A CHILD weightlifter who featured in a TV show for his athletic prowess is unrecognisable six years later.
Gage Gregurich was the star of a 2016 documentary Baby Bodybuilders on TLC which profiled the young athletes taking part in competitions.
The eye opening show featured then-11-year-old Gage and his father Bryce as he prepared for competition.
In the documentary, Gage, sporting a spiked Mohican, bragged he had been winning weightlifting competitions since he was nine.
“I can lift more than any other kid who is 12 and under and weighs 66lb in this universe or any other universe,” the precocious youngster said.
He went on to say he started powerlifting when he was nine “as my dad was going to the gym and I wanted to go too”.
Now 17 and at high school in his native Nebraska, Gage has explained what it was like being a child weightlifter.
“I actually got into bodybuilding originally through someone from HBO that was at the junior Olympic games for powerlifting, and she loved my personality and character so they ended up doing a documentary on me and that one fell through,” he told The Sun Online.
“But through some of the people we met during that documentary we met the people from TLC that wanted to do a documentary on me.
“So I actually got into bodybuilding through powerlifting. I’ve always done plenty of sports, at that time I was playing football, wrestling, and also basketball.”
At just nine years old, Gage explains, “I was deadlifting three times my bodyweight, which would have been 171 pounds.
Still hitting the gym, he can now deadlift an astonishing 395 pounds, squat 355 pounds, and bench 265 pounds.
Asked about his unusual upbringing, he went on: “Yeah, 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 was deadlifting three times my bodyweight, which would have been 171 pounds
“I don’t speak to any of the other kids [from Baby Bodybuilders] as I haven’t been able to find any of their social media accounts.”
But, he says: “Powerlifting started everything. I have 18 world records and 60 American records in it and I’m now committed to going to college for it.”
He is now committed on a wrestling scholarship to study at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.
His dad Bryce said in the documentary that he and mother Ricci weren’t pushy parents, but allowed him to do it because he loved it so much.
But his mum admitted she was competitive and loved to see her son win.
“He is like our little beast,” she said. “He does things other kids don’t want to do and couldn’t do even if they tried.
“People who don’t fully understand powerlifting are very critical of it. They believe children shouldn’t be lifting any heavy weights but I am confident what he is doing is safe.”
Other children who featured on the documentary included Bo Ice, 11, and his brother Cap, eight, from Roanoke, Virginia.
Their dad Bobby spoke about how he woke his sons up at 8am every day to work out, and covered them in fake tan and oil before bodybuilding shows.
“Some would say putting oil on your boys is weird but I don’t,” he said.
“This is a competition.”
Another of the families featured was former Mr Universe Phillip Ricardo and his children Ethan, 11, and Sanali, eight.
Their dad, 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-style training I have learned in the marine core on my kids,” he admitted.
“Our kids are into bodybuilding mainly because they see their mom and dad doing it. Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle for us.”