Louise Sondlo

Name: Louise Sondlo
Occupation: Personal Trainer and Co-Founder of SPR Athlete Factory in Stockholm
Residence: Stockholm, Sweden
Instagram: @sondlo
Currently: As a model for Boob Fall/Winter 2018 and with the newly opened gym SPR Athlete Factory City.

Tell us a bit about your journey and how you became who you are today.

I am a classic "high school dropout" type who has gone my own way. I've always had a lot of ambitions and was never afraid to roll up my sleeves and work hard, but the traditional school system was never for me. I had trouble concentrating and always questioned the teachers. I dropped out of high school and took odd jobs until I got a job at a music studio at 18. I became a mother early when I had my daughter Mary at the age of 20. My first real "adult job" was at a PR agency at 22. They were focused on fashion, and I was interested in fashion but also curious about the work behind the scenes. This led to nearly ten years of working as a consultant at various PR agencies. Somewhere during this time, my second daughter Charlie was born.

When I returned from maternity leave, I worked at Nike, which was a dream job since "street fashion" has always been close to my heart. I both learned a lot and contributed significantly – until I hit the wall. All the years of extremely high tempo, constant stress, and few moments for reflection and recovery eventually culminated. After a long sick leave, I decided to change careers completely and, together with my partner Waldo Zapata, started SPR Athlete Factory, a gym focused on functional training and martial arts.

Who is in your family?

Mary, 17 years old, Charlie, 6 years old, my partner Waldo, 42 years old, and a new baby on the way soon (as of June 2018). I also have a wonderful mother and older sisters.


What are you thinking about most right now?

Besides eagerly waiting for this third pregnancy to be over, who will come out, and how our new life with another family member will look. I also think a lot about the second gym we are soon opening. It's like two babies are being born at the same time!

In which environment do you feel most comfortable?

I love the environment at our gym. It is warm, friendly, encouraging, and developmental, both physically and work-wise. I have the luxury of having it as my workplace.

You already have two children. How has this pregnancy been compared to the previous ones?

Besides vomiting around the clock in the early stages of all three pregnancies (with my oldest, I vomited right up to the end), the difference is significant. This time, I have trained through the second and third trimesters, and physically the difference is like night and day. I don't have any pain, I am more energetic, and I am not as big and heavy.

Mention three things you don't want to be without during pregnancy.

Perineum oil from Weleda – I advise all pregnant women not to fear this somewhat intimate massage. Exercise – it's a luxury to be able to train during pregnancy, and I wish it was something all pregnant women had access to. Heartburn tablets – I have packs of them in every bag, jacket pocket, and drawer.

What has parenthood taught you about yourself?

That everything doesn't turn out the way I thought, that I am more like my mother than I thought, and that it's okay to make mistakes. Simply that I am more vulnerable than I thought – and that it's okay.

What would you say to someone expecting their first child?

Enjoy, take your time. Everything has its time. You are not perfect and therefore will not be a perfect parent. Forgive yourself for that now, so you won't be so hard on yourself when the challenges come. Let others into your parenting if you have the opportunity. In the beginning, it can be hard to let go of the closeness and bubble with your baby. Let your partner, other adults, friends, and family in so you and your baby have social support and a network around you. Alone is not strong.

How do you wish the world your child grows up in looks like?

Tough question. More open, warmer, more solidarity. I wish my children a world where there are more meetings and experiences in real life and fewer behind screens and phones. A world that cares more about the environment and social responsibility. And I wish them a world without Trumps and Putins.

You are trained in postnatal fitness. What are your best training tips during and after pregnancy?

Train shorter sessions more often rather than long sessions infrequently. Focus on strengthening your back and deep core muscles. Be extra attentive to how your body feels. If possible, take help from a trained coach who specializes in this type of training. A few sessions can be enough to get a sense of how to proceed. After delivery, it's important to take it slow, but some think they must wait a year before they can train again. That's not the case! You can start gently after 8-10 weeks, just make sure your separated abdominal muscles have gone back. Pelvic floor exercises and walking can be done as soon as you feel you have the energy and strength.

What do you hope to pass on to your children?

Positive energy and a great curiosity about life. To be kind to others.

What is at the top of your wish list?

Right now, to have a healthy baby and an uncomplicated delivery. Otherwise, I often dream of spending a longer time abroad with my family.

Read more interviews with moms we love here!