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At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a Badass Bodybuilder!

By Abhirup Lahiri @tweetabhirup

At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a badass bodybuilder!

দেশের কনিষ্ঠতম মহিলা বডি বিল্ডার এই বঙ্গতনয়া


Don't you think I have a pretty odd name for an Indian girl?" asks Europa Bhowmik, pulling smoothly on the rowing machine, her arms moving in rhythm, her biceps rippling. It's the self-unconscious question of a teenager, one who's just completed her Plus Two and has dreams of a bright future in her eyes. But then, Europa — true to her uncommon name — is an uncommon girl. Not for her the dreams of studying medicine or engineering, completing her MBA, bagging a top job at an MNC. For this 18-year-old, her body is her temple and she worships with a lot of faith and fervour. Europa is a female bodybuilder, a rare breed in Bengal. "I am 18 now and when I started, I was the youngest bodybuilder in the country. I think I still am," chuckles the 4' 11" girl, who won a silver in the lightweight category at the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique SportsChampionship 2017, which took place in South Korea in August. She treasures her victory. 
At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a badass bodybuilder!

What's in a name? 


She herself explains the mystery of the name. "I was born on a ship called Samco Europa. My father is a captain in the merchant navy. My mother conceived on the ship and the crew decided that the name would be Sam if a boy was born and Europa if it was a girl. Thank God I am girl. I don't like the name Sam," quips Europa. We catch up with her at a fitness fair in the city. As she speaks, visitors queue up to take selfies with this young fitness icon. But how did she get attracted to this uncommon profession? It all started from the bullying in school. I am not tall. My friends used to bully me for being short and unattractive. This put a lot of emotional pressure on me. That was the time around puberty, when I was going through hormonal changes. I looked chubby and felt insecure. My mother suggested I join a gym. But that didn't help. I started dieting and became anorexic. The only good thing about this phase was, I realised that I was suffering from anorexia," recalls Europa. While she was busy gymming on cardio machines, she was unaware of strength machines. "One of the gym trainers identified me and started grooming me. 'You need to be a bit more symmetrical,' he said. He introduced me to a balanced diet and I started exercising on strength machines. This regimen suited me," she adds. In 2015, she first appeared in competition at a national-level bodybuilding championship in Belgaum, Karnataka. "Though I didn't win, I found my focus. I was floored by the chiselled bodies of other competitors. And there I found my coach Indranil Maity. I've never looked back," confesses Europa. In 2016, she won silver in the same competition. "I am hoping for gold this year." 
At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a badass bodybuilder!

  

Bodybuilding is all about showcasing muscles. "It is also about having thin skin; that is, the layer of fat under your skin should be extremely thin so that your muscles show prominently. To get this, we have an off season when we eat more and the on season, when we reduce our body weight," informs Europa, who is currently in a transition period. "Off season is the time when you don't look attractive but it is one of the most important phases. I eat a lot of carbs at this time. While many bodybuilders are wary of rice, I am happy. I also eat a lot of oatmeal but I am not a big fan of bread," she says. In the on season, she reduces carbohydrates slowly, but the protein intake is usually constant. "I am a fan of meat. I don't consider chicken as meat, as it is boring. I travel a lot and love various types of meat. I love pork and I have tried crocodile, shark and clams," she adds with a chuckle. And when it comes to fat, peanut butter is her favorite. Europa emphasises, "I don't consume bad fat. I learnt how to cook without oil. There was a time when I used to cook my own food but now I have taught my maid. She cooks what I need. But my all-time cheat meal is biryani." 

Living life to the fullest
At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a badass bodybuilder!

On season is the hard-core preparation season and this is the busiest time in a competitor's life. Europa is very busy exercising to be "stage ready". On top of that, she is planning to open a gym in Lake Town. "I just completed Class XII from Calcutta International School. I was selected Student of the Year. But I have taken a gap year so that I can build my own gym," she says. Soon after her competition in December, she is set to go on a holiday in Switzerland, where she will meet her "special friend". "If everything goes well, I will be going to Spain this summer to study BBA. But I will also use the time to go for advanced bodybuilding courses. My friend has put me in touch with a few institutions," says Europa coyly.
At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a badass bodybuilder!

An inspiration for girls

"When I started, not many women were interested in bodybuilding. My parents were not very sure about this. Since they have never stopped me from doing anything, I could continue. However, it took me one win to convince them and not they are now super-supportive. These days, girls are also coming to me to get into a fitness regimen. This, I would think, is my biggest achievement," says Europa. What does she feel about being a bodybuilder and a Bengali, a community not particularly known for physical prowess? "I have never looked at it that way. Bodybuilding is a rare sport and I pursued it as I wanted to be different. I wanted to stand out in a crowd," says Europa. And with a physique that draws eyes everywhere she goes, she sure does! 
At 18, Europa Bhoumik is a badass bodybuilder!



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