Gretchen Lichtenstein Interview

What sparked your interest in health and fitness?

GL: I was an athlete all through high school and college, involved in gymnastics, swimming, and lifeguarding; I competed in a few triathlons and always had a love of fitness. I didn’t start serious weight training until my late thirties, after the loss of my mother to cancer at a young age; I was driven to take my own health and fitness to the next level. I began competing not long afterward, and have continued to challenge myself to become more fit and stronger with each competition. I earned my IFBB pro card in July 2013.


You look amazing as a 48 year old mother of three. How are you able to look so young and fit for your age?

GL: I truly believe that weight training and a healthy diet are the fountain of youth. I feel better and look younger than I did when I was thirty; knowing that my children are looking up to me pushes me harder to stay healthy and set a good example. It takes a lot of commitment and dedication to stick to a certain way of eating when cooking for the rest of the family, but knowing that the way I eat impacts how I look helps to keep me on track. I stay motivated by setting lots of small goals on my way to a larger one; staying positive and aiming for progress rather than perfection are key.


You started competing just after your 40th birthday. Did you face any challenges competing against younger competitors or do you truly believe “age is just a number”?

GL: I really believe age is just a number, there’s nothing you can’t do given the proper discipline, dedication, and devotion. Not just in weight training, but also for life in general, there’s nothing age can hold you back from. Ironically, in some competitions I would do better in the open, rather than master’s, classes, which is more proof that age doesn’t matter.

2374You are doing your Pro debut this March in St. Louis. How are you feeling about it? Are you more excited or nervous?

GL: I’m very excited about my pro debut! My coach has helped to take my physique to a level I never dreamed of reaching. I’m beyond excited and honored to be onstage with my competitors and can’t wait to meet new people.


What is your favorite exercise and why?

GL: Shoulder presses are my true love; the immediate pump always makes me feel more amped and excited for the rest of the workout. I also love my squats! There are so many variations, I can change it up a lot and see more results within my body, they’re so effective.


What shaped the earliest transition you saw in your body the most: training or nutrition?

GL: The earliest changes came with diet, but my physique responded well with training.

2381What’s the best advice you have for middle aged women looking to keep fit?

GL: Consistency is key! Part time anything will never yield what you want: be patient and consistent. Changes will come. It’s all about becoming a “do-er”; no one is going to put in the work for you, you have to do it for yourself.


You’re also a mom of 3 children. How do you find balance with your family life, fitness and everything you do?

GL: I try to include my children and encourage them to be fit as well. It can be a struggle to fit in all in, but as a type A personality, I can almost never sit still, which helps me to get everything done in my days.


Whom have been your biggest role models growing up? Have these people had a profound impact on your career?

GL: My parents, they always instilled within me that hard work pays off and to never look for shortcuts for anything worthwhile; you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to get what you truly want because nothing will be handed to you, you have to earn it.

2377What’s something people may not know about you?

GL: I’m an avid baker! I’m widely known for my secret family recipe for the most mouth watering chocolate chip cookies you may ever taste. I enjoy all kinds of baking from scratch.


What are your goals both personally and professionally?

GL: Personally, continuing to improve myself physically, psychologically, and emotionally. I’m definitely a work in progress, and while I enjoy where I am, I’m always striving for improvement. I also take great joy in motivating and inspiring others. Professionally, to continue competing as an IFBB figure professional and to one day become a personal trainer.

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