What is your favorite way to be active (what types of sports have you participated in)? When/how did you get into lifting? When did you start competing?
As a child I was into swimming, equestrian dressage/riding and judo. Later in life I started running, light lifting and climbing. After I became ill in 2009 I slowly but surely got back into sports – first powerlifting, then I added cycling and later OCR and strongman. As an adult, I compete in powerlifting, strongman and running.
You are an adaptive athlete. When did you realize this challenge (before or after your career in lifting)? What do most people not realize about training with your disability?
I have always had a difficult time getting the same results as everyone else. Training as a swimmer has always been the hardest for me; breathing is hard enough for a swimmer, but it became more difficult as I would fight infection after infection. While training for the NY Marathon in 2009, my lungs failed me and as a result I spent over two years fighting for my life. I was more in hospitals than at home during those years. I spent over two months in rehabilitation to regain enough strength to return to my daily life.
Training as a disabled athlete is different because my body does not perform at the rate of a healthy person’s. Most people don’t realize that disabled athletes really cannot plan like most people can. It’s hard to map out my workouts in advance; I have to listen to my body DAILY to determine how much I can train the next day. I have days where I roll out of bed and that is it for the day.
What are your greatest achievements?
To have two deadlift world records is high up there, but influencing the WADA approval for the use of oxygen therapy in competition is another source of great pride… I was very proud to pave the way for others with my disability and advocate for the policy changes that will allow more disabled athletes to participate. Being an advocate for Alpha 1 patients around the world is something that I value above most things in life.
Personally, my very greatest achievement is choosing to fight my way back to life from a state where I could not walk upstairs nor pick up a bar.
There are a few things i rely on every single day in addition to every single training session: #SimplyGoMini and #RockTape without the two of them i would simply not be able to do what i do. When using RockTape even my wonky knee stays put with reduced pain and swelling. It almost goes without telling that the smallness of the SimplyGo mini makes exercise easy to do because the backpack is made for moving. I could find many, many reasons to not stay active: I can't breathe well, I am in chronic pain, I have addisons, my liver is failing, I have chronic infections, I have terminal disease……but you know what: there is a whole life worth living before the terminal fase of my disease. Every day I wake up in awful pain and I still breathe badly, I know I am alive and that is a gift to treasure. #GetMoving #sponsored #alphawarriors #myalpha1story #crossfitsaar #alpha1awareness #bjørgvinsk #powerlifting #rocktape #Lungdisease #disabled #disabledathlete #ocr #strongman #Arnolds2018 #GRRRLstrong #GRRRL #LegendBorneAmbassador #neverquit #CSLBehring #Philips #BeTheChange
What do you do when you’re not competing or training?
I live in the rural areas of Germany; I spend a lot of time outdoors in my garden there. We grow vegetables and berries. I also like to be out and about with Our two small dogs and I involve myself in a lot of charity work. I like to paint and create things like jewelry and decorations, and I love to try new things and read to relax.
Are you currently training for a specific competition?
Currently I am prepping for the Arnold Classic and in April, I’ll be competing in a novice able bodied strongman competition in the UK.
We met you at the Arnold two years ago. How many times have you competed at the Arnold Classic? Which events do you compete in? Which events are you participating in this year?
This will be my second time. Last year, I was the first female to compete in disabled strongman at the Arnold and the first athlete under oxygen therapy ever to participate.
Last year I competed in the atlas stones, dumbbell press, hand-over-hand pull and front hold. This year, I’m competing the dumbbell press, a hand-over-hand, sandbag loading game and atlas stones competition.
Home sweet home ❤ So divine to be back in my community @crossfit.saar there is such a great ambience within these walls. There is nothing better than to get back into the groove #roadtotheworlds2018 Just 3 very small weeks until i hope i see YOU at the Arnolds! #alphawarriors #myalpha1story #alpha1awareness #polar #oxygentherapy #simplygomini #Philips #GRRRL #CSLBehring #crossfitsaar #bjørgvinsk #LegendBorneAmbassador #LiveYourLegacy #Lungdisease #disabled #disabledathlete #ocr #strongman #Arnolds2018 #disabledstrongman #RockTape
Do you have any goals you’d like to meet in your sport? Long term & short term?
My goal for this year is to sniff the gold at the Worlds Strongest Disabled Man in Norway September 8th. It means a lot to me to get to compete in my native country. The other goal for this year is to do better at the OCR World Championships in London and to at least hold a Double Spartan Trifecta. Next year I’d like to qualify for masters powerlifting at an international level.
Do you have any recovery routines?
I stretch, go for slow walks and use RockBalls and a roller. Active recovery is important. If I don’t stay active my joints start to ache.
How did you find out about RockTape? How do you use it now?
A Norwegian physiotherapist used it for lymph drainage when I was very ill and my body was swollen.
I use it on my shoulders when they get sore and when my tendons are inflamed. Also on my lower back because of the problems I have in my spine. Most importantly, I use it on my knees. It’s the only thing that truly gives my knees any kind of pain relief and support. I tape any area with any type of sprain or inflammation. I am so happy with the results I’m getting. My favorite pattern is the Blue Argyle.
What is your favorite RockTape product? What makes it better than the others on the market?
It is hard to pick just one, but the H2O tape is my favorite; it sticks on even through an OCR race and it still doesn’t irritate my skin. I’ve tried other brands but they just don’t hold up at all in comparison.