Vladislava Galagan is 21 years old, 175 cm tall and weights 80 kg. Her chest is 107 cm, haunch 64 cm, biceps 38 cm in circumference. Vladislava is a bodybuilder.
Originally from Temryuk – a small town in Russia – Vladislava lives in Prague now and is getting ready for her first competition in the category “physique” – the category where women are judged by symmetry, shape, proportion, muscle tone, poise and beauty flow.
Vladislava juxtaposes the seemingly incompatible: she has the shape of a seriously built amazon and the face of the prettiest, most innocent girl. Long shiny dark hair, big eyes with curly lashes and a charming smile somehow go along with the widest female shoulders. When selecting her outfits, Vladislava emphasizes biceps and well-built legs so that her achievements don’t go unnoticed.
Since early childhood, Vladislava has been an athlete. “I always liked physical activity,” Vladislava smiles. She started with gymnastics, then moved to athletics and sprinting, and then gradually developed her passion for bodybuilding. Her very first impression of beauty found in a muscled human body was when she attended the local competitions in the town neighboring hers. “For the first time, I saw advanced athletes, the relief muscles on their calves. Also, there were girls who were in good shape with beautiful legs muscles. It amazed me. If I saw them now I would be like “pf-ff, please” but at that time, when I was 16, it caused major changes in my mind.”
Vladislava remembers her first competition experience, which is also a story about her first negative motivation. At the age of 15 her coach enrolled her in the sprint contest, though she was barely ready for it. “Now I am very grateful to her because she taught me that it is better to compete with those who are stronger than me. I think she intentionally put me with the stronger competitors in my first attempt. As I said, if you don’t really compete you don’t grow”. Stepping up to the starting line of the running track, she could hear the guy in the grandstand “I am sure this girl is not gonna win, the other one will.” And Vladislava didn’t win. But the worst was the mocking from the coach of the other, winning girl, “How does it feel to lose to somebody of a lower age? ” Despite the obvious devastation, she channeled that rage into training. Harder and harder, she trained at the old Soviet stadium, running there every day. Along with that, she started to go to the gym and stick to a healthy diet. “I wasn’t thinking about bodybuilding at that time, I just worked out for myself. But I liked to notice how my legs were slowly becoming toned, my shoulders and back stronger. I was slowly developing and I enjoyed building my body.”
She eventually took revenge a year later in the same competition with the same girl. Standing on the same starting line, she was more confident and 100% ready. “I heard the shot and I started running and I notice that my competitor was not within eye shot. For a second I wondered where she was; then I realized she was way behind my back,” Vladislava smiles again, “This mocking trainer didn’t say a word as though he had swallowed his tongue.” That was the first time she realized that her hard work paid off, and she liked how it felt.
Later on, when athletics slowly moved on a second tier role, her obsession with bodybuilding grew. She distinctly remembers the moment she realized that she was going for it. “I was on the phone with my ex-boyfriend while scrolling the body-fitness models on the Internet. In one second it felt like somebody from inside put those words into my mouth: ‘I know what I want to do with my life.’” Since then she started to build not only her body but her dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder and to start, she needed to escape her hometown.
Interrupting the interview for one of her five daily scheduled meals, she puts a pre-prepared box in the microwave and explains how crucial her special nutritious diet is. “I stand for healthy eating, no gluten or palm oil, minimum additives and colors. I always try to choose bio-products.” The microwave bell rings and she takes her unsalted rice and braised chicken breast.
“Of course, I spoil myself with chocolate or chips sometimes, but only during the off-season, and I always have to compensate for it with extra work at the gym”.
Europe opened new horizons for Vladislava. She applied to the AAU but unfortunately had to quit after the first semester. “Bodybuilding requires a lot of investment, so I had to work and train. Studying was just too much for me. I loved it, but it stood in the way of my dream”. The university was not the only obstacle to the freedom of doing what she is passionate about. Vladislava’s family did not support her in her activities. For now, she only keeps in touch with her father. She explains it by the conservativeness of her parents, “bodybuilding is a whole different world for them. They are just unable to understand it”.
Luckily for her, when she started to live on her own she became completely independent, both financially and spiritually. “Now I am the one who makes the decisions. Poor support from my family was only an extra motivation for leaving the country and working harder.”
Motivation is a key concept for Vladislava, as she has the special talent of turning all her faults into motivation for new gains. She admits that positive motivation is still the main moving factor for her.
“Success motivates me towards even greater success. I have a dream and I work for it as hard as I can. Achieving my goal is my main motivation,” she says with all seriousness.
Vladislava stands for the right of women to be equal to men. She explains that building and demonstrating the body in female bodybuilding is only the tip of an iceberg which, in fact, consists of constant hard work and dedicated self-development. Despite the appearance of this sport being all about the body, it is also about the spirit and the efforts athletes put in on the long road toward success.
Female bodybuilding is a sensitive topic; some criticize it for its lack of femininity, but Vladislava has her own point of view. “For me, a woman is not just a piece of a beautiful meat. I believe that a woman can be self-sufficient, strong, single-minded. She can have opinions and goals and has the right to pursue them. I like when a woman can defend herself when she is able to take a punch. I feel myself equal to men, and every woman should do the same. It is only up to us how we look and what we do”.
Photo courtesy of Vladislava Galagan