Body image issues is something many people face. Often these issues hold people back from achieving their goals. Personal trainer and fitness blogger Jess Witcher can definitely relate to having body issues. However, she used her body image issue to propel her to success. “I am a personal trainer, bootcamp instructor, and Instagram fitness blogger. On a daily basis, I strive to positively influence the lives of women to feel healthier, confident, and empowered to succeed in any goal they might want to achieve,” Jess says.
Everyone has their own version of the ideal body. Truth be told, there is no right or wrong body type. That still doesn’t save the fact that many people struggle with body image issues. A Lot of the time, these issues stem from self-comparison to others who exemplify what you think the definition of the perfect body is. It’s often harder for people to see the greatness with-in themselves. Now, there is nothing abnormal about having discomfort in the way you look sometimes. It is natural to want to change somethings about yourself. However, it becomes a problem when you let these issues overtake you.
Jess can relate to having body image issues. “I was honestly tired of hating my body. I hated myself. I would cry if I stared too long in the mirror. I woke up January 1st, 2015, and decided that I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I knew nothing about fitness and how to train my body, and had been following Australian trainer Kayla Itsines on Instagram for quite some time. I was motivated by her client’s transformations and purchased her workout guide. Myself and thousands of other women across the world started the program on January 5th, 2015, and were united in a community with the same desire to become stronger and healthier. From there, I started teaching myself how to train and providing advice online to others, and eventually got my certification as a Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). I started my fitness journey with the intention of changing my body, but I wound up changing my mindset instead,” Jess explains.
Jess’ journey was much more than just a physical change. Of course, getting closer and closer to her goal body was very rewarding for her, however she gained much more than she initially expected. The change she experienced not only gave her a new mindset, but it also propelled her into a great career.
Beyond her own success, some of the most rewarding factors for Jess came from her ability to share her story and empower others. “ There are two things that have been very rewarding for me: 1) Finding my passion, and having the tools to share that passion with others, and 2) Connecting with like minded individuals across the world, and being able to provide support to them in their own fitness journeys. The ones I interact with on a daily basis have become my best friends, and I have even met several of them in person to become real-life best friends! I’ve had the treasured opportunity to watch them grow and evolve over the past couple years. Witnessing them better their lives on a daily basis, and work so hard for their goals, inspires me to no end,” Jess says.
A big part of empowering others has to do with taking your own experiences and making them relatable to others. Jess does this often and even gives advice to her clients and followers. Most often she starts with telling people they must build from within before the physical changes can begin. “Leading a healthy life starts on the inside. Believe in yourself and focus on building your own independent confidence. Spend time every day recognizing one positive aspect about yourself, and do this on a daily basis. Make worshipping yourself a ritual. This confidence and light will spill into all other aspects of your life, I promise.
I truly honestly believe that if you BELIEVE in yourself, you can accomplish anything. Stay positive, trust the process, and freakin enjoy the journey! You will have obstacles and you will have hurdles, but that belief in yourself will get you through anything that comes your way,” Jess encourages.
Once you have the right mindset, Jess encourages you to just go for it. Take your time and build up to larger changes. The ultimate goal is to make an overall lifestyle change which won’t happen overnight. Take things day by day. “Start with the day in front of you. What’s one thing you can do better today to live a healthier lifestyle? The next day, change another something. Dedication day after day will add up, and new healthy habits will form. Don’t wait until Monday. Start now…because why not,” Jess explains.
The future looks bright for Jess as she continues to expand her brand. As of now she does everything from blogging, personal training and even boot camps. In the future Jess has high hopes of doing even more. “I’m already making moves to launch my own online business this year. I want to continue securing partnerships with big companies through social media, and hopefully one day, that company will be someone like Nike or Lululemon (I don’t just like to wear their leggings, there’s a purpose behind it!). I will continue to work through physical action off-screen as well. I love leading workouts, spreading positivity through sweat, and empowering women to do the same, so I will continue to incorporate that in my life. Eventually, I will also start a non-profit workout program for girls ages 10-16…yet another passion that I have and something that I am working towards,” Jess says.
What are the most common hurdles that you think beginners in fitness and a healthy lifestyle encounter?
Definitely the three most common hurdles include 1) time, 2) energy, and 3) support.
How do you suggest they overcome those obstacles?
The answer to all three of these hurdles is making yourself a PRIORITY. Is it that you don’t have time to workout, or is it that you’re not making it a priority? Is it that you don’t have the energy to workout, or are you simply not putting the effort into your diet and sleep schedule? If someone isn’t supporting you in changing your habits, find someone that will. Make yourself a priority. Do it to prove that you love and care for your body.
What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?
Set of dumbbells, resistance bands, and a Bosu ball. These are all relatively inexpensive pieces of equipment, but the workout possibilities are endless!
In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?
I love them so much, but traditional squats are definitely overrated. If you’re not a fan of traditional squats, don’t do them! There are so many other exercises out there you can use to build your glutes and legs (e.g. lunges, deadlifts, sumo-squats, pistol squats etc.). The most underrated exercise is the shoulder press! This is especially true for women. Shoulder exercises will tone your arms, traps, and upper back, and will give your arm that “capped” look. PLUS, the bigger you build your shoulders (and hips), the smaller your waist will appear. It’s not about changing your body type, but using exercises intelligently to give the illusion your body is a certain type (for whatever you are going for).