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Introducing Strongwoman Jenna Gray
- Updated: February 8, 2017
Home – Australia
Age – 31
Height – 171cm
Relationship status – Single
Education – Bachelor Degree of Biomedical Science (Specialist in Exercise physiology, minor Psychology), Masters of Business
Occupation – Fire Fighter
Sport/Fitness Interest – Strongwoman, bodybuilding, body transformation
Best Gym Lifts:
- Yoke Carry – 320kg for 20m,
- Farmers carry – 115kg per hand 20m,
- Log – 85kg
- Axel Press – 80kg,
- Single arm dumbbell – 45kg,
- Raw Deadlift – 212.5kg
Story – I grew up in an athletic household with my parents heavily involved in the local bodybuilding and fitness industry. From a very young age my sister and I were exposed to the gym, nutrition, and sports, and were state level swimmers. This; however, did not prevent me from putting on weight at an alarming rate from the age of 12. By the time I was 16, I was morbidly obese at nearly 130kg and a size 22. After seeing numerous dieticians, doctors and other ‘experts’, without solution, I was told to accept that I would just be ‘big’ for the rest of my life. I grew up as the fat-funny girl who was always the loudest in the class, where self-depreciation became a coping mechanism for the teasing and jibes. I hated my body and would often cry myself to sleep – I still have anxiety about jeans/pant shopping!
My change occurred when I finally got the courage to ask my high-school crush out and he spat water in my face and laughed at me, stating “why would I ever go out with someone that looks like you?” Brutal hey?
From that moment I embarked on a crazy routine of endless cardio and circuit style weight training and ridiculously low calorie diet. I dropped down to 64kg in just over 12 months. I knew from this time onwards that the gym would be a part of me and my life forever. With the significant weight-loss meant that I had excess skin that has been removed, and the scar, to this day, serves as a reminder of where I have come from.
The good thing that growing up heavy allowed, is an ability to move weight by virtue of having it. I was encouraged by my father to lift heavy and not to fear big weight. I have vivid recollections of doing double body-weight squats and deadlifts, and bodyweight bench press for reps at 20years old, mainly because I didn’t know any different! Each session was just an opportunity to try and lift more! Training style and approach has changed a little bit over the years and adjusted depending on the body goal or sport focus; however, there will always be an element of basic heavy lifting for me.
Fast forward to 2013 and I was introduced to Strongman. The first time I tried it I was hooked! It made sense to me and worked with my training philosophy at the time, which was: lift heavy stuff! I loved it, and still do. I enjoyed competing at the local competitions and had reasonable success and I have competed at both the Australian and Asian Arnolds Classic. In 2016 I decided to change weight classes and get into the middle weight category, which was the driver behind the recent body transformation that saw a loss of 24 kilos in 32 weeks. The focus for 2017 is now more in the bodybuilding space with the intent is to compete in a local comp at some point. I love the physical and mental challenges of each pursuit and am really excited to see where this path leads.
I often get asked what are the secrets to weight-loss and what the best diet/training programs. My response to the first question is generally is that in the first instance, it is doing the thing things you don’t want to do and not doing the things you do. The second question is the diet and training program that you can be the most consistent with – quite simply, the ones that you will do!
Goals – To continue proving to myself and others that you don’t have to be the fat kid forever. It takes time and patience, but with the right focus you can do just about anything you set your mind to. To keep working hard work, with relentless drive and determination, seize opportunities, remain humble and be thankful.
Philosophy – Make a plan; do the work; and, earn your results (Plan, Work, Earn). Don’t think that using a shitload of substances will replace reps, sets and sweat. You need to put in the hours, lift the weight, fuel the body, reduce your stress and ensure you have quality rest.
The body won’t change if it is not forced to, which means getting uncomfortable, pushing pain barriers, beating the voice in your head that is telling you to stop, or that you’re tired etc. – that voice is the sound of mediocrity. Be prepared to work for it, to limit other activities, and at times, for loneliness. So what!
If the result you want is immense, the effort required has to be as equally impressive