Hi, everyone! I’m Mari Päkkilä -
I’m an athlete from Northern Finland. I have one brother and a four stepsisters. I grew up in a very strict household. My parents divorced when I was five years old. I moved away from home when I was was sixteen because I wanted to take control of my own future. I have always been an independent traveler (my own way) and my life has been somewhat of a struggling challenge along the way. But I am grateful for how each up and down has taken me and molded me into who and what I have become…..both as a person and as a dedicated professional athlete.
As a young girl , I played ringette. But in high school I started kickboxing, because there has always been a bit of a ”fighter” in me . It was also around that time that I became more serious about my goals and my interest in sports.
My Start in Fitness:
After moving from my hometown, I quit kickboxing and needed something to replace it. Then one night, I went see my friends body fitness show and I was instantly captivated and felt amazed by everything I saw there. The girls on stage all looked so beautiful and strong and athletic. The bug bit me right then and there and this inspired me to start hitting the gym (hard).
Not knowing all that much about exercise, like most girls, with a burning desire to achieve more out of our bodies, I turned to reading (devouring) ”body magazines” for tips on how to shape and tone my body better. Very quickly into my new gym routine, I began recognizing the results and I was even surprised myself, at how quickly my body changed…..and changed in a way that I never could have imagined possible for me to be able to achieve. Seeing these changes got me excited and eager to learn more.
From there, my curiosity peaked and I explored further and soon after, I commenced training for my first competition. It was while I was training for that first competition that I fell in love with the fitness lifestyle.
My first competition was in 2006, the Finnish Championships. I was shocked into disbelief when I actually won first place. At the end of 2006, I moved back to Oulu, (my childhood hometown) where I continued with my new career. I competed every year and was placed top five in every show right up to 2009, when I again won first place at the Finnish championships. It was also in 2009 that I participated in my first international show at the World Championships. From the overwhelming experience of competing at the World Championships, from there, I consistently set goals and was forevermore hooked!
From very early into my training, I’d secretly dreamed of maybe ( just maybe) making it into the professional level. The rigorous and unforgiving routine, total dedication and long hard hours of training allowed me to push my potential to a higher level and to help me achieve my ultimate goal… ”IFBB Pro.” I earned my Pro card this year in 2013 and will do my Prodebyt in 2014.
Reflecting back on those years I spent as an amateur and comparing it to my future as a Pro… well, I must say that it does feel different. The level of expectation is definitely greater, both personal and industry wise. And it goes without saying, there is now (for me) a higher level of intensity to the entire competition process.
I hope everybody enjoys my new website. I built it to honor you.