Marine Fitness

THE MARINE CORPS TIMES

Posted by pauline 

The Marine Corps explores partnership with hard-core trainer

Marine Corps Times writer/editor/word-ninja Tony Lombardo writes about why the Marine Corps is interested in this tiny — but fierce — Swedish female bodybuilder:

You’ve probably seen her picture — sporting serious pythons, rock-hard abs, camouflage pants and an expression that says, “I can destroy you.”

This image of Pauline Nordin went viral after someone used it as a mock Marine Corps recruiting poster. Below her photo is the following message: “U.S. Marines. We turn girls into women and women into leathernecks.”

Nordin is a native of Sweden who lives in Los Angeles and makes a living as a fitness expert. She’s a former bodybuilder and trained the winner on the Scandinavian version of “The Biggest Loser.” She is not, nor was she ever, a Marine.

 

You’ve probably seen her picture — sporting serious pythons, rock-hard abs, camouflage pants and an expression that says, “I candestroy you.”

The image of Pauline Nordin went viral after someone used it as a mock Marine Corps recruiting poster. Below her photo is the following message: “U.S. Marines. We turn girls into women and women into leathernecks.”

Nordin is a native of Sweden who lives in Los Angeles and makes a living as a fitness expert. She’s a former bodybuilder and trained the winner on the Scandinavian version of “The Biggest Loser.” She is not, nor was she ever, a Marine.

Though she has no military experience, Nordin said she has gained a significant Marine following, as evidenced by her frequent fan mail from leathernecks. After the poster circulated, some Marines wrote in to ask if she was from the ranks.

“They really want to believe it,” Nordin said. The poster even made its way to Headquarters Marine Corps. And now officials are interested in what role she might play in teaching fitness and nutrition to Marines.

“Her image in the poster is powerful, and Marines are always looking to improve ourselves — both dietwise and strength, as well as the image we project,” said Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon.

Upton did some research on Nordin after learning of the mock poster. He found no evidence she was intentionally impersonating a Marine. Instead, he found an opportunity to possibly enlist her help, and he forwarded her info to Marine Corps Community Services, which runs Semper Fit.

“They are the experts in possibly working with her to appear at one of the many health and fitness expos they have for Marines throughout the Marine Corps,” Upton said via email. Bryan Driver, a spokesman for MCCS, said March 7 that Semper Fit officials had reached out to Nordin “to see what she would be willing to do.”

That could be good news for Marines teetering on the edge of the Corps’ appearance standards. Adherence to fitness and body composition rules has been a personal mission for Commandant Gen. Jim Amos. Shortly after taking command, he ordered audits and held surprise weigh-ins to ensure Marines are staying fit.

Nordin’s crushing workouts, combined with detailed diet plans, could be an asset to the Corps, said Marines who already subscribe to her regimens.

The prospect of working with Marines would be a career highlight, Nordin said, and she was “psyched” by the poster.

“In my mind, I am a true warrior and a fighter,” she said. “I thrive off the discipline, and it appeals to me the qualities you have to have as a human being in order to be a great [Marine].”

Nordin, who is 29 and single, said her fitness routines are beneficial to male and female Marines. “The men — they come and say, ‘It feels weird, but I want to look like you.’ Even though I am a woman,” Nordin said. “I’m a little androgynous.” It’s clear from her photos that she has earned biceps and abs that anyone would covet, regardless of gender.

Nordin operates the websitewww.fighterdiet.com, which has multiple revenue streams. She sells Fighter Diet fitness and nutrition e-books and supplements, and hosts a subscriber-only chat room called “The Dungeon,” where followers of the program can share ideas. She’s also selling a DVD of her Exercise TV workout “The Butt Bible,” described as a “brutal blow to your buns.”

Her aspirations are to publish a print book, grow her Fighter Diet concepts and get back on TV. Most of her Marine followers have found Nordin via Facebook, where Fighter Diet has more than 27,000 fans.

Suck It Up

As a teen in Sweden, Nordin said she suffered from self-image issues and starved herself to be skinny. At age 17, a Muscle & Fitness magazine caught her attention. She decided she wanted a body like that of the cover model. That led to intense training, and she would go on to earn three consecutive youth bodybuilding championships in Sweden.

