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Popular sports in Russia, healthy nutrition and workout plan

Welcome to our weekly edition of the Matryoshka’s Diary. This week we are talking about sport and healthy living (in Russia and all over the world) with our guest Irina, Russian supergirl, the winner of the Euro-Asian powerlifting championship and a successful businesswoman. Here is the first part of Irina’s interview in which she is sharing some secrets of a healthy and balanced lifestyle and giving a brief description of sports to be popular in Russia in the near future.

* A little bit about yourself. How did your sport career start and how did your passion for sport develop?

My sport journey started with casual fitness. My friend was bored working out alone so she asked me to join her at the gym. I had been working out in a girls’ group for a couple of years and then I got bored of just pulling weights on machines and doing something meaningless. I started to read all the literature I could find about athletics and then tried to write my own training programs. These were quite clumsy programs indeed. But my persistence and vigor to perform the workouts in a meaningful way was noticed by the instructor and he invited me to train with other sportsmen. This is how my sport routine began.

* You became a European powerlifting champion. Could you please share how you achieved this record?

I’m a Euro-Asian champion, it’s a little bit different to a European one. I’m a champion of Euro-Asia, I won the Open Eurasian Championship WPC/AWPC, and in addition to this, my bench press result became an official European record in my weight and age category.

The pathway to success is always simple: a systematic training and a complete recovery. The recovery means: a decreased level of negative stress, good sleep and adequate nutrition.

* Not everybody understands what powerlifting is. Could you please tell us about this sport and why you chose it?

Powerlifting is a power triathlon, a sport where a sportsman demonstrates his/her maximum strength by lifting a bar in three movements. These are the bench press, the squat and the deadlift. A few years ago, it was possible to compete in all these movements but currently it’s possible to compete, obtain a title, achieve a record and become a champion only in one movement. Tournaments for the bench press and the deadlift are organized separately from the triathlons.

I didn’t choose it. It just happened that I went to the gym. There were two types of sport to choose from: the body culture (bodybuilding) and the power culture (powerlifting). I started training in the 90s in the last century. Back then in Russia bodybuilding wasn’t a thing. That’s why the “iron sport” for me was associated with the power training.

* Diet and sport – could you please share your secrets of a healthy and balanced life style

I can talk about the diet forever. Currently, the old preconceptions about what’s right and wrong are flipping upside down. The science does not stand still. New studies are conducted. New facts about products and their effects on our body are being discovered.  That’s why I’ll talk briefly about my subjective experience.

  • Minimum carbohydrates, because sugar (it includes many products, such as porridges, pasta, fruit and sweets obviously) in the large quantities are very harmful for our health. I eat carbohydrates in the morning and afternoon. In the evening I eat vegetables and products that contain protein.
  • As a must I eat fresh vegetables and green stuff every day, on occasion I boil or fry vegetables.
  • Every day I eat dairy products, such as kefir and yogurt.
  • Proteins are a must: a variety of meat, cottage cheese and sometimes fish and eggs.
  • Nuts.
  • I don’t eat any buns or sweets. Rarely eat fruit; in summer – fresh berries
  • I love tea – drink it all the time.
  • Eating fiber every day is a must.
  • I don’t eat anything pre-made from the supermarket, apart from mayonnaise (but it’s very rare.) I use a little bit of good olive oil for my salads.

I have two work-outs per week (I’m a Zumba instructor) and 3-4 weight training.

This is my easy-going life style.

By the way, I don’t count calories, instead use “a rule of a palm”. I measure my food with my palm, depending on a type of food I eat.

*What kind of trends in the sport and the physical culture would you predict in the Russian Federation?

It’s becoming a normality to take the State exams (*Ready for Labour and Defence of the USSR). Now at the industrial companies, schools and universities, people are getting ready for these exams. This is a contemporary trend that aims to engage everyone in the physical education activities.

  • CrossFit is getting popular in Russia
  • Bodybuilding and all its competitive versions of different levels to show off muscles
  • Yoga
  • Personal training
  • Athletic training is still popular
  • MMA – Mixed martial arts

These types of sport are very popular:

  • Track and field athletics
  • Skiing (all types, including mountain skiing)


Thank you, Irina! Part 2 of the interview is to be on Enjoy Russian blog soon! And if you do want to talk about sports in Russian, choose a course and come to our School. We invite Russian spirtsmen, talk about healthy lifestyle at Speaking clubs and participate into sport events with our students!

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