Jenni Levävaara

Jenni Levävaara!: Location, Espoo, Finland
Interview with Jenni Levävaara!
All photos belong to the one and only Jenni! So please ask her before using them!
Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.37.22 AMWhen and how did you get into the world fitness?
I have always been quite athletic my whole life,  playing a number of sports; football, trackand field and ballroom dancing, but it wasn’t until I got into modeling as a teenager that fitness became something that I really wanted to do.  For the most part sports came quite late for me because I was from a very small town, and there were not the same opportunities that you would have if you lived in Helsinki.
I can relate to that, it defiantly makes it a lot harder growing up in the Country…
I know! It is amazing how similar our childhood memories are! You grew up next to a farm with cows, and I grew on the farm. {laughter}
So was fitness modeling all that you have been involved in?
No, I started in traditional modeling when I was quite young because I was tall  171cm at 12yrs of age and my mother and teachers all felt that I would be the next Ms. Finland. I went to a proper modeling school and when I reached an age of 17 or 18 I was discovered by a company called David Sport Wear, and began doing catalog work in both the sports and lingerie sections.
Was it during your teenage years that you picked up the weight?
 No! I was tinny as a teenager maybe 50kg when I was modeling for DSW, but when I finally moved out of my house at the age of 19yrs I started training. In fact I can remember seeing Oxygen magazine for the first time and I am almost positive it was only the second issue ever printed, but when I saw the cover I thought. That is it! That is what I want to do! So I went and talked to my weights coach who I had been training with already and told him that I wanted to compete in Fitness, and he looked at me…and looked at me…and said “You need to have muscles first.”  So I took his advice and I began training hard with the weight from that point forward, but my standards for myself are quite high and I refused to step on stage because I just didn’t think that I looked good enough.It took years before I finally got on stage.
So when did you finally make the decision to compete and what was your first completion?
Jenni Levavaara FinlandThe first time I competed was against my own will….We traveled to watch the World Championships in India and while I was there they literally forced me on stage!, and I was without any of the things that I needed to compete! In fact it was a number of athletes from a number  of countries helping me prepare the last few days. My competitors even helped color me in the hotel room and few current pros even got me suites to wear!  But I would never have gotten on stage if it wasn’t for the people around me making me do it! I would never have thought  I was ready…I am too critical. It was through this experience and how it happen that ignited the belief in myself that I could be  successful. It made me believe that I could be do much better in the future and through hard work and passion I could achieve my personal best.
You’re Kidding! Your first competition was the World Championships?
Yes! I was so scared I would have never done it if they didn’t make me do it and in the end it was ok…I placed 6th. In the end it was a very good thing considering that everything that could have gone wrong did! (laughter)

So you obviously realized this was something that you wanted to do. Where did it go from here? 

Well, I was able to keep training at a high level  and six months later I placed 2nd and for the next three years I placed 2ndover and over again with my best performance coming in 2007 when I won the European Ms. Shape Championships, but that year I was feeling really drained so I passed on the World Championships, but it is something that still sits with me because my goal was to win the Worlds and three times second place is not a win…even though I am the European Champion.

Explain the difference between the title Ms. Shape and what we call Ms. Fitness or even Figure in the USA?
In the Federation WABBA  the Ms. Shape contest is the fitness competition that you have in North America and the IFBB. In WABBA (World Amateur Bodybuilding Association)  the Ms. Fitness competition is bodybuilding. So on the morning of the contest if you are a certain weight or carrying too much muscle mass they move your from Ms. Shape (fitness) into bodybuilding so that you look the part. In fact I still think about competing a lot but now that I am a little bit older and I am so busy with my schedule I would like to move into figure and I would really like to compete in the United States.I just don’t have time for all the routine training like I use to.
Speaking about your schedule, tell use a little about your routine when you were training?

Well, I was always working when I was competing. So between my training and contest Jenni Levavaara Finlandprep I was very very busy.  I trained with the weights 4-5 times a week and I did 45min of cardio everyday…I kept my routine on a 3 week rotation and about six months out I would train higher intensity and lower volume making the change as I got closer to competition. When I was in hard diet mode which was about seven weeks out from the contest I would be doing a lot of super sets and tri sets in my training. On top of the weights and cardio, I met with my track and field coach once a week for specific jumps and dynamic training and in addition to this I also worked 6hrs a week with my choreographer.  During this time I cut my personal coaching back to 10-12 hours of class a week. I taught a few spinning classes a week, a couple stretching classes, a few healthy back classes which were very popular, some dance classes power core and fit ball… I also maintained a personal training  clients list between three and six a day. This kept all of my work a week to about 20hrs personal training and another 10hrs of class. I think that if I was to go back I would have told myself to rest more and grow faster! But….this was the routine that I had and at the time it worked very well for me, even though I should have rested more maybe. During this time I maintained such a strict schedule that I had no choice but to write out my entire day in advance from work, to training to meals!

I was busy…
No kidding…
What sort of strength numbers were you able to achieve in the weight room?

Of course you would ask this
Of Course I would Jenni (pronounced Yenni)
Ok, I don’t believe that I was too strong but because I always lifted alone I never testedmyself for one rep or anything like this, but my best deadlift at a weight of 62kg was 110kg for six reps. I rarely did back squats with heavy weight but I did a lot of split squats 90kg for six reps and my best bench was 60kg for six reps.  I believe that I could have been stronger but that was always training alone.
110kg for six eh? Yeah….your strong
So where are you now, and what are are your goals?
I am an instructor at the NLP Academy in Finland and I am putting on mental coaching seminars for sport performance and athletic achievement. It has been a dream of mine for the last 10yrs to present my own seminars as a mental performance coach. I’ve realize over the years that main success factors in sports and life are largely psychological – if not only! May it be your diet, training, competition or career – if you are not mentally programmed to achieve success, you will struggle to do so. It is my passion, it’s what I love to do and it is awesome to be apart of something like this. I also still have unfinished business in the world of fitness – I do think about the World Championship time to time, but we will have to wait and see on that one. Of course I’m still teaching spinning, functional conditioning, kettle bell and core classes along with my personal training, which are by the way greatly helped by my PICP education. So I am busy busy, not to mention that I have someone special in my life, someone that I enjoy goal setting and planning for the future with….if you can dream something I really believe that you can achieve it through work and dedication
I agree Jenni, if it wasn’t for dreams I don’t know if either you or I would have made it from the small towns we grew up in, to the World Stage!
I agree Derek!, it is always a pleasure when we talk. So much the same you and I.
Agreed, make sure to sleep with your head pointed North.
Well of course! Perfectly North, it makes sleeping better!

Jenni Levävaara
Physical education, since 2001

FAF Personal Trainer, since 2002

IKSA / IUKL kettlebell instructor

Advanced NLP Therapeutic SpecialistLicensed Sports Performance Coach

Licensed Trainer of NLP

PICP Level One
Biosignature Level One

Categories: Athlete Interviews

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