In 2005, she landed a spot as one of the trainers on an exported version of the popular weight-loss program “The Biggest Loser.”

“They liked my badass attitude,” Nordin said. “They called me the drill sergeant.”

The show taped over 10 weeks in Estonia. The show was unlike the American version, which focuses too much on crying, Nordin said.

“We don’t do that crap,” Nordin said. “To cry and feel. ‘Oh, you had such a hard time … have a cookie again.’ We don’t do that in Sweden.”

Nordin recalled that when one contestant was acting spoiled about completing a workout, she responded, “If you don’t do this, I feel like I’m going to shoot you!” In America, that could land you a lawsuit, she said.

She moved to the U.S. in 2006 and wrote fitness articles for a magazine back home. She quit competing in fitness competitions in 2007 after they became “boring. “You turn around, show your tush and go out,” she said of the competitions. “That’s not appealing to me.”

A dual resident of the U.S. and Sweden, today she focuses on her training, which she documents in detail via Facebook and her website. She compared having a strong body to vacation. Everybody would love to be on vacation 24/7, but you have to work to pay for that time off — just like you have to work to have a stellar body. “I’m really tough on people that way, because you’re not going to get it for free,” she said. “Suck it up.”

Nordin is 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs about 117 pounds, has a body-fat percentage between 7 percent and 10 percent and sports biceps that measure “12 and a half inches cold.” Her all-time best dead lift is 265 pounds.

To maintain that body, she works out 12 hours a week. That involves six 60-minute sessions of weight training and six 60-minute sessions of cardio, which includes sprints and step-machine workouts. When asked to single out an exercise she finds especially helpful, she answered “dead lifts.” Nordin describes Fighter Diet as “being lean for 365 days a year, without feeling like you’re starving.” The key to feeling full without consuming lots of calories is to eat a lot of vegetables, Nordin said. She eats a whopping 7 pounds of veggies per day, when factoring in lunch and dinner. “I believe you should eat 2 to 5 percent of your body weight — your lean weight — in vegetables,” she said.

She eats a total of 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day, including chicken or fish. One of her favorite meals is cabbage with jalapeno mustard and salmon. She doesn’t eat grains. Nordin also uses supplements and specifically recommended fish oil, for the Omega-3s. While Nordin sells supplements on her website, Marine fitness officials have long discouraged their use in general. Many supplements have not received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and there is limited research on what health risks certain supplements could pose. Nordin agreed that Marines must be cautious when using supplements. “I do not ever buy proprietary blends,” Nordin said, referring to products that do not list all of their ingredients. “Especially stimulants, fat-burners [and] energy products. You want to see what you get and in what amount. Always read the label.”

For those surprised by Nordin’s muscles, she said she does not use steroids and is against them because of the long-term damage they can cause to the body.

The Fan Base

Marines often write Nordin, expressing their interest in workouts and seeking additional information, she said. “They tell me they look at my pictures and find motivation when it’s tough,” she said. “They know I’d keep on going when it gets tough, so they do, too.”

Sgt. Elmer Sims, 26, found Nordin on Facebook. He and his wife have incorporated Nordin’s routines into a workout program they operate at their church’s gym in Canton, Texas. Sims is an air traffic control navigational aids technician with Marine Air Control Squadron 24, out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth. He saw the mock poster online. Even knowing she isn’t a Marine, Sims said the poster is “motivating.”

“Most people, whenever they think ‘Marine,’ they think of some ripped-up dude carrying around a rifle,” said Sims, who deployed twice to Iraq.

If Nordin were to train Marines, Sims said it would likely be a success. Undoubtedly Nordin’s physical appearance alone would draw scores of male Marines, he acknowledged. “At first, it may be a physical attraction — then all of a sudden, they’ll realize she’s not just something to look at,” he said.

Sgt. Michelle Ven Huizen is wrapping up training at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., to be a meteorology and oceanography analyst/forecaster. She also found Nordin on Facebook and purchased some of her e-books. “She lives the kind of lifestyle I would like to emulate,” said Ven Huizen, who has been following Nordin for the past couple months. “She’s always on her game.” Ven Huizen agreed both men and women could benefit from Nordin’s workouts. “I think she will kick your ass,” Ven Huizen said. “Ultimately, when you’re working out, that’s the goal.”