to start training for the championships next year that very moment.
I participated in the Northern Sweden Championships for the first time in October 1993. I was successful – I took the 1st place - and got he opportunity to take part in the Swedish National Championships a couple of weeks later where I placed 5th after some famous Swedish bodybuilders like Birgitta Hallström, Camilla Palazzi and Lisbeth Grape.
Unfortunately a couple of months later my back started aching really bad. Immediately I suspected it was a problem with a slipped disc but the doctors told me I was too young to operate and I only got some treatment for the pain.
There was a period of two years when I couldn’t work or train. My confidence and my identity as an athlete got shaken. During that difficult period I got pregnant and my son, Alfons, was born in the spring 1995. In the end of my pregnancy the pain in my back disappeared. I think the reason was that the weight of the baby somehow shifted the centre of the gravity of my body and eased the back pain.
When Alfons was eight months old my back collapsed. At that time the doctors found the slipped disc and I was operated. The doctors told me that my chances to fully recover were around 50 % due to the fact that at that time I had nearly lost the sense of touch in my left foot.
Strong will proved doctors wrong
But the operation was very successful. I was very happy. The pain was gone and only one day after the operation I could go for a walk in my new training shoes through the hospital hallways.
In 1998 I made a comeback to the stages in the National Championships but this time in Athletic Fitness. I took the second place and I was really happy! I felt like I had just won. I knew all this happened because of my strong will and perseverance. The doctors had told me that I couldn’t train and compete on this level but I had proved them wrong.
In 2000 I took the next step when I won the Swedish National Championships in Athletic Fitness. It was my first real first place trophy in AF, even though year 1998’s second place had already felt like a win.
In 2001 my shoulder was badly damaged. Due to that I couldn’t compete in Athletic Fitness. During the period I was pregnant with Beiron I was able to keep up with my training - not as hard and heavy as earlier but enough to feel good and keep my body in shape. After giving birth to Beiron I trained regularly, but in a way which was comfortable for me, Beiron and the rest of the family. Actually this turned out to be a great thing: I could see my progress and was able to develop my physique nicely throughout the whole year.
Reaching the goals by having fun!
Training is a very natural part of my life. I still like it as much as in the beginning. I think it’s easier to reach your goals if you think it’s fun and not because you are forced to do something. I see training as an investment in my own life. I think regular training is necessary for me (and my back) in order to live a happy life with my children, work and everything I have I have in my life.
Nearly every morning during the spring/summer I go for a walk into the forest. Not necessarily to burn fat but to feel really good. I train at least three or four times a week the whole year but a couple of month’s before a competition I make it at least four times every week.
I am really glad I don’t have to fight very much to burn fat. I only have to pay a little more attention to what I eat. I am very lucky to be able to say it’s rather easy for me to prepare for a competition. I think it’s much more easy to deal with “real life” (family and so on) due to that fact. In 2004 I gave birth to my second son, Beiron. Since he is still so young I want to give him quite a lot of my time.
I have a family, so I try to make things as easy as possible. The gym where I work out is close to where we live and they have full babysitting service there. This has made it possible for me and my husband to train together while our children have fun.
Since we have two kids, we can’t only live on chicken, rice and tuna. Of course we eat it quite often but we mostly prepare normal, traditional meals in our household. We make sure we eat regularly and that the plain food is wholesome. We also take good care of getting all the essential vitamins.
In the fall of 2005 I made a comeback again after a five year break in competing. At this time the category was body fitness (same as figure) due to my damaged shoulder. I placed second in the Swedish Nationals and a couple of weeks later the I won the Fitness Festival in Gothenburg. I was excited about my comeback, the results were wonderful! I am very proud and I am sure that’s due to the fact that I have a strong will and I’m a very determined person.
On the way to the pro world!
After the Fitness Festival in Gothenburg I was in contact with Jan Tana and IFBB Figure Pro Lena Johannesen. Lena suggested me to apply for pro card. I applied at the Swedish Fitness Association and they immediately seemed very positive about my wish. Just a short while ago, in March 2006, I got my pro card from the IFBB Pro Division. My plan is to do my figure pro debut in Anaheim, California in the 23th September. I’m really excited and really looking forward to competing in the US. For me it’s a BIG dream come true. To be on the same stage with so many of the fitness girls who have been my idols and role models all these years will be fantastic. I’m so happy I never gave up. I trained hard and kept on dreaming.
What I have learned is that with a positive attitude for training and taking care of your body, determination and a strong will you can reach your goals. It doesn’t matter if it has anything to do with competing or not. Give your body the chance it deserves and you will experience so many positive effects, not only a beautiful body. If you are comfortable with yourself you can see all things in life in a different, positive way. Why would you put off such a remarkable thing? Train hard, live your life and feel good about yourself!