Issue #60


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model and NPC Figure Michele Bigler

Kim's Kounseling Korner
by Kimberly Martin

Video Interview with IFBB Pro Figure Jenny Lynn

Michele Bigler, Nicole Pearson, Patty Zariello, Zarah Pacheco and Jennifer Blundell

Interview with Helene Ahlson Figure
by Anne Pietila

Video Interview with IFBB FIgure Pro Irina Veselova and Robert Samborsky Part 3

Video Interview with IFBB FIgure Pro Irina Veselova and Robert Samborsky Part 4


Interview with Helene Ahlson by Anne Pietila

Photo by Tomas Ivering

1. When this year’s NPC Excalibur show was done and results came online, I heard many wondering who the h*** is Helene Ahlson and where did she came and won figure over all. I guess that you are the best possible choice to answer in this question, so who is Helene Ahlson?

- I am an energetic Swedish girl who has all the time some projects going on. I become easily a bit restless if I have some unfinished issues or new aims waiting for me. What ever I start with, my goal and the only way to do it is to finish that being satisfied with the result. To achieve that being stubborn, which I am, plays a big role.

I use the hours of my days of course on my own training and contest preps and on my work as a personal trainer, fitness coach, fitness model and writer. That little time I have after all that, I spend with my guy, friends, my Grand Danois Zeke and on traveling.

I have trained at gym for nearly 14 years but with competing goals in my mind since 2004. I have always admired those ”old ones” in our sport who have been training for many many years to build up that physique they have and are experienced in training and competing. Those are the ones who prove that getting succeed and getting results in this kind of sport requires incredible many years of determined hard work – it can’t be achieved with tricks, shortcuts or using contacts!

2. Before we talk a bit more about this Excalibur contest, let’s talk a bit more about your backgrounds in figure (body fitness) You have actually competed for a few years. Could you give us a short recap of your competing career before this year? You did tried some fitness model contests as well?

- My work as a personal trainer made me to try how it is to really cut some fat and get conditioned. I wanted to try that just to be able to help my clients who are in the same kind of situation. My diet and whole project went much better than expected and my colleagues encouraged me to try competing in body fitness (figure) as I was already in shape. So I made my contest debut in 2005, placed 3rd and also attended in Better Bodies Model Search in that same year which I actually won. These experiences made me want some more and so I was hooked on Body fitness (figure). In 2006 I did two shows more.

Photo by Tomas Ivering

3. So, you did have a longer pause in competing before last year (2009), right? Why that?

- After my contests in 2005-2006 I decided to have a longer pause in competing and really work on my weak points. This was actually one of the best decisions I have made in my life and I have to thank my guy/coach Lasse for that. It was Lasse who made me wait for 2,5 years before stepping on stage again instead of rushing to the next show after only one year break. He made me realize the importance of improving the package to every single show. And that is exactly one of my main principles nowadays when I am setting up new goals.

For 2,5 years I worked really hard and struggled at gym to improve my weak points, specially my legs. Heavy squats, lunges, leg presses gave me results both in legs and well, in my length too, heh ! Yeh, I shrank nearly 1cm!

So the main reason for my pause was to get an improved package. For that, I try to have as many work outs as possible with Lasse. For me it is really important to train with someone who strive for the progress at least as much as I do, and with him.. well, I have to give my all and everything to be able to use even half of his weights, heh! Every single work out has been at least 110%, to give less while working out is for me simply wasted time.

During my years 2006-2009 when I really wanted to build up some muscles and achieve some good results, nutrition got a whole new meaning for me. I have always known that nutrition is freaking important no matter if you are adding size or taking weight down but now afterwards I noticed I could have done nutrition things much better in earlier years. Specially in my off seasons now I really take care of getting enough energy cause that is what my body needs if I want it to grow.

4. Anyway, your whole this year was pretty impressive. Not only Excalibur but also your other shows during this year were pretty successful for you. Could you please give your achievements in 2009?

