From TV to pro
Stugart wins bodybuilding competition
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
June 14, 2017
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Valencia resident Lisa Stugart displays her trophy with trainer Kyle Walters after winning the Western Pennsylvania Miss Pittsburgh bikini open division title recently. The victory earned Stugart her professional bodybuilding card.

VALENCIA — All it took was watching a show on television.

Lisa Stugart stumbled across a Fitness America show on ESPN — a dancing and gymnastics competition among physically toned athletes — and was amazed by it.

“I thought it was awesome. I needed to do that. It was that simple,” she said.

Now, 17 years, three kids and 20 competitions later, the 41-year-old Valencia resident is still doing it — and at a higher level than ever.

Stugart recently won the masters and open categories of the bikini division at the Western Pennsylvania Miss Pittsburgh competition. She earned her pro card in the process.

“Winning the masters division (35 and older) was nice, but I was really proud of winning the open,” Stugart said. “I was going up against girls half my age.

“After doing that, I feel like age doesn’t matter. Whether you’re 20, 40, 60 ... If you get to work and train hard, you can do anything.”

The bikini division in bodybuilding emphasizes muscle time and physique, “but more leanness and athletic-looking physique,” Stugart explained.

Stugart and her husband, Paul, own fitness gyms in Glenshaw and Allison Park. Paul is an adventure racer and long distance runner.

Their children — Sonja, 12, Gavin, 10 and Amelia, 8 — are into gymnastics, baseball and dance.

“We’re all very active. My kids get excited when I’m not in training for competition because I can eat ice cream and do the fun stuff with them,” Stugart said. “When they see me eating the chicken and preparing my shakes, they know I’m getting ready for competition.

“I know they respect it and they’re proud of it. I hear them talking to their friends sometimes. Paul is supportive, too. He knows this is a passion of mine. He takes the kids when I work out and train and he’s at all of my shows.

“Still, with two businesses, three kids, training and competing ... I’m crazy busy,” she added.

Stugart placed first in the fitness division at Western Pennsylvania Miss Pittsburgh in 2003. That qualified her for the 2004 Fitness America nationals in California, where she placed among the top 20.

“That satisfied my bucket list,” she admitted.

She had her first child a year later, took a couple of years off, competed for another year and had Amelia in 2009.

That was followed by a six-year layoff from competing.

“I worked out to stay in shape all that time,” Stugart said. “Then, at 39, I discovered I still wanted to compete.”

This time, she was even more serious.

Stugart wanted to go after her pro card and enlisted the services of Saxonburg resident Kyle Walters to help her get there.

Walters, a trainer and certified nutritional specialist, has helped nine athletes win pro cards over the years.

“I found him on Facebook,” Stugart said. “He had his pro card, had won Mr. Pittsburgh three times ... He was person I needed.

“He restructured my diet and training program. As busy as I was, all I had to do was follow his plan and get to work. It’s always better to have someone on the outside look at you critically. I wanted to go from good to great and Kyle got me there.”

Walters described Stugart as “an inspiration.”

“Other people should look at her and what she’s done in her life,” he said. “You don’t have to look muscle-bound or live in a gym to be successful at this. And it’s never too late to get started.

“Follow a healthy lifestyle, take instruction ... You can lead a regular life and still do great things.”

Walters added that “as great as Lisa has been in this sport, she’s never been better.”

Stugart plans to compete in her first professional show in Washington D.C. at the end of October. Her long-range goals now include doing a couple of pro shows, winning the masters division and perhaps an open competition.

More importantly, she wants to help train other future competitors.

“I’d love to get a group together for competitions down the road,” she said. “A lot of my women clients have been following my journey.

“I didn’t just win for me, I won for them. They’ve enjoyed watching my success. Anyone can do this. Hopefully, more people will think out of the box and give it a shot.”