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Interview with Elin Lilja

She has finished ÖTILLÖ, Ironman Kalmar, and made her way in Kona. But maybe it is now that she will be facing her life's biggest challenge - to give birth to her first child. Meet Elin Lilja, one of those who exercised throughout the pregnancy.

From Kona two years ago to go over time as pregnant. Much has happened to Elin Liljas body over the last two years. When we meet her, she has passed the estimated date of birth by eight days but managed to complete another swimming session - the last training before the baby is going to come out. Throughout her pregnancy, she has been training with ability and conditions as best as possible.

– I have not felt any restrictions at all. Being pregnant does not have to matter much. In training, everything can be customized. Many say I'm just lucky, but that's not enough. I have a strong body and have trained every day. There have been no strings actually. Everyone has different conditions, but I think it's fun - it's just a bit of a problem being more slow than usual.

It is not a disease to be pregnant. And a happy mother makes a happy baby

When some take pregnancy as an excuse relax in front of the TV, Elin believes that both the mother and the baby are better off with physical activity. She puts on her training tights and gets out. She has been told that she should also calm down during pregnancy.

– But I'm thinking the opposite. That's what I need in order to keep going and for my body to be able to carry such a big belly. It's more important than ever to cope with a pregnancy. When the argument in addition is that "now you have another life to take care of" I just say that it is therefore it is so important to work out. I do not appreciate how others take care of their bodies during pregnancy. However, I do not think anyone should point fingers at me and I do not do it at others.

It is not a disease to be pregnant. And a happy mother makes a happy baby

Since Elin became pregnant at the end of December, she has trained, eaten and exercised as usual. In week 27, with a clear pregnant belly, she undertook a cross-country race of 7.5 kilometers.

– I thought I was running a bit crazy with my arms, but still came in fifth place by 30 participant, she says.

Although after the race, Elin began to prioritize gym and swimming instead of running, the body has not protested against her choice of activities.

– A midwife said that I could practice as usual but might not ride a horse. That does not depend on jumping around but being able to fall off, and it is not good for the fetus. It is not a disease to be pregnant. Is a phrase that I am following.


Elin raises swimming as a gentle exercise for the body, not least for that is a so-called non-weight-bearing exercise that does not cause any major strain on the body.

– In order for me to be satisfied, I have to swim 1,500 meters, but I adjust that to my daily form. This summer it became 3,000 meters, a week ago 2,000 meters.

Have you had to adapt the swim in any way?

– Now at the end I have started using paddles, but I'm not just lying there and scratching - I swim past the breast swimmers. My husband (Jonas Colting) thinks it looks very good still, although it feels a little worse to swim now. Then I do not get into rolls during my turns, but I have never done it so it's unnecessary to start trying now, also a bikini works excellent as a training item for pregnant women.

Elin's grounded attitude is that she adjusts the training if something hurts.

– Had I been feeling weak when I swam because my stomach had fallen I had used a dolme instead of stopping altogether. You should not be afraid to feel. If you quit then that's probably the reason you do not want to work out. Instead, Elin tells, she has always put in reserve plans. If she can not go she may run in the water or perform spinning instead.

– If you want it you can do it - it's that simple.

20 kg. That is how much weight Elin has gained during her pregnancy. But the additional kilos is not something she spends energy on or worries about.

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– I do not want to think about how I eat, it's totally irrelevant to me. It could be ten kilos or 30 kilos; That will disappear by itself after a while. It is difficult not to like your body when you see the big challenges it can manage. It has done something fantastic! The body has been on my side all the time and I fit in my exercise clothes, everything besides the wetsuit.

Elin can not understand why so many focus so much on what they eat and call it "waste of time". There is so much else to worry about and who has time to care about such things?

– Just love yourself and quit thinking now! Sometimes Elin has answered questions from people who wonder how she "is so well trained" and how she has been affected of gaining 20 kilos.

– Should I have anxiety about gaining weight because I'm pregnant? Should I hold on and stress and gain weight and start to lose weight instead? I really have no problems with a body that has changed. I do not feel fat, though maybe I should. But that's probably enough in my case. My body is damn awesome. I can go, I can swim - I love my body! Then maybe it's cellulite here and there, I do not care. I can do whatever I want.

How do you think about exercise after pregnancy?

– I think it can go like hell! I like to create horror stories so I am rather prepared for the worst. I would like to go out and go at a slow pace. And the carriage is stable then i have something to hold in. Then maybe i can walk 500m four times a day, not just go out and drive on.

Competitions then?

– Next year, the goal is to make OTILLÖ but I do not want to stress it, I don't have sport as a profession. I don't need anything but I want a lot. ÖTILLÖ will be one year after childbirth - it is still reasonable. Though I prefer to set an easy goal instead of a tough goal and surprise myself. It will be more fun, and you will always be satisfied.

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