Interview: Ms. Figure Olympia, DI All-American, Fitness Guru, Author…and Just Getting Started – Erin Stern

When I first began the TGR site Erin and I missed an in-person interview. Walking through the FLL airport I see her on the cover of Hers Magazine. I reached back out and we were able to connect. Erin is a star, whether she is working out, writing or competing. Get to know Erin Stern and how she is just getting started.

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1) Tell TGR readers about yourself.

I am an author, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia Champ, former Division I Junior All-American high jumper, and speaker. I currently coach thousands of women who are enrolled in my online courses. I also run a YouTube channel that offers free workouts and information. I hope to help change the lives of people by helping them make small changes in their lifestyle, mindset, and goal-setting. I am still competing in the bodybuilding world, and am training for another show this summer.

2) How did you get into body building?

I had a real estate company, and was still competing in high jump at the time. I trained to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Trials, but missed it by 3cm. A friend suggested that I get into bodybuilding, since I weight trained almost every day of the week. At first, it didn’t appeal to me. I thought of bodybuilders as beefy, and too muscular. But, bodybuilding had changed. They offered a division called “Figure”, which was a combination of muscles and femininity. The women wore Swarovski-studded bikinis and heels. I trained a few weeks for my first show, and won! I had been lifting for 10 years, so I already had the muscle needed for the division. I won my second show, too – and went Pro at my third show. It happened in a 3-month span! I went on to win my first Olympia a little over a year later.

3) What was it like to win two Figure Olympia titles?

I had failed in everything I did until I vowed to be the best in the world at something. The victories were surreal – because I had trained so hard and visualized that day on stage, the events unfolded almost exactly how I dreamed they would! I also don’t think I realized how great of an honor it was until a couple of years afterwards.

4) You also trained in track. Why did you choose to go the fitness route?

I still love track, and still compete unattached at USATF meets! I chose fitness because it fit more into my lifestyle. I think it’s important to have goals that align with your lifestyle, otherwise something that should be fun can become a burden. With track, I’d need a coach and access to a high jump pit. That’s tough to do. I’m also too short to be a world-class high jumper! For all of the reasons, fitness is the better fit for me.

5) What sorts of tips can you give people trying to get in shape? What motivates you to get into the gym?

“You cannot travel within and stand still without.” This is one of my favorite quotes by James Allen. The first step to getting fit is to clearly visualize your new life in your ideal body. Many people start by wanting to trim down, lose weight, or get fit. This is such a hazy, somewhat unattainable goal. Take a few  minutes and see yourself as you really wish to be. How do your shoulders look? Legs? How does your fit body move? The next step is to start using mantras. This goes beyond affirmations. Phrases like “I make good food choices”, and “I love working out”, can help to reprogram the mind and re-frame the way you perceive things. Move towards a fit mind, and the body will follow. In the gym, choose compound exercises (exercises that use 2 joints in a movement, like a squat, leg press, shoulder press, row, etc), supersets, and HIIT cardio. Take it one day at a time. Use measurements or pictures to keep track of progress, not the scale! You can gain muscle and lose fat and the scale will not change.

I’m motivated to work out because it’s a lifestyle now. It’s stress relief. I also continue to set goals for improving my physique, and it’s fun to see how many times I can reinvent myself. Working out has amazing physical benefits, but it also reconfigures the brain for the better! That alone is motivation!

6) You were just on the cover of Her Magazine. How did that come about? What was the experience like?

I have stayed active in the fitness industry, and Muscle and Fitness Hers asked if I’d like to do a shoot and a “cover try”. The cover try is simply an audition for the cover, it’s not guaranteed. The photo shoot was in LA, and lasted over 12 hours! Although the days are long, I absolutely love the experience. There are so many people involved in the process – photographer, hair and make up artists, techs, PA’s, creative directors, and editors. It’s amazing how much work goes into just one shot.

7) What was your Jewish life like growing up? Are you connected today and if so how?

I grew up in a Reform household. My sister and I attended Hebrew School and we both had Bat Mitzvahs. From an early age, my sister and I were taught the importance of faith, sports, and solid values. Family and faith come first, and they always will. My father tells a story about his college football days. One of the games fell on Yom Kippur, and he told the coach that he could not play. He instead went to Temple. Because of this, he was kicked off the team (they later reinstated him). He went on to become captain of the team, and had a great career. But he took a stand for what was important to him. I strive to do the same in my life.

8) Where can readers find you on social media? What else should we know?

Instagram – 2x_ms_olympia

Facebook – FitErin

YouTube – erinstern5

Website – www.erinstern.com

I have 2 books out, MPower Your Life, and the Bodybuilder’s Kitchen, both are available on Amazon. My third book, Train Like a Bodybuilder comes out in July. 

Photo Credit: Eva Simon

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