Name: Louise Sondlo
Profession: Personal trainer and co-founder at the SPR Athlete Factory in Stockholm
Home: Stockholm, Sweden
Currently: Is a model for Boob Fall/Winter 2018 and opening the new gym SPR Athlete Factory City
Tell us a bit about your journey and how you came to be the person you are today.
I'm a classic high school drop out type that went my own way. I’ve always wanted a lot and have never been afraid to roll up my sleeves and work hard, but traditional school was never for me. I had difficulty concentrating and always questioned the teachers. I left high school and worked odd jobs until I started working in a music studio when I was 18. I became a mom early when I had my daughter Mary at 20. When I was 22 years old I got my first real “adult job” at a PR agency. They focused on fashion and I was interested in fashion, but also curious about the work behind the scenes. After that, I worked for almost ten years as a consultant at various PR agencies. Somewhere in there my second daughter Charlie was born.
When I came back from maternity leave, I worked for Nike, which was a dream job since “street fashion” has always been close to my heart. I both learned and contributed a lot – before I suffered a nervous breakdown. All those years of operating at an extremely high pace, with constant stress and few moments for reflection or recuperation finally reached a culmination. After a long sick leave, I decided to make a complete change and, together with my partner Waldo Zapata, I started a gym focused on functional training and martial arts called the SPR Athlete Factory.
Who’s in your family?
My 17-year-old daughter Mary, my 6-year-old son Charlie, my partner Waldo, who is 42, and a new baby is on the way as I write this in June 2018. I also have a fantastic mom and older sisters.
What’s on your mind most lately?
In addition to longing for this third pregnancy to be over, I’m thinking about who it is that will come out and what our new life with another family member will look like. I’m also thinking a lot about the other gym that we will be opening soon. It’s a bit like there are going to be two children born at the same time!
When are you most at home?
I love the environment at our gym. It is warm, friendly, motivational and nourishing, both physically and professionally. I have the luxury to have it as a workplace.
Louise in Fast Food sports bra and Once-on-never-off leggings
You have two children already. How would you compare this pregnancy to the previous ones?
Aside from the fact that I vomited around the clock the first time during all three pregnancies (with my oldest I vomited all the way to the end), there is a big difference. This time I exercised through the second and third trimesters and physically it’s like night and day. I have no pain at all, I am more alert, have more energy and I am not as big and heavy.
Name three things you did not want to be without when you were pregnant.
Perineum oil from Weleda – I advise all pregnant women not to be afraid of this somewhat intimate massage. Exercise – it’s a luxury to be able to exercise during pregnancy and I wish it were something that all pregnant women had the opportunity to do. Heartburn pills – I keep them in every bag, jacket pocket and junk drawer.
What has parenthood taught you about yourself?
I’ve learned that not everything will go as I think it will, that I am more like my mother than I thought and that it's okay that I make mistakes sometimes. I am quite simply more vulnerable than I thought - and that’s okay.
What would you tell someone who is expecting their first child?
Enjoy it. Take it easy. Everything has its time. You are not perfect and therefore will not be perfect as a parent. Forgive yourself for that now so you won’t be so hard at yourself when things go sideways. Let other people share in your parenting if you have the opportunity. In the very beginning it can be difficult to let go of being a twosome, just you and your baby. Let your partner in, and other adults, friends and family, so that you and your baby have social support and a network around you. You’re not stronger by going it alone.
Louise in Fast Food soft sports bra och Once-on-never-off leggings
What do you want the world your child grows up in to look like?
Tough question. More open, warmer, with more solidarity. I wish my children could live in a world where one can create more encounters and experiences IRL, and fewer behind screens and phones – a world that is more concerned about the environment and social responsibility. And I wish for them a world without Trumps and Putins.
As a professional motherhood fitness trainer, what are your best exercise tips during and after pregnancy?
Exercise for short periods often rather than for fewer longer periods. Put extra energy into strengthening your back and your deep abdominal muscles. Be extra sensitive and ask: how does my body feel? If you have the opportunity to get help from a trained coach who specializes in this type of fitness, I think you should do it. Just a few sessions are enough to get an idea for how you should be thinking.
After delivery, it is important to take it easy, but some women think they have to wait a year before they can work out again, and that is not the case! You can start small after 8-10 weeks, just be sure that your separated abdominal muscles have returned to normal. You can do Kegel exercises and take walks as soon as you feel you have the energy and the will.
What do you hope to pass on to your child?
Positive energy, perseverance and a strong curiosity for life. To be kind to one another.
What’s at the top of your wish list?
Right now, to give birth to a healthy baby and an uncomplicated delivery. Otherwise, I often dream about spending a longer period of time abroad with my family.
Louise with baby Alba. Louise in Long-sleeved merino wool top and Once-on-never-off easy pants.
Read our interviews with mothers we know and love!