We talked with Mirka Henriksson in April, 2020.
Mirka Henrikssons Stats When We Talked with Her 💪
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Mirka Henriksson and I live in the beautiful country of Finland.
I’ve been doing many different sports since I was a kid and volleyball became my number one sport at the age of eleven. I played several years until I realized I couldn’t become as good as I wanted.
It was a big decision for me to quit volleyball and it left me quite empty…
Because I had been competing my whole life I was hungry to get back competing. The only problem was that I didn’t know what would be the sport I would feel passionate about.
I found functional training in 2015 when I got to know my husband at school (University Of Applied Sciences – Bachelor of Sports).
He introduced me to this exciting style of training and I was hooked. He taught me weightlifting, gymnastics and many other skills. He was coaching me and I was becoming better and better.
After half a year of training by ourselves we joined a CrossFit Gym. I felt more motivated than ever and wanted to start competing in CrossFit as soon as possible.
I participated in my first competition after doing CrossFit for less than a year and placed 22nd. I found the spark of competing again and knew I was gonna work hard in this sport trying to reach my very best potential!
I have been competing a lot in Finland and finished on the top several times.
About a year ago I started competing abroad in CrossFit Sanctionals, mostly in Elite Team categories with our Team Finland. It’s amazing to compete in different countries and exciting places.
Being athletic is a big part of my identity so sports, wellness and healthy lifestyle have been parts of my life from the very beginning.
I feel that I am privileged to do sports that I love and also to do work where I can help people reach healthier lifestyle and be more active.
Currently I work as a Gym Manager in a Finnish company and in addition, coach groups and individuals.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
My training depends on the mesocycle of periodization I am in at the moment.
The closer the competition gets, the more I do harder metcons and intervals with higher volume and intensity whereas in strength or engine periods I focus on lighter conditioning workouts with lower volume and intensity.
I train mostly twice a day five days a week. Monday to Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday I train and I keep rest days usually on Wednesday and Sunday.
During rest days I might do some active recovery or body maintenance to avoid being passive the whole day.
I train mostly by myself. My day starts with the morning workout around 7-8am. I usually do a conditioning workout which can be for example aerobic training, intervals or a metcon.
In the second session I focus on weightlifting and strength or gymnastics skills and specific strength. I start the second session in the afternoon around 2-4pm.
My typical workout starts with a warm up which I begin with general warm up. It can be for example 5-10 minutes of rowing / cycling / skiing.
After that I do some active mobility and finally I start a specific warm up for the workout.
For example in weightlifting I do different movements with an empty barbell focusing on good technique and add more weight little by little ramping up to the work sets.
I sometimes do a cool down after training. I know this is the area I should improve since it’s important part of the workout but usually I am just a bit busy leaving the gym so I skip that part.
I try to do a cool down at least after harder workouts where my heart rate gets very high. I drink a protein shake once a day, usually after a morning session when food is not available soon after the workout.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I believe that commiting to work hard every day, you are able to deliver your best performance on the competition floor. And by working hard I don’t mean just training but every area in life like nutrition, sleep and recovery – daily routines.
Training is not always easy. You don’t feel excited going to the gym every day and you don’t enjoy training every time.
I do enjoy training A LOT but it’s still not easy or enjoyable all the time. Sometimes I’m tired, I don’t feel like training and sometimes I suck.
I still want to go to the gym when I have that goal in mind and deliver my best performance for that day.
We all have something that motivates us. It drives us to work harder and for example usually after doing a workout you didn’t feel like doing, you feel better anyway because you still did it!
I think athletes are somewhat “nuts” because of the huge discomfort they put themselves through daily. And yet they keep doing it and even enjoy that feeling. I raise my hand up!
During a hard and uncomfortable workout I like to think the feeling after finishing the workout. The feeling of nailing the workout makes me push harder through the pain and perform to my best.
I encourage everyone to stop for a moment and ask themselves what is your why. Why do you want to commit to the process, why do you want to go to the gym every single day and become the best version of yourself?
