Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

WO Interview ► Emma Rundberg

Athlete Profile

Name: Emma Rundberg

Weight: 58 kg (128 lbs)

Height: 1.77m (5’8″)

Zodiac Sign: Libra

Location: Sweden

Sport: Fitness/Weight-training/Thai Boxing

Professional Affiliations: Britain Musclemania (Bikini tall class)


When and how did you start training?

Going way back, I began horseback riding when I was 8-years old and did so for a little less than 9 years. I enjoyed the peaceful feeling of being among horses 4-5 days a week. I think it benefited me in many ways.

When I was 16, I quit riding to focus on school and building relevant friendships. Eventually, my love for horseback riding would fade. I sometimes miss the sport and the good feelings I got from it.

Six years would pass before I would ever lift a weight or do any form of exercise again. (I can’t imagine myself in that position now. Haha.)

In December of last year I got fed up with my poor lifestyle and was really inspired by my friend and roommate (another fitness enthusiast) to start getting active again. I pulled out a dusty gym card that had been in my wallet for years and immediately put it to good use.

I started first with group workouts such as Body Pump and followed through with boxing and core classes. I met some nice people who saw a fire in me and pushed me to continue with my routine. After a while, I began to feel stronger and more positive. After 3 months, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a happier more self-confident girl. I loved it!

I began establishing new goals for myself. I started to read fitness blogs, and became inspired by women who were in love with weight training. I purchased a gym diary; weights would become my friends.

In March of this year, I was contacted by a bodybuilding camp a friend of mine recommended me to. They offered to help me with my workout program, and I happily accepted. I got my own coach and started a private blog between us, so I could get feedback on my nutrition and workout plan. It felt great!

Big changes in my body development came quick.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I have since committed myself to the sport, and have begun competing ever since.


Describe an average day in your life.

My average day is dependent on my workday. One thing for sure is that my workouts get priority. A typical day looks like this:

6:00AM – Wake up, grab a cup coffee, take my vitamins and get ready for work.
7:00AM – Breakfast (the most important meal of my day).  I always eat whole grain oatmeal (with an added scoop of whey protein, some berries, and cinnamon). The quality carbs provide long-lasting energy.

At work, I keep many small meals with me to sustain my energy levels prior to my evening workout.

4:00PM - I get out of work, head home, make dinner, grab a shake, and head to the gym.

9:00PM - Back home. I relax in front of the ‘tele’ for 30min before my beauty sleep. (I become a real monster if I don’t get enough sleep grrr! haha!)

What’s your preference, free weights or machines?

Like many people who begin weight-training, I would say I loved machines at first. Machines help a lot in keeping the correct form and helps reduce the chances of harming your body during an exercise. There are many factors and differences between machines and free weights, but compared to a couple months ago, I really enjoy free weights more now. I’ve gotten so much stronger (especially my core).

In the end, I think a mix of both free weights and machines is optimal for best results; your body requires variation for it to grow.


What personal workout routine has yielded the best results for you?

Ehm! Honestly, I would say varying workout phases.

My workout routine changes from week to week to make sure my body never gets use to the same exercises. This is really working out well, and my body is responding positively to it. Also, increasing the weight in early sets and decreasing it in later sets has been a good way for me to progressively get a stronger, healthier, and develop a better body overall.


What is your favorite workout and body-part to train?

I can do abs every day! (Unfortunately, my program doesn’t let me.) But when it’s on the schedule, I jump for joy! I am what I call, “An abs lady.”

Anything that involves training abs in different ways is my favorite exercise. I could go on forever! The good thing is that you use your abs in a lot of exercises, and with a good core you have good balance in the rest of your exercises. I have other favorites, but I can definitely say abs is close to my heart.

What does your cardiovascular routine consist of? How often?

When preparing for my last competition, I did one hour of power-walking every morning before breakfast. I usually woke up at 4 am to make sure I got it in before work. You have to be both determined and dedicated to do this almost every morning for 10-12 weeks, but for me this wasn’t such a major problem; I love brisk morning walks in nature. I also do an additional 30-45min of cardio on the days I workout.

When I am not preparing for a competition I cut back on the morning cardio a lot, since I am still very lean and can afford to. It takes a while to understand how your body works. I am still learning how my body functions!

