“If you want to Soar in Life, you must first learn to F.L.Y”

(First Love Yourself)

I saw this quote a couple of days ago and I just had to screenshot it. It couldn’t be more correct, how can we ever achieve our goals, follow our dreams or be who we want to be in life if we can’t love ourselves?
This is something that has finally kicked in for me in regards to my mentality towards health, fitness, my body and the way I feel. After an amazing time in America over Christmas with my closest friends – I now have a completely different outlook on my training, nutrition and my body.
My love for fitness started when I was 15 years old. Mum and dad had a cross-trainer in there bedroom (growing mountains of dust I must add) – and one day i decided to have a crack at it. I don’t know what happened that day but from here on in I was hooked!!! I would get up every morning before school and do 40mins on the silly thing! Alongside this I started to eliminate junk food from my diet during the week and would relax only on the weekend. Being young and dumb I obviously thought I knew what I was doing, I decided not to eat a lot at all and just do countless minutes on that stupid machine! Let’s set the scene here and inform you I was a teeny 45kg as it was before I even started! No weight loss was needed!
When I was old enough I joined a gym straight away, it was my playground and I loved it! I joined Les Mills in Christchurch and would train 6 days per week doing treadmill, cross trainer and bike for about an hour and a half per day (Idiot). During this time I became obsessed and I also begin comparing my body to others . I was so so hard on myself and if I had to skip a workout for some reason it was the end of the world.
11998849_532761920204776_8866530153304110173_nMy boyfriend at the time, (yes it was John for those of you who know me hehe) got into the gym also and started training with a friend of ours who was a trainer and had competed in numerous fitness comps. He had a few sessions with her and began to learn so much and also started to drop body fat! Why wasn’t I dropping any body fat I thought? I do cardio for hours on end and hardly eat and I seem to be looking bigger what’s going on? It was at this time John suggested I booked in with his trainer to see if I liked it.
FINALLY after John persisting that my theory clearly wasn’t working – I booked in with her! I remember I kept saying to her “Now I don’t want to lift weight as I’ll bulk up”. She would laugh and carry on giving me heavy dumbbells. I decided to put my trust in her. She wrote me a weights program and I saw her twice per week to help keep me accountable, and for the big compound movements I didn’t want to do on my own. I did this weights program 5 days per week – always increasing the weights as she insisted, then went back for measurements and skin folds. To my surprise 6% body fat gone! In that short amount of time?? What!!!!
I remember being so shocked. She wrote me a new program for the next 6 weeks and again I went away and did the program religiously as she told me to, and again, more body fat gone! Skin was tightening up and actually looking fit and toned. The scales were creeping up to 48 kg and this was making me angry and hate on myself. I went back again in 6 weeks and again more body fat gone! Pretty much from this day I was addicted to lifting weights!
I changed gyms and kept doing my own thing, still so hard on myself and would have a meltdown if I missed the gym. It got to the point where I would turn up late to my family’s birthdays as gym came first. The problem was I didn’t see anything wrong with this back then.
I also got into running with my mum in my mid 20’s, we started doing half marathons together and man was I fast!! 1.30 being my fasted time. We joined a running group and ran over 100kms per week. But no that wasn’t enough, I had to do my full gym ‘sesh’ before I would head to running group (and I still was not eating a lot at this point either).
John and I moved to the Gold Coast 4 years ago and what was the first thing I did?? Joined the biggest gym I could find!
I joined Fenix in Robina. I would arrive there just on opening at 5am and smash out my weights and cardio then head to my office job in Tweed Heads from 7am-5pm. After work? Straight to the gym as I would feel guilty if I didn’t. Now, while I’m writing this I can clearly see the gym addiction was real!!
I started training with a trainer at Fenix (now Goodlife) and he suggested I enter the Goodlife Fitter Faster Stronger Competition. It sounded intense, but he said to me right from the start “Jess you WILL win this” – he used to call me a “Machine”. And he was right I won! I won the club, and also won overall in Queensland, even beating the men!
My partner and trainer suggested I should put my passion into a career and become a PT and work at the gym. So John made me quit my job and supported me financially while I studied. Then BOOM I Became a PT at Goodlife!
I trained numerous times per day in between clients, having limited time I was always on a mission. With members and staff calling me the “Pocket Rocket”. I was still obsessed and would over train – doing HIIT sessions 7 days per week and an hour weights sessions daily and living on 1300 calories.
After watching a good friend of mine compete at the Brisbane INBA Fitness Comp, I was so inspired and overwhelmed watching him on stage after months of prep and hard work. We all met after the show and the boys got talking “why don’t we all do one?” And that’s when it began! We all started comp prep, I was very nervous and uncertain and I was also so negative and hated my body, I was worried what this comp might do for my mind set. Thankfully I had the most amazing coach who showed me it wasn’t all fish and greens and cardio. In fact – it was delicious food and NO cardio! No cardio what?????. After 17 weeks of prep, it was stage time, sitting at just over 9% and looking at my absolute best – I found myself still finding the negatives in my body.
12074850_535514129929555_7909530427375238322_nIt was a highly successful day, I was awarded 1st in Miss Fitness First Timers, 1st in Miss Fitness Novice and 3rd in Miss Fitness Open.
The week after comp everyone was relaxing, feasting and enjoying all the yummy food they could! But not me, I got straight back onto my diet because I STILL wasn’t happy with my reflection and refused to put on body fat. I continued to train everyday avoiding rest days all together. If I did rest, I would feel yuck and want to hide at home.
All of us from comp booked a holiday to America over Xmas and and New Years. I was nervous as I knew we would be too busy to train.
We flew out Christmas Eve and I had the most amazing time of my life. It was 4 boys and myself. I’m not being a hater on the girls, but these boys are my favorite people in the world. They showed me that life really doesn’t have to be so serious all the time, life is to be enjoyed each and everyday as if it was your last. They were fun, care free and made me feel like I could fully relax and be myself. Watching us all put a few kilos on as the days went by, I started not to care and really appreciate life. I chose the healthy options on the menu, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I felt like my mindset had changed completely and instead of feeling I HAD to train or HAD to eat that salad, I began to do these things because i WANTED to. x
After the proposal of a lifetime from my one in a million best friend in the whole world at the bottom of the grand canyon, I was the happiest I have ever been in my life. I remember all those times he put up with me when we were young and I would ditch him for the gym, and he never once complained. This proposal, holiday and the crew made me wake up. This is life! It’s meant to be enjoyed! I thought, it’s time to start loving  yourself the way I love others! Life is short so don’t exercise to be “shredded” or “skinny”, exercise to be fit, healthy and strong!
I have finally learnt to love myself the way I am and I am so blessed with everything in my life.  Thank you boys and to my now Fiancé for just being the people you are and making this holiday the holiday of a lifetime. This is why I used the Quote above, “once you learn to love yourself, everything else will follow……”


“Sometimes I wonder what I would think of my body if it wasn’t my own? Like if someone else had my body and I was looking at it from an outside perspective? I think two things would happen…for one, I would have much nicer thoughts about it, and two, I actually just wouldn’t really care about it? Because I don’t notice anyone elses body in the way that I scrutinize my own. I Wish I was better at remembering that. Absolutely no one is as critical of me as I am of myself”