Born and raised near Miami, Florida, Erin Stern is a fitness model, and bodybuilder who competes in the IFBB. She holds two Figure Olympia titles, along with numerous other fitness accolades. She’s regarded as one of the greatest Figure icons in the history of bodybuilding.
Although Erin enjoys a successful career in bodybuilding, fitness wasn’t always her first choice. In fact, for the most of her schooling years, she trained to become a professional track athlete; competing in high jumping and running.
However, after failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games, Erin realized high jumping wasn’t the “right fit” for her; choosing fitness as her career path instead.
Erin didn’t regret making this decision – she’s since become one of the most familiar faces in bodybuilding, and beyond; spreading her influence on the internet through her motivational posts and pictures.
This is her story:
“Lift weights. It’s one of the few pastimes that allow you to carry your work with you wherever you go. Have patience. Know that results will not come all at once – but they will come. Be consistent. Success is never a linear thing. You’ll have good days, and you’ll have bad days. Bottom line – if you put the time in, you will be successful.”
Full Name: Erin Stern Weight Height Age Date of Birth 135 - 145lbs (61.2 - 65.8kg) 5'9" (175cm) 39 February 5, 1980 Profession Era Figure Competitor, Fitness Model, Lifestyle Coach, Author 2000, 2010 Weight 135 - 145lbs (61.2 - 65.8kg) Height 5'9" (175cm) Age 39 Date of Birth February 5, 1980 Profession Figure Competitor, Fitness Model, Lifestyle Coach, Author Era 2000, 2010
“Focus on you. Who cares what pops up your newsfeed – most likely it’s shrouded in filters and embellishments. Your opponent stares back at you…in the mirror. Your energy will never be depleted when you’re focused on what you need to do in order to accomplish your goals.”
- 2008 NPC National Bodybuilding and Figure Championships – 1st Place
- 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic – 10th Place
- 2009 IFBB Europa Show of Champions – 5th Place
- 2009 IFBB Jacksonville Pro – 2nd Place
- 2009 IFBB Houston Pro Figure – 2nd Place
- 2009 IFBB Figure Olympia – 6th Place
- 2009 IFBB Fort Lauderdale Pro Fitness and Figure – 2nd Place
- 2010 IFBB Arnold Classic – 2nd Place
- 2010 IFBB Europa Show of Champions – 1st Place
- 2010 IFBB Figure Olympia – 1st Place
- 2011 IFBB Arnold Classic – 2nd Place
- 2011 IFBB Australian Pro Grand Prix XI – 1st Place
- 2011 IFBB New Zealand Pro Figure – 1st Place
- 2011 IFBB Olympia – 2nd Place
- 2011 IFBB Jacksonville Pro- 1st Place
- 2012 Figure International – 2nd Place
- 2012 Australian Pro Figure Classic – 1st Place
- 2012 Valenti Classic Pro Figure – 1st Place
- 2012 Figure Olympia – 1st Place
- 2012 Sheru Classic – 1st Place
- 2012 Arnold Classic Europe – 1st Place
- 2013 Arnold Classic – 3rd Place
- 2013 Australia Pro – 2nd place
- 2013 Valenti Classic – 1st place
- 2013 Figure Olympia – 2nd Place
Horse Riding and Track
Like most famous athletes, Erin enjoyed an active youth. She spent her earliest years running, horse riding, climbing trees, and playing with her sister and father; seeking out competition “from the start.”
One day, while she ran beside her horse, Erin was approached by her father, Ira. Surprised by her amazing leaping ability, Ira told Erin she should try competitive running and jumping, aka, track.
Erin heeded her father’s advice – she started her track career in high school. Then later, earned a full scholarship to the University of Florida because of her amazing performance on the field.
She excelled at the discipline even more while she was in college; earning the status of Junior All-American in the high jump category.
Almost Qualifying for the Olympics
Following her graduation from college, Erin set a new goal in mind – becoming a professional athlete. She continued high jumping, hoping she would qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Bejing.
In the spring of 2008, she made her last attempt to qualify; clearing a 5 foot 11 jump. Unfortunately, she missed the qualifier by just three centimeters.
After failing to reach her goal, Erin came to a conclusion that she didn’t have genetic predispositions to succeed at the discipline. In her words; “I realized that being a high jumper at 5-foot-8 and close to 140 pounds, genetically it wasn’t in the cards for me to jump 6-foot-8 like a lot of the other girls are going to.”
As a result, she decided to chase a career in something else other than track and high jumping.
As she was always into fitness during high school and college, it didn’t take Erin long to make up her mind what to chase after her “departure” from athletics.
She started working out in the gym, this time, not just for the sake of performance, but for achieving a more aesthetic look as well.
“In college, I learned Olympic lifts and learned a lot about the body, but not so much about aesthetic lifting, so after college I started doing the aesthetic lifts.”
