Erika Dankova has fully transformed.
Erika Dankova, age 21, has transformed her life with bodybuilding. The Slovakian immigrant told DailyMail she felt isolated and ashamed of her chubby body.
“Before I started training, I was the chubby girl in class. I didn’t like to wear things that would show off my body. I had no confidence in myself.”
Now, the self-styled Slovakian warrior princess has a stage worthy physique and displays it proudly on social media.
“I didn’t speak any English when I first moved (from Slovakia to the US) so that was challenging. I was quite an outcast for a long time. I began training powerlifting when I was fourteen years old.”
This introduction to powerlifting gave Dankova a new direction. She was also attracted to bodybuilding, but felt isolated from it:
“When I was younger, I always admired Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, as a girl, I never thought I could go down the path of bodybuilding. Once I got older, I realized the sport wasn’t just for men. That is when I decided to pursue it. I have been lifting weights for some time when I decided to start bodybuilding. I was seventeen years old.”
She now trains six days and does cardio three days per week. Since age 14, she has shot up from 155 to 180 lbs, and boasts a 363 kilogram leg press.
“I adjust my diet depending on my current goals. If I’m trying to add more muscle, I eat more food. If I’m trying to trim some fat, I lower the carbohydrates in my diet.”
She says that her early introduction to training is one of her biggest advantages.
“The hardest thing about being a female bodybuilder is that the changes are slow. Naturally, women have a harder time gaining muscle, so our progress is very slow. This makes it hard for us to stick to the program and a lot of people would get discouraged. You just need to trust the process.”
Dankova is now a nationally qualified Woman’s Physique competitor. She looks forward to reaping the benefits of bodybuilding on and off stage.
“Ever since I’ve been training, I have been more energetic and passionate in all aspects of my life. It has taught me to stay consistent, work hard and believe that anything I set my mind to, I will achieve.
“People often compliment my physique now and ask me for advice. If someone is interested in getting into the sport, I would primarily ask them why they want to get into it. If they want to do it for attention, they will not succeed. The only way to succeed in bodybuilding is to love what you do. The discipline is so hard that any normal person couldn’t stick to it.”