NOTE: Parts of the interview were edited for clarity purposes only. Photos used belong to their respective owners.
FitGems Nation (FN): Thank you for wanting to be interviewed by us, Lauren! Can't tell you how excited we are to finally talk to you after hearing so much about you. But for those that don't know, please tell us a little bit about yourself (occupation/how long you've been in the fitness industry, etc.)
Lauren Rutan (LR): I grew up a competitive gymnast, then went on to do cheerleading where I cheered at Kent State University in Ohio. I started my first prep for my first fitness show in 2003. I competed for 4 years in fitness and figure then went on to get married and have 4 children :) During Kids I found crossfit, then went on to compete nationally in weightlifting, and lastly found powerlifting at a weightlifting meet I was at.
FG: How did you get involved in the fitness industry in the first place?
LR: While growing up, my father was a Pro bodybuilder.
FG: What do you enjoy most about competing and/or modeling?
LR: I love competing in anything really. I'm very competitive. :) I do love watching the body change and morph into an amazing physique.
FG: Based off your history, I probably know the answer to this question, but I'll ask anyway. Which do you feel is your greatest strength while training: cardio or weight-training?
LR: weight-training, but I do love some cardio !!
FG: What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with when it comes to the fitness industry?
LR: Just body image overall, I guess. You see yourself so shredded and want to be that all the time, but I know it's not healthy, and no one can stay like that forever.
FG: You mentioned on your Instagram (rutan422) that you competed in figure in 2007. Looking back, a lot of talent from both National shows you did (Jr. Nationals and North Americans) went on to become pros and even Olympia champions. What made you decide to step away from the figure stage until recently?
LR: I competed for 4 years straight in 2003-2007 so i needed a long break and I got married in 2006 and knew we wanted to have kids right away so that was basically it!
FG: During your hiatus from the stage, you went on to do powerlifting, weightlifting, and CrossFit, and excel at all of them. What made you decided to take on all of them, not just one of them?
LR: I started in CrossFit and then I really enjoyed do the lifts (snatch and clean & jerk) and we found out I would be pretty competitive in my weight class so I gave it a try and then qualified for nationals in my 2nd meet and the rest was history :). I then was getting a little burned out on weightlifting. I did it for a couple years but every day for a long time. I was at a weightlifting meet that also had powerlifting and I watched and fell in love. I love to squat and bench, deadlift is just ok:) so that next week I started training for a powerlifting meet and the rest again is history :)
FG: You decided to return to the physique stage in 2017, winning the overall NPC Mid Atlantic Cup and taking a top ten spot at the Jr. Nationals. What drove you to return to physique competitions?
LR: I have thought about it and contemplated it for the last couple years but I was scared because of the kids being so young, and there's so much kid food around here, I wanted to wait a little bit until they got older. And with this being the 10 year anniversary since I've been on stage, I knew I had to do it this year.
FG: Getting ready for a physique show is one thing. Getting ready for a powerlifting meet is a different monster in itself. Yet you prepped for the Mid-Atlantic and Jr. Nationals WHILE also getting ready to compete in the USPA Nationals in a few weeks (Editor's Note: She smoked the USPA Nationals and qualified for the International Powerlifting League (IPL) Worlds in November) Seriously...how did you find the balance to prep for two intensely-straining yet different forms of competition AT THE SAME TIME?!
LR: I'm not sure! LOL. I just know I put my mind to something and it gets done. But it wasn't that hard until after Jr Nationals getting ready for USPA Nationals . The transition in that small 3 week window was pretty tough. The heavy weights really took a hit on my body. But leading up to that it was all good. I still did powerlifting twice a week but not too much volume and then bodybuilding the rest of the days.
FG: In addition to bring a NPC Competitor, Crossfit athlete, and top powerlifter and weightlifter, you are also a wife and mother to four childern. How in the world are you able to balance all of that (home life, work life, competition life)?!
LR: HAHAHA. Yeah, I'm insane, but really it's all about schedule and having one and sticking to it! We are all on a schedule and kids like it. When we don't have anything to do, the kids are like "what's going on?!' :) But it.s how we have always lived and it works for us.
FG: With the rise of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), how important do you feel it is for people in the fitness industry to participate in it?
LR: I think it's very important IF you have a job relating to it. As in a personal trainer and/or online coach. It's free advertising!! It costs nothing and people get to see you and how you work out and your clients' results.
FG: Who (living or dead) do you look up to for inspiration, whether they are part of the fitness industry or not?
LR: I'd say Dana Linn Bailey or Jennifer McMillian.
FG: I know everyone wants to be the first "them" (as it should be), but is there any competitor (past or present) that you look at and say, "Okay...that's what I'm aiming for"? However, let's be honest...I don't think there has EVER been a competitor quite like you, though!
LR: AHAHAH thank you but I'd say again Dana Linn Bailey.
FG: If you weren’t part of the fitness industry in any way, shape, or form, what would you be doing now?
LR: OMG I have no clue really. I've been in it so long I don't know what I'd do not doing it.
FG: What (if anything) would you change about the fitness industry as a whole (NOT just about the division you compete in)?
LR: Politics. Knowing someone that knows someone. (Editor's Note: And let the church say AMEN!)
FG: What goal or goals do you hope to accomplish before it's all said and done?
LR: PRO CARD. End of story. And then get invited to the Arnold and/or competing at the Olympia
FG: After your competition days are completed, how do you plan on give back to the fitness industry?
LR: I love coaching people and helping them with their workout and/or nutrition needs. After that, I'd love to judge and work for NPC.
FG: Being the multi-sport athlete you are, what advice do you give to people who want to do all they can but are told that it's impossible, or to those that want to pursue one thing but are told they don't have what it takes to succeed?
LR: DONT LISTEN to anyone!!!! SOOOOOO many people told me I couldn't do what I do or it would be a mistake!! Try it! Who cares if you fail, or it doesn't work out, at least you tried and you know what it takes.
FG: Any closing words for your fans and supporters?
LR: Just a huge thank you for all the support and love!! We bringing the HEAT in November!!! (Editor's Note, Lauren is competing in the IPL Worlds and MAYBE step back on stage in the NPC Nationals as a women's physique competitor. Stay tuned!)
FG: Again, thank you so much for doing this interview with us, Lauren! For those that want to keep up on your future competitions and other plans, how can fans contact you? (Facebook fan page, Twitter, Instagram, email, website, blog, other social media outlet, etc.) Also, if there's anything you want to plug in, you are more than welcome to do so.
LR: Instagram is where i post most of my stuff- rutan422. Email is email@example.com, and just started a YouTube page. First video should be up this week under Lauren Rutan!!!
Lauren has written quite the book thus far in the story of her life, and from what we've seen just the last few months along, her story is far from done. November looks to be a big month for the Super Athlete. We at FitGems Nation wish her all the success in the world and keep being an inspiration to others around the world. Once it's all said and done, Lauren can definitely say she left her mark in the fitness industry as one of the greatest muscle athletes this industry has ever seen!