Stacie Gladwell, from Pleasant View, began bodybuilding four years ago after she fractured her hip and was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition characterized by low bone density, which may be a precursor to osteoporosis. To improve her health, she changed her diet and began weightlifting. While women do not have the testosterone to build muscle in the same way men do, Gladwell says, her athletic build allowed her to amass bulk. She began competing in amateur bodybuilding contests organized by the National Physique Committee (NPC) and now works as a personal trainer. After competing in the NPC's bikini division, which emphasizes proportion, symmetry, balance, shape and skin tone; she switched to the figure division, which emphasizes symmetry and definition. For more information, visit her Instagram feed, @get.fit.gladwell.
How did your friends and family react when you first got into bodybuilding?
My family and friends have been amazing, I truly have the best support group around. When I announced I was switching from bikini bodybuilding to figure, a more muscular division, there were a few concerns. I was told "not to get to big" once by my dad. Now he loves it and is one of my biggest fans!
Is bodybuilding like other sports?
Bodybuilding is the foundation of all sports. Bodybuilders are dedicated athletes.
How has bodybuilding changed for women recently?
Bodybuilding has evolved over the years. There are more divisions for women to compete in, and the stereotype of looking like a man has diminished. Muscle is being seen as beautiful and sexy, not manly.
What is your workout and eating schedule?
Maintaining my fitness level takes dedication, not only to the gym, but to diet as well. I work out six days a week. I lift all six days and incorporate 30 or more minutes of cardio into my routine. My diet consists of lean protein, some complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and veggies. I eat six meals a day about three hours apart, and I always drink at least one gallon of water a day.
Would you encourage other women to take up bodybuilding?
I encourage women to pick up weights. I have never been more confident and happy than I am now, and I'm in the best shape of my life! Weight training is great for women's overall health. Lifting increases the number of calories you burn, raises your metabolism, strengthens your bones and decreases stress—to name just a few benefits.