Thanks to Instagram, I've been able to connect with people from around the world who love weightlifting as much as I do. A little while back, I found Jelmer on Instagram and checked out his fitness and lifestyle blog over at JMRfitness.eu. I agreed with his message that fitness isn't just about getting the "perfect physique", it's also about living a happy, fulfilling, and healthy lifestyle.
Since we had so much in common, I wanted to give Jelmer a shout-out on my blog and share his story with you. Hope you enjoy!
25-year-old Jelmer is from the Netherlands and has lived in Denmark for the past 4 years and has just graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Communication and Marketing at University College Southern Denmark.
KP: Why did you become passionate for weightlifting?
JMR: I was failing some exams and was slacking with my wellbeing in general—very lazy and with bad eating habits. I gained some weight and, at one point, got up to 101 kilograms. Since I'm pretty tall, I didn't look overweight but it still got to me. After I saw some guys on YouTube with great bodies and after I realized that fitness has a lot of impact on the mental state of mind, I decided to start educating myself about fitness. Before I actually started out lifting, spent 2 months educating myself through books and YouTube videos for endless hours. I did this because I didn't want to do something wrong. As of today I still love it and fitness changed my life for good, I cannot imagine a life without lifting right now.
What encouraged you to start your own business?
After following some famous people in the fitness industry for a while, I was realizing that actually nobody around me knew them, or knew the information about fitness that I knew. Tons of people in the gyms around me where doing things wrong... After they saw me making quick results, they slowly started asking me what they were doing wrong and this way I got the idea of creating my own platform to help people out. I realized that even though the information is out there to grab, there are not enough educated people spreading the word of proper training and nutrition.
Has fitness helped your confidence and mental health?
Definitely. I'm more focused, I passed all my exams the first try and managed to get my driving license as well as a Danish fluency level certificate, which I've been heavily struggling with in the past. I'm more myself and I stopped caring about what other people think of me, which gave my general confidence a great boost.
What's the fitness world like in Denmark?
In Denmark you have gyms where everyone is natty* and you have gyms where almost everyone is on roids. If you know the right gyms to choose, you'll have a great time. Everyone is really friendly, chill, and there is not really so much of an ego culture like I get the impression of when watching videos based in the USA sometimes. (Although I cannot really judge the USA.) In general, Denmark has a chill and friendly environment. Sometimes people are quiet and too shy to ask things, but that's just the culture. This also makes it harder sometimes to reach people and to convince them that it's good to get started with the gym. (*natty is slang for natural, i.e. someone who doesn't use performance-enhancing drugs.)
What's the fitness world like in the Netherlands?
In the Netherlands, I see people acting more pretentious and fake. I mean you can be proud of yourself and act out, but sometimes in Netherlands it's almost cringy. I also notice that people in the gym are less friendly than they are in Denmark. I remember I once took a dumbbell from the rack that someone else was busy with actually, so instead of just asking me to give the dumbbell back, he started insulting me and so on. In Denmark that would never happen. People in Denmark are more patient.
Is there a gym you are dying to go to/place to visit in the world?
There are stereotypes in the UK and USA that women should do HIIT and cardio, and "weights are scary", do you see the same stereotypes in Denmark? If so, have you helped women push past those stereotypes and learn to love lifting heavy?
There is a little bit of this fear that weights are "scary", and I had to convince many girls that lifting is the way to go. I got about 4-5 girls around me into lifting and they all share the knowledge with their other friends and they love all it! It's just a matter of spreading the word, and then in time, this stereotype will go away.
Do you and your girlfriend workout together?
We started lifting together actually. I took it more seriously from the beginning, but she is slowly catching up now as well and is getting enthusiastic! We both see that fitness really enhances our life and, in turn, our relationship. We don't always train together, since we both have different training plans, but we always try to match it and then we help each other with spotting and hyping each other up!
Do you offer online coaching?
I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks to Jelmer for letting me pick his brain. It's really cool to see how fitness translates through different areas of the world. Even though Jelmer lives in Denmark, I was surprised to see that we both want to visit Alphalete in Texas! It's crazy what opportunities the World Wide Web gives us, huh?