By Liana Jacob

THIS formerly overweight woman can now deadlift over TWICE her bodyweight after losing nearly SEVEN-STONE and cultivating a ripped-muscly physique which she describes as “the best medicine” for overcoming her painful divorce.

Day care manager, Bibi Britt Johannesen (56), from Copenhagen, Denmark, started weight lifting in her twenties as her weight surged to 20st. However, over time, her weight piled on again after losing interest in exercise and consuming between 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day, which resulted in her reaching 18st 2Ibs in 2010.

1983 – 21 years. Bibi Johannesen /


She divorced her partner in 2011, which turned her back to weight lifting, crediting this hobby as the ‘best medicine’ following her divorce. She decided to go on stage in 2017, came third in a national competition and has since pumped up muscle with a weight of just 11st 5Ibs.

“When in emotional turmoil, lifting weights is therapeutic for me; I feel grounded and it’s something I can do physically that doesn’t require thinking. It’s a break and I’m in control,” Bibi said.

ca 40 years . Bibi Johannesen /


“Working out the way I do gives me more libido and lust, which is not a bad thing during menopause. The physical aspects have definitely changed – it’s never been better; again the whole body and self-awareness does magic.

2003 – at 41 years. Bibi Johannesen /


“I was very uncomfortable with myself and my body. I’ve been working out with the weights since my twenties, which I started due to a massive increase in my weight.

“Then I gained weight over the years and in 2010 I weighed 115 kg again. In 2011, I had a divorce and the best medicine was the weights.

june 15-sept 17. Bibi Johannesen /


“In 2014 I decided to go all in – just to see how good a shape I could get when I was over fifty. Then I decided to go on stage in the nationals in 2017.

“I came third place in the Nationals 2017 after working hard, being consistent, living a structured life regarding food, sleep and exercise.

July 13 – 51 years. Bibi Johannesen /


“I’m so much more confident, I like what I see in the mirror, I’m satisfied with my body. This way of living has had a tremendously positive effect regarding my job; no more stress, I’m calmer, more organised etc.”

Previously, Bibi would gorge on unhealthy food and food with a lot of sugar, lots of chocolate and wine, with an inconsistent attitude to exercise.

2015-2016-2017. Bibi Johannesen /


She now does weight lifting, cardio and HIIT (high intensity interval training) six times a week for 20 minutes, while improving her diet, consuming between 2,800 and 3,000 calories a day.

She can now deadlift 150kg, squat-lift 125kg, and leg-press 350-375kg.

Sept 15 versus sept 17. Bibi Johannesen /


“I’m very disciplined in my eating – have a plan that I follow, made by my coach – who also schedules my training sessions,” she said.

“Six days a week I follow the plan – and one day a week I have either a treat/cheat day or a meal. I no longer have sugary food and very little alcohol.

June 17, 2018. Bibi Johannesen /


“I think it’s been fun all the way through and still is. It’s become a lifestyle. The hardest part has been preparing for the contest – eight months-long and training two times a day.

“I get a lot of positive acknowledgement. Of’ course some people don’t like muscular women but still I’ve hardly received any negative comments.

sept 2017. Bibi Johannesen /


“If you can afford it, find a good coach, find a proper gym and start by learning the basics; how to work out and do the exercises properly.

“Give yourself time to learn how to eat and how to manage your food. It takes time and can be a bit challenging for you and your surroundings. The social side can be very difficult especially when you’re young.

Feb 18 – at 56 years. Bibi Johannesen /


“Remember to take pictures of your development – that’s a good motivator. Only pictures of yourself once a week – it takes time to get to know your body and how it reacts.”

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