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Conversations with Gillian Hughes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gillian Hughes. 

Hi Gillian, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I have had a passion for fitness for many years- it began when I picked up a fitness magazine in high school and dreamed of looking fit and healthy like the girls in the magazine. They looked strong and beautiful and as an athlete myself, it was a look that appealed to me and that I wanted for myself. I began training and competed in my first fitness competition in 2005 and fell in love with it! Unfortunately, my early days in competitions led me down a path to unhealthy eating habits and low self-esteem, and maintaining a healthy body and mindset was extremely challenging for me. I found myself very far removed from my fit lifestyle with a new baby, a toddler and 65 pounds overweight at 30 years old and decided I had to find balance- as much as I wanted to lose the baby weight, feel good about my body and have my health and energy levels back, I knew I had to ditch my past eating habits (restrictive) and exercise routine (obsessive), particularly so that my children could have a mom who could take care of them, enjoy activities with them and live a long healthy life. I began creating time-efficient home workout routines as well as reverse engineering my favorite recipes to make them lower in calories and over the course of a year, I returned to my pre-baby weight and in a much happier and healthier place. My transformation caught the eye of other women in my area and workplace and with my qualifications as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I began to offer to help other moms get back into shape. My new business endeavor grew quickly through word of mouth in the community and after a few months, I left my career in health care, and “Momshell Method Fitness” was born! Over the years, the term MOMSHELL has been something I’m known for and it is a term used to describe a confident, determined MOM who is a BOMBSHELL!! I now offer my customized programs to women all over the United States and Canada and love helping women feel their absolute best living a maintainable healthy lifestyle that they love! 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
You are always learning and evolving as an entrepreneur- there have been many ups and downs over the years. In my line of work, it can be a challenge to feel like you can’t help some people help themselves. It’s important not to take this personal and find ways to connect with the individual and keep encouraging them until they figure it out. That was probably the hardest thing for me in the beginning of my journey as a weight loss coach and it was hard not to take that personally. One of the things I love the most about this career path is that I enjoy the flexibility to be a part of exciting side projects and endorsements that I may not have otherwise had time for when I worked for someone else. I have had to learn a lot about the logistics of running a business and time management will be an ongoing challenge for me- I am a notorious overscheduler and want to take on every project! I never want to dilute the quality of the services that I provide to my clients so I now limit the number of clients that I coach at one time. 

My personal life has endured many challenges and changes over the last 10 years since launching Momshell Method. Years ago, I went through a divorce and had the experience of running a business as a single mom. It was difficult to smile, be positive, and encourage others when I was experiencing a great deal of sadness and stress but I loved my work so much and love people in general- I believe that helping others helped me through that difficult time in my life. Now, I am remarried and juggling schedules for not only my two kiddos but my awesome three bonus kids- it can be quite hectic! I think this helps other women, especially overwhelmed moms like myself- they see me doing it and know that they can lean on me for support and I can help them do it too! I feared the end of my coaching programs during the pandemic but I was able to pivot and provide my one-on-one coaching virtually as well as provide each of my clients with gym-free exercise programs and 2020 ended up being the most successful year of my business! If I have learned one thing it is that if you care about helping people and you love what you do, you will always have clients who need your help and you will be successful in this industry:) 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Although I specialize in helping moms find balance with fitness, healthy eating, family, and career, my passion is helping women find empowerment by setting and achieving goals that they may have held onto for a very long time! My programs are unique in that they provide the client with an individualized approach to fitness, nutrition, weight loss, and health and I provide life coaching to each client so they learn strategies to achieve their goals despite a hectic schedule. Every woman who walks through the door to my office is a goal-driven, high achieving woman- if they were not, they would not be trying to better themselves- often, women need reminding of that and I enjoy the journey of helping them to realize that part of themselves that they may have lost. As a fitness professional and athlete, I have frequent opportunities to be a part of modeling work or television assignments and I like to think of this as a way to inspire and motivate others and many women tell me they have seen my photo and dreamed about doing a photoshoot one day- I think that is awesome! I remember admiring fit women, particularly fit moms, when I was carrying a lot of excess weight and I looked up to them- it motivated me to see a woman in the best shape of her life after having children! I want moms and moms to be to know that you can absolutely be in awesome shape after kids- having children does not ruin your body! An extension of my lifestyle programs is my competition coaching programs for ladies who wish to pursue fitness competitions. I have been very involved in the bodybuilding world for many years as a judge, coach, and national-level bikini competitor and I love to help other moms discover their inner competitor when they are looking for a new challenge for themselves! I have experienced so much personal growth and development training for competitions myself and as a coach, it is a thrilling experience to help other women reach this goal for themselves! 

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
There are so many people doing what I do and to that, I say, YES!! There are millions of Americans who are overweight and since I can’t help them all, I welcome other new individuals like myself to this industry- there will always be a need for more coaches who want to help others! Social media has been a great way to promote my programs and share client results but the number one way I obtain new clients is through word of mouth. I have scaled back my advertising as it is far less genuine than a referral from an actual client and since support and community are HUGE in a client’s success, it’s amazing when a client encourages their friends, family, or co-workers to join the program! 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Dalton Juliette
Go Wonder Photography
Oscar Rendon Photography
Jason Keeven Photography

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