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Women in Sports

Looking to Get in Shape? Bodybuilder Erin Stern May Have an Idea for You

Photo: Courtesy of Willie Peterson

Erin Stern is a former NCAA Division I Junior All-American in the high jump who became a bodybuilder. She’s a self-coached lifetime natural athlete who now helps others build their best selves.

How did you start in the competitive fields of track and field, and fitness?

I grew up riding horses, and would often run next to my horse and jump fences. My father suggested I try out for track and field, and fell in love with the jumps and sprints. I later earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Florida.

Coming from that fitness background, what motivated you to start competing in figure competitions?

In 2008, I was training to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the high jump. I fell short by 3cm. This setback left a void in my life — I wanted to have something to work toward athletically. A friend suggested figure competitions, as I could still train similarly to how I had been training. I won my first show and was hooked. I went pro at my third show by winning the overall championship.

What advice do you have for women who want to compete in figure competitions?

Competing can be very rewarding if you do it for YOU. Decide why you want to compete, whether it’s for brand-building or as a personal goal. Set objective goals, a realistic timeline, and have a plan for after the competition. Regardless of placing, you’ll be a winner if you achieve the goals you set for yourself!

Photo: Courtesy of Corey Sorensen

What is the best part of competing?

It’s hard to choose. I love being able to present my “work” on stage, and see how closely it resembles my ideal physique I visualized in my mind. Competing opens up doors for many opportunities and has given me a platform to be able to reach more people and help them.

What does your diet and exercise routine look like?

I currently train six days per week, with track and field-style training twice per week, and weights four times per week. The weight training is predominantly strength-based lifts like squats, deadlifts, rows, presses, and their variations. Workouts are quick and intense, and last less than an hour.

My diet is focused on quality foods like organic meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. I have high amounts of carbs both before and after training. I eat protein at every meal, as it helps with satiety, recovery, and maintaining muscle. I also typically eat only between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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