s a kid I was diagnosed with hepatitis, which left me weak… Until I saw the movie Hercules. Seeing body builder Steve Reeves was the pivotal moment of my life. I said to myself “I want to be like him and I will be like him”.
However, at that age I had no idea how I could do that, I didn’t have the knowledge. Furthermore, in communist times, no one dared to do such a thing. Body building was seen as something ugly, something that didn’t fit in with society… in fact, it practically made you feel like an outlaw. Society was saying, “Oh, you want to be more like the people in western culture, do you?”
I was too determined though, and understood that I just had to get the knowledge somehow. So, I was buying body building magazines from sailors, which, of course, wasn’t legal. After gaining independence, I could see myself in these magazines from which I was gaining an education and which I had finally been allowed to receive legally. To see yourself in an American magazine at that time, was something indescribable.
Following the independence, I decided to open my own gym “Lacplesis,” which is the epic story of Latvia, much like Brave Heart is for Scotland. However, that didn’t come easy either. I was relocating every other year, to 8 different locations in total. Since the market wasn’t quite saturated at that time, it was hard to even break even.
Once, a reporter asked me, “Why wouldn’t you give up?” and to be honest, I really had to think what to answer because this question hadn’t even been crossed mind. Don’t put any fences or barriers in your mind. Dare to dream and try to achieve it.