March 7, 2017

Pauline Nordin

(info about Pauline Nordin)

Training, a lifestyle

Thomas Kieller

Photo – Copyright Pavel Ythjall

Pauline Nordin: Hard training.

Before she was known in the world of fitness, Pauline shaped her body the hard way in gyms. She discovered her passion at 17 years old after seeing a bodybuilding magazine in a store. From that moment, she completely changed our way of living. At the beginning of her twenties, she took part in numerous fitness competitions. Her realizations caught the attention of the producers of the TV show “The Biggest Loser”, the Nordic version. As a trainer she guided the participants of the Swedish team to lose weight significantly. After this television adventure, the girl from Ystad had an opportunity to go to the United States. Without hesitation, she packed her things and left her home country in order to try her luck in the domain she likes so much. In this new environment, the first years were truly tough for her. Among other things, she worked hours and hours as a personal trainer in Hollywood. After she made enough savings, she decided finally to do a leap of faith by creating her enterprise “Fighter Diet”. She is the author of several workout programs such as “The Butt Bible”. Discipline and determined in life and also when she trains, she sculpted herself a muscular physique which allowed her to be on the cover of Iron Man Magazine and Marines Corps Times. The ones who follow her physical challenges know well that she does not beat around the bush. She is a straight-forward woman who goes for her goals. Fitness is not only work for her. Above all, it’s a lifestyle.

The phone-interview took place on February 24, 2017 at 16:30 when Pauline was in Los Angeles, United States.

Passion of training

Thomas Kieller: You started training in 1999. What motivated you to train?

Pauline Nordin: I had an eating disorder. I was starving myself from 12 to 17 years old. I felt that I was starting to lose control. I remember that when I was looking at my thighs, I did not understand why they were jiggling when I was not eating. One day, I walked by a magazine store and I saw a copy of “Muscle & Fitness” or maybe it was “Flex”. I think it was Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover. From that moment, I was hooked. I realized that this is my way to America and this is what I have to do. I bought the magazine. I learned that it’s all about discipline and it’s not about eating everything you want. I needed that. Well, I really needed the structure. Basically, I flipped 180 degrees. Before that, I never went to a gym. So when I was there, I told the people that I will compete in three years from now. I trained from that first workout and many years later I competed in Sweden.

Thomas: In your early 20’s, you did some fitness competitions...

Pauline: Yes, I started bodybuilding in my country. The bodybuilding in Sweden is like the fitness figure competition in America but it’s a lot smaller. I did that for three years. I won the Swedish national and I was runner up at the senior. After that I qualified for the IFBB Pro Figure to compete in the United States. So, I did my debut in March 2006 and I competed here for two years. After, I threw in the towel.

Thomas: Was it tough to follow that kind of regime?

Pauline: No! I really trained hard. I’m a very disciplined person and I was like that from the start. I loved to train. I stopped competing because it was not serving me any purpose anymore. Also, the physique I had at that time was too athletic for this kind of competition. They wanted me to cut down on my muscle mass. I did not want to do that. So I just said: “Ok, I’m done”. Nevertheless, I knew what I wanted to do in life which was to build my company and to change people’s lifestyle.

Thomas: After this period of competitions, what were your goals that you gave yourself in order to build the strong physique that you have today?

Pauline: I want to be a fitness icon. That was it. I had different kinds of jobs in Sweden and I sucked at them. I did not like to go 9 to 5. I felt depressed. I knew I had to do this. I wanted to come to America and live of my passion. So, I worked for it. Basically I wanted to do like Arnold did when he came to America. I can say I have him as a role model.

Thomas: Do you feel a lot of satisfaction coming from a session of training?

Pauline: I’m a training addict. It is difficult for me not to work out. The only time I don’t do it is when I travel. So, on purpose, I take some time off of it. When I’m going on vacation, I don’t pack any workout clothes. Nothing! Because if I do, I know I will go find a gym in order to train. Besides, I train twice a day and I struggle to take one day off. So, I’m definitely an addict.

Helping people to be active

Thomas: In 2005, you were the trainer of the Swedish team in the television show: “The Biggest Loser”, Nordic version (Denmark, Norway and Sweden). How was that experience? Some people were quite involved in changing their physique.

