My Jakarta: Vivi Lukvi, Female Bodybuilder
When you hear the word ‘bodybuilder,’ the first thing that springs to mind is probably a man like Ade Rai, the famous athlete seen in advertisements on Jakarta’s buses, with his bulging biceps, thighs like tree trunks and a rock-hard abdomen. But what about female bodybuilders?
Vivi Lukvi may not be as famous as the great Ade Rai, but she is no less ripped. Vivi lays claim to the title of being Indonesia’s first female bodybuilder. She has even brought the country
victory in two international bodybuilding competitions.
Today Vivi shares her experiences in the world of bodybuilding, and tells us what it takes to get in shape.
So Vivi, when did you start working on your body?
My mom is an aerobics instructor in Surabaya. Ever since I was a kid, she often took me to the local gym to do aerobics with her. Later, I moved to Jakarta to teach aerobics. At that time, I worked as a personal trainer at a gym as well. I found some weight-training equipment there and started to practice with that.
And that’s when I first began to love shaping up my body.
How did you enter the world of bodybuilding?
Some of my colleagues said that my body muscles were really good. One day, I heard that PABSI [the All-Indonesia Weight-Lifting Association] was holding a women’s bodybuilding competition. After dropping my daughter off at school, I went to the venue to ask if I could still join the competition. Luckily, I could, and luckier still, I won that competition.
Wow! How did you move on to the international level?
Well, after I won that first competition, I started making friends with bodybuilding experts from around the world via Facebook. I bumped into one of them when I visited Bangkok. She told me that I had the potential to join international competitions. She taught me how to pose, how to choreograph my routines and how to dress for a competition.
Later, when I was back in Indonesia, she told me that an Asian women’s fitness competition was soon to be held in Singapore. She encouraged me to join, but said that I would need to ask for support from the Indonesian government because the entrants were supposed to be registered by their countries. At that time, there were no Indonesian women represented in international bodybuilding competitions. So I contacted PABSI and told them I was interested in going.
And how did they respond?
They said they would bring the issue up at their next board meeting. Finally, I was permitted to join the competition, but PABSI didn’t support me at all in preparing for it.
They said they didn’t know anything about women’s bodybuilding and that I should prepare everything for the competition by myself.
So what did you do?
I prepared as best I could. I trained by myself, controlled my own nutrition, created my own choreography and chose my own costume. Then I went to Singapore to compete.
I was so nervous! There were a lot of experienced bodybuilders gathered there, wearing jackets to represent their nationality, but me? I was wearing the wrong outfit: high heels! I expected nothing from the competition, but still gave it my best. And after several stages, they declared me the winner.
Amazing! You must have been very surprised. How did PABSI respond to that?
They were happy with the result. And so was I. I am very proud to be the first Indonesian female bodybuilder to win in an international competition.
May I know who your favorite bodybuilder is?
Ade Rai, the most famous Indonesian bodybuilder. I believe that every bodybuilder must have very strong discipline. And I believe that a woman can do anything a man can do. Ade Rai motivated me to become a female bodybuilder.
How many international competitions have you attended? Do you plan to attend any more?
I have only joined two international competitions. The first was in Singapore, and the second one was in Thailand. I won both. After that, I thought it was enough.
Why stop now?
Becoming a bodybuilder takes a lot of effort. You need to train very hard every day, and you end up having less time for others, including your family. Which is why, after I achieved what I wanted internationally, I chose to stop competing and start focusing my time on others.
So what do you do now?
I’m an instructor for several group exercise programs at fitness centers across Jakarta. I have not entered any more bodybuilding competitions, but I have become a judge for them several times.
Last question: Are you training your daughter to become a bodybuilder like you?
[Laughs] No! She doesn’t get into sports at all. She loves information technology. She is a smart one.
Vivi Lukvi was talking to Mulianingsih Kurnia.