Grandmom and fitness enthusiast competes in Baltimore Gladiator

March 25, 2017

Aging is a fact of life, but you don’t have to be at the mercy of gravity. With a little hard work and dedication, you can stall the aging process, and you might be surprised at how well your metabolism will work. To prove my point, there is no better example than my 49-year-old wife Stephanie and her recent accomplishment this past weekend at the NPC Gladiator in Baltimore.

Stephanie has always been into fitness. She was an avid runner for most of her life and was known by many as the girl who constantly ran the streets of New Castle, but many years ago when her son David took her to the gym and she began to blend weight lifting with running, and that’s when her body really began to change.

“I noticed I didn’t just look skinny, but I started to get toned with good muscle quality and a better figure,” said Stephanie.

Gradually, she spent more time in the gym. A torn meniscus in her left knee forced her to reduce the amount of cardio and do less running, but a passion for weightlifting had already taken shape. Recently, Stephanie decided to test her fitness level by entering the NPC Gladiator bikini competition. “Next month, I will turn 50, and my goal was to be in great shape and knock something off my bucket list I always wanted to do, so I signed up to compete, and there was no turning back.”

NPC bikini competitions are part of larger bodybuilding competitions, but they have become the highlight of the show, because they are more mainstream and less intimidating than the body builders most people have seen in magazines. The bikini division is highly competitive and has become extremely popular. This year’s Gladiator boasted a roster of 150 women and more than 1,000 spectators. The goal of the bikini division is to get in great condition with low body fat and good muscle quality but not lose the feminine curves. This was Stephanie’s first contest, and she did a fantastic job. She placed second in the Grand Masters (40-49 years old) and fifth in the Open. The Open included several women in their 20s and 30s, so it was an incredible accomplishment for a woman her age.

The most amazing thing about this story is Stephanie is a grandmom to three girls and has two sons ages 30 and 31. She is one month from her 50th birthday, and she is a great example of what a healthy diet and strong work ethic can do. She travels around the country two weeks a month for work, but she never uses it as an excuse to eat bad things or miss the gym.

“When you have a goal, you have to stick to it,” she said. “So I did all my food prep before I left, and I would call gyms ahead of time to make sure I would have a place to work out when I reached my destination. Sometimes I would get up as early as 4:30 a.m. to be sure to get everything done.”

When asked what the future will hold for her and if she will compete again, Stephanie said, “It was inspiring to see so many beautiful girls with the drive and passion to live the fitness lifestyle. After competing, I want to improve and do better. I feel I was able to really take my shape to the next level, but now I want to work on stage presence and do even better in my next contest.”

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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