Kirsti had to have an operation on her hips when she stopped training – believes that the exit from Norway’s fittest was due to something else

There was an intense duel between Kirsti Nordbyhaug Engh (73) and Mahinder Kumar (73) in Monday’s episode of the TV 2 program Norway’s Fittest. In the end, former aerobics instructor and gym owner Engh had to see himself defeated and leave the competition.

Engh has gritted her teeth and fought in a number of challenging competitions in the programme, which was recorded earlier this spring. It was a scenario she hadn’t imagined just a year ago.

NORWAY'S FITEST: Engh has worked hard to train for participation in Norway's fittest.  Photo: TV 2

NORWAY’S FITEST: Engh has worked hard to train for participation in Norway’s fittest. Photo: TV 2

– I have replaced both hips, and I had the one operation only a year before the recording for Norway’s fittest. It all ended up being a bit more challenging than I had imagined, Engh tells TV 2.

See the duel between Engh and Kumar in the video at the top of the story.

Had to contact a doctor

It was a sour loss for the fit lady from Hvaler, who had pain in one leg during the knockout competition. She tried to keep that hidden from duelist Kumar.

– It was really bad to smoke. And especially considering that I injured one leg in a competition the day before.

In the competition the day before, she was stepped on by accident when she and fellow participant Inge Hansen (76) were stripped together and had to get through various obstacles.

The pensioners end up in a bloody duel

– We had a bit of a loose strip, so he ran right at my foot. I had so much adrenaline so I didn’t think much about it then and there.

It wasn’t until she got up the next day that she realized she couldn’t step on her leg.

– It was bright blue and I had to get help from the nurses and the Red Cross, says the 73-year-old who is convinced that her injury was the reason why she was chosen, and thus out of the competition.

– Were there any alliances in there at the holiday colony?

– No, no alliances. At least not as I experienced. Everyone has supported each other and we have had incredible fun together.

SOCIAL: The pensioners in Norway's fittest became well known and enjoyed life at the holiday colony on Filtvet.  Photo: Synne Moen/TV 2

SOCIAL: The pensioners in Norway’s fittest became well known and enjoyed life at the holiday colony on Filtvet. Photo: Synne Moen/TV 2

Had to give the man a job

Engh has run her own gym for 28 years, and she organizes annual cycling and aerobics trips to Crete with her former studio members.

She organizes the bike rides together with her husband, but this year she had to send her husband alone with 30 participants, just three days before she left Norway’s fittest.

Reacts strongly when this happens: – Completely hopeless

– When I got home after my stay, I packed my suitcase and followed the others to Crete. In that sense, it wasn’t the worst time to have to leave the competition.

Now looking forward to the girls’ trip with 32 participants in September, where the focus is on aerobics.

Stopped training – ended up in a wheelchair

Engh can look back on a long and active working life as studio owner and group instructor. When she retired, she decided to take it more easy. She stopped training – something she would regret.

– I stopped training when I left my job, which consisted of training. But the body could not stand it and the pain in the hips became intense.

After several years without training, she developed problems with both hips.

– My body was used to being in motion, and since I was also born with hip dysplasia, I was in enormous pain.

The otherwise fit lady ended up in a wheelchair before she had hip surgery.

IN A WHEELCHAIR: In autumn 2019, Engh had to be wheeled in a wheelchair when she was in Legoland in Denmark with her son and two of her grandchildren.  Photo: Private

IN A WHEELCHAIR: In autumn 2019, Engh had to be wheeled in a wheelchair when she was in Legoland in Denmark with her son and two of her grandchildren. Photo: Private

– I was able to walk on crutches, but if I were to take part in activities that required a lot of walking, I had to be wheeled in a wheelchair.

In 2020 and 2021, she had both hips operated on, and thus began the job of training to participate in Norway’s fittest.

– I haven’t had time to train as much as I would have liked. Gradual training is required after such interventions, and I was excited to see how things would progress towards the recording of the programme.

BEINHARD: Engh gave everything in the competitions in Norway's fittest.  Here she is in action with Mariann Stenbakk.  Photo: TV 2

BEINHARD: Engh gave everything in the competitions in Norway’s fittest. Here she is in action with Mariann Stenbakk. Photo: TV 2

Damaged during recording

The training went beyond all expectations, and she herself is impressed by how quickly she has gotten back into shape.

– I have trained all my life, and then the muscles come back quickly – even with hip prostheses. I am satisfied with the effort I made in Norway’s fittest. I even managed to climb a 30 meter high mast, she says proudly.

Nevertheless, there is something she could have done differently before the recording:

– I’m not really going to complain, but I see that I should have focused more on running and trained more on fitness.

She also says that she suffered an injury after one of the first exercises in the competition, which she believes may have affected her performance for the rest of her stay.

– On the first day we had an exercise where we had to drag a tire behind us, and then I broke my neck. I struggled with headaches afterwards and had a nurse look at it. It turned out that I had a dislocation in my neck. I think I ate six paracetamol a night, she recalls.

Going out in a memory competition – then she forgets her own question

Shall we dance for “oldies”?

This summer, Engh enjoyed himself with his grandchildren without the need for either crutches or a wheelchair. And in the autumn she returns to the gym.

– I have missed group training, so now my husband and I have signed up for SATS. I did a lot of spinning before, so I’m going to start doing that again, says she, who is also in the process of building her own gym in the house. But it will only be for private use this time.

When asked if the reality debut has given her more taste to participate in more reality shows, she answers this:

– Yes, in that case it must have been something similar. Maybe Farmen or Shall we dance for “oldies”?

More reality or not – the fit lady is well satisfied with what she has gained from participating in Norway’s fittest.

FUN: The participants formed a strong bond during their stay at Filtvet.  Photo: Ingvild Mjøen Sausjord/ TV 2

FUN: The participants formed a strong bond during their stay at Filtvet. Photo: Ingvild Mjøen Sausjord/ TV 2

– I have some contact with several of the other participants on Facebook. I have also invited all the ladies on a weekend trip home to Hvaler. We’ve become quite close and it’s so nice that you’re never too old to make new friends, she says to TV 2.

Watch Norway’s fittest every Monday at 20:00 and whenever you want TV 2 Play.

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