Up Close And Personal With Petra Törnros
We meet Petra Törnros from Sweden, a very active woman with a long journey in fitness. She has ADHD, Asbergers, is extremely gifted, and has found ways to use her diagnoses to her benefit.
Petra has been a part of the GASP and Better Bodies family for years. Keep reading to get to know her better!
Who is Petra?
I am a very active woman who is always doing something. I am a “Now” person and I try to see solutions for everything. My motto is in Swedish: “Det är inte hur du har det utan hur du tar det.” I’m from Strömsholm, a little village I live in now as well. I grew up here, in this idyllic place in a big villa and when young my hobbies were horses and outdoor activites. I have always liked to spend time outside and I love all kinds of animals.
I am a very red person in personality, I have heck of a temper, but it goes away quickly. I overanalyze but I also over love. I love helping others with difficulties and I really promote equal value. Why be normal when you can be you? We are all unique.
I have always worked better with male friends than females. I guess it is both due to my diagnosis; I am a very straight forward honest person. I am also hyperactive. Men are easier to socialize with as they more often speak the truth straight up to your face. I like that. Women can confuse me and very often they don't like me. I am not so good at pretending and I don´t like small talk. So many women either think I look ugly with all my muscles, or they are intimidated by me, or they are jealous for not having the character to do something all the way themselves. I have 6 good girl friends; the rest are men. My interests have always been training at the gym, I went to the army and I love driving motorcycles. All those hobbies are mainly man dominant.
The Love For 2 Wheels
When young I drove a Ducati Monster and raced a lot. Nowadays I have my darling: She´s called Black Widow and is a Harley Davidson, Dyna Super Glide of 1585 CC. A powerful machine. My friends always say my frank way of being, together with my craziness and hyperactivity reminds them of Harley Quinn. So now two Marvel characters merge together when I ride. I also love Super Man and that logo is sort of my thing.
A Little Bit Crazy
My friends describe me as a very open, crazy person that does everything I want to with out thinking of the consequences. I am considered as tough independent person I think but I am also very sensitive. My doctor is stunned over that fact that I have such a high IQ but also high EQ. This is not very common apparently and is probably one of the reason I am the weird lovable crazy empathic, deep, overanalyzing hyper person I am.
If you want to know what my friends think about me one person that knows me very well is Carina Isaksson. We have been close friends for 30 years now and I know she loves me deep inside, but she can also get very tired of me. She always calls me her little Einstein and says that she can´t understand “how a person who is so smart can lack so much common sense”.
Studies Away From Home
I grew up in Strömsholm with my parents and four siblings. My mother was always ill and died when I was 15 years old. I have lived in both Wales, first when studying at Upper Secondary School. Then I lived with a family there for a couple of years. This was a year after my mum had died and my dad figured I needed to go away and do something for me.
I had spent a few summers in Bude; Cornwall already and then I moved to Wales. I loved it there so when studying English at University I managed to be allowed to study on distance so I lived in Swansea, Wales for a few years studying day time and working as a bartender at the biggest night club Ritzys night time. After that I moved to Sevilla to study Spanish for a few years at University level. Then I studied to become a high school teacher at Uppsala University.
Later in life, while being home with the kids I studied so I also have a degree as a teacher for children/youth with special needs. My special focus is neuropsychiatric disabilities. At my job now I also work as a “Förste lärare” in specialpedagogik.
Work And Private Life Perfectly Aligning
I Love my job and I feel appreciated among the young adults and my colleagues. As I have children with special needs and also have two diagnoses myself, I feel I can use my academic training together with my personal experience in a good way.
I have ADHD myself and Asperger’s and I am gifted as they call it as I am a member of Mensa with an IQ of 149.
I worked as a Spanish and English teacher at High School level for 20 years but then I decided I wanted to focus on young adults with special needs. So now I work full time as a teacher for children with special needs, or gifts, as I prefer to see it. If the environment is adaptable someone with ADHD; ADD or Autism can function extremely well. It is not a coincidence that most of the people that have done remarkable things have a diagnosis. Also, many actors, singers or other people in professions that demand a lot of focus and/or energy have a combination of letters. In history we have many inventors, painters, authors and athletes that have diagnoses. Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Michael Jordan, Emely Dickenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Wolf, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to mention some.
I am single now. It is not something I have chosen deliberately. I never feel lonely as I have so many friends around me whenever I want to. But I am sincerely starting to wonder if there is someone out there that can accept all of me and love me unconditionally. Time will tell, I guess.
I live with four kids. I have three biological children who live full time with me and always have since I divorced their father in 2012. They are: Tindra 17 years. She studies to become a doctor like grandpa (my dad). Ängla is soon 16 years old and is in year 9. Neo is 13 years old and is in year 8. I also have a bonus/foster son living with me, Jason who is 16 years old and is at first year in Upper Secondary School. All my four children have different letter combinations. They are all awesome kids and I love them, and I am so proud of all of them.
In the family we also have two dogs, one snake and soon two rats. We are picking up our baby rats in a few weeks Now the snake is on the run, lost somewhere in our house, but that´s another story.
Fitness for Health
I started training at the gym when I was 20 years old. I had a lot of pain in my neck and my dad who is a doctor said I should strengthen my body and muscles. So that was my way in. And as always when I do something I do it 110%. And that lead to good results.
