Henny Seroeyen - The Dutch Aesthetic King

"I’m an actor and model, so I need to keep my body in shape all year round. Thanks to my physique I got signed with Olimp Sport Nutrition as a bodyweight athlete a few years ago. At that time I only did bodyweight training, which I promoted via social media (where I already had big reach), and martial arts (judo and karate). And I was still combining my job as a military instructor with my modeling and acting.

The first few years, my work for Olimp consisted of modeling and promoting the brand through social media and at fitness exhibitions. My very first exhibition was SAPCUP in the Netherlands. It was a unique experience for me as a first-timer and thanks to my networking skills, I got to know a lot of people of the fitness/bodybuilding community.

At most exhibitions where I worked for Olimp there were also bodybuilding/men’s physique competitions. I always found them very fascinating, but if I wanted to continue working as an actor and a (fashion/underwear) model, I shouldn’t be altering my physique too much. So I put this dream to bed. Until I heard about Bodypower, or more specific FitFactor, a fitness model competition in the UK.

For this competition I wouldn’t have to alter my physique, so I decided to enter and travelled to the UK with my friend Tibor Koppers, who was also my competition coach at that time. This trip turned out to be a big success: not only did I win my category, I also was the overall winner of the competition. During my stay in the UK, I got to do a lot of photoshoots, with some great photographers: Luis Rafael, Justin Chong, Tibo Norman, Jules Godfrey, Jamie Bellhouse and Alex Whiteman, and I also got to know Ulrich Oehmen, a bodybuilding and physique photographer based in Miami.

Now I really got a taste for competitions, but unfortunately most of them only had bodybuilding or men’s physique categories. But then I found out that IFFB was introducing the fit model category at Arnold Classic Europe in Barcelona. I knew I would have to be at the exposition to represent Olimp Sport Nutrition, so why not kill two birds with one stone? So I told Ronny and Griet, the owners of Fitnessclub B-Strong, the gym where I was training, that I was interested in competing there. They offered to help me on my journey. So they drew up a diet plan and I started intensive training sessions with the old man, as I like to call Ronny. Griet worked her way through the rules and regulations because every federation has its own set for each category.

First job at hand was becoming a member of the Belgian IFBB family (BIFBB), and seeing fit model was a new category it wasn’t an issue for them that I immediately competed on an international level. So now the pressure was on: I had to give it my all, not only for the BIFBB, but also for my sponsor, Olimp Sport Nutrition, and for the gym, Fitnessclub B-Strong. To make sure I would get all the mandatory poses right, I had some lessons with Belgium’s finest posing instructor Leentje Bertels.
Afterwards there was a lot of commotion regarding the fit model category as part of a bodybuilding competition. If I look at it from my point of view, I think the category is a great opportunity for athletes with a nice physique who want to enter a competition without having to build a bodybuilders or men’s physiques body. It’s a nice way to also have them experience the rush of being on stage. And contrary to what the opponents of this category think, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get the fitness model physique. I personally have to be in shape 365 days a year, seeing I always have to be ready for a photoshoot or an acting job.
According to the rulebook, the stage attire would consist of shorts and a tank top for the first rounds and a sporty jacket with a pair of trousers for the last round. I was a bit disappointed about that, but hey, you can’t have it all. So I had some clothes made by a friend of mine, so that they would have a perfect fit.

And then, after all the preparations it was finally D-day! I was very excited to get on stage. Seeing it was a new category, there were still some uncertainties. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned as model and in the military, it’s being flexible. Round 1 we had to wear the tank top and shorts, but round 2 we could take of the tank top! Now we could really show of our abs and back. I really had fun on stage and gave it my all. And all the hard work payed off: I won first place. So I was the first Arnold Classic Europe Fit Model!

I hope my short story will encourage others to enter these kinds of competitions and don’t let the negativity put them down. Participating can open a lot of new doors and create new opportunities, so just go for it!
I also want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the people who have supported me"

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