INDIANA TWP — Kyle Walters and Lisa Stugart have become quite a team in the world of bodybuilding.
They train together. They train others together. Walters used to train Stugart. Now he works with her at one of two Vygor gyms in the Pittsburgh area owned by Lisa and her husband, Paul Stugart.
They’re competing together — and winning together.
Walters, 45, of Saxonburg has earned a pro card in body building seven times — three times in the Open division and four times in the Masters (age 40-over) division at the Mr. Pittsburgh events.
“You can earn a pro card, but you don’t have to turn pro,” Walters said. “I never activated my card.
“Once you compete in a pro event, you can’t do amateur competitions anymore. I just never wanted to take that step.”
In fact, Walters stepped out of body building as a competitor for three years following the 2015 Mr. Pittsburgh show.
Stugart, 42, of Valencia, on the other hand, has been going strong.
She has been a competitive Fitness and Bikini competitor for 18 years.
“I was 23 when I did my first show,” Stugart said. “I remember seeing a fitness women’s show on ESPN. It was like a Miss America with muscles. There were dance and gymnastic routines ... I wanted to do that.”
Stugart recently earned her pro card in the Bikini division, a form of body building that still showcases muscles, but emphasizes the feminine look.
Walters said he got out of competitive body building “because I thought I did everything I could do there, that it was time to do something else with life.
“Eventually, I realized this was my life. I never stopped training, but I stopped intense training, eating clean. And my body started to feel worse.”
Walters also felt guilty about training others “and asking them to do things I was no longer doing myself.”
So he got back in the game — this time as a pro.
Two weekends ago, Walters and Stugart traveled to The Poconos to compete in the National Gym Association’s (NGA) North American Championships.
They returned home as champions. Stugart won the Pro Bikini Masters (age 35 and over) division and took second in the Open division. Walters won the Pro Masters division in body building and the Classic Open division.
In both cases, they defeated competitors in their 20’s.
“I guess snowballs can survive hell,” Walters said, smiling at the thought of winning his first pro show. “The extraordinary can happen.
“I can’t say we were surprised. You enter any show expecting to win. We want to keep on winning.”
While Walters and Stugart work with as many as 40 to 50 individuals during sessions, their own training regimen continues.
“We don’t just want to talk the talk. We want to walk the walk,” Walters said.
They plan to compete at another pro show Sept. 28 in State College, then do two or three every year.
In the meantime, their second home is Stugart’s gym.
Between working with clients and their own training, they are in the gym at least 12 hours a day, six days a week.
“Sometimes we’re here seven days a week,” Stugart said. “Our own workouts run about two hours a day. We’ll do an hour on the weights, 30 minutes of cardio ... It gets pretty intense.”
Stugart and her husband have three children, ages 13, 11 and 9.
“They are fully supportive of this,” Stugart said of her family. “If my kids catch me eating the wrong thing ... They tell on me.”
Now that they’re both doing pro shows, Walters sees no end in sight in terms of success in competition.
“We won in our 20’s, we won in our 30’s, we’re winning in our 40’s,” he said. “In this sport, experience pays off. We keep getting better as we age.”