When we think of competitive fitness as a sport, we might think of an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Hulk Hogan-type physique. This is just one division of the sport, obviously known as bodybuilding. Now, let’s have Jessie introduce you to the Bikini Division…
Chances are, if you look to Instagram for motivation to get your butt to the gym, you are already following @GymGirlJessie, aka Jessie Deye – an obvious babe, but a tough competitor. Jessie has been competing in the sport for under a year, yet most recently placed 4th at Nationals – only 3 spots away from reaching her pro status already
Even better, with beauty, comes brains – a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology, to be exact. She is an author, a business owner, and a leader – motivating thousands of fitness enthusiasts all over the world. It takes just one look at her Instagram profile to get a sense of her kickass personality – this girl is FUNNY!
So, who is this chick, anyway?
22 QUESTIONS WITH JESSIE DEYE
- So, you have only been in the fitness world for a year now. In that year, you have already competed at Nationals (congrats!), and came so close to reaching Pro status. What are your ultimate goals in the world of fitness?
My goals are a lot broader than just competing and earning a Pro Card. While that is certainly something I would love to accomplish, ultimately I want to take from my competing some learnings that I can apply toward a lifetime of healthy living.
2.Many people are familiar with bodybuilding, but have no idea the “Bikini” division exists. In your own words, how would you define your “sport” to those that have no idea what it’s all about?
It is a sport of physique. Judging is based solely on appearance and conditioning, just like in any other division of body building. Bikini is the division of women’s body building which requires the least muscularity, and offers more freedom in your posing. Many women enjoy it because they feel you can inject more personality into your stage presentation. Although Bikini is the least muscular/lean of the divisions, it still requires excellent conditioning and training for a show can be just as intense. I compete at around 8% body fat, which I achieve by following a 100% strict diet and spending 2-3 hours per day in the gym. Just because bikini competitors don’t hit the same muscle-displaying poses on stage doesn’t mean we don’t work just as hard off stage!
- How terrified were you before stepping on the stage in nearly nothing for the first time? What was going through your mind?
I was actually not scared at all. The week leading up to my show I was scared as hell. But once I got backstage, the adrenaline started rushing and I just couldn’t wait to show off the physique I had worked SO hard to achieve.
4.Prior to competing, you weren’t new to working out, you just took it to another level….what were the biggest eye openers for you once you took on the lifestyle? Any huge surprises? Did you hit a point where you thought, “What am I getting myself into?”
Ha, um… yes. The moment I got what I call my “stripper heels” in the mail I sat back and laughed out loud in my living room. Then my suit came in the next week and I could not believe how little fabric I was going to be wearing once I stepped on stage. Competing is just a whole different ballgame. But in terms of taking my training to the next level, the biggest eye opener was around diet. I always knew it was important, but had no idea HOW important. It’s everything. You cannot eat like crap and just train your way into a bangin bod. Trust me I wish it worked that way because I’d dominate some epic Taco Bell every day if that was the case. But alas, it’s not.
- Do you have any pre-show rituals you follow before heading on stage?
Yes, and anyone who has ever competed beside me will attest to this. I LOVE to dance. So backstage before I go on, I sing random songs (for a while it was “don’t drop that thun thun thun” by Finatticz) and dance. Then I encourage my fellow competitors to do the same. Usually they join in. Sometimes I just get weird stares. But you’d be amazed at how much it loosens you up and completely erases any nerves.
- What is your favourite cheat meal? (And how often do you sneak those in?!)
When prepping for a show, I have one cheat meal a week. Nine times out of ten it’s a specialty burger of sorts. I love a huge juicy burger topped with some kind of random concoction of goodness. Like bacon and maple syrup and sundried tomatoes and chocolate chips. Okay I made that up. I’m definitely no chef, but the folks at some of the burger joints in Cincy sure are, and trust me they know what’s up.
- What is your favourite body part to work out?
Delts. Delts delts delts. I would train shoulders every day if I could. I love it because the workouts are intense and quick, and I ache for days after. Genetically my delts develop faster than other muscle groups so it’s exciting to work a body part where I’m seeing continued progress.
- Given how many hours you spend there, what are some of the weirdest things you have seen at the gym?
One time I found what I thought was a carrot wrapped in tin foil. Turns out it was chalk. Another time I found a little glass jar with rocks inside of it. I was really confused about that one at first, but then I saw that one of the rocks had written on it “No Pain No Gain.” I’m still not sure what they were used for, but how cool, right?
- Followed by your biggest pet peeve at the gym …?
When people sit around and chit chat and don’t train. Sometimes I wish I could wear a sign that said “don’t talk to me unless you want a spot.” But then underneath it really small it would say “also unless you’re Jake Gyllenhaal, in which case I didn’t want to train today anyway.”
