Fitness Amateur Of The Week: Lady Muscle!

Gwen's confidence and intellect made her a force on the competition circuit. Now she harnesses inspiration from Iris Kyle to make a strong professional push!

Name: Gwen Fuerte
E-Mail: 2gfuerte@gmail.com
BodySpace: gfuerte
Location: Beloit, Wisconsin
Age: 35  Height: 5'3"
Weight: 142 lbs contest, 170 lbs off
Years Bodybuilding: 3

Q
How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?

I was born with a taped-up bar of an old Tuff Stuff Smith machine across my back. It was an odd twist of fate that I was in the basement gym, but there I was. I looked at myself in the mirror, completely unaware of what I was doing, un-racked the weight, and got ready for another set.

I say that's when I was born because that day changed my life. My lifting partner said it was pure chance that my first day was leg day, but it was meant to be. It's fitting that my passion for bodybuilding was forged on the most grueling day. It set my attitude toward the gym.

I never expected to be in a weight room at 33 years old, but for some reason, when the new guy at work invited me to work out with him one time, I said yes. He was a seasoned veteran with more than 25 years experience in the gym. I don't know what he saw in me that moved him to extend the invitation. All it took was one day; the initial feeling of weight across my back to unleash a new person within me.

After my first leg day, I couldn't walk right for a week, but I never missed a day. We were warriors. Every day after work I drove more than a half hour to train for two hours. As my control improved and I lifted more weight, an amazing thing happened. My body responded and I noticed new changes weekly.

It was never about trying to look a certain way. It was about understanding that I had control of my body and didn't have to settle for being a chubby size 16 who was never comfortable in a swimsuit. This has been an empowering experience that gave me life.

What Fitness Regimen Delivered the Best Results?

My results came from a traditional split that's the meat and potatoes for many bodybuilders. I still follow the same recipe and hit each body part once per week. Consistency is important, but the body needs to be constantly challenged, so I regularly incorporate drop sets, negatives, rest/pause, forced, and partial reps. I like to experiment with different grips, attachments, and angles to get the most out of every exercise.

Day 1: Chest


Day 2: Back


Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Arms


Day 5: Quads


Day 6: Shoulders/Traps


Day 7: Hamstrings/Glutes/Calves



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What Nutrition Plan Fueled Your Body?

Preparing for the Ottawa show taught me how powerful food is. People get too caught up in supplements. Until you get your diet under control and make it a priority, you will never realize your potential.

I handled my diet and made it about numbers instead of taste. My contest prep coach created an offseason diet for me that allowed for 2500 calories, half of which came from carbs, and the other half split three ways (two parts protein and one part fat). She limited my sodium intake to 1500 milligrams per day and sugar to 100 grams per day. I cut out restaurant and packaged foods and ate whole foods. The resulting transformation was nothing short of amazing.

Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4: Pre-Workout
Meal 5: Post-Workout
Meal 6
Meal 7
Meal 8: Before Bed

What Supplements Gave You an Edge?
With Meal 1
Pre-Workout
Intra-Workout
Post-Workout
Before Bed

How Did Your Passion for Fitness Emerge?

The appeal of fitness is the implied challenge that it's you against you. Wealth, social status, and popularity don't matter. You can't buy a winning physique. It's earned one drop of sweat at a time. When I walk into the weight room, it's there waiting for me. The iron and mirrors aren't forgiving. When you make the mind-body connection, it's like being given a set of super powers. When you get a taste of that, there's no going back.

What/Who Motivates You to Live a Healthy Lifestyle?

I'm driven to live a healthy lifestyle because it's essential to improve my physique. I'm not a health nut at heart, but I'm so passionate about bodybuilding and being competitive on stage that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. Fortunately, I'm not alone. My husband is also a bodybuilding enthusiast and shares the lifestyle with me. Every successful bodybuilder has a support group behind them, and my husband Frank is the most important person on my team.

Where Did You Go for Inspiration?

I make the choice every day to stay motivated and find inspiration in synchronicities around me. Right before NPC Mid-Illinois, on a day that I felt defeated by the intense diet and cardio program, I got home and sat in my car in the driveway. I thought about pulling out of the show, but fate wouldn't let me. On the way into the house, I checked the mail and there was a package from my brother with a note that said "Keep it up, Sis! You're almost to your competition."

When I need a push from people who understand what I'm going through and what I'm trying to achieve, I turn to my circle of friends on Bodybuilding.com. I made a book filled with quotes, supportive emails, and text messages from friends and family. I even keep pictures that inspire me (like Tom Platz's quads). I keep it with me always and flip through it when I need a boost.

What Are Your Future Fitness Plans?

