Interview with Asa Hallstrop by Anne Pietila
1. Hi, Super Mama! That’s how many calls you, but who is the woman behind that name? Could you shortly introduce yourself and your background?
- Well, I am Åsa Hällstorp, 35 years old competitor, living in Varberg, Sweden with my husband Georg and our two daughters Liza and Iriz. I started training with weights in 2004, before that I simply had no sport background besides running which I had started a few years earlier. During the same year 2004 I competed for the first time in figure and thinking afterwards that debut contest I am impressed how we managed to do that all although we had no clue about the things which include in figure, like posing and suits. After that I ve done quite many contests and followed my husband’s example in life. He is my idol number one as he has showed that everything is possible if you just want that bad enough. If he can, so do I!
2. So, I have read and heard that you have quite much going on in your life and that you compete active in many sports. Could you tell us what all you do in your life and a bit about your competing?
- I have a full-time job as a recreation instructor for children, so it’s often long days at work for me. I compete active in marathons (42,1km) and in ultra marathons (over 42,1km) and besides that I compete in figure and have done also a few contests in bodybuilding. But first of all I try to be the best mom in the world to my two daughters, Liza and Iriz. Of course my husband helps me a lot that things go as well as possible. Now in May I am attending in my 4th World Championships after starting to train about 5 years ago, so although we have quite a lot things in our life, we have taken some steps forward.
3. Could you give us your best achievements, in all – bodybuilding, figure and other sports?
- It is impossible to just pick a few contests as I have done so many! If I think year 2008 I would name long distance running World Championships in South Korea and Fitness Festivalen. World Championships were a big event, I really enjoyed be part of it and besides that it felt incredible good to be the best Swedish competitor there. We learned a lot during the whole journey and I wish everyone could feel that same joy and happiness. In the end of the race after running for 23,5 hours people were cheering on me and that was something I will never forget. Anyway, I have competed MUCH but I could give a few of my best results:
In bodybuilding I was runner up in Luciapokalen in 2005, after that now in the end of last year I won light weight class in the show called Decembercupen and a week after that I won veteran’s class in Luciapokalen and placed 2nd in Lucia Classic Pro. In figure during that same weekend I won my class which was actually very competitive. To name a few achievements from my “earlier” years in figure I would say NOGP 2006 where I took the biggest trophy in my class and also won over all title. I have also taken runner up placement in Swedish Nationals 2005 and during that year I placed 2nd both in Fitness Festivalen and Vårpokalen. In 2006 I placed 4th in Nordic Championships’ finals and I have also attended in World Championships two times and once in European Championships.
4. Ou, that is impressive! First of all, it seems to be quite common not to mix figure competing and marathon running in that level, specially if you are trying to add some size. But you have been running much, and you had also developed your physique. What is your key to develop in both?
- First of all I am still quite beginner in both and I guess that’s why I keep developing. Actually I have not been training much for marathons, it’s been mostly just competing and started to add training recently. Well, then of course to get professional help is important to get some development and I do get the best possible help from my husband who works in training and nutrition business. Besides that nutrition things have a big role and I pay much attention in them, I eat our normal daily, tasty diet food to get the energy I need and of course tons of amino acids! Anyway protein is the base of our nutrition and to make sure that the recovery is the best possible in both, weight training and running, is extremely important.
5. By the way, talking about developing physique, you have built quite good delts for a figure girl, could you share some tips how to make them grow?
- Thanks, I hear that quite often so I guess my delts are my best part physique wise. I really cannot name just some special exercises for them but in my opinion you get best possible training for delts when you learn to train them with the way you get an extremely good concentration and contact in muscle.
6. And another thing which amazes me is the way you take care of family, work, home, training and everything. Many competitors complain just to fit work and competing, how do you find time and energy to do all that training day in day out?
- I simply love what I do and I always look forward our goals we set up. In contests we have our whole family with us and they love that as well. Every member of our family loves new adventures and that way the normal every day life becomes easier to handle. And if we think about competing, I need to say that my last contest prep was the easiest one. Georg planned a new kind of prep and I have never felt so good during my contest prep, I ate much! And the most important is probably our supporting family. So key to do that all is to love what you are doing, enjoy the life, and have a supporting family with you every day. Besides that good planning and doing things right during your contest preps are important.
7. Could you give an example of your normal day, how looks like your normal day schedule?
04:00am Wake up and cooking coffee, trying to wake up my husband as he needs up for running as well.
8. Now that is a lot! So, seems like you have done much during your competing career, both in marathons and physique contests. What are the most important things you have learned during your career?
- To keep distance and have basic priorities in life! My husband have taught me to train, eat and sleep like a winner, the rest goes by itself. We set up our own realistic goals and it usually has nothing to do with top placings. It is more to achieve the goals no matter how tough they may be. Thanks to kids we can keep the distance in competing world and we don’t take it so seriously if we don’t get succeed in contest. Whole life is a kinda contest itself and it is all about to be a winner in life, otherwise it is not so fun.
9. Well let’s talk a bit about kids then. As you said, you are mother of two girls. How you manage to fit competing life, traveling, training and motherhood together?
