By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – When Eunice Kitchen was a little girl in the Harlingen area, her father let her come with him to help when he did construction work on job sites. On one of those trips, he showed her a very large building and she was surprised to learn this was where people came to work out. Young Kitchen saw a poster of the gym’s owner Rachel McLish. McLish is a famous bodybuilder, trainer and author.

“She looked like a trophy,” Kitchen remembers. “She was in a posing suit. My dad said, ‘that’s the lady that owns this place.’ And I thought, I want to look like her!”

Fast forward to the early 90’s and Kitchen was living in Crockett but commuting to Nacodoches to train because there was no place in Crockett. To save time and gas money, she and her husband Willie Kitchen decided to open Muscles and Curves gym. The gym now occupies a beautiful property on Crockett’s 304 Loop offering all varieties of gym equipment, professional trainers, and special rooms for other training.

Kitchen actually retired for 20 years from the world of bodybuilding while she pursued her career. Eunice holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Systems/Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and served as a public health nutritionist for both the Texas Department of Health and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for a combined 25 years. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

When a Master’s League was opened giving older competitors a chance to compete in their own age groups, Kitchen knew this was the perfect moment to get back into the competition.

“Before that, if you were 50, you had to compete against a 20 year old,” Kitchen explains. “At that time we didn’t know as much about exercise science as we do now. When they came up with that division they gave one pro card a year. I won in my weight classes, but you had to win overall. When they opened the Masters class, I thought, I wonder what it would be like. I wonder if I could do it now.”

Kitchen got her chance in Pittsburgh, PA last week when the National Physique Committee (NPC) and the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) held the National Masters’ World Championships. She had already won in Texas, but it was time for the national competition and Kitchen admits she was nervous. She worked for 10 months to eliminate as much body fat as possible through a regime of strict diets and intense work outs.

“I never stopped working out,” Kitchen said. “It’s about muscle maturity; the more you work out the prettier your muscles get. You can actually develop and mold your muscles. That comes from consistency. You are always planning your meals. You only have so many weeks, so you think, by this week I need to be at this weight.”

Kitchen was more prepared than even she herself could have imagined. Kitchen won the 

  • Women’s 55 and over, bodybuilding lightweight class, First Place and IFBB Pro Card
  • Women’s 50 and over, bodybuilding lightweight class, First Place
  • Women’s 45 and over, bodybuilding lightweight class, First Place
  • Women’s 40 and over, bodybuilding lightweight class, First Place
  • Women’s 50 and over, physique, First Place and IFBB Pro Card
  • Women’s 55 and over, physique, Second Place
  • Women’s 45 and over, physique, Fourth Place
Muscles and Curves Gym in Crockett

Kitchen gives thanks to God, her husband, friends and family for the big wins. She said it wasn’t always easy, but her focus is an example to follow.

“I think anyone can do anything they set their mind to, regardless of age,” Kitchen said. “Regardless of economics. I came from dirt poor, and nothing’s ever stopped me. The only thing that can stop you is yourself.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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