Fitness Inspiration: Jessie Deye, aka GymGirlJessie
Here at 6 Pack Fitness, we love to share true stories of people that embody our fitness inspiration goals, whether that's through the use of a meal management system, specific training principles, and everything in-between. We profiled Amy Perrin to start off our Transformations Series, and Amy mentioned an Instagram user that she totally looked up to as her fitness inspiration: GymGirlJessie. Jessie Deye is an inspiration for many reasons: her fitness drive is incredible, she's smart, and she's down to earth. What more could you ask for? We sat down with Jessie to get some insight into her story, goals, and inspiration.
Amy cited you as a huge inspiration. Who would you cite as a huge inspiration in your life?
My top inspiration is definitely my mom. She's 62 now, and she still teaches 6 to 8 aerobics, Pilates, and yoga classes a week. She is in the gym every single day. She's just such a hard worker and always been really passionate about fitness. My parents raised me to be active and I was always involved in sports. I was a competitive gymnast for years, I played tennis, but I never really found my footing in the gym until after I was done competing in gymnastics and playing competitive tennis. And it wasn't until I discovered lifting and the sport of bodybuilding that kind of allowed me to figure out my place and make it more of a lifestyle, but I have always looked up to my mom who brought me up with that being a value: to stay physically active and keep the body healthy.
Jessie's been an athlete her entire life, but it wasn't always easy to maintain a fitness routine at the gym. Like many of us, Jessie would work very hard at the gym for a few months, and then stop completely and start eating poorly. (A meal management system is another way to combat the specter of poor eating.) Two years ago, she changed her mentality, and decided to commit completely to fitness by making it something very important to her life. Jessie noted two years ago in a journal her goal to compete in a bikini competition, something she's achieved 7 times in the last 2 years. Jessie is a true fitness inspiration not only because she's competed, but also because of her dedicated mentality.
Social media is huge in the fitness world. What role do you feel that social media has played in helping people achieve their goals and reach others?
Social media is kind of double-sided in the fitness industry. I trained for my first competition when I had 100 followers on Instagram. It was a way for me to connect with other people across the country and world that were also training. Nobody that I knew in my real life was able to relate, or were competing themselves, so it was just a huge community of people and support that was awesome. Some of those people I've met in real life, and some I haven't, but there are definitely friendships that have formed and it's just an awesome community of support.
On the flip side, there can be a lot of smoke and mirrors on social media and it's important to utilize it to lift you up. It can sometimes bring you down because you see these girls that are perfectly posed in the right lighting and have taken 50 selfies of themselves, just to pick the right one and put the right filters on it. That's just not real life. I fell into that trap when I started, and I unfollowed almost every one of the typical big fitness accounts that everybody knows, for that reason. Seeing a picture of perfectly filtered abs isn't going to motivate me, but seeing people like Amy, who shares her day-in and day-out struggles and her journey and how she balances it all is incredibly inspiring to me. There are groups of 20 or so girls who aren't even that famous, but we all communicate. We've even talked about all meeting up sometime. They are awesome, just very real girls who share their journeys and their stories. In that sense, I think that social media is incredibly powerful in the fitness industry.
When Jessie first decided to enter a bikini competition, she had a long ways to go. She was 20 pounds above her weight goal for competing, and ended up accomplishing that weight goal 18 weeks after she made that first commitment. After that first competition, Jessie did six more, and now she's decided to retire from competing in competitions, but wanted to make the training mentality her lifestyle. Jessie's favorite part about competing is the process and the journey. It takes a lot of discipline to train for a competition, and those principles of discipline and determination are ones she's trying to apply to her everyday life, and part of the reason she's such a great fitness inspiration.
Discipline is obviously a huge part of training. What can you say about the role of discipline in your fitness life?
I was just talking to my dad about this, and I would have thought that I have no discipline at all. I'll be on a diet for a week and fall right back off. That is why, when I made the decision to compete, it gave me something to hold me accountable. And it worked apparently, because for the first 18 weeks I just gave it my everything. But I never, ever, ever thought that I'd have that in me, but I proved to myself that I did. I surprised myself. I surprised my family. I remember after my first competition, my dad was like, â€œWow, Jess. To be honest, I didn't actually think that you would pull through with it." I didn't know if I was going to be able to either. I never thought that I had that side to me. But fitness has taught me a lot about myself and taught me what I am capable of.
Do you have any sort of personal philosophy or piece of fitness wisdom that you would like to share?
One thing that I always said when I was competing is that it was just one day at a time. The decisions that you make that day are compounded with the decisions that you make tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Now this is specific to competing and in prep, but when you have to be 100% on point with my diets and my workouts for the next 12 weeks, that seems so daunting, considering that many days in a row. But if you think about it as just the next 24 hours, that's easy! And you just do it like that the next day and the next day and the next day. The way I look at it is, if I'm able to maintain a healthy body and a healthy metabolism, then I can have a day or two where I am able to enjoy the balance and relax a bit. Then I just get back on the horse the next day and start back up on my plan and over time it all evens out. Just taking things one day a time is critical.
Jessie Deye isn't simply concerned with looking great and having a perfect six pack. She loves the process of fitness itself, and the day-to-day struggles and triumphs that includes. She's a great fitness inspiration because she acknowledges the ups and downs, and looks to other people for inspiration too. She's very smart-she's a member of MENSA, a group only people with very high IQs, but she doesn't boast about that. Despite her intelligence, Jessie is very down-to-earth. Jessie has a day job, and she sells custom macro diets using your age, weight, and goals. To follow Jessie's progress check out her Instagram and to look into her custom diet plans, check out her website! And if you need some inspiration for how to store and manage your new custom dietâ€¦ you know where to find just the right meal management system!
Photo credits: Tom Siebert Photography.