Issue #47


by Juan Carlos Lope

2008 NPC Nationals Photos and Results

2008 NPC Nationals Review

2008 NJ State and HardFitness Model Search
Photos and Results

2008 NJ State and HardFitness Model Search

20 Questions with Cover Model Maiken Emborg

Video Interview with IFBB Figure Pro and Cover Model Maiken Emborg

Erika Andersson (Sweden) Interview
by Anne Pietila

Maiken Emborg, Megan Swain, Michelle Craven, Monica Vargas, Wendy Fortino

Video Interview with NPC Figure Brandi Binkley

Ask Misty Green
by Misty Green

Video Interview with NPC Bodybuilding Andrea Giacomi

Festive Fitness
by Jean Jitomir PhD(c)

Video Interview
with NPC Figure Heather Udy


Interview with Erika Andersson by Anne Pietila

Photo by Alex Danielsson

1. Well, Erika, although many have seen you on stage, just a few know who you really are. Could you shortly tell us a bit about yourself, your life and your background in sports and in life generally?

- I was born in Africa, Liberia, so my mom is African but my dad is from Japan. When I was almost one year old, I was adopted and came here to Sweden. I have a brother who also is adopted, not biological, he is 20 days older than me. It was he who got me in to sports, I think. He played ice hockey in early years and I always used to accompany him to his training. When they trained I was training by the side figure skating until one day when their trainer asked me if I wanted to join.
I played ice-hockey for some years but when I understood that I couldn’t be the best in the team I quitted. As you maybe understand I was and still am a very contest concentrated. I started with football instead and became good in that, was even picked out to play in the national team. But by the side of football I also trained wrestling and I thought that wrestling suited me better because there I only had myself to blame for a bad performance. I did some wrestling competitions and placed second at the Swedish nationals and I think I became second or third in one of the biggest international lady contest. But even then I had very high demands on myself which also gave me performance anxiety, so much that I thought it wasn’t any fun to compete anymore. Therefore I started to train at the gym, there I only could compete with myself, I thought. But the competition person in me told me pretty soon that my next goal was the get the fittest body at the gym... this was the start of my bodybuilding career. After some years with hard training and strict diet for the most of the year I was persuaded to do a competition. Besides that I am very competitive and very stubborn, most of my life is circles around training and diet. Training and diet are the two biggest things in my life and has been for many years now and I will keep allocate time for it as long I think its fun.

2. So for the first time you stepped on stage in Swedish Nationals in 2007. Female bodybuilding is not so popular in Scandinavia, what made a young girl decide to compete in bodybuilding, and not for example in figure which is much more popular?

- The main reason that I didn’t want to compete in figure was that I don’t like all the preparation that has to be done; make up, hair and jewelry aren’t my thing, even if I wish it would be sometimes... I am what many would describe as a tomboy. And to wear ”court shoes” is for me something that would be very hard. Most probably I would only stumble along on stage hoping that I wouldn’t fall and break something:)

Photo by Alex Danielsson

3. Well, that was a pretty good decision anyway, as you won junior division in Swedish Nationals, what kind of memories do you have from your very first show?

- I was so nervous before that competition, on that Sunday morning I told my coach that I wanted to leave now because my condition was not as good at it was the day before. But he talked some sense to me and I changed my mind. I don’t remember so much from the stage, haha I don’t even remember that I did my routine because I was too nervous! But after the show I remember that I felt a little bit disappointed. The  main reason for competing was to see if I could be the best, but the fact that I didn’t get anyone to compete against at my first show, made me feel that I hadn’t reached my goal.

4. And then you continued to Junior’s World Championships and after that day you just were the World Champ and you amazed the whole bodybuilding world.  Could you tell more about that show and your expectations and feelings both before and after the show? How did it feel to be World Champion in your first contest season?

- As you maybe understand I was very nervous before this show too, but not as nervous as I was before the Swedish nationals. I felt more calm because I now knew how does it feel to stand on stage and I also didn’t have so high demands on myself this time. I tried to see it as a big and learning experience and I felt so happy only that I had got the opportunity to be a part of the Swedish team. It felt like a once in a lifetime experience and I told myself that the only thing I could do was my best and to learn and have fun. Everyone I met during the competition was very kind and friendly to me, all the members of the Swedish team were totally wonderful, they took good care of me and they were very helping and made the journey one of my most invaluable memories. Not only my own team, but also competitors from other countries, judges, functionary and other people were very nice, it was a great show!
At first I couldn’t really understand that I had won, it was later when the real happiness came, after I read all the nice comments  people had written to me:) It was a great feeling, something that I never will forget.

Photo by Alex Danielsson

5. After that you headed for this year’s Swedish Nationals. It was your first show in open class in the age of 22. And your continued winning when you took the title in light weight class. How was it to win first national title in open class? Were you satisfied your own presentation and condition?

- Yes, from the beginning the thought was not to compete this year because I felt that my body needed some rest after the hard diet, but I am easy to persuade!  Because I didn’t got permission to compete in that open class the year before I wanted to win it this year. I told myself that nothing else than a first place counted. Of course I felt happy when I was pronounced the winner but I also felt very relieved. The fact that I wanted to win so much made me very stressed during the diet and my performance just grew during this time. Because I also felt that my condition was not what I had hoped it would have been at the competition day, it made me even more nervous and I wanted it just to be over. But afterwards when I got to see pics from the stage I understood that my condition was not as bad as had told myself it was. For the most part I’m satisfied with my presentation and condition. There are many things that could have been much better, specially my free routine, but there will always be things that I can do better and improve, and that is what drives me and makes it fun.

