Gemma Magnusson is Britain’s greatest strongwoman and one of the best in the world. I was so tempted to title this article “Don’t mess with Mrs Magnusson” but I dont think this would portray Gemma as she really is. She is strong physically, but..
also mentally and spiritually. Whilst her personal success is important for her, she cares more about developing strongwomen and the well-being of women generally.
Finally as you will soon see, she is very funny 🙂 Over to Gemma…
Where were you born and what was your childhood like?
Gemma Magnusson: I was born 26th July 1983 (LEO!) in Stockton-on-Tees, but I grew up in Bagby a little village outside of Thirsk in North Yorkshire. My childhood was alot of fun but definitely NOT sporty!!
I grew up watching my father play Rugby, well actually I grew up looking at photograph of my father playing Rugby and watching him referee hehe! But I loved watching the game with my sister, it was a lot of fun. Deep Heat was a very familiar smell growing up, so the Strongwoman Athlete tent always takes me back to my childhood!l ! 😀
I do remember convincing the boys sports master at my school to start a female rugby class. I took a few classes and thought it was a lot of fun.
I also played in the goal in hockey, and still hold the school record for “Most letters written for why Gemma cannot participate in the Cross Country Running Class”
How did you get involved in strength sports and more specifically Strongwoman?
Gemma Magnusson: I used to organise local charity events and decided to invite local superstar strong man Rob Dixon to one of my events to do some lady lifting.
He came and it was my first contact to the Strongman World – which I had been a fan of since being born. I organised the same event the next year and invited Rob again, Darren Saddler and Eddy Ellwoods to do some showlifting.
It was through this that I got to know Eddy and started training with him at his gym in Hartlepool. I had always loved watching Strongman on TV and when I saw World’s Strongest Woman I knew that this was my calling! 😀
Just to give me and the readers an understanding of how strong you are? What are your best lifts for Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press?
- Deadlift 270kg,
- Squat – never gone for max but I remember doing reps with 180kg when I first moved to Iceland
I find Bench Press really really really really really really REALLY boring so I tend not to train it. lol!
I have pressed 120kg overhead though, that is much more fun!! 🙂
I know its rude to ask ,but can I ask how much you weigh when competing in Strongwoman and what is your height?
Gemma Magnusson: I am 5’11” on a really good day, and its not rude to ask at all because I will tell you how much I am GOING to weigh when I have lost ALL MY BABY WEIGHT and that will be 110kg. 🙂
What Strongwoman titles have you won to date? And which one are you proudest of?
Gemma Magnusson: Most significant titles are probably, 4 x Britain’s Strongest Woman, European Cup Champ and 2 x World’s Strongest Woman Runner Up.
I am most proud of the recent competition in Ukraine the World’s Strongest Lady 2011. I came second to the lovely Nina Geria, 8 weeks after I gave birth to my second son. It was great to compete again (Olena Kiba always puts on awesome competitions) and soooooooooooooo much fun!!! Plus it gave me the boost that I needed to get enthusiastic about training again. It worked!!
What’s it like living in Iceland? And what are the big differences in lifestyle to living in the uk?
Gemma Magnusson: I ABSOLUTELY LOVE living in Iceland. It is the most stunning place to be in the world and I could write forever about how awesome this country is! The amazing landscapes, the natural wonders, the awesomeness of my husband and children…
I would say the BIGGEST difference in lifestyle is that you have access to magical WATER! Now, this may seem a little strange but think about it! If water is life, and the water in Iceland is AWESOME, then my life is AWESOME!
Who’s the boss of the house, you or Benedikt?
Gemma Magnusson: Benedikt of course! He is a viking.
Do you think that strongwoman competitions are taken seriously by the public, or do you think it is perceived as weird?
Gemma Magnusson: I think if the people doing the strongwoman competitions are happy, healthy and having fun it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.
It is down to the strongwoman herself as to how she is “perceived”.
What do you love the most about competing in strength sports like Powerlifting and Strongwoman?
