Russia is one of the biggest references in bikini fitness and it is an honor to Ten un cuerpo 10 interviewing one of its competitors. This time we have the pleasure of knowing a little better Ekaterina Rykova who has won several medals in international competitions.
Ekaterina, first of all thank you for granting us this interview and congratulations on your results this season.
To begin with, I’m very glad to be here. Hello to everyone! My name is Ekaterina Rykova, I’m from Yekaterinburg. I’m a Russian fitness bikini IFBB athlete.
We would like to know better the process that has brought you to where you are today, so let’s go to the beginning of the story. Always has been an active person or sport woman?
Yes. I have spent my whole life in sports from the early childhood. Thanks to my dad. He made me love sport. In my life, there were such sports as swimming, basketball, track and field athletics, hurdle race, gymnastics, skis … and so on. In a word, sport has been with me all my life. This is definitely my thing to do. My choice is a healthy lifestyle.
All people have a beginning in our relationship with fitness lifestyle, how did you know this type of training and what was the reason to start weight training?
How I came to fitness bikini: my story started a long time ago. In 2007 I came to the small gym in our city, it was the first gym in my life and after working with me for a couple of months my first coach said, “Katya, you have excellent genetics. You need to compete. Let’s start training.” At that time, I was very young and wasn’t ready for serious sport. I studied, worked … and the category of fitness-bikini did not exist that time (I was probably waiting for it).
Later I was in another gym with another coach. And after a couple of months of training with me he also said, “We need to compete! Perfect genetics!” We started to talk about preparing for a competition in Body-Fitness (fitness bikini still didn’t exist that time). Quickly, in a couple of weeks, I realized that it’s not mine, and most importantly, I set the priorities: on the first place I need a healthy child, and only then serious sport will be in my life! I decided that until I have a baby I will not go into professional sports.
In 2013 I gave birth to a wonderful girl (by the way, I support breastfeeding and I was breastfeeding her for 1 year and 9 months). And then being quite pleased with myself I came to the gym where another coach (he later became my best friend) told me, “Katya! You’re a real bikini model! With genetics! This is yours! Get Started! You will become a champion! ” I did not even have a clue about this category at that time, but I started thinking about it and got interested. My husband and I went to the local championship; it was the spring of 2015. I saw the girls in the fitness bikini for the first time! I thought, “It’s mine, I can do it, and most importantly, I like it.” My first training took only 2 months, and I went on stage.
Many women are afraid of losing their femininity by training with weights. Did you have that fear at some point?
I didn’t have such thoughts. I think that femininity, as well as charisma (which by the way is so important on a stage) is inside! And when you train with iron it is impossible to lose your femininity, if you actually have it. Yes, you always need to know the limits. You need to know how you want to look, watch your shape and stop with the volume of muscles at the right time. That’s because many bikinis want to be bigger first and then struggle to return smaller shape. There are a lot of such examples. I try to be smart about it and I will always look perfect.
When did you decide that you wanted to compete in bikini fitness?
You know, I wanted to prove to everyone around that when you have a child you still can and should look amazing! It is possible! Being a mother is not a reason to look bad and not an excuse. I always say, “You only need a desire.” Back in the day I often heard, «when you give birth to a child you will see.” Well, I gave birth! And now I definitely have a right to talk about it. Looking amazing and having children at the same time is possible! It is proved by me! That’s probably the main thing! By my example I also wanted to show everyone that proper nutrition works wonders!
That’s why I opened my online school of proper nutrition #RykovaHealthSchool. Now more than 1000 people have been trained. In a word – I definitely support a healthy lifestyle!
What is the most difficult thing you do to be compatible with this lifestyle, work, food, social relationships …?
In my training, there is only one difficulty, which chases me all my competition seasons. This is food! I really like to eat, especially bread, buns and pies. Close people know how hard it was for me to give up on this. And also, I have a small child. Every day I buy goodies and fruits for my little princess, since she doesn’t need go on stage yet. This is my only difficulty! The training process and preparing the image is fun! My family members help me a lot. Close people support me in everything. They know that preparing for the championship is serious and difficult. But I have chosen this way myself.
How do you remember the first time you competed on stage?
