I am a health & fitness lover. My friends know me as JillyG. I am currently studying for my ISSA PT Cert. I am a Radiologic Technologist & a Quest Nutrition Athlete. Born & raised in beautiful St. Augustine, FL. Growing up I was very active. I was involved in gymnastics, Winterguard & soccer. When I graduated high school I was introduced to the gym & weight lifting but didn’t really fall in love with it until I got the nutrition part down! That’s when the results came!
My childhood was far from happy & pleasant. You see I grew up with a sister that was verbally abusive. Every time I would turn around all I heard was you’re fat, ugly, stupid & worthless. I couldn’t understand why someone I looked up to. Someone that I loved would say such awful things. As we grew older & farther apart I would catch myself repeating those awful words to myself. Even though I knew it was far from the truth (having grown up with wonderful loving parents) part of me believed it. Part of me felt like if that’s what my own sister thought of me there must be some truth to it. All throughout my 20’s I was pretty self-destructive. I had developed an eating disorder as a teenager, which thankfully I have overcome. I was always so kind to others but when it came to myself there was no self-love, no self worth.
In my late 20’s I remember tearing my closet apart looking for something to wear for a night out with friends. I hated who I saw in the mirror. I was so unhappy with myself. I spent way too many late nights out partying and eating terrible food. I was always hiding half of my body behind someone in pictures. I knew something had to change so the journey began.. After researching online & reading through fitness magazines I picked up a copy of The Eat-Clean Diet. I began to understand the importance of good food choices. I spent countless hours in the grocery store studying food labels. The weight started coming off slowly and I felt better than I ever had in my entire life. For once I felt comfortable in my own skin. I devoted a lot of time to my health & my happiness. I made it a priority to work on my mental health as well as my physical health.
Once I started taking weight training seriously it wasn’t so much of a dreaded chore it had become an extremely healthy outlet. Something that I looked forward to every single day. A healthy happy place where I could release, let my guard down & just be me. I find great comfort in the weight room. The sound & the smell of the iron gets me pumped up! & being able to curl as much as some of the guys is very empowering! There’s a quote that I now live by..
The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything, it’s your mind you have to convince – Vince Lombardi
On days that I’m struggling I repeat this to myself over & over & just push through. Whether it’s in the gym or in my personal/work life I keep this with me. It’s amazing how our thoughts can affect us! You HAVE to believe in yourself!
Sure we all have good & bad days but knowing that I have inspired others & that I continue to do so pushes me to do better & be better! You have to lead by example! We have come so far with social media, which gives a great platform to share my journey, & continue to help improve the lives of others. It is truly humbling.
Connect with Jill Gardner via Instagram.