Gemma Magnusson: Strength to me isn’t just a sport, it is an outlook on life and it is global.
Everyone needs strength and not just in their body, but also in their mind and spirit. I believe that if you are focusing on building physical strength, you should build each area equally and evolve mentally and spiritually as well. (and vice versa).
I love feeling strong and functional! I love that I have found something that gives me a goal to focus on and is also a whole load of fun to train. It is also a process of constant evolution, always getting better, discovering things about my body, how it works and how to get the best out it.
The thing I love most right now, is sharing what I have found with other women and introducing them to the feeling of strength and seeing them LOVE IT and their lives totally changing for the better in all areas! That is awesome!
Have you competed in any strongwoman comps in the USA, and have you any plans to?
Gemma Magnusson: I haven’t competed there but I am hoping to do Jill Mill’s competition in July 2012.
What are your plans for 2012?
Gemma Magnusson: I tend not to make plans anymore, but my goals for this year are to be in great shape, and to get as many women hooked on strongwoman training as possible!
Jill Mills and I have just launched this site: www.strongestwomanonline.com that has free membership. It is a resource of training videos and tips etc… for any women wanting to start training for strongwoman and of course providing information about competitions etc…
Jill and I have ALSO launched a clothing line: www.cafepress.com/strongestwomanonline . This is something that we are very excited about. We have both always wanted to have our own clothing range for women who want to express their strength through what they wear!
What’s the best thing about being married to another strength athlete (Bennedikt Magnusson? And the worst?
Gemma Magnusson: I think because we are both strong being married to another strength athlete makes our life normal, maybe it would be different if I was a marathon runner?
The only downside is that I can’t get away with asking him to do all the every day general heavy lifting as he knows that I can do it myself!
If you could invite 5 people to dinner, from the world of strength sports, who would they be and why, and what would you cook them?
- (1) My husband Benedikt Magnusson (Champion Powerlifter) of course! I never let him go hungry, plus he is the most fun person I have ever met and I LOVE cooking for him.
- (2) Jill Mills, (Former Worlds Strongest Woman) she is such a very cool person and we have loads of stuff to talk about lol!
- (3) Douglas Edmunds. (Co-founder of the Worlds Strongest Man) I like him so much. He has a very interesting character and is honest and I LOVE THAT! I have had him to dinner before with Magnus Ver Magnusson and cooking for him was awesome as he really liked my food.
- (4) Wayne Hill. (He runs the athletics and highland games in New Hampshire.) He is a very clever man and has helped me very much recently and I always think saying thank you must involve food!
- (5) Jan Todd. (Former Worlds Strongest Woman) She is someone whom I look up to, a phenomenal role model for women. (and of course she must bring Terry with her so that would actually make 6, but it is ok because I have a really big table!)
Now, I have thought long and hard about the food I would cook for them, and of course there would be many things taken OUT OF MY NEW BENEDIKT MAGNUSSON RECIPE BOOK THAT IS AVAILABLE at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/gemmamagnusson and soon on Amazon.
Here is the menu:
EVERYTHING would be cooked from scratch as that is the only way to do it properly!
- Amuse-bouche: A selection of Posh Potato Skins with different toppings but would include lots of different cheeses, bacon and chives.
- Starter: Icelandic Meat Soup with homemade spelt bread fresh from the oven.
- Fish Course: Monk Fish in a white wine sauce served with Sweet Potato Fries and a selection of home grown vegetables. (I would in this case have to start growing my own vegetables but it sounds awesome!)
- Main Course: Rib-eye Steak with spicy wedged potatoes and bernaise sauce
- Dessert: A triple chocolate platter: Chocolate Brownie with Homemade ice-cream, White Chocolate Oreo Cookie Cheesecake and a Hot Chocolate Fondant with tumbled fruit and whipped cream.
- Cheese Board
- Coffee and Petite Fours
Everyone would also go home with a party bag that would contain my famous homemade organic chocolates, a small bottle of yorkshire punch (alcohol free) and a detox kit as the above contains about a weeks worth of calories! 🙂