My first competition season was in autumn 2015. The first training lasted only 2 months. This championship brought me the first medal, it was silver! It was a major commercial tournament, there was no division for categories. My first exit was immediately in absolute category. The girls were from 155 to 190 cm tall. It was very exciting. And the most pleasant thing was to get SILVER medal for the first time being on the stage.
I was delighted and full of motivation for new victories. Moreover, the president of our federation told me that according to genetics it is definitely MY category, I should work on my shape and then I will have a great future, the future of the CHAMPION. And I was pleased to realize that he was right! A year later I became a Champion of the Sverdlovsk Region, a Champion of the Chelyabinsk Region, a Grand Prix Champion in Perm and a VICE-champion of Russia!
Can you tell us any funny anecdotes or beginner mistakes you remember from any of your competitions?
There was one case, it was very funny. It was at the first championship in my life. One minute before entering the stage I heard my number and I started running to the stage. I ran past my bag and suddenly decided that I need to put on my perfume (how could it come into my head?) and I did it! Well, you probably understand what happened to my tanning that moment! I almost turned grey! That day I was rescued but since then I’ve never taken perfume to championships.
You have achieved several international medals What qualities should have a competitor to stand out in bikini fitness?
I think that fitness bikini is a relaxed, confident, graceful and sexy entrance to the stage for a medal! You have to go on stage with the feeling that the medal has already been received. Then you will radiate the energy of a winner, which judges will definitely notice … In general, the main thing is to enjoy the time on the stage! You have been coming to this very moment for so long. You need to be able to live on stage! Stand together with the worthiest contestants and be the best of them!
Russia is one of the great references in bikini fitness, in the last European Championships in Santa Susanna 5 of the 8 finalists of the Overall were from Russia. What do you think are the keys to this success?
It’s simple! The whole world knows that Russian girls are the most beautiful! And I absolutely agree with it. You can always notice Russians out of all the girls on the stage. This is a special build, gracefulness, in a word – genetics! I’m very glad to be Russian!
What do you like most about your current physique and what do you think you should improve?
I am glad that my shape changes a lot from season to season. My main task is to become better than last season. There is a huge difference between my shape in the first season and current shape. I have good proportions by nature: waist, hips. But my main goal has always been the shoulders! In the beginning of my career I didn’t have them at all.
There is no limit to perfection, but I can finally say that now I have them. And of course I work hard on the shape of the buttocks. In genetics I have everything except butt! You can’t get everything at once, but I am glad that this is fixable by the hard work in the gym. But if for example I had short legs, it would be more difficult. I think I was lucky with genetics, thanks to parents.
How long do you practice your staging and how important do you think the staging is in a bikini competition?
For bikini staging is 50 percent success. Often girls with a better form lose to girls who know how to pose. As for me, I don’t spend a lot of time staging and start only a couple of weeks before the championship. That’s because I used to be a dancer, I’ve been dancing for 15 years and posing on the stage is easy for me. I just take it as a dance. In this point I am also luckier than many contestants.
Do you have any principle with which you go on stage?
Yes! I always say, “Do not be afraid to go on stage with the strongest! “Do you know why? because NO ONE IS INVINCIBLE! This is my principle! So I wish everyone to believe in yourself and just have fun with what you do!
What have been your best competitions so far?
My best championship will certainly be in the future! But if we talk about the medals that I already have, the title of VICE champion of Russia is probably the most valuable to me! I remember this championship very well: the stage, the lights and my confident steps. I had goosebumps when my name was announced. And the second valuable medal for me is the silver medal in Malta (April 2017) because it was my first international championship. A special place, special moments, valuable memories and my first international medal!
Do you have a dream that you would like to fulfill as a competitor?
Yes! I want to become a World Champion and European Champion. I want to get a pro card and go to Olympia in Las Vegas, go on stage on which the most titled athletes have stood. And everything I want comes true sooner or later! It has been verified more than once! That’s why we set goals and go to them! I really want to get as many people as possible interested in a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition, inspire and motivate them to new achievements!
Ekaterina thank you very much for your kindness, we hope you enjoyed this interview and wish you the greatest successes in the future.