Issue #49


by Juan Carlos Lope

20 Questions with Cover Model and IFBB Fitness Pro Tami Ough

Salla Kauranen Interview
by Anne Pietila

Tami Ough, Tiffany Rabon, Brandi Binkley, Stacy Barta and Valerie Carlino

Video Interview with IFBB Figure Pro DJ Wallis Part 1

Ask Misty Green
by Misty Green

Video Interview with NPC Fitness
Wendy Fortino

New Year's Body
by Jean Jitomir PhD (c)

Video Interview
with IFBB Fitness Pro Mindi O'Brien


Interview Salla Kauranen by Anne Pietila

photo by Mike Sirén

1. I am pretty sure everyone in this scene know much about you, but in case not, could you shortly introduce yourself with a few words?  

- I´m Salla Kauranen, 33 yrs old amateur bodybuilder from Finland. I started competing in 2000. I´m working as a nurse and I also own a gym with my boyfriend in Helsinki.
2. Last time I heard about you was in the beginning of october, the time you took bronze medal at World Championships. So how’s life now?

- Busy, very busy. During last year a long time dream came true as we bought a gym of our own (Solana Fitness Center, Helsinki) with my boyfriend. So, I´m working part time there and of course I train there. And I´m also working as a nurse, that´s my “real” job and I do some personal training as well.
At the moment I´m preparing for Arnold Amateur competition and I´m very excited about the opportunity to compete in the States. I try to arrange things the way that I also have some time to do other things like seeing friends and going to movies and do some other sports.

3. Today you are one of the most successful amateur female bodybuilders in Europe. But let’s go back in time a bit. How did this amazing success story begin?

- I´m a former ballet dancer. I have danced ballet for 11 yrs but that´s long time ago. I started weight training when I met Sami, my boyfriend, in 1997. He was already at that time eager bodybuilder. We started to train together and as time went by I realized that bodybuilding was something I loved to do. In 2000 I competed for the first time. In that year I won novice Championships and I have competed almost every year ever since.
Bodybuilding is very demanding. And I love the feeling that I can sculpture my body to be better and bigger. I love the muscularity of human body, I think one looks beautiful with big muscles.

photo by Mike Sirén

4. Thinking about your early years on bodybuilding stages I remember your brutally good International debut in 2003 when you took 3rd place in your very first World Championships in crowded MW class. That was pretty amazing, could you tell more about your international debut?

 - In 2001 when I won Finnish Championships and over all title I felt that I could be ready for International games. I also wanted to have a real battle on stage as there were, and still are, so few female competitors in Finland. So I really wanted to have more competitors in my class, get more comparisons, in other words, have a good battle on stage. So it felt very natural to raise up the bar and attend in bigger games. So, few years I trained to get better shape and I planned to attend in the 2003 World Championships.
I didn´t have any expectations, I just wanted to see how I would do in those games. In Santa Susanna 2003, for the first time I got some clue what it really is to compete in bodybuilding. There were over 20 competitors in my weight class and they all looked amazing. I was quite scared at the weigh- in, I really didn´t expect to do so well in that contest. On the stage I felt very good and I remember thinking that this feeling is something I wanted to experience more often. As I won bronze medal I was probably the happiest person on earth. I think nobody expected me to do so well. For the first time I was in a very competitive lineup, stage was crowded with excellent girls, and I had to work really hard on stage to get noticed by judges and to show my best, but I really enjoyed competing there. The only person who believed in me all the time was my boyfriend Sami, and I am so glad he was there to see my successful contest.

photo by Mike Sirén

5. After your success in Santa Susanna 2003, you have done many national and international shows, one of them was 2005 World Games. That is something the most bodybuilders have never done, could you tell more about this experience?
- The World Games 2005 was a great experience and I´m glad I got the opportunity to compete there. It is a very big event, almost like the Olympics. All the arrangements were great and there were many bodybuilding fans watching the show. And it was just awesome to be there and compete with best amateurs, as it was such an invitational contest. Germany was a good host and everything went perfect, the competitors were treated very well there. But I have to say that I was not completely satisfied with my placement there. I did made top 5, which was actually my goal, but I would loved to be in top 3. 

