Pocket-size Buff Beauty – figure competitor Anniina Krökki
1. Who is Anniina? Please tell us about your background and maybe something special that people don’t know about you.
I´m a 29 year old figure competitor from Tampere, Finland. I was born in the far north of Finland, the town of Kajaani. I moved to Tampere a couple of years ago, fell in love with the town and decided to stay. I work as a sales assistant in a financial company. I’ve always been a girl with guts and a cheerful attitude. I love to have fun! Okay... something people wouldn’t know? How about wanting to compete so bad, that you’d go out in the middle of a snowstorm because you had to do your cardio for the day and the gym was closed? Yep, that would be me. :)
2. How did you get started with figure?
I started working out with weights 5 years ago just for fun. When I was younger, I didn´t
I kept working out 3 times a week. Then a couple of years later I moved to Tampere and started instructing indoor cycling and body combat classes. At that time I didn´t have enough time to go to the gym, so I only did muscle maintaining workouts once or twice a week. Then I met my boyfriend who had a trainer, Timo Heiniö who had established Heiniö Power Team (a team for competitors). My boyfriend arranged me a meeting with Timo to see, if he thought I might have potential for competing in body fitness (figure in the USA).
I met Timo a year ago in March and for my surprise Timo said that my basic condition was so good that I start preparing for a show right away. We decided to begin a half year project and I would compete for the first time in the fall 2006 in the qualification show for the Finnish Figure Nationals. I thought, “now or never” and off we went. Timo planned me a new training program including gym workouts 4 times a week and a couple of hours cardio. We checked that my diet included enough proteins and little by little we left out all junk food etc. The real contest diet started in the beginning of June and last 19 weeks. I lost 10 kgs (about 20 pounds) of body weight at that time.
3. Tell us about your past competitions?
So like we planned, I competed in the qualification show for the Finnish Figure Nationals, the show was called Turku Body & Fitness 2006. I qualified for the Nationals by placing fourth in my class. YAY! What an experience for a first show! My second show was three weeks later, the biggest show in Finland called Fitness Expo / Finnish Body Fitness Nationals. I placed ninth. It was a great experience, though I wasn’t truly happy with my placing and decided to continue towards the next possible show which would be our spring show – Force Fitness Classic in Helsinki, Finland. That show actually took place yesterday. For my own big surprise, I took the second place!! I´m so happy about that!!
4. Tell us about your workouts. How often do you work out, how about cardio?
I train at the gym 4 times a week. My training program is divided to 4 different workouts: 1) back, 2) chest&shoulders, 3) legs and 4) biceps&triceps. Usually I train my abs 2-3 times a week. My cardio consists mostly indoor cycling and brisk walking outdoors. My philosophy in training is that working out has to fit into my everyday life - do things that you have to do and you like to do, without stressing about anything!
5. What is your diet like and what foods do you enjoy the most?
In off season I love to eat out. I love Mexican food and of course all the foods that are made by my mom. When I am on a diet, I try to eat only the foods I like and that is possible, because my trainer allows me to decide what to eat. If somebody gave me a list that said what I have to eat, it wouldn´t work. I like to have the freedom that I can change my daily diet according to what I want to eat at that moment, of course taking into consideration that it includes all the macro nutrients in the right proportion.
6. Are there any big differences with your off- and on season?
My gym workouts are quite similar in both periods but in competition period I do much more cardio. On off season I eat more freely (sometimes too freely) but of course I check that I get enough protein and try to have some kind of control with all the sweets, junk food and that kind of stuff! J
7. What does the word "fitness" mean to you?
In a way fitness means a healthy&fun lifestyle for me but it´s not all my life. The word gets its true meaning when I´m on on season and prepping for a show.
8. How do you motivate yourself?
The most motivating thing is to see the progress and the results at the gym and when I look myself in the mirror. And to realize that I can win myself by lifting more weights, doing more reps. I also love the mental aspect of this sport – it’s very motivating to see that I can get better and better all the time even if it sometimes feels hard.
9. What is the most difficult thing with this sport and during the time you have been competing?
My first diet was quite easy and I got in shape without working that hard. The second diet has been much harder. I expected that it will go similarly but now I learned that you shouldn´t never compare diets with each other. For a while my body felt so strange and I had to do lot more work to achieve the same results. I did more cardio than ever and ate less the whole diet but I didn´t lose weight fast enough at the beginning. That was quite hard mentally but somewhere I still got the belief and the power to believe in me. And at the few last weeks on my diet I finally started to realize that I will get into the shape in time, even though I got sick only two weeks before the show with high fever. I must say, that now my second place in this competition feels even better after all this struggling.
10. What kind of plans do you have with the sport for the next years? How do you plan ahead?
Yesterday I talked with my trainer after the show and we decided that I will compete in the next Finnish Body Fitness Nationals the fall 2007. I have succeeded so well that I want
11. Who do you look up to?
All this fitness lifestyle is such a new thing to me… I saw my first fitness competition only a year ago so it´s so hard to name any specific competitors within the sport. I respect all the girls who work so hard to get on the stage regardless of their success.
12. What would you like to say to those girls who dream about competing and hesitate if they could ever do it?
I have to say that if you are interested just set a goal to yourself and start immediately training with that goal in your mind. If it feels good and you are getting results then continue that way. If it doesn’t feel good then you know that at least you tried. Remember that nothing happens in one night. But I have to say that if I - this girl who loves to eat and live an easy-going lifestyle can stay on a diet for months and train hard almost every day - can do that, you can do it too!!
13. Please share your best fitness recipe with the readers of Hard Fitness Online Magazine?
I love to eat lean red meat so this is my absolute favourite. Take low fat ground beef, zucchini, tomatoes, onion and garlic. Slice the veggies and put all the ingredients in layers on bake pan. Sprinkle your favourite spice on it and cover with low fat cheese if you want. Put the pan in oven for an hour and then enjoy!