- Is there a specific stereotype about your sport that drives you crazy?
It’s often seen as just another hooters contest. People often don’t understand the level of discipline and hard work that goes into achieving a competitive physique. It’s not about the glamour and sexiness, and in fact I wish some of that could be taken out of the equation. It’s about pushing yourself to a place you never thought possible, testing your limits, and making real changes in your life. The fact that you happen to achieve a rockin bod is just a side benefit.
- If there was any other sport you could take on for a living, what would it be?
I was a competitive gymnast for 13 years and miss it every day. I’d love to be 16 again and compete in gymnastics.
- What are the top 3 songs to get you motivated at the gym?
Currently, pick any 3 songs from Lorde’s album Pure Herione. Epic.
- Do you have any pets? Any siblings?
No pets. I’m allergic to anything and everything with fur, and those hairless cats are just weird looking. Three siblings of whom I am very proud. An older brother (Sam) who is a pilot and flight instructor for Delta, an older sister (Lauren) who is completing her PhD in Quantitative Analytics, and a little brother (Bobby) who is in Air Force flight school, learning to fly the C-130 cargo plane. We are all very close and simply by achieving such stellar goals of their own, they push me to be better every single day.
- One choice – Wine or beer? In the off season, of course…
Even in my offseason, I drink very sparingly. But between wine and beer, I’ll take a smooth microbrewed porter over a fancy schmancy glass of wine any day of the week.
- What’s your favourite movie of all time?
The Fifth Element. So random, but I love it.
- Favourite Disney movie?
The little mermaid. Because, well, she’s a mermaid.
- So, I have to ask…are you single, dating or taken?
Dating is difficult when you’re in prep. If you go into prep for a show already in a relationship, it’s a lot more doable. But if you’re single, being asked out on a date and having to explain that you can’t have a beer and can’t go out to dinner can get a little weird. So for you guys out there interested in snagging a competitor, get creative. Ask her to go rock climbing, go to a comedy club, see a show at a local theatre. I had one guy this year take me to a wolf rescue/reserve. It was the most unique date I’ve ever been on, and it was something he knew I could do despite my diet limitations. Huge props. Now that I’m in my offseason it’s a little easier. Still single, but definitely dating more and enjoying more freedom in that space. This time of year, I love the holidays, so a fun unique dinner (like at a local hole-in-the-wall that serves the best burgers in town) followed by ice skating and hot chocolate (made with soy milk of course).
- Does your love interest have a better chance if they have muscles too?!
I would die if I dated a body builder. I spend enough time talking and thinking about the gym, I need a break from that in my personal life. However, I have certainly learned to appreciate a guy who takes care of himself. I want a guy who knows the difference between an incline fly and a decline bench, but not a guy whose life revolves around fitness.
- You like to travel. Any trips planned in the near future?
I leave in a week for a two week jaunt across Southeast Asia. I’m traveling solo and will be hitting up Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. I can’t wait.
- You are quite the motivational lady in the worlds of both Instagram and fitness combined – what made you turn to Instagram in the first place? At what point did you realize you were starting the get quite the following? (Closet to 50K followers in your first year!)
I started my account because it allowed me to connect to other competitors who were also experiencing show prep for the first time. I didn’t know anyone in “real life” that was competing, so it gave me a community of support. The weirdest moment for me was the first time I was recognized in public. Someone asked me if I was “gymgirljessie” and I almost spit my drink out. It’s just hilarious to me that anyone could possibly think I’m even remotely worth recognizing… I’m just a sarcastic self-deprecating used-to-be-lazy girl who decided one day to get in shape
- What do you want to be remembered for?
Certainly not fitness. That sounds silly because to anyone on Instagram, that’s what it looks like my life revolves around. And while fitness is a huge part of my life, it’s not everything. It’s a small part of the total picture of who I am and the life I’m creating. I want to be remembered (by friends, family, etc) for living a positive, fun, and exciting life that somehow enriches the lives of others, even if it’s in the smallest of ways.
- Who would you suggest to be the next Sports Babe of the Day?
I have a total girl crush on Nikki Leonard. She competes in bikini as well, but also does crossfit. She’s not your typical “bikini girl” and rocks some amazing tattoos. We met at the Olympia Expo this year when I went up to her like a giddy school girl to introduce myself. I had no idea she knew who I was, and turns out we were both just as excited to meet one another. She’s a total badass who I feel like really “gets it” when it comes to fitness. You just have to have fun and be yourself. Fitness is a freaking blast, and you have to keep a level head about things. She totally embodies that.
That was perfect, Jessie, thank you! Now, how many readers are packing their gym bag right now? For daily motivation or if you just need a good laugh, follow Jessie on Instagram, Twitter at @GymGirlJessie or visit her personal website for more tips on how to get a rockin’ bod!