I remember a day long ago when I passed my lifting partner in the hallway at work and he said, "Gwen, you're only three shows from Olympia." I laughed at his funny joke, but that comment planted a seed in my head that refused to remain dormant. At this point, that idea is a flower and I'm dreaming big. But this dream can only be attained in small steps. For me, the next step is winning next year's Arnold Amateur.

After that, my only plans are to help others get results in the weight room and do what I can to promote bodybuilding in the women's divisions. I try to be approachable in the gym and answer questions about diet and exercise. Giving back is essential to my mental and emotional health, and gives me a real sense of purpose.

What Is the Most Important Fitness Tip?

If you want to see results, educate yourself and never stop learning. Bodybuilding is a science. It's more cerebral than people think. You can't come at it without a game plan. The more aspects that you learn about, the more you'll be able to harness the information and put it to good use. No detail is too small to be ignored. Learn what you can and constantly be open and try new things.

Who Is Your Favorite Fitness Competitor?

I'm completely in love with the "Golden Age" of bodybuilding. Arnold Schwarzenegger has an almost deity-like appeal for me. As far as modern-day competitors, my favorite is Iris Kyle. She's a bad lady who brings the whole package and comes on stage dripping with confidence. If I pointed to one physique that I aspire to, it's hers.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

Educating yourself is the best gift you can give yourself, and Bodybuilding.com was one of the best sources of information for me when I started. The site was an invaluable resource for advice on nutrition and cardio and provided an arsenal of videos on proper exercise technique. I tracked workouts, updated my stats, and posted progress pictures. The BodySpace members are great sources of motivation and are always there with feedback. I can't imagine getting where I am now without Bodybuilding.com.

Gwen's Top 5 Gym Tracks
  1. "Move Bitch" by Ludacris (Feat. Mystical and I-20)
  2. "Black" by Sevendust
  3. "Rabia" by Nonpoint
  4. "Let's Go" by Travis Barker (Feat. Busta Rhymes)
  5. "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears" by Machine Head

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captaincranky

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captaincranky

You're incredible motivation, especially for my wife who is on the same path. She's 9 months into body building and has made great progress. It's women like you who keep her plugging along. Keep up the good work!

Aug 30, 2013 8:26am | report
 
gfuerte

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gfuerte

Thank you so much! Feedback like this is truly what keeps me going, and seeing people, like your wife, find success and strength from discovering themselves in the gym is what it is all about for me. I hope that gym life brings you two as close together as it has brought me and my husband!

Aug 30, 2013 5:55pm | report
RelaxImJoking

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RelaxImJoking

Its awesome that you went in on a leg day, woke up the next day walking funny, feeling sore and said, yep... I want more of this! hahaha.

Aug 30, 2013 10:48am | report
 
gfuerte

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gfuerte

Right!?! That is SO me...lovin' the pain! And I didn't just wake up feeling sore...I was a mess. I had to roll around my office on my chair for three days I think because it hurt to much to stand up and sit down. grins...

Aug 30, 2013 5:58pm | report
Taylanna

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Taylanna

Wow I have to agree with captaincranky, you are an incredible motivation Thank You! Well done Gwen keep up the good work you look great!

Aug 30, 2013 2:57pm | report
 
gfuerte

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gfuerte

:) Thanks for your kindness! I just love lifting heavy, and all the great people that I have become friends with at the gyms that I go to. It makes it a lot easier to be successful when you love what you do!

Aug 30, 2013 6:02pm | report
rachelbalders

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rachelbalders


This is one of the best Transformations of the Week I've ever read.
"It was never about trying to look a certain way. It was about understanding that I had control of my body": that's what it's all about, isn't it? Your attitude's fantastic, Gwen: totally respect what you've done and I'm really happy for you.
Nothing tricky, just determination and consistency. I'm going to steal your workouts!
Hope you write more for BB.com.

Sep 1, 2013 6:26pm | report
 
gfuerte

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gfuerte

Thanks Rachel! I think a lot of people fail because they go to the gym wanting to change the way they look. You have to find a way to make fitness fun...so that you want to do it for its own sake, and then the results will just come! Best of luck to you - email me any time! :)

Sep 8, 2013 9:50am | report
bryanberic

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bryanberic

I agree with Captain Cranky.I hope he is not too cranky!
Keep on the right path seeking right programmes.Like it.

Sep 2, 2013 1:17am | report
 
VickyTig

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VickyTig

I just added you! You're very motivating to me! Great physique ^_^.

Sep 9, 2013 5:22am | report
 
crutch60

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crutch60

congrads on an article well deserved. only the begining

Article Rated:
Sep 16, 2013 4:24am | report
 
Showing 1 - 11 of 11 Comments

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