- Well you can do many things at the same time, like run with a baby buggy - get into shape and take kids out at the same time! To be honest, days with kids are not always the easiest ones, and sometimes it feels really good if you just manage to be a good mother. Anyway to give our kids to someone who could keep eye on them the time we work out or travel is not really our thing. There are also other solutions and one is teamwork. Georg takes care of nutrition things and I do as much as I can. Planning everything well I do have enough time for workouts as well.
10. You were in quite good shape also during your pregnancy and you came back to stages quite soon after your 2nd child. What advice would you give to the moms concerning training and nutrition during pregnancy and after birth?
- Unfortunately that is not really the truth because I took it much easier with nutrition as I really wanted my pregnancy to be visible somehow in my body too in the beginning. But lucky me my husband took me back in our lifestyle and I continued after a lil break with training and nutrition things. He really helped me and planned meals by paying attention to my needs during pregnancy. So I did had enough energy for workouts at gym and running. He also made me remember to rest when my body was tired and needed rest.
11. I don’t admire you just because of all your achievements and super motherhood, but also your attitude. You showed a great attitude in 2008 Fitness Festivalen. Could you tell us what you actually did?
- Well I had done my own bodybuilding class on Saturday and still had figure on Sunday. There was also such a Lucia Pro contest for female bodybuilders on Sunday but they needed one more competitor that they would get a class. One coach asked Georg if I would be the one. At first I was not so happy to do it because I still had figure during the same day and I knew it would be a long day. But finally I said yes after talking with my husband who reminded me not to take it so seriously but help the others and give them a chance to have that class. I knew I would have no chances to get some success but why not as I just need to flex and look good. It was pleasure to stand on the same stage with good female bodybuilders. We do never compete against others, we compete WITH them. Well anyway after bodybuilding I had no time for nails or jewelry, I just run from class to another. Even though it was an extremely long day, I don't regret at all.
12. So I guess to get succeed is not the most important thing for you in competing. So what is important for you in competing? I mean you seem to have much fun every time in contests!
- The journey to the goal is always tough as you need to take care of family, work, training and nutrition. When it is time for competing, everything must be perfect as you have worked so hard for a long time. After all that hard working it is such a joy to enjoy of competing. So every time we compete, it is like a big party for us and also for children. We make it FUN! Then to achieve your own goals is always for good and important, of course to place in top is always wonderful even if it is not the most important thing. When you do it all perfect and hard work so usually you achieve your goals and get good results.
13. And some fun contests are also coming in this year, right? What all plans do you have for this year, both in running, physique contests and in life generally?
- We have pretty much plans and usually if it goes well, we do even more contests than planned. But next thing is to attend in some marathons, 2 planned to run here in Sweden and after those in the middle of April I will compete in figure in Sweden Grand Prix which will take place in our hometown. Then in the 1st weekend of May it is time for 24 hours run, World Challenge in Italy, and in the same month we will participate in Stockholm Marathon. Then during the summer there will be some Swedish Marathons. In fall we have bodybuilding and figure nationals here in Sweden, would be interesting to attend, not in figure but pair posing if they have that class. Then in the end of this year Decembercupen and Fitnessfestivalen. Those have been in our schedule for years, we’ ll see if that continues this year too. So as you can see, no more babies for a while. Maybe I should get a new job to have more time for training and family as nowadays I have so long days. Besides we are planning to make an own cookbook!
14. So many plans, but what goals do you have in those contests, specially in figure?
- In long term we do have high goals but it does not mean that it is must for me to win or place well. After all this is judging sport, so I cannot do more than do my best. But anyway my next goal is to be better than that old version of Åsa and I know it will look quite good!
15. What other long term future plans do you have? I remember that you have competed at international level a few years ago in figure, will we see you again in European or World Championships?
- Yes I have participated in both European and World’s Championships but unfortunately I was not prepared with best possible way in those times. My first WC I was not satisfied with as I found out about that show so late and had to hurry with shape, and well it was my 3rd show of my whole competing career, so I was kinda newbie there. The 2nd time at WC was a bit better experience although I suffered from lack of motivation in that time after competing so much. In that time I was so close to go for next round after having many comparisons with two girls. But anyway, I loved it as I had my family and friends with me. European Championships I was quite satisfied with but really experienced that judging criteria may be sometimes a bit different. Got feedback from one judge that I simply got lost in lineup. So after all those experiences from EC and WC I think those are not something for me any more and I feel much better doing a bit smaller shows. We do have planned to take ourselves to USA and would be great to attend there in veteran classes as well, I do turn 36 this year so it would be awesome!
16. You and your family inspire so many women and men, specially here in Scandinavia. What would you like to say to them to inspire them even more?
- If I can, so can everyone else! It is just to find joy in things you do, so life becomes so much more fun. Keep in mind that only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. Do not listen to people who usually are negative and pessimistic because it will kill YOUR dreams which you carry in your heart.
17. Now at the end of this interview, you can use free words to tell everything what you want to all these fans and other persons out there!
- I want to thank my sponsors – Legus Rör, Pub & Restaurang Harrys, ICA Kvantum in Varberg, Nutrend and Gymvaruhuset.