Pauline: At that point, I started to hate fat people because it felt like they come here and they have everything arranged. They have trainers and they have a diet planned set for them. They have a closed environment and they have all the tools. Still, I remember that some of them, they did not want to do it. I was disappointed about how people say that they are so determined at the start and they really want to do this, but after they don’t want to do the work which is required.

However, my point of view changed over the years. I have empathy now for people who need to lose weight. It is why I started my latest project which is called “Defat America”. It’s not for Americans only, it’s really worldwide. I started challenges for very overweight and obese people. So, they could have a community on Facebook where I host my challenges. I really like that and I’m really passionate about it.

Thomas: So, your experience with that show was a little bit difficult at the beginning but was it a good experience for you to face this situation?

Pauline: It was a really good experience. At that moment, I was ahead of my time. I had the foundation for weight training for the overweight people. It was really interesting to see how much work is actually needed to lose 10 pounds week after week for almost three months! There is also a psychological change that people go through along the process. So yes, I have this in my mind and in now in my background. I can draw parallels from this experience.

However, some people watch the show “The Biggest Loser” and they get disappointed when they go to their own fitness journey because they don’t lose that much weight. It’s normal because they are not training six straight hours a day like they do on the show. Well, they don’t say how much they trained in the program in America and they should.

Thomas: After that in 2006, you made a big move when you left Sweden for the United States. Was it a difficult decision for you to leave your home country and how did you adapt to your new world, Los Angeles?

Pauline: I really wanted to go to America. So, the minute I got approved, I just packed my bags and went. My career was really going well in Sweden. However, I decided to start from scratch, more or less, when I came here. In America, I was nobody. So, it was tough financially speaking. I put all my savings to try to make it. When you start from scratch it’s hard, especially in Los Angeles which a really expensive city. For two years, it was pretty much starvation diet. I was just relying on my sponsor’s powder and on cabbage. It was tough.

I came on a job with a visa and I worked for a magazine from Sweden. After that, it evolved into a green card. I became a personal trainer which I did not really enjoy but that was the closest thing in my field. I got some really high-end clients in Hollywood that had me exclusively and the financial situation just changed. Suddenly, I had a lot of money. Now, it will be peanuts but that really saved me. I had like four clients each week. I woke up at 3 in the morning and I drove to Hollywood. I had a second shift. It was really tough. I worked, worked, worked... but I had a vision. I saved until I could take the leap of faith. So, I stopped training people to focus on my business which is Fighter Diet. Thankfully, it is still going.

Thomas: Yes, you are the founder of Fighter Diet. What is the concept behind it and what are your objectives with it besides of course making money?

Pauline: In a way, I want to “Defat America”. I want people to lose weight and to be healthier overall. That’s my main goal. People don’t know that they don’t have to starve in order to get fit and not be overweight. So, the major fight I have is to prevent overeating by overeating. Basically, you eat very big meals of low calorie food like vegetables (a lot of vegetables) and lean proteins. What happens when you eat big meals is that your craving goes away because expanding your stomach with a meal sends a signal to your brain that you had enough food. This way, it’s a lot easier to stay at your calorie budget while building muscles.

Like for me, I always wanted to build muscles without looking bulky. I don’t like to have fat. I like to be lean all the time. My metabolism is not high at all. I always struggled. I had to find a concept that allows me to eat a lot because I have a big appetite. Well in 2007, I was competing show after show. So, I had to stay in shape. I remember that I was running on the beach and all of a sudden I got an epiphany. It just came to me. I stopped my workout and I ran home to write everything down. It’s started this way. I told my clients about it and they had really good results with it.

Thomas: You talk a lot about food. In Fighter Diet, there is also a part concerning training?

Pauline: Yes. I have a lot of workout e-books. You know weight control has always been in people’s mind about cardio exercises. However, for me, the holy trinity of fitness is weight training, diet and cardio. Cardio is the last one.

Weight training is the only tool that you have to actually change your metabolism over time because muscles always need energy. Instead of your food going to your fat cells, it is more being dumped into your muscles. I really put emphasis on weight training and down play cardio. I mean I like cardio but it can never out train a bad diet.