- During the spring 2009 I competed at Oslo Grand Prix in Norway and at Sweden Grand Prix in Sweden. I achieved runner up placing in both of them.

5. In my eyes you brought a much better package in 2009 than in your earlier years. What do you think was the key to take your physique to totally new level? I mean did you change something and did differently for this year or was this just finally the result of hard work?

- Like I mentioned above, first of all, I gave me and my body enough time to make some improvements as the muscles are unfortunately something you simply cannot build over one night. One important key to the improvements I made was the fact that after my first year of competing I realized also the importance of having a symmetric physique with good muscle development and specially the importance of showing and presenting that package with the best possible way. Nowadays my stage presentation with all its’ parts is actually one of the biggest parts in my contest preparations.

All in all, I think the key for better package was that strategy we made for those 2,5 years before my next show. The main focus was to bring up my legs to get a better balance and better symmetry and also improve my stage presentation. I guess we succeed.

Photo by Tomas Ivering

6. I guess your over all win at Excalibur was a true crown of your competing career so far. How did it felt to prepare for your first show in the States? And what kind of expectations did you have concerning placing and your own package?

- To travel to the States and visit there, as a country, has always been a dream of mine. When I started my work as a personal trainer and fitness coach that dream developed to a dream to get a chance – not just to visit – but also try my business in the States. But I never expected that one day I would get a chance to travel to the States and represent Sweden in a figure contest and besides that, travel home with over all trophy with me!

After my shows during last spring many persons told me to try to compete in the States. For a while I was not so interested of that idea but when a thought gets a chance to grow enough it finally leads to some acts! So I sent my application to get a permission to do Excalibur show and got a positive answer!

To get a chance to compete in the States was already an achievement for me. But when one goal is achieved, you always set up new ones. It is obvious that as an athlete you keep your bar high and always strive for to be the best, but I have also learnt to be honest to myself and to be thankful for the success I ve achieved.

When I last spring traveled to Norway to compete at Oslo GP, I had no other expectations than just to get a funny trip and learn as much as possible. When the contest then ended with a good placing, the result became even better for me as I had no expectations concerning my placing. This was the attitude I had also concerning the Excalibur show – just to get a fun trip and learn, and now afterwards I have nothing to complain about actually!

When you compete in some other country where you have not competed earlier, so you have basically no idea about their judging, the other competitors and how your physique and posing style will be judged there. You only get to know that after you have competed there and stood on stage! So to have some expectations before hand is a bit difficult.

7. And could you please tell more about the show itself? How was the contest and the whole experience from the start to the end? I guess everything went like planned?
- To say I don’t want to compete in the States again would be a huge lie! The whole atmosphere from first day to the last one in LA was amazing. It really felt like I found a home! I was really calm and confident during whole contest even though I traveled there alone. The support and help Jon Lindsey gave to all competitors via e-mail during the fall before the contest is admirable. There was no question he couldn't answer and he even came to the athlete meeting to say welcome to competitors, it was amazing.

Jan Tana team was also extremely professional with their tanning service at the contest. They did amazing job with over hundreds of competitors and I can easily recommend them.

Even though the back stage area was quite tiny we had really fun and great time with competitors no matter from what country we were from. Americans seemed to be really open minded, helpful and happy for others’ success. And then my own placing, winning class C and over all, was absolutely a crown for an absolutely amazing experience!

Photo by Tomas Ivering

8.  Anyway, your package was really good at Excalibur show and even though to be in the top of European body fitness you might need a bit more muscles and be even more conditioned but many american girls commented that your package was close to the figure ideal. What do you think yourself about this issue? Are you completely satisfied how you looked at Excalibur show or to what direction you wanna take your physique and what improvements you think you would need?

- Those were nice comments, thanks for them! As an athlete and figure competitor I think I will never be completely satisfied with my own physique. For me, and certainly for many of us, it is important to improve all the time and show a better package every time you step on stage. So, now after the Excalibur contest, in a few weeks it is time to take some time to analyze my package, look back in time a bit and get feedback to plan my future on stages.