Brain & Soul In Harmony
For me, with my Asperger and ADHD, gym training is perfect. I want to train when I want to train, and I usually train alone. Nowadays I have two good friends I alter between and train with every now and then, two guys. But I mainly train alone and that´s the way I want it. Gym training is a great way to get to know your body and a great sport as you can really push yourself to the limit and achieve miracles. If you succeed or not is all up to you and I like that. I like to have food schedules and fixed times to eat and knowing what to eat. I also like to train extremely early in the morning and with gym training that is possible. I love morning walks out in the nature as a combo to my weight training.
My ADHD needs me moving for my brain and soul to be in harmony and my Asperger helps me keep order in what I eat, when I eat and when I train. Making lists on what to do, rigid planning and schedules are things I love and need. When training and dieting on high level you really get close to the ones in the same position. It is not possible for anyone who has not competed at elite level to know the amount of work and character needed. So you get close to the ones in the same position. Carina and I got to know each other that way and have been friends ever since. I am also close to Semiran Dag, Anette Fabretto and others who have competed and lived that kind of life.
Putting Others First
When I got divorced and ended up with three young kids full time on my own, I got depressed. Two of them were also at the moment being tested for diagnoses and my middle daughter is extremely allergic. There were a few very tough years when I had to go to the hospital once a week with my daughter for allergy shots, and at the same time work full time to afford to keep the house, also of course taking care of all three kids and helping them to manage school and be able to have their own sports and other hobbies after school took up all my time and energy. I simply did not have enough hours a day and my own training was what had to go for a while.
As I do everything 110% the consequence of not training so much led to my stop eating healthy as well. And the tablets I had for my depression also led to putting on weight. I also struggle with some other severe health issues (which I prefer not talking about as I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I try to keep a positive mindset). It was a combo of all that. There was simply too much and I put on weight as my body was used to rigid training and healthy food.
Current Fitness Goals
My goals right now are to manage to get minimum of 5 gym workouts a week. I need that for both body and soul. The gym and my walks outdoors are my ways of relaxing, reloading and pulling myself together so I can be a good mother, a good friend and a good colleague.
I love my work; it is so rewarding to help others and I feel I matter. But to be able to be indoors all day I need my hour in the gym, and a few walks a week outdoors as well.
Life Enriching Activities
I love spending time with my kids. I also love the sun and outdoor activities in the warm seasons. I need sunlight so I do not like the winter and from now in October to end of February are tough months for me.
We have a pool at home and the only time I can be still for a while is when I am out in the sun by the pool or by the sea. The water calms me. I ride my Harley Davidson and as soon as the weather is nice, I want to go on road trips. The freedom feeling you feel when riding a motorbike is thrilling.
I like to take photos, so I have tons of them. They are good for me because with my sensitiveness to a lot of noise or movement makes me not being able to enjoy everything 100 %. But when I take photos, I can relive moments at home when it is quiet.
I am extremely academic, and I just love English and Swedish grammar, I know that is a very odd interest. I also love words and see myself as a word collector. Poetry and Shakespeare is my type of literature. The best book I have ever read is: Cien anos de soledad de García Marquez. Of course, I read it in Spanish first. (Hundra år av ensamhet). I also love going to the movies. Action movies and Marvel movies are my type.
Learning To Adapt
I have through the years learned how to adapt to others. But also to stand strong and dare to be different. I have raised my children to understand that normal is not something to strive for.
We are all unique and gender, hobbies, ethnicity, social class etc. should never matter.
What matters is that you are an open-minded generous and kind person. I think my job is the perfect place for me to be. Here I can help others to see their self-worth. I take medicine for my ADHD I make my lists to feel safe. Things do not need to turn out exactly as planned but to have a list is a way of feeling calm. At work I am a very organized person who knows exactly what to do and when. I am always in time and always come well prepared. I leave nothing to coincidence. But then at home when I relax, and the medicine wears off, I am different. Crazier, I always misplace my keys etc. But that is ok. And I think it is good for my children to see that we do not need to be perfect all the time to be good.
If you want to compete in a fitness/bodybuilding division, make sure you do it for the right reasons. It´s a sport of judgement and the rules are not that clear. It is after all also a matter of taste etc. Compete because you want to see how far you can go and always compete first and foremost to improve yourself. Also make sure you have trained enough beforehand. It takes time to build muscles, more time than most people realize. You'll have to follow rigid routines and allow no slack. If you contact a coach for help, make sure it is someone you trust and that you only listen to that person. Stick to what that one person says so make sure it is someone you level with.
If you want to lose weight, remember that it is all about what goes in and comes out. 80% of the results come from how you eat. And make sure you eat enough protein to keep the muscles. Do not eat too much and do not eat too little. You can never reward yourself with food after training. You train to get healthy and look good when you have lost weight, but you eat to lose weight. Also, muscles burn fat so to build muscles are good for that too. Make sure you have a plan how to train and eat that you can live by to have long lasting results. You must find food that is good for you that you like and will continue to eat, and you must find some way of movement to train your heart. Your training must be something you want to do otherwise you will give up. Don’t´look at the scale. Take your measurements as that tells you so much more.
If you have a letter combination, know that you are unique and just as much worth as everybody else. Sometimes you just need the environment to adjust to you a bit more than others. Find a good doctor that can help you to get to know yourself. Most important of all: Be proud to be you. <3
Connect with Petra HERE