to getting on stage and earning titles such as the first place and overall winner of the Novice Figure division at the 2018 IFBB Iron Rebel World Show in Copenhagen, Denmark, Only Approved athlete Rikke Bloch Jørgensen had been working out for five years.
At first, she was was simply aiming to lose some weight rather than being an aspiring competitive athlete. Before she even went on to work out, she was an active dancer and dressage rider for years, so competitive sporting events always seemed to be in the cards for Rikke.
Rikke is 21 years old. Her roots are in Skærbæk, a small town in the southern part of Jutland, Denmark, and also the place where she currently resides, but she's also dwelled in some of the bigger cities such as Odense (third largest one in the country) and Copenhagen (capital of Denmark).
Rikke trains at her local gym Bomstærk; a no BS and to-the-point gym where strength training is the focal point. We sat down and had a talk with her about training, nutrition, supplements etc.
How did you get into working out and how long have you been doing it for?
"I've been working out for a total of five years. It all started with me wanting to lose some weight after I had finished boarding school.
I was pretty much just sick and tired of everyone always going out getting drunk on the weekends and not doing anything else, so I wanted to find something else to spend my time on, and that's when I started working out. As with a lot of other people, I took my first step by simply doing some cardiovascular exercise. After a while of doing that, I began lifting weights and fell for it pretty quickly.
It didn't take long before I was all bit by the iron bug and started studying away in regard to training, nutrition, supplementation etc.
Long story short: someone at the gym I was in at the time told me I had potential as a competitive athlete, which lead me to contacting my first coach. Fast forward one year later and I was one stage for the fist time, and the rest is history."
"Like I said, the goal wasn't exactly to get on stage and compete right away. Back before I had even touched a weight for the first time, I used to be very active as a dancer and a dressage rider, which I absolutely loved by the way. Even though dancing can be viewed as a means of being able to express yourself, and sort of a 'free space' to let loose and just let your mind and body have fun, it can indeed be competitive as well, and so can the riding. I think the competitive aspect was always in the cards for me, but to be honest, I just like to better myself, really.
Of course, whenever you compete in a sport, a pageant or whatever, you're obviously going to be in it to win it, but at the end of the day, it's all about bettering yourself and having fun with what you do. Enjoying the process is something that I think a lot of people fall short of. If we can't enjoy the ride, what's it even worth anyway?"
What's your fondest memory from competing, training etc.?
"That's an easy one: the best memory that I have from competing so far was when I competed at the Iron Rebel World Show in Copenhagen back in November of 2018 where I won my first overall title in the Novice Figure division and a total of 3 gold medals.
No doubt! That was a very memorable weekend and I was on cloud nine the whole time."
"In terms of training.. It's hard to say.
I mean, there's just been so many. Working out is just something I love. Period. The amount of good workouts I've had and the times where I felt like I really pushed myself hard, getting myself to deep waters where I've never been before. It sounds so cliché but it's really about making every single time count and not just counting them.
I've met so many amazing, motivational and inspirational people during my time in the industry, and I'm truly grateful for that."
Which muscle group is your favourite one to train and why?
"That would probably be shoulders.
I like to train every muscle group but the deltoid muscles are just exceptionally enjoyable for me personally. The way they look when they're full of blood and all pumped up .. it just looks super cool. Wide shoulders as part of the X-frame has always been a major goal for me.
I think that's one of the first things your eyes are drawn to when looking at a competitor on stage: a set of round, capped and wide shoulders.
It creates that wow-factor that separates you from the rest of the line-up in a physique competition."
Which muscle group is your least favourite one to train and why?
"My least favourite muscle group to train .. I don't think I have one, really!
Honestly, I like to train every muscle group. It's always the stuff that you don't want or like to do that's going to make you better - both in- and outside of the gym. Again; super cliché but it's just the truth. I always give it 110% in all of my workouts."
"It's really easy to hate training your weak points and just be like:
it's always been lacking and still is so why even bother? Likewise, it's too easy to enjoy training the stronger points in your physique because it looks good in the mirror and all.
The aspects of my physique that are strong points for me are obviously also muscle groups that I do enjoy training, but knowing that I gave it absolutely everything and left nothing in the tank when I leave the gym after a weak point-focused training session is just as enjoyable to me.
I like to know that I did everything in my power to become better for the future."
What's your current training program looking like, and can you name a few of your favourite exercises/techniques?
"My coach writes all my training programs, and they're all custom for me and my focus points of course."
"It's nothing overly complicated, really. I train 6 days a week and take one day off to rest, which is mostly something I decide as the week goes on and I get a feel for how I'm doing recovery-wise. This is usually something I do in the middle of the week or in the weekend. If I'm really sore, I'll take a day off to rest and recover fully. I believe you should always be as rested up and possible when you're training hard in the gym."
"As far as my favourite exercises go,
I like Rear Delt Flys and Lateral Raises - both because shoulders are my favourite muscle group to train and because they just feel awesome to do - but a little bigger exercises like Hip Thrusts and Bent Over Rows are also at the top of my list for sure.
