Do you remember when you decided to make a change for the better? Jessica Giblin does. “It was just something physical in me, a total body feeling,” she says. “I was kind of stuck in a rut: physically, mentally, emotionally, career-wise. I got out of bed and just decided to pick up a pair of little pink dumbbells and walk around the neighborhood to clear my head.” Since she made that choice 18 months ago Giblin, a Charleston, South Carolina native, has since upgraded from the pink dumbbells to become one of the fastest rising NPC Physique competitors in the country.
Having grown up on Nantucket Island, she was always outside and athletic. Her interest in fitness followed her to college, but she was chased out of the school gym by the boys. “I guess they were intimidated,” she laughs. After rediscovering her fitness on those morning walks, Giblin moved to an elliptical. When the elliptical didn’t provide enough of a challenge, she soon graduated to CrossFit as a new fitness outlet. She loved the results but she couldn’t keep the weight on that she desired so she reluctantly came into bodybuilding.
It may be a word usually associated with bodybuilders, but Giblin considers herself a traditionalist. “I always saw bodybuilding as this wacky subculture. Now that I am a part of it, I see it as a celebration of the body!” She is still getting used to the pictures and compliments, however. “A lot of people come up and ask me what kind of an athlete I am. Things like ‘how do you work out?’ and ‘What can I do to get arms like that?’ Random strangers! It’s still a little surreal.”
“My life is not glamorous, contrary to the stage tan and makeup,” Giblin states matter-of-factly. “My morning begins at 5 a.m. I spend an hour to an hour and a half in the gym, and I’m focused. I’m there to get things done. Then I take the kids to school and I’m off to work.” She has made a concerted effort to make a complete lifestyle change while maintaining a sense of normalcy. “I eat Paleo and farm-to-table, but I never count calories or weigh my food. I’ve cut back on procrastinating and drinking. I’m much more in the moment. Bodybuilding has given me the strength to be the best me I can be in every facet of my life.”
With her busy schedule, Giblin is an example to anyone who thinks they are too busy to make fitness a part of their lifestyle, much less become a bodybuilder. “It’s about balance and priorities. As a society, there is a certain pressure for us to overachieve, and it can be overwhelming.” Giblin has worked hard to get herself out of her rut. Aside from transforming her body, she has started a new career that she finds extremely rewarding, something she wouldn’t have done without first taking that risk and getting out of bed that morning. “I found being active engaged my heart and mind. It empowered me to find the strength to push!” She offers up a challenge to those who haven’t decided to make that change: “Jump out of bed and do it!”