If that is an easy question for you, you are most likely willing to commit your time to find out your maximum potential.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m doing great and my training is going well at the moment.
I’ve been trying to gain some weight because currently my main focus is on building strength and muscle. I am going to represent Finland in the European Weightlifting Championship this year and a bit higher body weight is needed.
I’m planning to continue competing in CrossFit and weightlifting as long as it feels good and I’m enjoying it.
So far I haven’t had any feelings of quitting because I have been improving in both sports and haven’t reached my limits yet. Motivation is high and my life situation makes it possible for me to invest in doing sports.
My future goal is to Compete in CrossFit Games with the team or as an individual. So that’s my ultimate goal in this sport.
I’m just starting my own business so my other goal is to build a profitable business that serves people’s needs in areas like activity, physical health, nutrition and recovery.
And of course one big goal is to be an awesome mom for my children in the future! 😀
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I would say that sleep and nutrition are the most important factors when it comes to recovery.
I try to get about 8-9 hours of sleep so I go to bed on the same time every night around 9:30-10pm and get up at 6:30-7am. I feel spry almost every morning.
I tell more about my nutrition in the next question but when it comes to recovery, it has a big role, so I try to eat enough to recover better.
Massage and stretching belong to my weekly body maintenance routines. In addition I try doing a recovery workout on a rest day that can be for example walking or swimming.
I haven’t had any injuries (knock on wood) so I’m very lucky. I try avoiding injuries by focusing on good technique when training and paying attention to recovery.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Nutrition wise I try to eat enough, healthy and have variety. I check my macros from time to time to stay on track of my eating but I don’t count them daily.
My daily need of calories is approximately 2800. I make sure that there is enough protein, carbs and good fats on my plate every meal so I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, different types of meat and nuts and seeds.
I follow 80/20 principle so as long as 80% of my eating is on track there is some room to take it easier every now and then.
I take supplements like vitamin D and iron (when I’m eating mainly vegetarian food). I also use creatine and whey protein.
Whey protein is a good way to get enough protein easily and fast for example after a workout in a recovery shake. I use Foodspring supplements.
In CrossFit there is no weight classes or a “certain weight” you have to be so as long as you are able to move your body as well as big weights, your body weight is probably okay.
I love prepping food so I cook bigger amount of food for me and my husband twice a week and pack it in boxes to be ready for meals.
It’s an easy way to spare time during the week and bonus is that the food is always ready when it’s time to eat. I even prep my snacks.
I also try cooking vegetarian food at least once in two weeks and then we eat that food for a few days.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I’m inspired by passionate people who know what they want and work hard to achieve their goals!
Some inspiring books I could name of are:
- Dottir – My Journey to Becoming a Two-Time CrossFit Games Champion, Katrin Davidsdottir
- Chasing Excellence, Ben Bergeron
- How I Became the Fittest Woman on Earth, Tia Toomey
Inspiring CrossFit movies:
- Fittest on Earth
- The Redeemed and the Dominant
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
The first step of starting a new sport is to search information about it. If you are interested in CrossFit it’s easy to get started by registering for the next On Ramp course in your local CrossFit gym.
It’s a course where you learn the basics and you need to do it if you want to start doing CrossFit at an affiliate.
It’s also a safe way to start functional fitness in general by attending an On Ramp course or joining a CrossFit gym because you get good quality coaching.
It is always good to have someone correcting your techniques and giving advice instead of just hitting your head against the wall trying to learn new skills by yourself.
The best thing about CrossFit gyms is the community: you are surrounded by like minded people who support and push each other to get better.
Finishing a good workout with your buddy and high fives with the coach after a great class.
In CrossFit gyms you make friends easily because WODs are not the only things you meet new people at. Gyms often arrange different kinds of events and gym competitions where members can get together.
Be open-minded and stay humble! 😉
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I primarily coach in person so I take clients in Finland. I do some online coaching with a few specific clients.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My main channel is Instagram and I’m pretty active there. On Instagram I want to motivate people to be the best version of themselves and work for their dreams. Also I offer training and food tips and recipes! Take a look if you got interested 😉