Hey, welcome to our twelfth Meet the Expert blog.
In this blog, we interview expert coaches and athletes, delving into what makes them tick, what drives them to keep going, and what they believe to be the pitfalls and keys to success.
Bjorn has answered questions as both a coach and athlete.
Let’s get to it!
Question 1: What is your name, age and where are you from?
My name is Björn Nilsson and I´m from Sweden and live in a small village called Målilla.
Question 2.0: What is your occupation? Is it what you are known for or completely separate? What jobs have you done in the past?
My occupation is as an administrative bus driver that means that I drive the bus one week, and the other week I do administrative work.
Question 2.1: What is your sport and at what level do you compete?
Olympic weightlifting. I compete at a national and international level as a master weightlifter.
Question 3.0: What is your primary area of expertise and why are you passionate about it?
My expertise is Olympic and Powerlifting, And my passion is the complexity of the lifts like the physics and biomechanics. Next thing is the planning of training routines and trying to hit the peak at the right time. And I love to coach in strength training.
Question 3.1: How did you get started in the sport? Why did you choose that sport? Did you, or do you compete in other sports?
I started with weightlifting after a bet in 1999, and I just fell in love with the atmosphere and the simplicity = no equipment and complexity of the lifts. Before that, I did compete in Powerlifting since 1987, and I did boxing from the age of ten until I was seventeen. I started my career as a race car driver this April.
Question 4.0: How did you get started doing what you do?
I started with bodybuilding when I was seventeen (1983). After retiring from boxing, a friend talked me into do bodybuilding due to my physique, 165 cm and 63 kilos with no direct weight training before that. I never competed but slipped over to Powerlifting, did my first competition in 1987, and started to coach Powerlifting in 1988, in 1999 I did my first weightlifting competition after a bet that Powerlifters couldn’t do a proper sit snatch, I won the bet with a snatch at 50 kilos. I have been coaching in Olympic weightlifting and strength training since 2003.
Question 4.1: Are you a full-time athlete or do you do other work / run your own business? What drives you to keep training every day?
I am a total amateur. I work full time and sports are my hobby.
Question 5: What are your weaknesses? What hurdles did you face and how did you overcome these barriers?
Coach: My weakness as a coach is that I sometimes don’t believe in my capability to plan and that leads to that I don’t stick to it, but I am working on that and trying to have faith in my planning.
Athlete: My weakness is a bad back had to operate a herniated disc in 2011, and it´s not completely good yet. To overcome that, I just had to do rehab and commit to my comeback. I have a problem with heavy squats after that, but I will work through that in time but I might have to do more front squats.
Question 6.0: What are your biggest strengths, both as a coach and an individual? What do you believe to be the primary reasons for your success? What do you consider to be your biggest success so far?
My biggest strength as a coach is that I love to take on hard learners. They are the bigger challenge and make you think outside the box and my experience and my own failures as an athlete. As an individual, it´s an optimistic approach to challenges and an urge to learn new ways and things. And that I don’t give up. My biggest success as a coach was when I got an autistic boy to get on the platform and compete for the first time. To see how he had developed as a person was wonderful.
Question 6.1: What are your biggest strengths, both as an athlete and an individual? What do you consider to be your biggest success so far?
My biggest strength is the attitude there is no surrender, and my biggest success is that after my operation, I made it to the European master’s championship in 2015 and world masters weightlifting championships in 2016.
Question 7.1: Where do you think a lot of people go wrong and what general pieces of advice would you give to those looking to excel in areas similar to yours?
One reason why a lot of people fail with their training or coaching is that they are rushing things to get results. My advice is to let it take time and plan in the long term. It´s not a 100-meter race that goes for both athletes and coaches. And try to understand that we are individuals. What work´s for me might not be working for someone else.
Question 7.1: Where do you think a lot of athletes go wrong and what general pieces of advice would you give to those looking to excel in sport?
I think many athletes don’t take their rest seriously and workout too much, and don’t have patience. My advice is to listen to your body and try to enjoy a good rest – plan for a long career, and you will get success.
Question 8: Are there any rules or quotes that you live by?
The only rule I live by is to have fun and enjoy what you are doing. Quote by me
We are all perfect, but no one is fault-free.
Question 9: What are your plans for the near future? What goals do you currently have?
Coach: Starting a small business as a PT with a small gym, focus on clients in their 40´s or older that try to come back in shape or just started to workout. That doesn’t mean that I won’t take on younger people.
Athlete: My goals are to get my back work again and then aim for the world masters game in 2025.
Question 10: Where do you see yourself in 5 Years? What is your ultimate goal?
Coach: In 5 years, I have a small gym with enough members to make me able to go down to 50% on my everyday work. I will be working with group training and individuals as PT. And I also got a weightlifting club that has entire teams in all age categories.
Athlete: Making plans for the world masters game in 2030 and putting in the European and world masters championships on the way, and winning the Swedish masters championship. The ultimate goal is to compete until I turn 90.
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR
Prior to writing this MTE Blog, I was chatting to Bjorn after I released my weekly newsletter, “A Few Thoughts, One Question”.
The question asked, “if you could go back in time, what sports would you take up?”
Bjorn responded that he would have taken up Olympic Weightlifting earlier in his teens and that he would have taken up gymnastics and car racing.
I thought this was a really interesting mix and found out that Bjorn has achieved great success in Olympic Weightlifting and recently took up car racing. Therefore, I thought we had to do an MTE Blog on this guy!
I really enjoyed reading Bjorn’s answers, and love how his goals are to start coaching more and take on more clients. I am looking forward to following and hearing about his progress.
Great read Bjorn, Thanks!
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