HEATHER GILLETT'S FITNESS JOURNEY
Hi! My name is Heather and I live in Delray Beach, FL with my husband and three-year old little boy. As a military family we move frequently which has given me the unique opportunity to explore new areas and meet some amazing people. I grew up in New Hampshire and have also lived in Washington DC, South Carolina and North Carolina. I’m currently working part-time towards my Master’s in Health & Wellness and will be a full-time student starting in the spring. Lifting and nutrition are my passions and inspiring others has become one of the most valuable experiences in my fitness journey so far. From a young age I’ve always viewed fitness as important to my physical and mental well-being and been fascinated with nutrition. I was on the cross-country team in high school,
which was more of a hobby as I wasn’t a particularly competitive runner. About seven years ago I became inspired to start picking up some weights. I was completely addicted as I slowly put on muscle and saw my body’s composition change – without having to do hours of cardio. I lifted through my pregnancy which not only kept me feeling fit but made me more confident and happier throughout the pregnancy and made it easier to get my body back afterwards.
Aside from being in the gym 6-7 days a week, I enjoy running with my boys – we’ve ran two half-marathons together (pushing a stroller) and will be running a Disney half-marathon in January. My husband and I have a tradition where we check out a new CrossFit gym every time we travel to a new area or city to get a good workout and a t-shirt. It’s helped reinforce my commitment to making fitness a fun lifestyle, not just a necessary one. Overall, I just love being active, trying new things and keeping my body at an optimal level of health. I am motivated
knowing that my son gets to see me go to the gym every day and eat healthy; he sees me making fitness a way of life because I enjoy it. It’s so important that I set an example for him early on so that he will grow up motivated to stay active, set goals and have a healthy relationship with food. I recently competed in the Ruby Championships in Boca Raton, FL - my first bikini competition, placing first in my open class. What started as a casual goal turned into something that truly changed me as a person and caused me to grow in ways I hadn’t imagined. With the help of my coach I went through a 20-week prep where I was able to see myself gradually transform. While it was definitely tough at times, it pushed me to find strength and willpower I never knew I had. Before prep I would go out and drink a lot which set me back from reaching both my personal and fitness goals. This process was a much-needed reset that changed my habits and perspective on a healthy lifestyle. While some will emphasize the unhealthy aspects of the sport and how it can lead to challenges and issues with body image, my experience brought me a healthier relationship with food and the way I view my body. The whole experience and core of the sport embodies so much of what I love; how we can use diet and exercise to manipulate our bodies will never stop fascinating me. My biggest advice for anyone thinking of competing for the first time would be to make sure they are in a good place both physically and mentally before starting. The key is to enjoy the process – it’s a choice to compete, so loving what you’re doing is critical to personal and competitive success. Also know that there will be good and bad days – days where the scale isn’t where you want it to be, you think you “lost” all your muscle, or simply don’t think you have what it takes. Don’t let these days ruin everything you’ve worked for; push through them and know that they will make you stronger. I’ve fallen in love with the sport and the science behind it and am so excited to work towards my next goal of competing in May 2020. Continuing to compete and ultimately getting a pro card is my dream and I can’t wait to see what the next couple of years brings! One of the most fascinating and rewarding things about the sport and my journey has been inspiring others. During my preparation and transformation, I had a lot of people ask for advice or telling me that my dedication and transformation inspired them. For instance, my brother-in-law told me that I’ve pushed him to be more consistent not only with physical fitness but in other areas of his life which has helped him holistically. This is the most rewarding part of the whole process and my ultimate goal is helping others gain confidence with their bodies and have a
positive relationship with food and exercise. There’s nothing more fulfilling than using your passion to bring out the best in yourself and others and I can’t wait to do this more both in my personal and professional life. I’m so excited to help transform others’ lives in the same way fitness has transformed mine.