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Marika Johansson Interview

Article care of Don Lemmon

I think I am going to Sweden now. This woman is so frikken cool. She's a World Class bodybuilder and has kept her feminity intact all the while. I know of a few pros that ought to take notice and follow suit. The limited time you have exposure in this sport isnt worth the desparate measures ssome of the women take. Growing beards and singing like Pavarotti isnt my idea of being a champion if there arent a set of fun bags down below if you know what I mean. Anyhow, laughs, this girl is a doll. I know, I speak highly of all the girls. Well, thats what they are. Girls. And dont forget it.

DON: Hi Marika! Did you see since you got on my diet that I put you on my web site? Tell me how excited that makes you.
MARIKA: YES! Of course I´m excited. It´s an honor to be on your page. Ok, Maybe I would be a bit more excited if I was a model or actress. But not that much more. Are you happy now?

DON: Describe yourself to me.
MARIKA: Well I´m told I am a big girl. I´m 5´9 and weigh about 170 pounds right now. I´m trying to stay in good shape to be able to do photoshoots all year round.  This year I have been a bit unlucky with previous injuries so I havn´t been able to work or compete at all.

DON: Are you training again?
MARIKA: But after that layoff now I´m getting back in size and shape again.

DON: What are your weak and strong points physically?
MARIKA: I am very fortuned with having good legs and arms, and my weak point is my delts. I´m trying to improve them and my upper back now. That´s something I´m looking forward to doing. It´s always good to have goals. Helps me to achieve.

DON: What exactly are your goals?
MARIKA: Next year I hope to compete in the USA. If there is no more bad luck anyhow!

DON: Where are you located?
MARIKA: I live in Sweden right now. The coldest and darkest country in the North of Europé. I´m a natural born Viking girl. (And my fathers first name is actually Viking. How about that?) I am in the south. I am just 25 minutes by ferry to Denmark.

DON: Do you run through the woods at night stalking food?
MARIKA: I don´t hunt animals, but I do hunt men, just kidding!!

DON: Where else have you visited? Globally? Sweden is a bigger country than most people realize.
MARIKA: Yes it is. I have been to Israel and Greece, that was nice. But for me going to California would be exotic.

DON: Have you ever been to California?
MARIKA: In 1994 I was there to do some photoshoots at Golds Gym and on the beach in Malibu. It was so much fun.

DON: Alot of models have, but have you had any bad experiences with photographers?
MARIKA: I really don´t have any bad memories from photosessions or similar things. I guess I have been lucky meeting nice people.

DON: Tell me about your competitive bodybuilding career.
MARIKA: Well, my competition career started in 92 when I placed 3rd at Swedish Nationals. Then I continued to compete in 93 and 94, and qualified for my first World Championship.

DON: What did you place?
MARIKA: I was placed 12th. But I just listened too much to other people about how to diet and train. In many ways they were controlling me. I didn´t know better. I trusted them.

DON: Did that discourage you? When did you compete next?
MARIKA: It did. In 96 I was up again for the World Championships, but I just couldn´t get in the shape I needed. My body didn´t respond to the diet again I was told to go by. Because of that I was burnt out totally. I placed 11th. It was time. I broke from the people that controlled me and moved away.

DON: What did you do about your diet after that? You competed the following year didnt you?
MARIKA: Certainly. In my new home town I met a trainer that helped all the Swedish bodybuilders. He said he wanted to help me so I gave it a try.  He put me on some all new diets. It worked out good, as I placed 5th at World Championships that year.

DON: What year was that? 5th is a good placement you know.
MARIKA: That was 1997. I know now that I could have gotten even better. I was going too hard on my body following what he told me to. Without listening to my body, I lost alot of muscle and thickness. I also held my water for way too long. So now after all the trial and error, I have decided to mind my own business, I welcome good advice, and I think it through first. If it works for me I´m very thankful. But I try to listen to my own body now and am well aware how it reacts to different diets.

DON: What about the past two years? You took a layoff and now what? I feel like All I have to do is sit back and listen to you. It's such a familiar story you have. I think people can really relate.
MARIKA: So I guess now I´m ready to rise up a bit more. Finally after so many years of failures with diets and contest preparations I´m more confident about myself.

DON: Have you experimented with any fads?
MARIKA: I have tried all diets, I guess. The first year I had high carbs, medium protein and low fat diets, which made me very bloated. I have also tried high fat high protein and very low carbs. Which made me very empty in my muscles. I never looked hard. Next I tried high protein low carb and medium fat, and that worked much better. But now I´m into your diet Mr Lemmon. I´m splitting my foods and have them in different meals. This simple change is one that works even better to keep me in shape and gain muscles. So I´m always curious about learning more about diets, and I´m not afraid of trying new ideas. Finally I found what suits me best.

DON: That's really kind. You know I am grateful of your appreciation. But even though the diet hones the physique, genetics play a role in how you really end up looking. What are your most heard compliments?
MARIKA: Well people say that I have big guns.  I have always had big arms. They are very easily trained for me. I guess I got them genetically. It´s good to have something gifted, don´t you think?

DON: Definitely. Do you power lift at all to get as large as you are?
MARIKA: I have never really done power lifting, but my dad and two of my brothers are powerlifters. So I have done a bit max weight training just for fun. And when I was a strongest I benched 275 pounds and squatted 365 pounds.

DON: My best was 450 and 635. But for a woman, that's amazing.
MARIKA: I made some guys crazy about that. Many men cannot do that. But I am still definitely all woman.

Don Lemmon's Nutritional and Exercise Know How

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