A little over a year ago, TV 2 sports journalist Morten Asbjornsen (26) had an idea to kill three birds with one stone: What if – at the same time – he could play a tennis match against Casper Rudd (24), become the best journalist, And losing weight at the same time?
He pitched the idea to TV 2 and Casper Ruud, both of whom put up their thumbs.
The result was the TV 2 Play documentary «You and me, Casper».
The injury that changed everything
To understand Asbjørnsen’s motivations, we have to go back a few years in time. Throughout his childhood and growing up, the 26-year-old was a few kilos overweight, despite an active lifestyle with lots of football playing.
But then he tore his cruciate ligament and had to have an operation.
– Then I just gave up. It was as if I was deprived of the joy of football. I was by no means a good soccer player, but I enjoyed soccer and the group of friends, says Asbjørnsen.
The injury sent him into a spiral of lethargy and rest eating. And when he studied journalism in Fulda, he didn’t spend his free time with Handbrake. He lived the student life to the fullest with lots of fast food and parties.
Gradually, he got so big that he refused to even step on a bathroom scale. He knew it was bad, but he didn’t want to know where bad.
“The kilos kept coming,” says Asbjørnsen, slamming his fist hard and simply into his palm over and over to score kilo after kilo.
I didn’t think about what this lifestyle had done to me. I was just going to have fun.
Crying after weighing
This is exactly why he was so anxious on the first day of recording “You and Me, Casper”. Then he had to weigh himself for the first time in eight years.
As he stood nervously on the digital bathroom scale, he deliberately chose to look straight ahead. He didn’t want to see the number. Then he got off the shower scale and took a few steps back. Thinking the figure had disappeared from the screen, he looked down. He barely managed to see “174.6 kilograms” before the screen went black.
Within a nanosecond, disgusting anxiety swept all over his body. It was 174.6 kg more than he feared.
– Those feelings… The emptiness I felt was absolutely insane. It was pure hell.
After the next training session – without motivation – Asbjørnsen went straight home to digest the weight result. Family and friends knew he was about to weigh himself that day, but they all waited in vain for the update. He was not at all ready to participate. Text anyone who is curious because they are unable to chat with them.
Then he turned off the mobile phone, and was left sitting alone with many dark thoughts – and in the midst of all the thoughts was “174.6 kilos”.
– I was embarrassed, because I knew that this was a number that people would know. I’m starting to feel ashamed. I started crying. This was probably the only time I cried during the entire project. I didn’t care what everyone thought, but that mom, dad, friends from Haugesund, and colleagues must see that number…
– When I went to bed that night, I slept better than ever. I slept like a rock. And when I woke up, a little hell ran through me. I knew I had to address this.
Practice up to 20 hours per week
The documentary “You and Me, Casper” shows the many grueling training sessions Asbjørnsen had to do to get back in shape for his tennis match against Casper Rudd.
Asbjørnsen trained up to 20 hours each week. In addition to intense tennis training, vigorous strength training was necessary to build up flabby muscle mass.
“It was hell,” says Asbjørnsen with a stone face, a grave.
It then lists everything the training has done to improve and increase quality of life. For years he suffered from knee pain after an ACL injury, but today the knee is “completely problem-free”. The condition is better. He still plays sports and plays tennis as often as he can. He’s eating less than before and his diet is getting healthier – and he allows himself to indulge every now and then.
He received dietary tips from influencer Emilie “Voe” Nereng (27), which he still enjoys.
Asbjørnsen and Nereng also ran an informal test which is faster: cook yourself, or order from Foodora. You can see the result in the video below:
But perhaps the most important thing is that it builds muscle mass, so that the body is prepared to handle the weight.
– I think I have 80 kilograms of muscle mass. I had to build a base for my body to resist.
Struggle to deal with compliments
During the ten-month recording period, he consistently received positive feedback from people who expressed their admiration for the project. But even he did not feel that the praise was justified.
One of the things I struggled to hear at first was, “You’re so strong, smart, and brave to do this.” I struggled with that, though, because I didn’t feel brave at all. I didn’t feel like I was being cruel. really no. zero percentage. I hated it when people said that because I felt like this was just cleaning up the problem.
The tough year of training has clearly had doubly positive effects in Morten Asbjørnsen’s life – he calls it, after all, “the most important year of my life” – but there was still one thing he was missing: a girlfriend.
His confidence is top notch when it comes to personality, but he gives a failing score to his physical confidence. This means that dating in life is almost non-existent for him.
– I find it very difficult with women. I’m terrified they’ll regret it to death if they’re with me after a night on the town. They slept with the Blue Whale of the Haugesund as it was. I often think about that. I still struggle a lot with my physical self-image. In no way did I get over it.
That’s how it always was for him. He has never had a girlfriend. Afraid of not getting along with the gang of boys, he lied as a teen about his sexual experiences.
– I did it to keep up. Try to be cool.
He has an active account on Tinder, but he keeps quiet on there.
– I have Tinder, but I still have the feature to send a message. I swipe right, but it’s almost more of a pastime than a place where I can realistically ask someone out.
Lost a tennis match
The documentary “You and I, Casper” ended with the tennis match against Casper Rudd, which took place in Oslo on February 4, 2023.
Up front, Asbjørnsen dreamed of getting one point; he got three. A small victory in a resounding loss.
Overall, the project was still a huge victory for Asbjørnsen. In ten months, he lost just over 30 kilos. Today he weighs just under 140, and the goal is to stabilize at 110.
But the most important thing isn’t what the bathroom scale says. The most important thing for him is that he is in good shape and has good movement.
– Now I can stand on the tennis court for 2 hours with momentum and intensity without major problems. The difference is like day and night. I can handle intense workouts and can handle a lot of workouts, says Morten Asbjornsen.
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