Interview with Figure Competitor Rachel Gilmore
When you start making a list of figure competitor’s to keep an eye on, it would be wise to put the name Rachel Gilmore near the top of the page. This bright and engaging 23-year-old from Spokane, Washington has all the key elements—solid athletic roots, exquisite physique, fierce determination, great support system, striking beauty and glowing enthusiasm—neatly lined up to suggest she is built to thrive in the spotlight.
After making her stage debut as a sprightly teenager in ‘07, Rachel took time off and has returned this season with even more energy and commitment than before. She’s not yet taken a turn in a national qualifier, but if this remarkable youngster—who juggles training with roles as a busy mom and an ambitious college student—thrives so well in the pressure cooker of life, it’s only a matter of time before she begins to take sweeping steps towards the upper echelon in the figure world.
Like many of you, Rachel’s stunning new photos from this year’s Emerald Cup drew rave reviews demanding marquee treatment. Thanks in large part to the wonderfully generous competitor herself, your intrepid columnist has delivered. So without further delay, here’s an exclusive inside look at the sensational 5-foot-2, 119-pound hazel-eyed Evergreen State sweetheart—by my score, the early clubhouse leader for the site’s Best New Girl of the Year award.
And she’ll be tough to top.
Dean: I understand you have an athletic background in track & field. What were some of your favorite events and best accomplishments? Did you play any other sports while growing up?
Rachel: “Some of my most favorite events in track and field that I participated in were pole vaulting and hurdles. I qualified to go to state in pole vaulting but was not able to compete. I also did two years in cross country and went to state as a team. I think making varsity in cross country was one of my first larger accomplishments. It took a lot of dedication and determination especially having exercise-induced asthma which made every race a challenge.”
Dean: I see you’re a student and just finished final exams for the year. Bet you’re happy about that! What school are you attending and can you share a little about your areas of study? Are you also planning on becoming a personal trainer or nutritionist along the way?
Rachel: “I am attending Eastern Washington University. It is my 3rd year. I am majoring in Early Childhood Education and minoring in Psychology. My goal is to become an Elementary teacher or psychologist. I love working with children and being a mother myself, want a career that I will enjoy and that will allow me to enjoy the time with my son. Yes! I am thinking about getting my personal training certificate, but I think it is something that will have to wait since I am dedicating my time to further myself in figure/physique competitions, completing college, working full time and raising my son. But it is something I definitely want to accomplish in the near future.”
Dean: Most fans might not realize you made your figure debut back in 2007, when you were only (I think) 19! What motivated you to jump into competing so early and can you describe how you felt that first time you stepped on stage?
Rachel: “I started with my first bodybuilding competition in 2007. What motivated me to jump into competing was I dated a personal trainer who saw the potential in me and encouraged me to do a competition. The training and diet was the hardest thing I had ever done and took a lot of determination to push through the first one. Once show time arrived I was ecstatic and stepping onstage for the first time was the best feeling of excitement and accomplishment; I was so proud of myself that I had done it. I love the stage and all the hard work paid off in the end, it is something I can’t get enough of. Though I did not compete until this year and took three years off of competitions, I knew it was only a matter of time till I got back into competing and I plan to continue to compete for years to come.”
Dean: What kind of responses have you gotten from family and friends on becoming a figure athlete? Has your intense training and great results inspired them to hit the gym more often?
Rachel: “My parents are very proud of me and have attended every single show I have participated in which means the world to me. From fellow gym members, I have been told I have motivated them to dedicate more time and effort into working out and have inspired several people to even want to do competitions. I have helped quite a few friends with workout ideas and diet suggestions which they have seen great results with. Many people admire my dedication and invested time and see me as a role model which is such a rewarding feeling in itself.”
Dean: Speaking of training, what are some of your strongest exercises? Do you have any stories where you shocked someone in the gym with your strength or surprised (maybe even embarrassed) an opponent at armwrestling?
Rachel: “My favorite muscle group to work out is abs and legs. I can never find an ab workout that I cannot get through and most people cannot keep up with me through workouts. I have many guy friends that have asked to work out with me and they tell me I make them look like a wimp especially with legs or don’t want to work out with me because I will make them look bad, lol. I think the lift I am most proud of is my squat press which I had gotten to 420lbs. I also love deadlifts and roman deadlifts. I have had a lot of people (most of which are men in good shape) come up to me astonished by the weight alone that I was lifting. A lot of people make comments saying they want to stay on my good side or don’t want to get me mad, which I always find funny.”
Dean: You’re off to a great start this year, placing third in your class at the always competitive Emerald Cup and then winning in a challenging field at the Empire Classic. What improvements to your physique are you most proud of so far, what others (if any!) need polish, and what’s next on your contest calendar?
Rachel: “I am most proud of the improvement in my legs and after having a child I am proud to have gotten my abs back. Those were the biggest challenges with me (getting the separation in my quads and toning my lower abdomen). Right now I am working on my lower half (legs) which I am trying to put on a few more pounds of muscle and get better separation and definition in the quads and hamstrings as well as glutes. My next competition will be a national qualifying competition which is the Night of Champions in Spokane, Washington on October 1st. I may do the National Qualifier in Montana at the end of October but I am still deciding. So far I am trying to win a national qualifying competition and compete at a national level. Wish me luck!”
Dean: Rachel, thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. Before we wrap up, is there any other news you’d like to share or anyone you’d like to give special thanks to—family, friends, trainers, role models—for helping you along during your fitness journey? I wish you all the best and hope we can talk again soon!
Rachel: “Thank you Dean! I am glad to have this opportunity. I would like to say thank you to my sponsor Pro-Form Personal Training Inc. Ryan Mewhinney, to my family and friends who have given me all their support and pushed me through when training got the most hard, and to my very special friend Jovon and all his support and encouragement. Also thanks to Krivsstudio for the feature and amazing photo shoot.”