What is your name and age
Maria Berglund, 33 years old
True Grit Kettlebell
What are you working with/as?
I’m working as an afterschool teacher
Do you have a motto or any catchwords?
Well, I’m kind of a quotenerd, and I have at least a hundred screenshots of wise and not so wish quotes in my phone. One favourite, and The words that runs through my head over and over when I feel like giving up is ”if it doesen’t challenge you, it doesen’t change you.” It’s kind of kliché but it’s true. You won’t get better if you don’t step out of your comfortzone
When did you start kettlebell training? Why and how did you start?
I started training kettlebells in the summer of 2013. That’s actually when I started training at all, and it was my husband Fredrik that got me in to kettlebelling. Our third son was four months old and I was feeling so uncomfortable in my own body, and had a lot of pain everywhere. In the beginning it was all about how I looked. In January 2014 I took a kettlebell coach course for Rickard Garbell, and that’s when I got interested in long cycle. In The beginning I actually hated it with every beat of my heart, and every time Fredrik added it to a work out I threatened to quit training!
Maybe more interesting, why did you continue doing it?
As time went by, and I got more and more in to long cycle, my focus shifted from looks to what results I could accomplish in the sport. It was a huge relieve for me, as I’ve always been a little borderline eating disorder. Now I almost never wheigh myself. My goal is to lift my very best, not to look a certain way, or to see certain numbers On a scale. Now it’s a passion. My body and my soul needs it.
Have you entered any competitions? Do you want to share your results?
I’ve entered three competitions. First one was swedish nationals 2014, OALC and I got a 2:nd place in -58. 84 reps, 16 kg if I remember it right. My second competition was cup of scandinavia in september 2015, about two months after I started training more seriously with double bells. I actually wasn’t going to attend, but someone convinced me to do so at the very last minute. I had never done more than 6 minutes with 2×16 kg before the comp and my goal was to do my 10 minutes On the platform, and so I did. My numbers were really not much to brag about, but it can only get better. (if anyone wonders, I did 42 reps.) Third comp was swedish nationals in october 2015, I did 51 reps and it got me a 2:nd place again.
Do you have a coach?
Yes I do have a coach. My husband Fredrik was my coach until very recently but. I guess he got sick of me never doing what I was told, so he hired Mark Stapleton to get me in shape. But I’m impressed that me and Fredrik managed to actually stay married through this period.
When did you start being a coach? Why did you do it?
I don’t concider my self a coach. I lead our kettlebell fitness classes, and pass out some advice to Fredriks athletes if I notice something they should work on, but that’s something completly different then beeing a coach.
What are your own strenghts as an athlete?
This is hard. I have a tight lockout when I’m focused. That’s good I guess. And a quick fixation. Also when I’m focused. The problem with that is that focus is really not my strong side.
What do you feel about single/double bells for women?
I think it’s a human right to lift doubles! No but seriously, my body feels so much better lifting doubles then single bells. OALC gave me a lot of problems with my hips and back, and a very big difference in strength between my bodyhalves. So I definitly prefer doubles.
How do you think the future will look like for the sport (GS)?
Since I ’m in to TALC my hope for the future is that discipline gets to grow for women. It’s a wonderful discipline and there is no good reason to deprive someone of it because of whats between their legs.
What/which are or were your personal goals in training? (long-term/short-term?)
My goal is to get as good as I possibly can. I’ve never trained before, and I have no idea what my limits are. Maybe that’s good, maybe that’s bad. I never feel fully satisfied with my accomplishments, but I hope I will some day. That’s my goal. To know that I’ve done the absolute best that I can and be happy with that.
Which discipline do you like the most and why is that?
Long Cycle. Double bells of course. I kind of like snatch too, but I’m terribly bad at it. Specially with my left arm.
What do you think is the most challenging in training?
For me, the most challenging thing right now is to relax. And to thrust the process. I stress through sets and wheigts and compare myself to others. I need to realise that this is my journey, and as long as I keep training, I will keep moving forward in some way. Maybe not always in the way I want to, or in the pace I wish, but in some way.
Do you have any training tips to share?
Haha, I don’t know? Relax? And push yourself.. Makes sense? And stand with your legs straight in rackposition.
Who inspires you?
My husband Fredrik Berglund. He drives me crazy a hundred times a day, but he’s dedicated and passionated about this sport and our team. He is honest and brave and he does what needs to be done to learn more about the sport all the time. And of course the rest of our team! Elin, Carola, Petra, Annika, Janne, Nina och Jonna who always give their all in a sport that most people know nothing about. Its nice to surround yourself with people as nerdy as you are.
Which exercise is your favourite?
Have you got any exercises that you hate doing? Which one and why is that?
I hate rowing. Really. That concept2 is like a fucking torturemachine. But I do it. I really don’t like running either.
Is there ever anything that makes you not prioritise training day?
My three boys are the most important in my life. Other than that. Not much. Trainingday is trainingday. I don’t even think about if I feel like it or not. I just go.
How do you eat? Do you have a special diet or a food-philosophy?
I’ve spent way too many years worrying about what I eat. I try to eat good nutrition foods. Make sure I get enough proteins and stuff, and keep the sweets and the rubbish food on a need-to-eat-basis. But I have no no-no:s.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not ”kettlebelling”?
Spending time with my kids. They are my everything.
Maria is a big inspiration to all of us in True Grit. She is strong, passionate for kettlebell and focused in always get better and stronger!
We thank her so much for sharing here thoughts och philosophy in kettlebell.