Hi! I’m Jessica Wilkins. I am a health coach, nutritional counselor, and certified personal trainer. I have a Master of Science in Nutrition, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I am also a competitive powerlifter and former competitive bikini athlete. My passions include plant-based food, healthy living, lifting heavy stuff, yoga, meditation, traveling, nature, activism, learning and experiencing new things, and helping people feel great about themselves.
I grew up playing sports my whole life. My Mom forced me to try literally every single sport (and activity for that matter, thanks Mom!) and I grew up loving athletics and physical fitness. My favorite sports were volleyball, swimming, softball, tennis, and snowboarding.
I moved to Portland when I got accepted to the National University of Natural Medicine, where I earned my Master’s degree in Nutrition and received a comprehensive education in health coaching, nutritional counseling, medical nutrition therapy, healing foods, supplementation, and culinary skills. Along the way, I had the honor of interning for the amazing Lacy Davis, health coach and owner of Super Strength Health, and at Northwest Personal Training, a world class personal training studio in Vancouver, Washington. I have also had the privilege of being mentored by renowned coaches including powerlifting coach Jeron Kerridge of Savage Strength Conditioning and Dani Taylor, founder of veganproteins.com and Team PlantBuilt.
MY FITNESS AND FOOD STORY:
The reason I got into lifting in the first place was to achieve a certain physique. I started working out at the gym regularly in college solely to achieve the goal of being as thin as possible. I thought that being healthy and fit meant doing long bouts of cardio exercise and totally exhausting yourself in the gym. Thankfully, over time I realized this was not the case and my mindset and priorities changed. I developed a huge passion for weight training, nutrition, positive body image, and overall healthy living. When I started to lift heavy, I felt incredible and my body began to change right before my eyes! I fell in love with lifting and still am to this day.
After about a year of being consistent, people started to ask me if I was going to compete. I didn’t have a clue what that meant, but I decided to learn more about it. That’s when I found out about PlantBuilt, a team of vegan bodybuilders, powerlifters, and crossfitters who compete as a form of activism. This was super inspiring to me and I started working with Dani Taylor, one of the founders of the team as my coach. I wanted to prove to the world that vegans could be muscular and strong. I competed in a natural bikini competition in which I took 2nd place in the novice and open divisions. It was an amazing experience and I learned a ton about myself and my body through the process, but as many people who have competed (especially for the first time) know, the aftermath was not so pretty. I went on a family vacation right after and was not able to stick to my reverse diet in a way that would have been optimal. I struggled with binge eating for months afterwards. Looking back now, I had been exhibiting restrict/binge cycles for years with food and alcohol, even if I hadn’t recognized it then. Mainstream media and society in general heavily encourage these patterns, and once you get into these habits, it takes work to get out. It took an immense amount of introspection, cultivation of self-awareness, and plain old WORK to face my body image issues and negative thought patterns head on to regain balance.
After my experience competing in bikini, I decided I needed to take a break from focusing on my physique and I started to put my efforts into gaining strength and became interested in powerlifting. Powerlifting opened up a whole other world for me. It was refreshing to adopt a different mindset and stop constantly giving my physical appearance top priority. I realized just how much that had taken precedence in my mind for a very long time. I enlisted a powerlifting coach, my mentor and now friend Jeron Kerridge, and joined the powerlifting team at Savage Strength Conditioning. I gained a ton of strength, and competed in my first powerlifting meet in April of 2016 where I qualified for the APA World Championships. I took second place in my weight class in World's in October of 2016. My next competition is a qualifier for the IPF World Championships in Las Vegas and will take place this coming April. I have also had the honor of having been asked to join the PlantBuilt team this year. We will be competing together in Austin, Texas this coming June. I'm so excited for the year ahead!
I believe that everything I’ve been through - all the beautiful, sparkly times and also all the scary, dark times - have been for a reason. And that reason is so that I can effectively help others through their journeys with compassion and love. I believe that everyone should be able to live their lives to the absolute fullest, capture their dreams, and be able to hold their own selves (including their bodies, no matter how they may look) up to the highest esteem. Society glamorizes this idea that personal strength is figuring stuff out on your own, but that is just a straight up lie. We need people to help us, guide us, and boost us up. I’ve sought out teachers, coaches, mentors, and counselors my entire life because I recognize the value of having someone that I can trust who is there for me and who is fully dedicated to helping me achieve my goals. This space is now one that I strive to hold for others.
I have a fiery passion that cannot be extinguished. If you would like to tap into that, please contact me. I would love to work with your beautiful, unique self.
Let’s make waves together!