A Story of Motivation
& Drive

With Vanessa Andersson

Vanessa Andersson´s story has a fantastic foundation of self-driven motivation, where her healthy and balanced lifestyle discipline is an inspiration to follow closely.

Vanessa´s current lifestyle started with gymnastics, and at the age of 12, she began with Track and Field.

I started professional training on Track and Field. I stopped training at 17 due to family issues, and I got back to routine again when I was 20 years old. 

From a young age, I always choose healthy alternatives. My brother is still making fun of me. When we were kids and got the chance to order fast food, I did not want to because it was unhealthy. 

Vanessa admits that she has also experienced a ’dark period’ with an unhealthy lifestyle. 

I smoked, ate a lot of unhealthy food and drunk alcohol. That was when I started working at nightclubs while I was studying for my Bachelors.

It is crazy how an environment like that can influence your lifestyle.

Still, I did not feel that I belonged there, and I wanted to become a better me.

Until the age of 23, I was training at the gym, and on my halfway through to my 24, I got into CrossFit. I was still leaving in Greece at that time, and I just got in love with it! I loved the team I was working out with, the coach, the training, everything! When I moved to Sweden, I cried so much when I said goodbye to all of them. I will never forget that feeling! 

Vanessa´s life in Greece was quite challenging, and driven to find a brighter future; She decided to change her situation. 

Being half Swedish, I thought that moving to Stockholm was a great opportunity. I do not regret any single moment of this decision as my life has changed in such a positive way, and I am so grateful. Sweden welcomed me and gave me the opportunity to get to know me better, grow and become the better me.

When I moved back to Stockholm, I continued with CrossFit and high-intensity exercises. I also got the time to do my nutrition research and follow a healthier lifestyle. Following a more nutritious diet makes you feel so much better!

At the age of 26, I realised the vast impact meat production has on the environment, and I choose to become a vegetarian. I train every day, and I can admit that following a vegetarian lifestyle has not impacted my performance or strength as I pursue a nutrition schedule filled with everything my body needs. 

After many years of dedicated training and at the age of 28, Vanessa felt the need to focus on something more challenging and fun, Triathlon.

At that time, I did not know how to crawl (swim), and I did not have a triathlon bike. That did not stop me, though!. After some swimming courses, I learned how to swim, and when the weather went warm, I got a triathlon bike! 

In 2019 Vanessa did her first Olympic distance Triathlon race, and at the beginning of 2020, her first Ironman 70.3.  

What is your motivation and mental preparation behind this challenge? 

I have been racing since I was a kid and stopped until I got into triathlon again. The Ironman races came into my life since I met Cristian, my beloved partner.

He did an Ironman 70.3 when I first met him, and since we were both into triathlon, we said to do my first Ironman 70.3 race together.

We run other races together as half, a full marathon, Olympic distance triathlon, and planning to the full Ironman in Kalmar. We planned to do the full Ironman last year, but covid changed our plans!!

The mental, as well as physical preparation, is vast. You must dedicate a lot of your time to manage to race these competitions.
If you do not like it, you simply cannot do it! 

Vanessa has a very positive approach to training what is required for this competition as she is doing something she loves together with her partner.

I am thankful that I have Cristian in my life and share our passion.

It is nice to train and race together with your partner. I have no words to describe the feeling when you step on the finish line! It is literally such a strong feeling! Sharing that moment with your beloved one is just beautiful!

What would be your recipe to find both the fantastic motivation and drive you have, in three simple steps?

That is a good question. If I think about it now, I did reach all the goals I had in my life so far, both personally and professionally. It has not been easy, but the result afterwards is so rewarding! I do not know if I can define three steps to do it.

I would say that the most important thing is to love yourself. If you love yourself, then you know what you want, you treat yourself right, and you follow the path you choose to have in your life. There will be obstacles and uphills on that path, but you should not give up no matter what. Just move forward! I have done this so far, and this is what I would advise everyone out there!

  1. Love yourselves
  2. Follow your dreams
  3. Don’t give up!

What would be your recommendation to start a healthier life with the right training and diet?

Getting into a healthy lifestyle does not mean that you must train seven days per week and eat salads. A healthy lifestyle means that you do activities that you like! That could be yoga, tennis, triathlon, CrossFit, climbing or even power walk! If you can keep yourself active 3-4 days per week is great!

Eating healthy for me is essential. I know that a lot of people do not agree with me, and I respect that. The way I see it is that when eating unhealthy food, you simply do not treat your body well. I want to treat my body in the best way I can! There are days that I do eat unhealthy food, but I do not feel well afterwards, and I always regret it! It is such a huge difference when you follow a healthy diet.

What is your next step? 

This year we have two races so far, one Ironman 70.3 in Venice that has been postponed in September (it was supposed to be in May) and Ironman Kalmar held in August if everything goes well! 

We might do the Stockholm marathon as well! Hopefully, this madness will vanish soon!

Follow Vanessa´s journey via:

Photo: Cristian Deri
Interview: Cristina Söderberg