A female version of Dorian Yates

Helle Trevino posing at the 2015 IFBB Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championships

Helle Trevino is one of the world’s top female bodybuilders. At 5–foot–5 and around 165 pounds in contest shape, Helle possesses one of the most incredible physiques in women’s bodybuilding. She is known above all for her incredible size and the phenomenal conditioning she displays onstage—a female version of the former Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates.

It began in rural Denmark

Helle Trevino (formerly Nielsen) competing in horse riding

It all began in a tiny town named Sønderborg in rural Denmark. Helle was a gymnast from the age of three and competed in various other sports including horse riding and track and field. Both her father and her sister (who is disabled) worked out. At the age of 17, Helle joined a gym and started training seven days a week. Her body quickly responded: when she started, she weighed 128 pounds; within a year of training, Helle had added 20 pounds of muscle and wanted more. She quickly realized she had great genetics for bodybuilding.

Denmark’s queen of density

Ms. Olympia Kim Chizevsky and Helle Trevino (formerly Nielsen)

Inspired by 4–time Ms. Olympia Kim Chizevsky, Helle started competing. At the age of 22, she won the Danish Nationals in 1998 – her first show. She proceeded to win the Scandinavian Championships just 5 weeks later. And the following year she competed at the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) World Championships in Australia and impressed bodybuilding writer Steve Wennerstrom, who dubbed her Denmark’s queen of density in his column in Flex magazine.

Competing at the Ms. Olympia

Helle Trevino (formerly Nielsen) competing at the Ms. Olympia

Helle became the first female pro bodybuilder from Denmark since Lisser Frost-Larsen in the early 1980s and won the Jan Tana Classic in 2003 on her pro debut. A few months later, at just 27 years-old, she placed fifth in the heavyweights at the Ms. O (Ms. Olympia)—the most prestigious show in women’s bodybuilding. After spending a few years building up her personal training business, Helle made a comeback in 2011 and won the FIBO Power Pro show in Germany and competed in the Ms. O in Las Vegas. In 2015, Helle excelled by placing second in the new Ms. Olympia—the IFBB Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championships—making her the second best bodybuilder in the world.

California Dreamin’

Helle continues to compete at the pro level. In 2012, she moved from Denmark to California and now trains at Gold’s in Venice—the “mecca” of bodybuilding, where she currently prepares for the Rising Phoenix World Championships in 2016.