9.  So what is your next show and game plan for the year 2010?

- All the decisions concerning competing outside of Sweden depends of course on some other factors as well, for example on economy, sponsors and so on. But I am planning my next year all the time, nothing decided yet but anyway, I ll be back in the States in a way or another. Actually, I did get ”YES” from my country’s federation concerning Arnold Amateur and I might do that show IF I get ”yes” also from them.

10. Awesome, can’t wait to see you on stage again! But your are not only competitor in this fitness world but also a personal trainer and coach. Could you please tell more what all kind of help you offer and for who?
- I started with my company ”Forever Fit Sweden” a couple of years ago. I work as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, health and lifestyle coach and also do some fitness modeling. Besides all that I also write in a few websites about health and fitness issues and also have some lectures as well as organize training and fitness trips.

I work with persons’ health and well being at many levels. It may include whatever from just helping someone to find a physical and mental balance in stressful everyday life to coaching competing fitness athletes at elite level. You can see and read more on my website www.foreverfitsweden.se

Last year I started with an own contest team ”Forever Fit” which I and a few athletes coached by me represent at contests. This 2010 year I will prioritize all this and offer many kind of help, also focusing more on posing training, team meetings and finding new sponsors for our team. Last year brought from total 12 entries 4 wins, 4 runner up placements, one 3rd, 4th and 5th place and one out of TOP 15, so it was pretty impressive year for our team. 

I am willing to offer help to everyone having a positive attitude and being able to be a good role model in what we do, no matter if she/he is a total rookie or an experienced competitor.

Photo by Tomas Ivering

11. Nowadays there are available millions kind of coaches and trainers. What are YOUR main principles concerning coaching? What kind of trainer is a GOOD one in your opinion?

- Of course it is important to have a good education but without having own experiences in this branch it is really difficult to be a perfect personal trainer / coach. You can achieve a good level with your education but to be able to be as good coach as possible, you need to know what your own clients are going through and possibly also see things from their point of view. Own experiences are necessary.

In my opinion a good coach is dedicated on his work, understanding , flexible and is able to motivate clients and is able to create right goals for every single client/individual because we all are different. You have to be able to support when clients are having hard times in achieving their goals and also encourage when it is needed. You cannot be afraid of giving honest and constructive feedback and critique because after all that is the most important part in your clients’ journeys to their goals.

I think the most important thing in being trainer/coach is finding and offering that kind of help your client exactly needs and which fits exactly to him/her, and find right things for each individual, not just print same nutrition plan to everyone. As after all, its PERSONAL training.

12. You do offer also help in posing. In your opinion, what are 3 most important things concerning posing?

- Highlight your strong points and hide your flaws with right posing.
- Have and give 110% on stage, shine and have there all that energy because everything counts from the first step to the last one you take on stage.
- Professional stage presentation and with that, respect judges and other competitors on stage.

13. Anyway, just new year started. How is your training and nutrition principles right now?

- At the moment I am on my way to go back to my heavier off season training but still taking it a bit easier than it is as heaviest. I have given my body some time to recover and rest after US trip, contest and shootings. With nutrition I took it quite easy during the Christmas time and New Year, just took care of eating enough actually! Now in the beginning of January I hope I am soon ready with my plans concerning shows and photoshoots for this year and then based on those plans, plan also my nutrition and training.

14. During off season – cardio or not ? Why?

- In my opinion it is not a wrong choice at all to do some cardio and take care of your health and condition year around no matter if you are on off season or prepping for the show. What it comes to my own relation to cardio training so I try to avoid heavy cardio sessions during my off season and that’s simply because my body reacts on that very easily which means I should eat even more to be able to build some muscles. But like one intensive cardio session a week I would see only as positive thing as it also has some positive affects on your work outs at gym as well.

15.  You already gave us a bit clue about what’s next for you contest wise. But what other you plan for this 2010 year? Any bigger shootings planned or maybe some other projects coming up?

