“There was a lot of fog and you couldn’t see ten feet in front of you…the next thing I know, we were going sideways on the highway at 75 mph.
This is the recent reality that Myprotein athlete, Gabby Male, faced in the freeze that swept across the US this past month. Thankfully, she‘s come out the other side unscathed and is dedicating every moment to helping others achieve their fitness ambitions.
We wanted to find out what her fitness journey has been like, diving deep into issues with eating, the accident, life as an entrepreneur, and advice for anyone with fitness goals. Here’s what she had to say.
Where are you from and what was your experience like growing up there?
“I’m actually originally from England. I moved to Columbus, Ohio when I was 4 and I grew up in a really small town —it was like a bubble. Everyone knows everyone and everything about each other. So, when I started doing my Instagram back in 2015 and I moved to Kentucky for college and got into fitness, everyone was super interested and really supportive.
There were also people saying “what is she doing”., but where I grew up was absolutely incredible: the perfect small-town America. However, growing up in a British family, with my parents having British accents, and transitioning out of a British accent when I was young, I definitely always felt a little different.
Also, my parents are both entrepreneurs, so when I started my social media fitness platform, I really do think it’s because I came from that kind of culture and background.”
When did you know your social media presence and love for fitness were going to be more than a hobby and turn into an occupation?
“I probably knew after the first year of my fitness journey and Myprotein is 100% the reason I realized it could be a lot bigger than I thought. I started off as a student ambassador — Myprotein took me and another student to The Olympia, fully paid and everything.
That was really my eye-opener to this industry. I got to meet my idols and all these people that I looked up to for so long and then I was one of them. I was there with the company and I realized, “okay I have some potential here,” not only with Myprotein, but also within myself. So, after the Olympia I started creating my own workout programs and I realized I could help a lot of people change their lives.”
Does choosing fitness as an occupation make you love it any less?
“When I was graduating from college was when I really started realizing that I had spent so long helping others and I wasn’t spending enough time helping myself. The gym was starting to become a chore.
I’d be going to the gym to help people, do personal training, answering questions on direct message and recording videos and I wasn’t actually able to enjoy my workout. So, what I’ve been focusing on this past year is falling in love with the gym again.
That’s my goal in 2019: to really, truly, just dive deep into all aspects of physical fitness and test my body in different ways because that’s where I really thrive and have more fun. If not, you get stuck in a routine and you don’t make progress.”
What do you do when you’re not working with Myprotein?
“I actually run two businesses. One involves my social media and coaching business. Four times a year, I work with 25 women for 12 weeks and we focus on physical, mental, social, and other aspects of health. I feel all aspects of health affect the physical.
This past year, I’ve also started a company with my friend. It’s called healthEVO — an online health platform where we provide nutrition coaching through dietitians and physicians, give them meal plans, which are fully customized and dietitian approved. We provide meal plans for people with illnesses, allergies, and we also provide meal plans for coaches so they can utilize them for their clients.”
So, you work with people whose voices are sometimes not heard and are in general, underrepresented? Specifically, I’m referring to those with illnesses and also women.
“Yeah. I feel that in today’s climate, women still don’t feel like they are able to speak up especially when it’s about their own mental health or physical health because they might feel that it’s out of their control or they’re scared to ask for help.
So, my biggest goal is to help women because health and my time spent in the gym has taught me so much about myself and about motivation and I want women to experience that for themselves. I feel that, as a woman, especially in today’s climate, I think one of the most empowering things you can feel is feeling strong and comfortable in your own skin.
I want to give women all the tools they need so that when life gets hard, they can deal with it in a healthy way and in an effective way.”
Some worry that the “perfect” bodies and lives portrayed on social media can be damaging — what do you think about this?
“I think right now, one of the biggest things and something I tell my clients is to be careful about what bubble you put yourself in on social media. What I mean by that is, in real life, if you surround yourself with healthy, motivated, and driven people, you will be that.
However, on social media, it’s the same. If you follow people on your feed who are models posting their highlight reel of life, you’re going to feel like you need to be and turn into that. And subconsciously, it will make you feel like you’re not perfect. So, I teach my clients to be careful who you follow on social media. Follow people that make you feel empowered, motivated, and better about yourself, not worse.
You could be following people with different body types, posting about real-life things, instead of materialistic things and leave their page inspired and feeling comfortable in your own skin. I think the first step in overcoming issues with body image is to clear your feed of anyone who doesn’t empower you.”
Have you ever struggled with your body image and eating?
“For me, when it comes to my relationship with eating, it has been a rollercoaster. I really have to emphasize for everyone reading this, the importance of being patient with yourself and giving your body the food that it truly needs. Sometimes that might be a brownie. Sometimes that might mean a salad.
Whatever it is, when you can learn to give your body those foods, that is when you truly learn how to have freedom. Freedom within your mind and freedom within your body because for me, I really struggled with eating because I had restricted myself for so long.
I’m a really competitive person and so the less I ate and the skinnier I got, I still wasn’t happy. No matter what weight I hit, I never was happy. Finally, what I realized was that you can manipulate your food, you can manipulate the way you look but no matter what, you’re always going to want more because you didn’t fix what’s going on inside yourself.
If you’re someone that is struggling with your relationship with food, the biggest thing you need to do is get help. Don’t be scared to ask for it. That was something I didn’t do and it prolonged my recovery. I think everybody, eating disorder or not, should talk to a therapist. Really digging deep internally is what gave me freedom with food and eating.”
Did you recently get in a car accident?
“I want to start by saying I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason. The universe places things in our lives at the exact time we need them. I know it was placed in my life for a reason, kind of like a wake-up call.
We were driving to West Virginia— my friend’s husband was driving. There was a lot of fog and you couldn’t see ten feet in front of you. I was on my phone and the next thing I know, we were going sideways on the highway at 75 mph.
There was a 4-car accident up ahead but we couldn’t see it because of the fog and the accident had happened because the whole highway had turned into black ice. We swerved and hit a pole that actually stopped us from going over a cliff. Luckily, it hit the part of the car where nobody was sitting.”
How does that kind of event affect your outlook on life?
“I truly think that this was a reminder that something can happen in an instant and you might not be here tomorrow. It reminded me how lucky I am to do what I do and have the platform that I have. I just want to dedicate every second of my life to helping people become their best selves.”
So what are your plans for the future? Do you have any advice for anyone looking to have a successful fitness journey?
“My plans are to continue growing my coaching business and help more women. My biggest advice for anyone looking to develop and grow into their best selves is to firstly ask for help. Don’t be scared to ask for it — whether it’s a personal trainer or a therapist, they can help them work through whatever issues they may be going through.
Next, never stop learning. There are so many incredible resources out there whether it be podcasts, books, Instagram accounts, or YouTube videos. Because of social media we have so many tools. Don’t be scared to continually learn about things that challenge you and challenge your thoughts and beliefs.
A lot of the time, we create that box for ourselves: a comfort zone. But when you can expand that box and not be afraid to step out of it and look and try new things, that’s when you really start to see change mentally and physically.”
After dealing with the accident and her own internal struggles, Gabby continues to be motivated, driven, and wise. She represents the types of people that we want to support and encourage. Gabby and many other athletes continue to inspire and remind us that we should make the most of every minute. And dare to step outside our comfort zones and surpass our ambitions.