Leg Extensions always feel nice to do too."
"For techniques, I like drop sets and super sets. The intensity you can get out of it is the best. At some point, you're going to almost not even move the weight at all, but still maintain perfect mind to muscle connection - plus the pump is pretty sweet too of course. Like I said earlier as well, as long as it's something that takes me to deep waters and really challenges me both physically and mentally,
I'm down for it. I just like the challenge of this stuff, really."
What kind of music do you like to listen to while working out?
"It's very different from workout to workout. I actually don't think about it too much. YouTube has a lot of good bodybuilding motivational type videos where there's always someone speaking words of wisdom and motivation with some sort of epic music in the background.
Those I really like even though it may seem kind of random or corny."
"I just need a great beat and I'll be killing it right away."
How do you like to cook your food or make it tasty, and do you have any favourite foods?
"I'm actually really simple when it comes to food. Some would probably say too simple. My favourite foods are rice and beef. Plain and simple. Really. It doesn't have to be any more fancy than that."
"I mean, I can get a little more fancy than that. Just not always. Sometimes I'm just too hungry to spend the time doing it. Take my breakfast for example: it's a pancake and some oats. It might not sound too exciting but believe me, it's delicious."
"The pancake is made using my favourite caramel flavoured protein powder by Scitec Nutrition, egg whites and a little sweetener. The oats are topped off with some fruit like an apple or a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter. I actually like to throw a scoop of CortiSolve Cortisol Optimizing Agent by MPA Supplements on top of the oats as well because they give it a nice bit of flavour, plus it's an easy way to take in a really good product."
"Oh, and don't forget cinnamon.
Lots and lots of cinnamon ..
on everything! Yes, I can eat cinnamon on virtually anything. Trust me.
It's delicious - and good for the insulin sensitivity too!"
Speaking of food: if we're not talking diet food, what do you like to eat?
"Too easy. One word for you ..
If we're just talking straight up comfort food as in my favourite food for a cheat meal or so, it's got to be sushi. Most definitely. I'll go ham on an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet in the blink of an eye!"
What's your worst habit?
"My worst habit.. That's a tough one."
"I think I can be too much of a control freak sometimes. Bare with me here because it's hard to describe and don't want to send the wrong message but I'll try:
If I get an assignment that I have to do with someone else, maybe even a whole group of people, I have a tendency to try and do everything myself - not because I don't trust my peers or question their competence at all, but like you said; it's just a bad habit and I'm aware of it."
"It's the same thing with training, nutrition, supplementation and so on. I have a hard time simply just trusting what I hear or read about things. There's always this little sort of critic in me that says: let's not jump to conclusion too quickly."
"I really value being able to study a given subject or opinion hard before I proceed to actually believe in or even apply it to myself."
If you could go back and start your fitness journey over, would you do anything differently and if yes, what would you do?
"Now that we've established that I'm not afraid of sounding cliché, let me just say that if I was presented with the opportunity to actually start all over again, I wouldn't take it.
By no means. I regret absolutely nothing. The person I am and the things I know today all come from past experiences; failures and victories alike, and I wouldn't want to change any of it for the world."
"Like I stated earlier on, I'm just so incredibly grateful for all the things I've learned and all the lovely people I've met during this journey of mine, and it ain't even over yet! In fact, I'm only just getting started and I simply can't wait to meet even more amazing people and learn more useful things about myself, training, dieting, supplementation etc."
Finish this sentence: before this year ends, I ...
"Before this year ends, I promise you that I will have made a bunch of major improvements in myself; both physically and mentally alike."
"By the end of 2019, you'll see a far better version of Rikke with a better mindset and much improved physique too of course."
"This year has only just started and like I said, so has my fitness journey."
"I think it's very important to have goals for yourself; long and short term ones alike. 2019 is going to be one exciting year for me and I want to thank everyone who's helped me get to where I am today."
Can you name some of your favourite supplements?
"Limitless by Muscle Rage is by far the best pre-workout I've ever tried. Unparalleled focus, energy and strength. I try not to go too crazy with it because it's really strong, but if I have days where I'm low on energy, it's my saving grace for sure. I can't tell you how many workouts it's saved for me when I was all burnt out from dieting as part of my contest preparation."
"Some other ones that I really like is ZMB6 by Scitec Nutrition and the CortiSolve by MPA Supplements which I also mentioned earlier. Using these two together makes for an amazing rest and recovery stack."
"I personally take the ZMB6, which is a zinc and magnesium product, before going to bed at night as it helps my muscles relax and allow me to get a more deep and restful night's sleep. The CortiSolve I'll take by putting it on my oats in the morning, like I mentioned earlier, or I'll just take a scoop in my mouth and down it with a little water. It's an amazing product and it's definitely helped me a whole lot during stressful times of dieting and contest preparation, and it just helps you feel less stressed out by the various stuff you encounter during your everyday life, like busy days at work, school etc."