Many athletes parade through the stages of fitness and bodybuilding competitions and we can see excellent molded physicists with effort and years of hard work. Each of them has a story behind and I feel privileged every time I can publish any of them, stories that only they and their close environment know.
Today I have the privilege of being able to interview the Finnish athlete Senni Nieminen, overall bodyfitness world champion in the city of Bratislava, Slovakia, in December of 2019. This fact, which is already very important in itself, has even more value because Senni has achieved it by being a junior athlete, something that is very difficult to see in bodyfitness category.
Senni, welcome to TC10 and thanks for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations for your great season in 2019 and for this great victory in the world championships.
Thank you so much! It’s pleasure to be here and i really appreciate your hard work in this field. I’m happy to do this interview.
You came to the world championships in Bratislava after winning two silver medals in the Nordic Cup and the junior World Championships What did you think when you returned home, placed your bodyfitness overall world champion cup with the other trophies and could you sit down to reflect calmly on what you had achieved?
It really took time to understand what i had achieved and it’s really hard to explain how that all felt. I didn’t win all of my competitions last season, so it felt even more unbelievable to finish my season on that placement. Everything just felt unreal on that moment. All the memories over the years came to my mind. I could remember the ‘’Day 1’’ when I saw my coach first time and she said to me ‘‘you are going to be the world champion someday’’. It was so hard to believe that it really became true.
You are European champion, overall champion of Finland and overall world champion in bodyfitness. You have achieved results that any athlete would dream of and you have achieved it even before finishing your period as a junior athlete. Getting all these successes so quickly helps you plan the future in a different way?
I think yes. When i started to succeed in my career I got more self-confidence and desire to compete more. And I always want to get better for every competition.
After these years i can think that everything is possible if I really want something. So I think all roads are open.
I’m sure you’re already thinking about how to get a better version of yourself. What do you think you should improve to be an even better bodyfitness athlete?
There is always something i need to improve. I still need more muscle and I want more intense look for my physique. But it will take time to build that kind of physique.
I think I can also be mentally stronger. Actually, I could have better tolerance of tension. Sometimes I get too tense. But I work for these things so I can be better athlete.
In addition to talking about victories and improvements it is important to know how you started and how have you built a world champion inside of you. People start for very different reasons in the world of fitness What was your reason to start training with weights?
I was 15 when I founded myself from the gym and I didn’t even know that fitness exists. I think my first time at the gym was some school PE class. Something fascinated me in that environment, even I was pretty young. I started to train by myself and fell in love training with weights.
I started to search some information about training programs etc. because I wanted to get better at the gym. I read internet and magazines, then I found fitness and fitness competitors.
Did you know from the first moment that you wanted to compete or was it something that came up later?
Really soon after i had found fitness competitors from the internet I went to see fitness competition in Finland. I remember thinking that I want to be there someday. But it actually took couple of years to make the decision. I needed a lot of courage. One day I just decided to contact my coach and we started to work together. Under a year I had my first competition.
Have you previously practiced other sports?
Yes, I have. I started downhill skiing when I was 2 year old. Later I switched to snowboarding. My other hobbies were dancing, gymnastics, riding and track & field. I did a lot of sports but i didin’t compete at any of them. As a child I lived in a small town where wasn’t so diverse hobbies or competition-oriented activities.
Are there other athletes that you have admired or that have served as a reference and motivation?
I have always admired my coach Minna Pajulahti. Her story and attitude is amazing, she works hard and she haves big heart. I also remember Nicole Wilkins from the time when I started following fitness genre, she has remained strongly in my mind. I like physiques what I can indentify with myself and get motivated by that. There is so many amazing athletes in top level of body fitness which I admire.
Whenever I interview very young athletes I ask them for the support of their environment, because some do not understand the people who choose to have this discipline and this lifestyle being so young. Have you had to overcome these types of obstacles in your environment?
My environment is really good, people close to me supports me a lot. They have always encouraged me with my decisions and goals. I couldn’t wish more. I also have awesome coaches and team behind me.
Is there anything that has been especially difficult for you to make compatible with your day to day life? Diet, training, social relationships…
Not actually, it is about prioritization. It’s really important when the goals are high. I have had to learn to rhythmize my daily life and schedule my life. There is time for all the things that matters to me.
You have obtained these excellent results by being very young. Do you see yourself having a long career as a competitor?
Really hard question and I don’t know the answer yet. I think time will tell. I will do this as long as this gives me something.
There is always talk about the physiques, training and diets of the competitors, but the fact of competing implies preparing many more things that can be decisive. What has been the most difficult for you in this other part of the competition?
I think that its been difficult to learn trust your own doing and believe in your own potential. I have made huge difference mentally. I was 12th in my first European championships, and it’s been mentally a long road to become a world champion.
There are times when we are not 100%, what or who do you rely on to overcome those moments?
On hard moments I always think of my goals, what would champion do? The power of will is surprisingly strong. I have a lot of strength inside my head. I always try to give my all and I always think that in the end it’s going to all worth it.
I always hear in the judges meetings of the big championships that the election of the champion is very important, because that athlete is going to be the reference for all athletes. Now that you are going to be the reference of many girls in bodyfitness. What advice can you give to girls who start in the world of competition?
First of all, it’s absolutely awesome to be the reference. If you are starting fitness I would tell you that overall look matters. You don’t need to be the biggest or look super shredded.
I want that everyone remembers that bodyfitness is all about femininity, elegance, spectacle and balanced physique. My other advices are: set goals, work hard and compete a lot. Success will take time and sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. That’s why competing is so awesome.
Finally I would like to ask you something I always ask to end the interviews. What is the best that this lifestyle has personally brought you?
I have found new sides of myself and competing have taught me a lot. And I can’t forget the friends that I have got during these years. It’s been amazing road.
Senni, thank you very much for sharing your experience with us and for the time you spent on this interview and of course I wish you the greatest successes in the future.
If you want to add anything else…
Thank you so much for this interview!
I want to wish everyone a great end to the year and remember to believe in your dreams!