- Like I mentioned above, I am going to focus on my business and company this year even more as well as on my contest team and coaching. What it comes to shootings and other projects for me as a fitness profile/model, so there will be many shootings and also some filming ,in the States too actually, and a few fitness trips and a lot of projects with my sponsors which I am really looking forward.

16. Before I stop asking these questions, actually there is one thing I wanna really talk about with you - sponsorship issues. You seem to have good sponsors around you while millions of figure girls struggle with finding one sponsor. What are your main principles concerning sponsorship issues and any tips for the girls?

- To be sponsored means also to give back at least as much as you get yourself from your sponsors. I am really thankful for the support I get from my sponsors and I show it by giving them as much I can by being in mags, adverts, being in media as much as possible and also attending in expos and shows even if I am not competing myself, and of course working for them when ever they need me. I see sponsors as a huge benefit and my job is to take care of them as well.

I think the main reason I have been able to get so many good sponsors is the fact that I work in this branch and I can easily recommend and spread their products as I am every day somehow in media talking and writing about products.

I would recommend the girls who are looking for sponsorships to take contact with everyone you are interested of, tell about yourself, your achievements and your life. Your mission is to show them why exactly YOU would be a good person / ”face” for their products. It is also important to be part of this bodybuilding and fitness world – attend in contests and expos even if you are not competing yourself and be active and seen!
These are my current sponsors:

  1. Swedish Fitness, Betterbodies: www.betterbodies.se
  2. Self Omninutrition: www.self.nu
  3. Mivitotal: www.mivitotal.se
  4. Budo & Fitness: www.budofitness.se
  5. Tävlingsdräkter: www.skradderiodesign.com
  6. Gym: www.gymomotion.se
  7. Hår- & hudvård: www.salongaura.se


Even though I have many extremely good sponsors and co-operation with companies here in Sweden which I am really happy about, I want to add that I am really open for contacts also in the States.

Photo by Tomas Ivering

17. Let’s continue with sharing tips!  Now after holidays many are in situation that they carry more fat than usually. Most of us start new life with new goals in the beginning of year and we tend to pay more attention to our training and nutrition. I guess you as a personal trainer hear this question quite often and you cannot avoid it now either -  please share a few tips how to get started with new life and reach goals?

- First of all, set up some tiny goals in your journey to your ultimate goal, this way your journey does not feel so long and difficult.
- Don’t hesitate to contact those who have the knowledge, you may save some time and avoid mistakes.
- Tell about your goals to the people around you – when they know, it is more difficult to cheat!
- Clean your pantries, throw away everything unhealthy and fill with healthy foods.
- Make yourself to keep diary/journal both of your work outs and meals.
- See your goal as something fun and challenging! When you choose the form of training and activities, take something you enjoy of, that will minimize the risk of falling out of the good habits. Or try something completely new!
- Share your goals with someone else, make journey to your goal and it’s parts to a social thing. Shared joy is double joy!
- And the most important thing – hurry slowly and be happy and satisfied with the results you achieve, even if it would be just a little progress.

18. Was nice to get to know a bit more of 2009 Excalibur Figure over all winner, so thanks Helene! If someone feels now wanting to read more about you or contact you for possible sponsorship issues, coaching or seminars, how they can take contact with you? Website?

My website: www.foreverfitsweden.com
E-mail:  info@foreverfitsweden.com

19. Someone you wanna thank?

- I wanna thank my hubby Lasse for all support, commitment and sharing all the knowledge of training, nutrition and contest prep issues. I also want to thank my sponsors for all the help and support. Then of course big thanks to my family and closest friends who have been there always for me and been always positive and encouraging , even during tough times!

20.  And now at the end, please feel free to add what ever you want to! 

- Feels like I already wrote my whole life, so nothing to add!

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Anne’s interviews and coverage have appeared in Finnish BODY magazine and ProBody Magazine as well as in Norwegian Treningsforum 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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