I also like a little variation in my cardio. Cardio can get a bit boring at times, unless you absolutely love it.

An example of variation would be to run on a the treadmill for 10 minutes, then shift to the bike for 20 minutes, then back to the treadmill.

I live in a lovely neighborhood with a trail along the water. When I have the time, I’ll run there also. Whatever I do, I make sure to never get bored when doing cardio. My goal is to love it as much as I love weight lifting!


We all experience days when we’d rather stay home and skip out on a WorkOwt. What keeps you motivated and focused?

When I feel tired, have cravings, or just want to stay in bed or go straight home after a long workday, I remind myself why I’m doing this.

I’m doing this because I want to stand on the stage one day, with the trophy in my hand and hold a card that reads Emma Rundberg, Bikini PRO! I want to look in the magazines and see myself in them. I want to reach the goals and transition that most people would think are crazy and obsessed! I set goals and do this for me and no one else.

I get my ass back there no matter how tired and unfocused I am. I take a deep breath and get focused and motivated. That always works for me.


What does your diet consist of? Any favorite cheat foods?

I always start the day with whole grain oatmeal and 1 scoop of whey protein. From time to time, I like to change what I put on it. I am a sucker for low fat, low-carb applesauce. It is perfect since it doesn’t contain any added sugar. Sometimes I’ll add cinnamon (it gets your metabolism working) and some frozen or fresh berries for the antioxidants.

I take my vitamins as well in the morning. Sometimes I add 1-2 whole grain bread slices with low fat cheese or egg whites. There are so many ways to cook and explore a healthy start to your day.

For lunch and dinner I have either white fish (lower fat) or lean meat such as: chicken, turkey, lean beef, tuna or something similar. I usually eat fish for lunch and meat for dinner, or the opposite. It is a good way to get both high protein and omega 3 fats in the day. For carbs, I either incorporate whole grain rice/pasta or steamed vegetables.

I like sauces and have a “juicy” meal just by adding a low fat quark and some spices (depends on the meal). This was you can get a complete meal that also tastes delicious.

Between meals I have snacks. I get them in every 2-3 hours, and if it is a workout day I always have a protein shake either as is, or I’ll mix it with some peanut butter, berries, yoghurt and water, pre and post workout. Some other snack meals are homemade omelets. I use egg whites mixed with tomato, fresh spinach, shrimps and garlic.

I try to cook something different everyday. Avocado and nuts combined with yoghurt or whole grain bread are also regular snack meals.

How do you fend off your cravings for junk food, salt, or other unhealthy foods?

I have a weak spot for baked goods. Before I entered the fitness world I baked something almost 3-4 times a week. So giving up that craving was, and still is hard.

On cheat days, I prefer to eat one or two pieces of baked goods instead of candy. Many baked goods have less sugar and calories compared to chocolate and candy, so it doesn’t feel so bad.

If the cravings start to take over, (usually when I don’t get enough sleep, or had a really crappy day) I’ll make that day my cheat day, and will eat healthy the rest of the week. Sometimes, a teaspoon of pure honey also works to fend off the cravings!

I never liked a lot of salt, so I never experienced a craving for it.


What supplements do you use? (If any.)

  • In the morning I take my B and C vitamins
  • Pre and post workout, I take whey protein with BCAA
  • Before bed, I take ZMA for ultimate recovery from a hard day of work!

Right now, I don’t take many supplements, but I may expand later on in my progress.


What are your current fitness goals?

I have been setting smaller goals to reach the big ones. For me, it is important to take it step by step, so I can enjoy the journey every single moment.

My big goals are to get a Bikini PRO Card, do some fitness modeling, and become a nutritionist and personal trainer. I want to go international and enter not only European, but also competitions in the USA.
Next year, I plan to compete in NIMFA’s Ireland bikini. The smaller goals are as important as the bigger ones.

What’s currently on your WorkOwt! Playlist?

Flo Rida- Whistle
Flo Rida- American Superstar
Flo Rida- Right Round
Fat Joe- Lean Back
Flo Rida- Rriceless
Tacabro- Tacata
Labrinth- Earthquake
Chamillionaire- Ridin
Far East Movement- Turn up the love
Nicki minaj- Startships
Sandro silva- Epic
Eminem- No Love
Eminem- ‘Til I collapse
David Guetta- Turn me on


What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of:

  • What I have already become after taking on this new lifestyle.
  • How I’ve developed my physique and guided my mind in the right direction.
  • How in less than a year, I went from sitting on my bum – doing nothing – to discovering this amazing way of life!
  • Entering my first competition (I never expected to do so in my first year of training.)
  • I am proud of being me and push myself toward something I truly love — training from the bottom of my heart. I will never stop!
  • I am a fighter and I will get where I want to be.


