👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello, my name is Anna and I live in Stockholm, Sweden with my husband and two beautiful kids. I am a PhD in organic chemistry but that’s probably not why I’m telling my story at this page. I’m also a two-time world champion, three-time European champion and two-time Olympian in boxing.
I have now retired from boxing but training is still a big part of my life. I’ve always been training and exercising a lot. Basketball and ballet were my two big things growing up. I probably should’ve been a basketball player (I’m tall and fit) but just not the best with the ball haha. I love it though.
I found boxing pretty late in life, when I was 17, and I have been in love with the sport ever since. I boxed for almost 20 years and looking back I have really seen the sport grow and develop on the women’s side.
Today me and my husband are both coaching at a club in Stockholm, IF Linnéa Boxning. Sometimes I put on my old gloves but mostly I lift weights and run nowadays. I love Olympic lifting because it keeps my body strong, athletic and mobile.
Running is hard, specially after two kids, but a great workout and important for my fitness. When I don’t coach boxers, minds kids or train I work with inspiration, personal training and coach people and companies in teams, leadership and personal leadership.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
When I was an elite athlete, my training was planned in detailed months ahead. My goals were set years ahead and I lived religiously after my plan. I trained 10-12 times a week, usually 18-25 hrs, two to three strength sessions, three to four running sessions and six boxing sessions. I had a lot of time set aside for training and logged and analyzed every week.
Since I retired from boxing four years ago, I have kept training a little bit every day. My motto is that a little training is better than nothing.
After living as an elite athlete for 20 years, I think it’s pretty liberating to train just for fun. I don’t have the same hard goals as before, my goal now is to keep fit and strong and repair the body after my boxing career.
I don’t log my training anymore but I do plan it. I believe it gets done if I put it in the calendar. Sometimes I like to try new things but most of all I like to stick to the training that I learnt is good for me.
A normal week I do Olympic lifting combined with normal strength training one to two times a week, run twice a week, yoga one time a week and a shorter high intensity session, one session a week. Rest days when the body needs it.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I used to have goals like becoming world champion and then try to remind myself of these goals by putting pictures on the fridge or in my wallet. Every time I passed by the picture it reminded me of where I was going. I kept my training diary up to date and analyzed it together with my coaches to make sure that I was on top of my game.
Today my goals are less sharp. I want to stay fit and strong because it makes me feel good and look good but since I got kids I think a lot about the future and how I can stay strong when I get older.
I used to train so hard that I sometimes broke before, now I have to take care of my old injuries and build up my body. To me conditioning is important to be able to recover better.
Strength training is good for obvious reasons and yoga keeps my back pain free. This might sound a bit boring but it’s not, I love to train.
In the summer, I usually have more energy but in the winter I tend to get more tired and unmotivated, then I often book training sessions with friends. Training with a friend that can push me is so much fun and impossible to miss the session since they are waiting for me.
I often train on my own these days because of lack of time but I know that the best way to motivate me and push myself is really to train with others.
During many years of my active career, I struggled with too high metabolism due to thyroid problems. At the bottom of this disease, I could not walk up a short stairs without stopping to catch my breath. I was in very bad shape and lost all my muscles, my confidence and strength.
In the beginning, I tried to hold on to my great “top athlete goals” but I was too far from that reality that it only made me feel depressed and feel hopeless.
To get out of the bad spiral of thinking and instead find a way out I tried to celebrate every little successful step. I stopped looking too far ahead and only looked at the next small step. This made me regain my confidence and dare to perform again -but it took time.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m currently recovering from my last pregnancy. My son is now three months old and I’m slowly but surely getting back to training. It’s challenging and a little bit frustrating since the process is a bit slower this time than after my first pregnancy.
Except for the obvious physical challenges after a pregnancy, I think it’s important to remember that lack of sleep and recovery makes it so much harder to get back in shape. I’m also training other women post partum and that has made me realize how different we all are.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I believe that recovery is one of the most important tools to accomplish a good training session and stay injury free. I try to eat healthy and sleep well, well, trying to get eight hours but not easy with small kids.
I discovered as I got older that I don’t need as much training to reach certain goals but I need more recovery than when I was young.
When I was an elite athlete I used to go to the osteopath for a massage and bone correction once and sometimes twice a week. I would love to do that now as well but I just don’t have time. Instead I do my yoga once a week, and I start my strength sessions with a mobility warm up.
Massage is a luxury for me these days.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
As a boxer, I had to stand on the scale every morning to check my weight. The goal was as much muscle as possible without weighting too much. I have had a lot of nutritionists helping me during my career. We spent a lot of time planning the training to be able to “peak” at certain championships.
Sometimes I spent hundreds of hours training but destroyed it all with a bad diet and then had to cut weight by losing fluids. The key to a good balanced diet for me lies in long term solutions. I also chose to become a vegetarian for various reasons many years of my career.
In the beginning I was afraid of not getting enough proteins, but learnt that is not a problem in a plant-based diet. Today I’m a vegan and have never felt better.
I drink a lot of coffee and tea. I used to drink energy drinks but I stopped that when I first got pregnant and never got back into it. I drink alcohol every now and then but not regularly.
As for social gatherings, I try to eat vegan if I can but I’m not strict if there are no vegan food. In Swedish restaurants, there are usually a vegan choice if not there is definitely a vegetarian choice.
If I’m at an event or with friends and there is not a vegan choice I’ll just do my best. When it comes to the content I try to vary my food and get all nutrients and I try to enjoy food as much as possible, it should taste good! After 20 years of diet in boxing, I don’t bother with that anymore. With good training I can eat a lot anyway.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
A lot of people have inspired me. Friends, training partners, opponents other sport stars. I love to listen to an athletes story; The ups and down in a career, the struggles and the victories.
One of the best advice I got was actually from my husband who was also my coach for a few years. He always wanted me to calm down, do less and focus more on the things I chose to do. He also made me sleep more and think more of my recovery in general
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Find something that you like to do. Do it for yourself – not for any other reason. Don’t compare yourself to others, success takes time and it’s different for everyone.
You can always get better and the way of getting better is to get out of your own comfort zone. Challenge yourself not only by lifting heavier, running faster and so on but by questioning your own methods.
Maybe you already have the best training methods, then congratulations, but maybe you find something you can change to improve your results.
Today there is so much information online but what’s right and wrong is not always easy to discover. Surround yourself with good people that motivate and help you on your way!
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I have a few PT clients at the moment because I like them but mostly I work with groups and companies. My clients have different goals; a strong body, fitness, get back in shape after pregnancy, one had a severe disease and we are working on building up her body and confidence.
I also do a lot of group training for companies, mostly boxing for fun, and some for private persons, right now I’m focusing on my mothers group.