Our next NORDIC profile, Rob Harris, was born in Bristol in the UK. Twelve years ago, he was struck by love and for that reason he decided to move to Sweden where he now lives with his girlfriend Ann-Sofie and their children in Vallentuna, in Stockholm.
Let’s welcome Mr. Rob Harris.
Occupation: Salesperson at Träningsspecialisten.
Height: 1,75cm / 5.9 ft
Weight on/off season: 86 kg 189 lbs /100 kg / 220 lbs
RM: Rob, do you remember the first time you trained in a gym? What was it like for you?
RH: I remember it very well. I loved it from the minute I walked in and have never looked back! I knew what I wanted to do with my body as I had been reading Flex Magazine and Muscle Mag for months and training at home with a couple of small dumbells. I had been inspired by both Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and all of the comic book characters back then. I knew I wanted to be as big and muscular as possible.
RM: If you could change anything in the bodybuilding culture, what would that be?
RH: It would have to be the idea of bodybuilding being a ‘closed community’ or an oddity that is not accepted by society in general. We all need to do our best to be approachable athletes that inspire people to workout and think about their eating habits etc. It’s up to us to make ourselves approachable and to be as kind and helpful as possible at all times so that people don’t feel intimidated by us.
RM: If you knew what you know today – which advice would give to the gym newbie Rob?
RH: Use proper form and use a weight that is appropriate for you. Don’t worry about what others think and always listen to your own body. You need to train heavy to progress, but you need to be able to perform the exercise correctly.
RM: Which competition is the most memorable in your career and why?
RH: It would have to be Body Classic in Solna in May. It was a combination of 3 things that made this competition so memorable – I was in the best shape I have ever been in, the crowd support for me was just incredible and it was the last show of the spring season and I was very, very tired and extremely hungry at that point and was looking forward to eating.
RM: If we go back twenty years, looking on the culture and sport of bodybuilding and compare it with what it has become today – how has it changed in your opinion?
RH: I think that bodybuilding has drifted away from what it was moving towards in the 90’s which was bodybuilding being seen more as a legitimate sport and bodybuilders as athletes. Take the Mr. Olympia press conferences from back then for example. All of the athletes wore suits and were seen as athletes. I think that bodybuilding has moved away from this recently and that’s a shame.
RM: What does bodybuilding mean to you – mentally and physically?
RH: It means everything to me. I have loved the sport since I was 15 years old and unlike a lot of other sports it requires that you live the lifestyle 24 hours a day, year round. Bodybuilding is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one, especially during a competition diet. You need the mental discipline to make yourself go to the gym when you are tired and would rather stay home. The same discipline is required when you have been constantly hungry for 3 months and want to eat some bread or have a hamburger.
RM: What are your next goals in your bodybuilding career?
RH: To compete at the Swedish Nationals next year (2015) and present a package I can be proud of. Obviously I want to win the show but the most important thing for me is to be the best that I can be, everything else is out of my control.
RM: In the final words, is there anything you want to add or someone you would like to thank please feel free to do so:
RH: I would like to thank my family for all the support they have given me during my contest prep. Especially my partner Ann-Sofie and my fantastic children that have to put up with a grouchy dad for a few months each year. I would also like to thank Gumse Gym, Mikael Gumse and all the members at Gumse Gym that have supported me each time I have competed. There are so many people I want to thank but Lennart Brandt, Danni Brevik, Per Jonsson and Alex Danielsson are all fantastic people that have helped me in different ways. Thank you all!
Rob thanks for the great and interesting answers. It will be exciting to follow your steps to your next goal at the Swedish Nationals in 2015. Best of luck in THE career ahead of you.
To contact Rob, visit: instagram.com/mumpleaser