Photo by Alex Danielsson

6. 3 shows, 3 wins with perfect scores, any comments?

- The only thing I can say is THANKS... thanks to everyone who have helped, motivated and supported me in my way. I couldn’t have done it without you!

7. I was truly impressed with your condition in your every show , which was amazing for the girl at your age. Could you tell more about your contest preps, what are the main principles you follow concerning dieting and contest prep?

- I always start the contest prep in time so I don’t have to feel stressed about not having enough of time to get in shape. Both off and on season I like to eat meals that don’t contain so much carbs, except for the meals before and after training. On my diet I eat about 6-9 meals a day mostly chicken, cabbage, rice and nuts but on every saturday I am omnivore:) During the years I have been more careful with the cardio training, so during the latest diet I tried to avoid cardio as long as it was possible with exception of morning walks. The main principle for me is not to over train because it only makes me look worn out, I rather eat a little bit less than train too much.

Photo by Alex Danielsson

8. So now it’s been a few months since your last show, you are in off season, but you don’t look like that at all, you are in awesome condition and seems like you are that year around. How do you do that?

- Haha, thanks! How do I do that? It is easy. I mostly eat the same foods during the off season as when I am on contest prep, just change the amounts a little, of course I can make some exceptions when I feel so. Besides that I train hard and morning walks are something that I do in the mornings if I feel like it.

9. Could you tell a bit more about your off season training and nutrition, how much do you eat and what are your main principles in training?

- In off season I train about 5 days a week, sometimes I split up some muscle groups on two work outs, for example back and legs. Every week I always have a whole day of rest and that day is usually saturday. I try to train smart that I don’t get any unnecessary injuries, not too long work outs and I try to let my muscles get enough recover between the work outs.
My week schedule is:
Morning: Back (wide)
Afternoon: Back (deep)
Morning: Legs (quadriceps)
Afternoon: Legs (hamstrings and gluteus)
Calves and stomach
On a ordinary weekday I eat every second hour, most often it is chicken ( a normal size fillet), cabbage and other vegetables (about 300 grams) but before and after training I also eat 50 grams rice. Directly after training I also drink a shake with protein and carbs, about 50 g. My last meal is always my beloved nuts (100 grams) Other supplements that I take are omega, remaindered and protein powder, besides that I eat some fruits when I feel so during the day.

Photo by Patrik Elfwing

10. What is your goal now during your offseason? What bodyparts you want to improve, or are you satisfied with your size?

- My goal is the gain, I want to try to build some more muscles. The parts of my body that I want improve the most right now are my back and my legs, therefore those muscle groups I train in the beginning of the week. Satisfied, I don't think I ever will be, I would not say no to 2-4 kilos of pure muscles.

11. Describe female bodybuilding physique, that is perfect in your opinion.

- I don't really know, that’s a hard question. I don’t like it when it looks too big and unnatural. I like beautiful lines and a balanced  physique.

Photo by Patrik Elfwing

12. Everyone who knows you says that you simply love weight training and bodybuilding. What makes bodybuilding so loveable, what is the THING in that which fascinates you?

- I think it’s because the way you can form your body. It’s really interesting to see and experience how the body reacts on training and how hard you can pressure your body. The body really fascinates me and how you can form it with training and diet.

13. So spring, new contest season and European Championships are getting closer week after week. Will we see you there? Tell us a bit more about your next contest plans?

- I have said that I’m going to take a break in competing because my motivation to compete is not on top right now. The latest years I have really spent a lot of time almost only focusing on training and diet, so now I feel it is time to put focus on something else too, for example on my social life. I haven’t made any future contest plans, I will take it as it comes. When I have the motivation and the strong will to compete again, you will see me on stage again.

14. Many experts are saying that you are one of the most talented young female bodybuilders on earth and you could achieve so much in this. How do you see your own future in bodybuilding? Any BIG dreams?

- I haven't thought so much my future as a bodybuilder and I don’t have any big dreams, the only thing I wish is that I have many good and health years ahead. I will compete as long as I think it’s fun and feel motivated.

Photo by Patrik Elfwing

15. Female bodybuilding is not so big and popular in Scandinavia and Europe, instead of that, figure seem to rock. What would you like to say to all the young girls who have dreams to compete in bodybuilding?

- I would tell them to make their dreams come true. Life is too short just to dream, they have nothing to loose by doing a contest. Maybe they will realize that that BB is nothing for them or on the other hand, they maybe will realize that this is the sport for them! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they use to say!

16. Just a few weeks to Christmas, what do you wish for Christmas present?

- There are many things that I feel would be fun to get for example money for a pair of glasses but I haven’t made any present wishes, I just wish that I will get a nice Christmas with people I love.

17. Well, as I have nothing more to ask, you have all freedom to say what ever you want to all Hardfitness readers!

- Ok, thanks for a great interview with fun questions! To all the Hardfitness readers I just want to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. And of course I want to send a big thanks to everyone of you who have believed in me and who still believes in me. Take care!


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About the Author...

Anne interviews and coverage have appeared in Finnish BODY magazine and Pro Body Magazine. Anne is one of the best recognized reviewers in Europe. Her main focus is to give more publicity and coverage to the competitors and fitness industry.

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