6. I have always wanted to ask you about 2007 European Championships. You got runner up placement after Olga Guryeva, who was remarkable softer than you were. Many experts would have awarded your condition over Guryeva’s package. Any comments?
- That silver medal was really a bitter sweet… I was in my best condition ever and had worked really hard to get that shape. For the first time I really felt I could win even the over all title. I felt I did not loose for better one and that didn´t feel so good. Although I felt A BIT happier after seeing scoresheets – I had won compulsory posing round.

photo by Mike Sirén

7. Anyway, show after show you have done damage on every stage you have stood, for example you have won Finnish Nationals many times, took medals in European and World Championships, which is the show you are most satisfied yourself and why? 

- I have to say the World Championships 2008. I was even in better shape than I was in European Championships 2007 and I felt so good on stage. I think that was my best performance so far.  

8. Thinking about your awesome competing career, I can notice two facts: You achieved the top quickly after your start and you have stayed at the International top for many years. What that have required?

- Hard work day after day, year after year. I´m lucky to have my boyfriend to support and help me. He knows a lot about training and dieting and is always willing to help me. Together we make an excellent team. Yes, I have worked so hard to build this body, on the other hand, it has taken some time and efforts, but at the same time bodybuilding gives much to me. I have got so many great experiences and memories, met interesting people and traveled around the world. So although I am dedicated and work hard to achieve my goals in bodybuilding, this gives much back.

9. During all your competing you have seen many kind of FBB physiques on stage. Please describe a perfect female bodybuilding physique? 

- In my opinion Lenda Murray has a perfect physique, with wide shoulders, tiny waist, is muscular but very feminine. In my opinion, female bodybuilder does not have to be so big and massive to look good, I rather see good lines and frames.  

10. Building a perfect one you have trained quite many years, right? In your opinion, after all building and tuning, what improvements you still need and want?  

-  I really need bigger biceps…I train to get more size in whole package but these arms are now the priority. if I start to think this question more, feels like I need to mention every single muscle, ha ha! But now I have prioritized my arms, although I feel like I need more size in back, delts and chest as well.

11. Besides your good physique, you are known as a good poser. How much do you train posing, both compulsory and routine? 

- As I start my contest prep, I also start to train posing. So every week I train both compulsory posing and routine. I start to work more with my posing routine after finding the music, I keep fixing it and doing changes during the prep until I am satisfied.

12. Let’s go back in ”tuning issue”, you are now in contest prep, and next is Arnold Amateur, right? It is not the shortest contest trip to fly from Finland to the States. Why you want to do this show? 

- It´s a dream of mine to compete in the States where the bodybuilding has a long history. And also there are all the greatest bodybuilders of the world. At the same time I can see some of the best pro girls there, and get some clue how the contests are in the States. I have to say I am a bit nervous about an extreme long flight and jet lag, and how it all affects in my contest shape, hopefully not in negative way. Well I take this all as an experience, try to learn as much as I can, and if I some day travel to the States to compete again, then I am smarter with everything this.

13. How your prep is going, please disclose us a bit how is your condition now and what kind of package you will bring at Arnold Am? 
- The preparations are going quite good. I think I´ll be little heavier than in World Championships and I hope it will look like a better physique.
14. And what about your goals and expectations there? 

- I really don´t know what to expect. I still don´t know who will be competing there. All I know is that the lineup will be very competitive and the stage will be crowded with good physiques, and I have to be in very good shape to do well there. But it will probably be the most memorable contest in my life. Of course I hope I can make it to the finals, and if I can achieve that condition I want to, I think that will be enough to place in top 5. 

15. By the way, how much do you go down in weight during your prep? I mean is there a big difference in your off season condition compared with your contest shape? 

-I´m about 5-6 kg heavier when I´m off- season. So I don´t have so much weight to get rid of. That´s good because the diet doesn´t have to be so radical and I can improve my physique through the prep.  
16. And after Arnold Weekend European Championships, are you going to attend in that show too? 

- Actually there is over two months between Arnold and European Championships. I haven´t made any decisions yet whether to compete in EC or not. I´ll have to see after Arnold as it is my main contest this spring.
17. Many have waited you to turn pro, is that something what will happen or how will your competing career continue? 
- I would like to win the World Champions or European Champions before turning pro. Then it would feel natural to continue as a pro. But we´ll see what happens in the States on March… There I will see some of the pros alive and I can do some comparison. I can better see what it still needs to be done to achieve a pro level physique. But I would love to compete as a pro some day. 

Thank you for the interview, Salla!


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