I have to add that some people eat clean all the time, but they wonder why they are still fat. I’m trying to tell them that it is not because it is good food that it does not have any calories. You still have to watch your servings. I hate watching servings. I think it sucks. And I hate being hungry. You just have to eat the right food in the right volume.

Also, one thing that nobody can do forever is to rely on will-power. The leaner you are or the more weight you have lost, the more your brain will try to make you eat. The only way is to keep building muscles no matter what your goal is. You must think muscle. Don’t ever sacrifice it.

Thomas: You have done several workout e-books like “The Butt Bible”, “Badass Workouts”, “Got Guns” and “Back 2 the Roots”. There are several others that you have done. First, how do you come up with those original concepts?

Pauline: I love writing you know. When I was in school, I had really good grades, except of physical activity and mathematics. So, it’s funny that I chose fitness. Anyway, I write motivational texts that people like. Those names just come to me like “The Butt Bible”. Concerning those titles, they have to be catchy and say something about the program at the same time.

Thomas: And secondly, can you explain how those programs works for someone who wants to follow it?

Pauline: Let say you want to do “The Butt Bible”. This one has different kinds of workouts depending on your level. A lot of people think that weight training is a choreography which is not. The difference between a beginner and an advanced trainee rely basically on two things: how much weight you are loading on and how many sets you do.

Anyway, you get an e-book, you see the workouts and you pick one. You do it a couple times a week for three to six weeks. And then you change it up. One must always try to outdo oneself. If you lift 10 pounds one day, it will be 11 pounds the next time and so on. In the end, it’s provides a structured program for everyone who wants to train.

Thomas: You have also done a guide named “Fighter Diet Food Pyramid”. Is it clear for you that the food is a complementary part of training?

Pauline: Ah! It depends on the goal. If someone wants to have a lean physique and they are not lean at the time, they have to fix their diet. Fighter Diet and the Pyramid explain the food that we should eat for a proper diet.

Thomas: Do you see a problem in the way people eat in North America?

Pauline (says without hesitation): Yep! There are different problems. Of course, there is the regular junk food. This one is a given! Also, it’s the whole believing that clean food meaning healthy food, does not have to be counted. You must know your servings. I have seen people eating big bowls of brown rice or quinoa (which is so trendy right now) with a big piece of salmon and a lot of olive oil. That’s like 1,600 calories you got there. It’s almost your whole calorie budget for a day, but they don’t realize that. They want to believe that if it’s healthy food then it’s ok. Food is good but it’s like a candy. You have to keep it under control. I’m trying to educate people that some food has three times more sugar and calories than vegetables. So, it’s very easy to overeat.

Thomas: You have a lot of experience as a fitness athlete and also as a trainer… So, is motivation a huge factor in a person’s success to train?

Pauline: Well, they must be an initial motivation like what do you want to achieve. However, I try to educate people not to rely on motivation because it comes and goes. One day you want to do it and another day you don’t. Feeling and emotions are like a roller coaster.

A more reliable way is to use discipline. Let’s say you want to go on vacation and you don’t want to go to your job. You cannot call your boss and say: “Hey! I don’t feel like working today. I will come another day.” No, it will not work. If you want a vacation, you have to earn it because it does not come for free. So, it is more about relying on discipline and dedication rather than motivation. With discipline you can accomplish anything in life.

Thomas: Do you have a lot of pleasure helping others to reach their goals?

Pauline: Yes really! For example, I see women who are not smiling on their photos when they started challenges. And they say I cannot do this and the food is too much. A few weeks later, you can see muscles and they are empowered. They want more vegetables and they are smiling. I definitely like that.

Besides, I’m a tough trainer. I provide all the materials but some people don’t read. I can help, but you still have to do your part. Anyway, it’s really rewarding to see someone who was physically miserable change to an active lifestyle. I don’t care about ups and downs or fast transformation. I want to see a one lifetime change and that’s it.

Last words

Thomas: Definitely I can see the passion you have for training. Is it a lifestyle for you?

Pauline: Oh yes! I will do this until I die. As long as my body allows me to do it, I’m willing to do it. A lot of athletes become sedentary and fat after their career is over. I’m proud; I will never treat my body like that.

Thomas: Thank you Pauline for sharing your experience in training. You have the attitude.

Pauline: Thank you very much.