How have you benefited most from your fit and healthy lifestyle?

I appreciate things more today. I was born with a back condition called scoliosis that made my back hurt every now and then. Since I have started this healthy lifestyle, I haven’t felt any pain from it. When people ask me if this lifestyle really is good for me, I often bring up this fact along with the many other ways I’ve benefited. I feel stronger mentally and physically in every way. I can function on less sleep. (Before I needed 9 hours to even work; today 5-7 hours is enough for me to be able to work the whole day!)

My confidence has also been elevated. The old me couldn’t look in the mirror and like what she saw. I was insecure in every way. Now I see a strong beautiful woman who embraces and loves herself. All of my friend’s say they notice the differences in my way of being as a person, and it is all positive. I really can’t imagine not continuing this path for the rest of my life.


Who inspires you the most?

My coach, James! He is one of the people that worked hard to get where he is today. He is never satisfied and always seeks to improve. That is how I want to be. He has given me such great feedback and tells me how my progress is amazing and really makes me feel I can do this no matter how hard it is sometimes.

There’s also a fitness blogger named Angelica who is competing in body fitness. Her blog is such a joy to read and she inspires me in many ways. She writes of the hard times and good times with this lifestyle, so you feel that it is okay to not be at the top every day. Everyone has their downside.

I also credit my amazing roommate and friend Evelina, who inspired me in the beginning to choose a healthier lifestyle. Her cooking and regular gym workouts sparked my initial interest to begin this lifestyle. And, look where I am today!

There are so many people that give me inspiration, and I’d like to thank them all. I could go on and on.

What are some the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in achieving your fitness goals? What sacrifices have you made along the way?

A lot of my social life is pretty much gone. I don’t have the energy to go out every weekend and see all my friends as much as I’d like.

Still, the biggest sacrifice for me is probably the food, haha! I love food. I love fat, and I love sugar. Initially cutting that out was not that hard, but after a while it really got to me. I struggle not to cheat and stay clean. But, if you want something bad enough you should be willing to go after it no matter the cost!

I have my work, workouts, and sleep, and if people don’t respect that, I will cut them out of my life. I never begged anyone to understand or to do the same, but respect it!

Unfortunately, there are people in your life that can’t do that, and sometimes they’re the ones you love. Making the decision of not letting that get to me was hard in the beginning, but I have grown to accept it.

It doesn’t matter what you do in life there will always be people that will give you a hard time for going after your dreams. Being able to stand your ground and stay the course is something I learned to do.

I was the typical party girl and loved the clubs. I used to drink and smoke – nothing I miss today. I love my new lifestyle way too much to go back.


WorkOwt! Magazine is focused on helping our readers excel ‘Beyond Ordinary’. What’s the #1 piece of advice you’d give to someone wishing to push beyond their ordinary thresholds?

My number 1 advice is: Believe in yourself. Push yourself. Sweat. Cry (if you have to), but never stop! It is your mind that is in control of what your body is capable of doing. To be beyond ordinary requires a lot of work from you and your body. Be sure to always set new goals. Continuously add weight so your muscles have to work harder until you can’t move them. It will be hard, and yes, you will have down days — days when you want to give up — but, DONT! Make the impossible possible.

What are you doing when you’re not working out?

I have recently fallen in love with Thai boxing, so I can’t say for sure it’s not working out, haha! I try to squeeze it in on my workout days.

On my resting days, I usually try to see my friends as much as I can. Sometimes, we get together for coffee and have a cozy evening talking for hours. I love my mum and try to go home for a real home-cooked dinner whenever I can! I also love yoga.

Horseback riding is defiantly something I plan to re-introduce in my life. It is also a good way to bring your friends out and have a day full of fun! I am a really social person, so for me quality time with friends is like gold. I take every chance I get to spend time with them.


What’s your favorite motivational quote?

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”


Connect with Emma Rundberg: