Since the birth in 2017 of IFBB Elite PRO, the bikini category has been one of the fastest growing, both in number of athletes and in the level of competitors. We have no doubt that the first professional world championship to be held in November 2018 in Beijing, China, will be a total success and a spectacular competition.
We have the honor to interview Melina Keltaniemi, Elite PRO bikini fitness athlete from Finland. She was the first athlete to qualify for this professional world championship and participated in the first competition of IFBB Elite PRO (Nordic PRO), when it was not yet known how it would evolve.
Melina, welcome to TC10 and thank you for giving us this interview, it’s a pleasure to know a little better your career in the world of fitness.
As we said, you participated in the first Elite PRO championship, when everything was still quite confusing. How were your feelings in that championship?
First I want to thank you for this interview and your interesting about me. 😊 Yes, you’re right that everything was quite confusing at Nordic pro 2017. That weekend supposed to be successful at Nordic Cup and Finnish national championships. My main goal was to defend my title of Finnish overall champion. But it turned to be more successful! I won Nordic cup! It was dream came true, i was so happy and excited couse to be honest that was my main goal also 😄
Then we had overalls, where I just stand happy and proud, like no any other expectations. After that things turned little more confusing, i get known I was top 3 at overall and able to turn IFBB elite pro. I was so happy that I didn’t understood that so clearly. Only thing was, if I want to be a pro I need to go compete Nordic Pro right away. So then everything happens fast and I was in pro stage at home race where was my friends and family. It was special! I got second place at amazing lineup, i can almost say it was happiest day of my life so many goals and dreams came true.
Several months have passed since that competition and now Elite PRO bikini already has many high level competitors. What are your goals for this season and for the future?
Goal is definitely bring the best shape I’m able to get at this year. Almost year off the stage, I have gained more muscles and now I’m trying to get as lean shape as it should be in pro bikini. Of course I want to be the best, I’m an athlete! Future and long time goals is make long career, be great role model, and represent this sport as good as it should. And be part of making new wonderful IFBB elite pro league.
We would like to know your sports career and know how was the beginning of your relationship with weight training. What was the reason to start with this type of training?
I have been an athlete almost my whole life . I started cheerleading and compete many many times, having a big goals there. Biggest achievement was European championships and Finnish championships silver medal. Then i quit and went to the gym. I was already interested in getting fit and like building body but I missed something… I knew I wanna compete. I am an elite athlete. So I went aerobic gymnastics. There I noticed that I want to do weights, i wanna change my body, eat right, gain muscles, feel good and look good. Many people cheered me to start prep for bikini competition. Soon I started new program with coach.
And when did you decide that you wanted to be a bikini fitness competitor?
I don’t have any clear timing or thoughts like “hey now I wanna be bikini competitor “. I just slowly made progress in the gym and think about quite long should I take a coach now or later. I always knew that someday I will compete, but I didn’t have any rush. Reason to that is simple, when I do things I want do good and as an athlete I wanna be able to win!
Were there bikini athletes from your country or other countries that you admired or that served as a reference?
YES! my lovely teammate and friend Jaana Malytcheva. I always looked up to her and thinking she is the best bikini competitor in Finland. So amazing on stage and also in person.
Do you remember that you felt the first time you went on stage to compete?
Yes and no. I remember that I was so so nervous. But then the first steps to stage, i saw judges and audience, music was loud and I felt amazing. Like I’m shining at the stage and this is my time. I really remember that I enjoy it very much, but still can’t remember anything clearly. But it was fun.
Could you tell us some funny anecdote or beginner error of any of your competitions?
I don’t have any specific or big beginner errors, but sure every show is some mistakes or something that went wrong. I have learned from every competition a lot!
Each season the goal of all athletes is to improve. What things do you think you should improve in the future to be a better competitor?
I have thought that I’m very confident. But really it’s the thing I need to learn more when I go to stage. Also the physique, you can always improve something! Bigger glutes, fuller delts etc. and the presentation, that’s the thing you can’t never be too good at!
People always talk about the physique of the athletes but what importance do you think has the image, the staging, color of the bikini …?
Like I started at previous question, there is more than just a physique! In bikini it’s the overall package. So the tanning, bikinis, hair/makeup are all very important. You should do what feels good on you and what makes you feel the most confident!
We would also like to know what the fitness lifestyle is like for you. What is the most difficult part of this lifestyle for you? Diet, training, social relations …
There is not a one thing that is only the hardest part. I love this lifestyle and I wouldn’t change anything! I’m not gonna lie that’s there is not anything hard, couse there is. And everything that has done competition prep will understand these. The last part of the prep when you are tired, hungry and maybe craving many foods.
There is those times you feel upset and wondering if I’m good enough? Is the effort you put to the sport worth it? But deep inside of me I always know the truth. I can do this, and definitely it’s worth it. It’s called passion:)
What “forbidden” food is the most difficult to resist?
Oh… when it comes to food we can talk about it a lot. Fitness people usually love to eat and there is so many! On diet I mostly want just eat the bigger meal healthy way, but I love sushi and bread, also burger and fries. And for the sweets I love most ice cream and chocolate.
And when the motivation is not 100%, what is it that helps you recover it?
I give time for myself. Maybe give a rest for my body, but always do something what makes me realize my motivation again!
At this moment you are surely a reference for many girls in Finland. What advice would you give to girls who are just starting out in fitness and dream of competing one day and being professionals like you?
I can say what I did right, was that I didn’t get any rush. It’s very typical to have idea “now I wanna do fitness competition “ and you want for the stage asap. I don’t say you can’t do like that but if you really want to do this you give it time. This is a sport, so it’s an athletic lifestyle every day if you wanna be good and a pro. But find a good coach, study by yourself, listen to your body and don’t be afraid to ask another people help:)
To finish we would like to know, in addition to an excellent physicist, what has the fitness lifestyle brought to you personally?
It gives me all the time opportunities to challenge myself self, reaching new goals step by step, working hard for my own dreams and mostly I feel like I live my life very passionate. Also the important people in my life have come up from this sport. I have only supporting and loyal people in my life who I trust.
Melina, thank you very much for having dedicated part of your time to do this interview, we wish you every success in the future.
If you want to say something else…
Thank you so much! I wanna say just for you who reads this, you are able to do amazing things in your life, follow your heart, work hard and always be kind to others. These are good tips to success.