Transformation Tuesday - Jess B.
Hey Team! Starting this month, I'll be trying to introduce a new monthly routine that will consist of sharing more uplifting transformation stories. Nowadays, there are way too many false testimonials from Youtube sensations and "Instafamous" personnel simply looking to sell you on their latest fad diets, training platforms and supplements that somehow, only they know and you are one of the lucky ones to be let in on the secret.
As many of you know, for me, transparency and honesty are of top importance. These will be stories from REAL people that I know personally. Individuals that I know put in HARD WORK day in and day out. Individuals that quite possibly faced very similar obstacles as you, but they chose not to become a statistic in the failure column. They decided not to quit. They decided to skip the "magic pills" and formulas and simply put in the sacrifice necessary to achieve longterm results.
So, without further ado, the first transformation story that I will share with you is one with a woman by the name of Jessica Bergin. This young woman I met while I was working inside of a gym in DeLand, FL in which she would visit during the summer months when she was away from her college intern program. She was a competitive lacrosse player, quiet by nature until you started conversing with her. I would see first hand in the serious approach she took to her warm ups, prehab routines and eventual training regimens. She was a serious athlete but incredibly humble at the same time. Always open to conversations with me when she came in and always smiling ear to ear. I would eventually go on to change employers and lost contact with Jessica for over a year. It was once we saw each other in a new gym, completely by coincidence, that I wanted to know her story. Maybe it could provide me with some extra motivation while helping others at the same time. Below are a list of questions that were the most popular from my audience. Here is what Jess had to say...
When did you start your fitness journey?
I’ve been an athlete all my life, starting with playing soccer at age 5 to most recently finishing playing 4 years of college lacrosse. I became more serious about athletics in high school, where I played soccer, lacrosse, and ran track. My senior year I decided to join the girls’ weight lifting team and that’s where strength training really took off for me. I fell in love with it immediately. Towards my junior year of college I became more serious about my workouts and the consistency in which I did them. I started following specific bodybuilding style workout splits and was set on competing sometime after I graduated.
What motivated you to start?
I’ve always been competitive and I wanted something to do in the off season of lacrosse my senior year that I wouldn’t potentially hurt myself doing, like playing soccer, going into my last season before college. Weight lifting was a great way for me to still compete against others and improve physically for the spring season.
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What were some of your goals when you started?
My biggest goal was to become a better athlete. I knew performing Olympic lifts and utilizing strength training in general could only have a positive effect on my athletic performance. I soon realized how exciting it was to watch my body transform with weight training and proper nutrition and knew I wanted to compete in a bodybuilding competition one day. From that point on my goal has been to grow a symmetrical, competitive physique for the BB stage.
What are your goals now?
My personal goal for 2019 is to step on stage for my first bodybuilding competition in the figure division. In addition, I want to inspire and motivate other girls and women to step outside of their comfort zone to do something new and challenging; to not be afraid to push their limits and find what they are truly capable of. Getting in shape and trying to make healthy lifestyle changes shouldn’t be difficult. There’s a lot of false information floating around the internet that can make getting started confusing and overwhelming. I want to be able to provide simple, yet valuable information to others that may feel like they’re stuck with questions unanswered.
What have been your greatest achievements?
I got more criticism about my body after I started working out than before I started, so it was really difficult for me to look past what others would say about me. This was hard especially in high school when I first started weight training and building muscle. My biggest achievement has been overcoming mental barriers and learning to love my body for what it is, at every stage of this journey I’ve been on.
What were/are your biggest struggles?
Sometimes I fall back into the habit of comparing myself to others and not giving myself enough credit for my hard work over the years. I think the hardest thing, especially with the popularity of social media, is reminding yourself not to compare where you’re at, physically or mentally, to anyone else.
What advice would you give to people new to working out?
1. Don’t worry about what others are doing; find a form of exercise that YOU enjoy and you can see yourself sticking to and go with that!
2. The hardest part is getting started. It’s not always going to be easy at first, but don’t let the struggles in the beginning hinder you from continuing on this journey.
3. Ignore the doubters and the naysayers, they’re going to be around regardless of what point in your journey you’re at. And if they have something negative to say, they probably have issues with themselves. Remember that you’re doing this for you, not for them!
4. You’re given one body to live in; be thankful you have the ability to exercise and treat it as a blessing, not a chore or punishment!
What is your favorite thing about your workouts?
They’re therapeutic to me. When I go to the gym, it’s my “me-time”; I can shut off everything else that’s going on in my life at the moment and just focus on the workout in front of me.
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What is your best advice on nutrition when people are just starting out?
Don't over complicate it, and avoid falling for fad diets. There's a lot of info on the internet telling you a thousand "right" ways of dieting. No one is built the same. Find what works for YOU and stick with it, consistency is key!
Regardless if you're following IIFYM, keto, intermittent fasting, whatever it may be, all that matters is calories in versus calories out: if you burn more than you're taking in, you will lose weight, and vice versa for gaining. The easiest way to keep track of this is to track! Apps like MyFitnessPal make it easier to log the things you're consuming and stay on track.
Make small changes at a time, don't try to drop everything you're doing at once to pick up a new eating habit, you're setting yourself up for failure. Make healthier choices in the things you are eating, create good habits and it will get easier over time.
How you can connect with Jessica:
Instagram: Jessica_bergin (personal) or jberginfit (fitness)