The Elite Physique

Natalie Merritt

48 Years Young, American Gladiator (Lace), First-Figure Competition, Took Overall!

natalie merritt american gladiator

american gladiator lace“Gorgeous blonde knockout Natalie Lennox was born on January 20, 1967 in America. Natalie was the Pet of the Month in the January, 1993 issue of “Penthouse.” She replaced Marisa Pare as gladiator Lace for the 1992-1993 season of the immensely popular and successful reality TV game show “American Gladiators.” Moreover, Lennox has been featured in several “Penthouse” videos and made a guest appearance on an episode of the science fiction sitcom “They Came from Outer Space.” –


Karen Sessions – Figure Coach – Hey there, Natalie. Congrats on your very first figure competition and your big win. And how cool, a former American Gladiator, Lace. *bows in honor*. What competitions have competed in and how did you place in them?

This was my first figure contest, and I won overall in it.

Awesome. You put in a lot of hard, and smart work. So, what was your competition experience like?

It was an excellent experience. Lot’s of fun.

I hear ya. I loved competing. Have you always been athletic? Did you play sports growing up?

Yes, I played basketball, ran, and was involved in farm life.

You sound like you were pretty active. What got you involved in figure competitions?

Fighting gravity and age.

I hear that a lot. I’ve noticed a lot of women in their 40’s and 50’s competing in figure in the last few years, and doing quite well. How long have you been into fitness and working out?

Well 20 years ago I was an athlete. However, I’ve been into horses and was married etc. for quite a while now. So, I’ve been in a gym for 3 months.

overall winners
That’s a quick comeback! Thank goodness for muscle memory to go along with all that focus, hard work, and dedication. What is your competition weight and off-season weight, and how tall are you?

I’m 5’7. Before I weighed 143 and held 27% fat. I was a skinny fat chick. NOW, I’m 127 at 14% fat.

Impressive. You’ve dropped 21 pounds of sheer body fat and put on 4 pounds of lean muscle. Awesome work. How long did it take you to prep for your figure competition?

I prepped for 3 months.

Good time frame. So, what motivates you to keep in shape?

Gravity, old age.

LOL I hear ya. You gotta stay one step ahead of Mother Nature. How do you stick to your goals?

That’s day-by-day I’m realizing. I use my determination and persistence, along with my OCD, as I’m a Type A personality.

Gotta keep busy… What is your nutrition like off-season?

What kind of eat I wanted when I want, but I don’t suggest that.

Yeah, getting too far off from your contest weight just makes prep that much harder. What is your figure competition diet like?

I eat a lot of chicken and tilapia for protein and rice for carbs.

team banks

Well, that’s good food for muscle gain and energy. What is a basic cheat meal for you?

Pancakes, pizza, and ice cream, which I don’t recommend eating too much.

Yeah, those are the trouble foods. Are there any sacrifices? If so, how do you overcome them?

There are a lot of sacrifices, every day several times a day. I use my determination and persistence to overcome them, as well as my Type A Personality Training. Eating right and supplementing helps a lot too.

What do you find to be the hardest part about getting into contest shape and how do you overcome it?

The diet because it’s a challenge.

What is your training life when you are prepping for a contest?

I workout 6 days a week, cardio 6 days, weight training 6 days, but take a day off every 2-3 days.

It’s an active prep. What do you do for cardio to get lean?

I use the stair climber for 30 minutes daily, as well as the Versa climber, Bow flex and water rower at home. I also do farm work 5 hours a day.

Just the farm work itself is a LOT! Do you have any future competition plans?

Yes, I’m going to the masters next year I think PA. but I want to see if I can qualify for open.

Great goal. Do you use supplements? If so, what are your favorite supplements?

Yes, I use CLA for fat loss, Roxylean, and L-carnitine for fat loss in my prep.

Those are great supplements to get the fat moving and burn it too. I’m a big CLA fan. Does your family support your fitness endeavors?

Yes, they are great!

Support from family and friends is always helpful. What hobbies do you have outside of fitness?

I own and run a horse farm.

Busy, busy, busy… What advice would you give someone who wanted to get in such outstanding shape as you are in?

Muck stalls. Eat right train hard get professional help.

Yeah, eating right and training are the keys. And, yes, having a coach helps GREATLY! How has competing in figure changed your life?

I’m not fat anymore and I won’t go there again. I’m not ignoring myself anymore either.

Do you have any long-term goals in the fitness industry?

Yes, I want to be a positive role model for the women in the world over 50 that think it’s ok to let their body go. It’s not unless that’s really what you want. I just want to be proof that you don’t have to be a product of your environment or it’s so-called food. There are still vegetables and super foods and great cook books on how to cook good and yummy food that’s going to save you from all the ugly diseases and illness that the rest of the world is dying from.

AWESOME input. If you could give one piece of advice to a first time figure competitor, what would it be?

Hire a team of people to guide you through. Don’t re-invent the wheel.

You hit the nail on the head. Too many people are trying to re-invent the wheel in the fitness industry and figure prep. Stick to the basics and stick to what works.

Natalie, being a TV star in classics like ‘Star Search’ and ‘Dallas’, is no stranger to the limelight. She began her Gladiator career by applying to be a Contender for the 1992 season but producers asked her to take over the position of Lace from recently the departed Marisa Pare.

Lace (2) – Natalie Lennox 1992-1993 season (competed in just two episodes) (In late 1992, Lennox reappeared in the British Version “Gladiators” as “Star”)

Did You Know…

Did you know that Jackie is just like you and YOU can make the SAME type of Body Transformation! You can have all the same Diet, Training, and Prepping Secrets to transform your body, get on stage, and Win your Competition!

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If you are not ready, then grab my FREE Contest Prep Crash Course so you can start making the same amazing body transformation.

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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT