Wonder Women: Erin Stern

Division I track athlete and two-time Figure Olympia champion opens up about her enduring love of track, the practice of gratitude and her weekly self-care indulgence.

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If I could go back and give my younger self advice, I would tell myself to be kinder, to enjoy life more and to practice being grateful. I think we miss out on a lot by being self-conscious or picking ourselves apart. Gratitude puts things into perspective and delivers happiness.

Once a week, I’ll put on a facial mask and just lie on the couch for an hour — that is my guilty pleasure. It’s kind of fun donning a robe and looking like a sea monster for a little while!

My best memory from my Bikini competition days was in 2012: I won the Figure Olympia, hopped on a plane to New Delhi and won the Sheru Classic. From there, I traveled to Spain and won the Arnold Classic in Madrid. I was able to shake Arnold’s hand for the first time onstage. The entire experience was surreal and a dream come true!

True sport is you versus something tangible, and I loved the challenge of track and field. I could also quickly learn from my failures. For example, if I missed three bars in a row in the high jump, I could review my form, approach and other aspects of the jump and correct them. My sister and I are actually planning to do a few meets in 2019, and my father said he may run the 100 meters, so we can all relive our glory days!

I take MuscleTech Clear Muscle with BetaTOR and Swanson Peak ATP about 30 minutes before I train. BetaTOR can increase muscle synthesis, decrease muscle breakdown and increase strength, while Peak ATP helps improve performance and body composition. Both help me train longer and with more intensity and enable me to recover quicker from hard training sessions.