Soon, Erin built a physique that was so outstanding, that one of her close friends suggested she should compete in figure show. Still having the “competitive itch” from years of athletics, Erin accepted the suggestion. She decided it was time to prepare for her first ever fitness contest.
Success in Motion
After gaining some experience in her first three local contests, Erin took part in her first big show – the 2008 NPC National Bodybuilding and Figure Championships. Amazingly, she was able to take home 1st place in the show; entering the IFBB Pro circuit in the process.
Erin says everything happened very fast – from winning her first local contest in Miami, to earning a Pro Card less than a year later. However, she didn’t want to spend time processing what happened; instead, she began preparing for her Pro debut,“enjoying the ride.”
In 2009, she made her first-time appearance on the IFBB stage, at the Arnold Classic; finishing in 10th place. Several months later, she took home 6th place in the biggest fitness competition on the planet – the 2009 Figure Olympia. That was the last time Erin placed outside the top three contestants.
Since the 2009 Olympia, Erin has achieved several incredible milestones in her career. She’s become a two-time Figure Olympia Champion, winning the competition in 2010 and 2012, and placing top three in 17 other shows.
Alongside Nicole Wilkins, Erin was the most feared Figure contestant during the 2009-2014 period. The two created a “duopoly” in the female bodybuilding world, winning almost every major title between them during this 5-year period.
“Motivated to be better than my previous best”, Erin continues to inspire generations with her dedication to bodybuilding.
“Log in hours on the cardio equipment, if your goal is to be the best at exercising. Train with intensity and purpose, if your goal is to look like an athlete.”
Erin has a simple, yet extremely effective approach to training. She has her own “hybrid” workout program, which focuses on high-intensity movements, and heavy weights.
“I train like a sprinter/jumper (plyos, powerlifting, and sprints) and like a bodybuilder to add aesthetic shape to my physique.” – Erin Stern
She bases her training session on compound movements such as deadlifts and squats, which help “tie” her physique together.
- Monday – Legs
- Tuesday – Chest
- Wednesday – Back
- Thursday – Legs
- Friday – Shoulders
- Saturday – Arms
- Sunday – Rest
Erin’s Best Exercises
Erin’s essential exercises to build an outstanding physique are squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, pull ups, and military press. According to her, these exercises by themselves are enough to build an aesthetic and muscular-looking frame.
However, if she had to pick only three exercise, they would be squats, deadlifts, and cleans.
Cardio For Losing Fat, and Preserving Muscle
When asked which type of cardio is the best for fat loss (normal or HIIT), Erin jokingly responded; “What is normal cardio? Is that where you chain yourself to the treadmill for hours? No thanks!”
Keeping it Simple
Similar as with her training, Erin follows a few basic principles which make her dieting effective, and not too difficult.
The first, and the most important principle is – “if it wasn’t around 10,000 years ago, don’t eat it”. This means her diet consists of a lot of whole foods, lean meats, vegetables, and fruits; without any room for artificial sweets and processed foods. She also avoids anything that contains gluten (except oats), and high-fat dairy.
In terms of macros, she eats high-protein, high-carb, and low-fat foods.
Looking at Erin’s diet, it’s clear that she doesn’t have a lot of freedom to indulge in cheat meals. But, she has no problems with this – as she says, “to be the best, you have to sacrifice some things.”
Erin’s Sample Meal Plan
- 1st Meal: 5 egg whites, oatmeal
- 2nd Meal: Apple & plain greek yogurt
- 3rd Meal: Steamed veg, 4-6 oz chicken, brown rice
- 4th Meal: Protein shake, rice cakes
- 5th Meal: 4-6 oz grilled fish, salad
- 6th Meal: A casein shake before bed
“You define success. Success is the pursuit and achievement of a worthy goal. Choose your goal, work towards it, and success is yours!”
Idols and Influences
Erin believes no one “comes close” to their proportions, especially Sergio’s.
“We each have tremendous potential! But, potential itself is a static thing – without effort, it easily become ‘could’ve’ or ‘would’ve.’ Push forward every day, even if it’s a few centimeters. It brings you closer to greatness!”
What we can learn from Erin Stern
One asset in particular has helped Erin’s rise to the top – perseverance. She was naturally gifted for athleticism and sports, but had one major obstacle on her journey towards becoming an Olympic athlete – her height. As a result, she had to abandon the discipline, and look for something else to build her career upon.
But, she didn’t give up because of the obstacles she faced. Instead, she accepted everything as it was, and started her journey in fitness. She began pushing her limits every day in the gym, sculpting a physique that brought her an incredible amount of success later on.
In a way, her setback in track and field was an opportunity to choose something even better. She grabbed onto that opportunity, and hasn’t let go ever since.
It might be wise to look up to Erin’s example from time to time, in case you need the inspiration to move on from difficult events that have happened in your life. Learn from them, and keep moving forward – that way, you can achieve success, just like Erin Stern.