A CHILD weightlifter who starred in a TV show for his athletic prowess is unrecognizable six years later.
Gage Gregurich was the star of a 2016 documentary Baby Bodybuilders on TLC, which profiled the young athletes who participated in competitions.
The eye-opening show showed the then 11-year-old Gage and his father Bryce as he prepared for the competition.
In the documentary, Gage, who had a pointed Mohican, boasted that he had won weightlifting competitions since he was nine.
“I can lift more than any other child who is 12 years old and under and weighs 66 kg in this universe or any other universe,” said the early youngster.
He went on to say that he started weightlifting when he was nine, “when my dad was going to the gym and I wanted to join too”.
Now 17 and in high school in her home state of Nebraska, Gage has explained what it was like to be a child weightlifter.
“I actually got into bodybuilding originally through one from HBO who was at the Junior Olympics for weightlifting and she loved my personality and character so they ended up making a documentary about me and it fell through,” he told The Sun Online.
“But through some of the people we met during that documentary, we met people from TLC who wanted to make a documentary about me.
“So I actually got into bodybuilding through weightlifting. I always played a lot of sports, at that time I played football, wrestling and also basketball.”
When I was only nine years old, Gage explains, “I deadlifted three times my body weight, which would have been 171 pounds.
Still in the gym, he can now deadlift an astonishing 395 pounds, squat 355 pounds and 265 pounds on the bench.
Asked about his unusual upbringing, he continued: “Yes, my childhood was very different from the average child.
“It was a lot of exposure, but I enjoyed all the experiences and learned a lot from them.
I deadlifted three times my body weight, which would have been 171 pounds
“I’m not talking to any of the other children [from Baby Bodybuilders] as I have not been able to find any of their social media accounts. “
But, he says, “Powerlifting started it all. I have 18 world records and 60 American records in it, and I’m now required to go to college for it.”
He is now committed to a wrestling scholarship to study at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.
His father Bryce said in the documentary that he and mother Ricci were not intrusive parents, but allowed him to do so because he loved it so much.
But his mother admitted she was competitive and loved watching her son win.
“He’s like our little beast,” she said. “He does things other children do not want and can not do even if they try.
“People who do not fully understand powerlifting are very critical of it. They think children should not lift heavy weights, but I’m sure what he does is safe.”
Other children featured in the documentary were Bo Ice, 11, and his brother Cap, eight, from Roanoke, Virginia.
Their father Bobby talked about how he woke his sons at. 8pm every day to work out and covered them in fake tan and oil before bodybuilding shows.
“Some will say it’s weird to smear oil on your boys, but I do not,” he said.
“This is a competition.”
Another of the families mentioned was formerly Mr. Universe Phillip Ricardo and his children Ethan, 11, and Sanali, eight.
Their father, a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant and Professional Natural Bodybuilding Champion, said he wanted his children to follow in his footsteps.
“I use the military training I have learned in the naval core on my children,” he admitted.
“Our kids are primarily into bodybuilding because they see their mom and dad do it. Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle for us.”