A former student of Greenville University, Gillian Bowman, is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and helping others do the same. I was given the opportunity to learn more about the hills and valleys of her journey and left inspired by her genuineness, determination, and wisdom.
Gillian’s journey began in 2015 when her two closest friends began to share with her their excitement and passion for bodybuilding. After doing some research and trying it out, Gillian said, “I sparked an undiscovered love for a passion that I never knew I had.” She quickly became fascinated by the idea of shaping her body however she desired. Here, Gillian’s reasoning for working out became “to change the way I look,” which she thanks the Lord later changed immensely.
One year into bodybuilding, Gillian began to receive comments such as “don’t get too big or you’ll look like a man.” While she isn’t concerned with other’s opinions of her, it still didn’t heal the sting of their comments. At this point in her life, her mentality began to transition from worrying about shaping her body a certain way into working out to stay strong. She experimented with powerlifting and American Ninja Warrior training. She said, “I remember realizing how much stronger I was getting, and feeling so awesome.”
The summer before she began her journey at Greenville University, Gillian’s mindset began to change once again. She described the change as, “a love of experimenting all the different ways that health and fitness are actually distributed, with the desire to just simply live and explore with a healthy life.” She knew she wanted to be a part of the track team at GU so she began training to become a sprinter over the summer. During track season, Gillian had to completely change her workout plan to train for becoming a sprinter. Slowly, she began to notice a loss in the strength she had been building up for years now. After contemplation, Gillian realized track just wasn’t for her because her heart wasn’t in it. She noted, “the team was wonderful, the people were welcoming, and the coaches were ever-so caring. I just couldn’t stay on a team that I didn’t really want to be on.” After track, Gillian resumed training on her own but noticed herself feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with the hustle of life and the lack of motivation to work out.
The summer after her freshman year at Greenville University, Gillian was determined to ignite her passion for fitness again. She said, “after my weeks of vacation and mental refreshment, I wrote down my new goals, and I worked toward them. Getting back on track was rough. It was not and has not been easy in the slightest bit.” Once she started up at her new school, she began thriving and making time for her fitness journey. While she can’t do nearly as much push-ups or chin-ups as she once was able, she has found her strength in different ways. She said, “I’ve been running more for my heart, I’ve been doing more yoga to keep balanced muscles, and I’ve simply been loving re-discovering my true passion for fitness itself.”
Gillian gave many helpful tips for sticking with a healthy lifestyle. She began with “don’t give up.” She went on to say, “ It’s true that you will not always want to workout or go to the gym and you will not always have a good workout. Just remember, any workout is better than sitting on your butt at home.” While none of the workout routines mentioned may appeal to you, no need to worry, there are various other ways to stay healthy! Gillian recommended that you “try new things.” Finding a fitness routine that you enjoy is important. Lastly, a key tip she mentioned was “find a motivator.” She continued by saying, “Working out is always easier with a friend or someone who motivates you to do so. Surround yourself with those who support you, inspire you, and motivate you.”
While your journey to a healthy lifestyle won’t be perfect, it is worth it. Gillian concluded, “You have to remember that the goal is not to change the way God made you, but to discover what God made us to be.”
Media by: Di’Mond Salmond