Eating enough is vital for an athlete. Asta Vilenius learned this the hard way. Now she’s stronger than ever and aiming high in competitive crossfit.
"I’m not able to exercise just for fun and without specific goals. I did aerobic gymnastics for 11 years and after having a child I competed in a couple of bikini fitness competitions, though that definitely wasn’t my thing.
In 2013, I discovered crossfit and realised quickly that I may be pretty good at it. A year later I took part in my first crossfit competition.
Crossfit is a demanding sport for your body. You need to be strong but also agile for all the bodyweight and gymnastics movements. After I started to train seriously, a person in my life told me that I’m too big to be good in the sport. In other words, that I needed to be skinnier. He advised me to avoid carbohydrates, skip breakfast and weigh myself every day.
In the beginning, everything went well. I started to lose weight and reached the target weight we had set. I was able to keep on going like this for half a year, then my body started to act up.
Exhaustion can be difficult to spot at first. It creeps in gradually and you get used to it. First, I started to notice changes in my mood. Everything felt like shit. Normally I was happy about going to the gym but suddenly lost all interest. Or I would burst in tears while driving home.
Then it started to feel like I wasn’t able to do a single pull-up. I know that some people can’t sleep when they are exhausted, but I could have just slept all day long. I also started getting weird heart symptoms. Then I had a proper breakdown and finally went to the doctor. I withdrew from all the competitions I had signed up for and did nothing for several months.
I’ve always had a complex relationship with food, and having someone monitor my eating and weight like that made it worse. Now when I think back to that time, I realise I should have told the person that this is all wrong.
Gradually, I started to work out a little. While I was on holiday in Bali, I told the whole story to Veera Koskelainen who is now my coach. With her help, I started to carefully rebuild the base.
In the beginning, it felt like I was starting the sport all over again. I only did easy workouts and took plenty of rest days. In the end, it took a whole year just to put it all together. Now I’m fitter than ever and have set my goals high. I cannot wait to see how far I can go.
Normally I train several times per day. I work as a physical therapist and a coach and I’m able to train wherever I am working at the time. The swimming and running parts of my workout regimen I usually do while I’m taking my kid to her hobbies.
I’ve also gotten a nutrition coach who makes sure I eat enough and in the right way. In crossfit, the challenge is to get enough energy. Many people in this sport are still afraid of carbs and think they make you fat. Speaking from experience, I can say that carbs are the fuel you need in this sport."
You can follow Asta's adventures on Instagram @astavilenius
Meet the Noshter
Name: Asta Vilenius
My kind of adventure: In the gym, every workout is an adventure in itself! Outside I enjoy running in nature while listening to music.
Dream: A spot in a bigger competition abroad 🤩
Motto: "You get what you work for, not what you wish for."
Favourite Nosht product: Energy Chews, especially the gingerbread one, and Endurance Drink Mix ❤️