Julia Vins, from Saratov, Russia, first started going to the gym at the age of 15. Now at 24 she already won many powerlifting championships nationwide. Julia is also known as 'Muscle Barbie' - as she is indeed the perfect combination of 'the Beauty and the Beast'.
Julia started exercising at the age of 15 to become more confident in herself, and soon fell in love with it so much that she gave up her ambition of attending law school. She found her passion in bodybuilding. Julia discovered how much she loved exercising, and would spend an hour travelling on a bus to get to and from the gym. Once there, she'd be the only girl there but that didn't stop her from pursuing her passion. She said,
I was 15 years old when I went to the gym. In those days I was in school and had quite a lot of free time.I wanted my life to be different so I decided to play sports to improve my health, become more confident and get fit.Fitness wasn’t popular here, I had to spend an hour on the bus to get to the gym, and I was only one girl there.
Julia was born in Kazakhstan but raised in Russia. Her childhood days are full of struggle. When she was young, her father turned to alcohol to cope with poverty. His addiction took a toll on her family and Julia's parents divorced when she was 12 years old, something which took a toll on her mental and physical health. However, she made the decision to focus on her education to get through the tough times.
She is now a two-time world champion at the World Powerlifting Congress and has broken several records in the competition; weighing 65kg, Julia's personal records include a 275kg squat, a 175kg bench press and a 205kg deadlift.
In order to maintain her physique, Julia trains four to five times a week and eats a strict diet consisting of fish, eggs, vegetables, beans, oats rice and buckwheat pasta as her staple foods.
Because of her appearance, Julia is no stranger to bad comments. But the powerlifter does not focus on those stereotypes who still judge physique based on gender. She said,
I got a lot of terrible comments when I was just starting as a teenager and it really hurt me so much. Some people from my country tell me that a woman should only cook, raise children, carry out cleaning, and this is her mission.Therefore, they advise me not to waste time on sports. These are stereotypes and I can do nothing with it. They can't understand that a woman can do what she wants.
She also added,
I try not to remember bad things. Usually people tell me my body is "too much". But maybe if I didn't do powerlifting, I would also think like that, so I don't care.
Speaking to those women who want to build muscles or who are too afraid to go to the gym alone, Julia has these words of advice - 'Don’t listen to what other people say, follow your passion. Also take care of your health, you should feel good.'