OUR LITTLE WHIZZ KID HOLLY WILKINSON JUGGLES A LOT OF PRIORITIES, THE TWO BIGGEST ARE HER COMMITMENT TO HER HEALTH WITH REGULAR TRAINING AT BODIES BY RYAN AND HER MEDICINE STUDY, WHICH IS VERY NEARLY HER CAREER AS SHE’S JUST SCORED HER FIRST INTERN GIG. HOLLY POWERS THROUGH THE STRENGTH GYM WITH IMPRESSIVE STRENGTH AND STEELY DETERMINATION, AND OCCASIONALLY TEARS UP THE HIIT GYM FLOOR – ALL WITH A SWEET SMILE AND FRIENDLY CHAT. HER DEDICATION TO TRAINING DESPITE MASSIVE STUDY AND WORK LOAD HAS SCORED HER MISS AUGUST! CONGRATS HOLLY AND THANKS FOR SHARING THE UPS AND DOWNS OF YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY WITH US, YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION AND WE’RE SO LUCKY TO HAVE YOU AT BBR.
When did you first join Bodies by Ryan and what was the state of your health and fitness prior?
I joined BBR in October 2018, so coming up to two years ago! I have always been into health and fitness – I played a lot of sport at school (mostly netball and basketball), and I have always gone to the gym. I also used to do a fair bit of reformer Pilates but had to drop this once I went back to uni and became a poor school kid again! I unfortunately had a pretty unhealthy relationship with exercise for a number of years in my 20s (lots of cardio/over-exercising/under-eating) so when I joined BBR two years ago, I probably had slightly more cardiovascular fitness, but less strength/resistance fitness, and working on my strength was one of my main goals.
What was your motivation to join BBR?
I had recently moved to Perth from Melbourne and had been going to Anytime Fitness but found myself lacking a bit of motivation, as well as brain power with all the study I was doing. I wanted a gym that was going to give me a bit of extra motivation and also make me more accountable on the days I felt too busy/brain dead to train. BBR was just around the corner from my house so I organised a trial with Rhino and I was hooked from the first session!
What was your first impression of the gym?
I absolutely loved it! The strength gym was very different back when I joined, we were all doing our own programs and therefore working different muscle groups on any given day, there were no real time limits to the sessions, and often there were only three or four people in the gym at a time (crazy considering it’s not unusual to be 6th on the waitlist for the strength gym now)! It was an awesome vibe in the gym, everyone was super focused and super strong, and while I felt like a weak little twig compared to all the strength weapons, it was also really inspiring and made me want to get in there every day and train hard!
Above: (Pic 1) Holly (far left) with some of our other BBR weapons including the fur boss Forrest, (pic 2 and 3) Holly on her favourite stations – deadlifts and sleds.
What challenged you the most in your early days?
Heavy sleds & Maxy standing over me with his big hand at shoulder height constantly pushing me back down during Bulgarians!
Please share your physical and mental transformation over your time at BBR including any important stats you feel comfortable sharing…
As I alluded to above, I’ve had a bit of a difficult relationship with exercise and food in the past…I had an eating disorder for a big chunk of my 20s and it has been one of the most challenging things in my life to overcome. When I joined BBR, I was definitely well on the way to recovery, however I still had a slightly temperamental relationship with exercise where I could sometimes find myself slipping back into that addicted/overexercising mentality.
Joining BBR was a really big turning point for me, I was surrounded by super inspiring, healthy, fit people and it provided me with stability and routine and a really healthy environment to train in. The community that Rhino has built at BBR is second to none and I truly believe that being a part of BBR and having such a passionate and supportive coach/owner has played a massive part in me being able to gain complete remission from my illness.
I’ve always been a small build and relatively fit, so whilst my physique probably hasn’t undergone any major transformations since joining BBR, I feel so much stronger now than I did a few years ago (both physically and mentally), and I am back to having a really healthy relationship with exercise again – and that for me is a massive transformation in itself, and such an awesome feeling!
What drives you the most right now, what gets you up early in the morning to front up to BBR?
I LOVE GETTING UP FOR THE GYM! I literally get so excited every night when I get into bed to wake up for the gym in the morning! (except for maybe conditioning Wednesdays – they usually require a pretty serious 5.45am self pep-talk!). I love seeing everyone in the morning, working their butts off, Rhino & Geno smiling/yelling at us – it’s literally the best way to start the day and gives me such an energy buzz.
You’re also studying medicine, what’s your schedule like between study, work and exercise?
I try to gym between five and seven times a week, and then go for a run/bike ride/Pilates a couple of times too. I am generally at the hospital five days a week, but how long I am there and what my days look like vary a lot depending on what rotation I’m on. I think that’s one of the hardest things about trying to balance everything in med – that your rotations and therefore daily routine is constantly changing. For example, sometimes if I’m on a surgical rotation I can’t make morning classes because I might start at 7am, and I then have to adjust my routine/mindset to coming to the PM classes – which I don’t overly love, I’m very much a morning workout person!
A lot of people I know think getting up early for the gym is too much when we have long days at the hospital and then also have to study after, but I personally find getting up and smashing a workout at the gym in the morning gives me an energy boost and enables me to get through the day. It’s also nice turning up at the hospital at 7.30am and knowing you have already achieved something for the day!
We have heard congrats are in order with an internship/new job… please share!
Ohhhh, thank you!! I just got my first job as an intern at Fiona Stanley Hospital next year (although I still have to pass my exams, so let’s not get too excited just yet!). Studying medicine and becoming a doctor has been a massive goal of mine for a long, LONG time…I came back to uni in 2017 as a ‘mature age’ student (god that makes me sound old!), and I had been trying to get into med for a few years prior, so it’s a pretty surreal feeling to be in my final year and know I have a job lined up as a doctor next year!
What’s the biggest health or fitness challenge you have ever overcome or achieved?
Overcoming anorexia was one of the most difficult health AND fitness challenges of my life. I guess on top of this, one of the many adverse health outcomes that resulted from my illness was that I was diagnosed with osteopenia in 2017, which is a less severe version of osteoporosis and can occur in young women when they have been at a very low body weight/malnourished in their teens/early 20s – a crucial time for developing bone strength.
Resistance training is one of the mainstays of treatment, and after working on my strength at BBR for over a year I was absolutely over the moon to find out I was no longer osteopenic when I had another DEXA scan last year! It was such a rewarding feeling to know that whilst there hadn’t been any majorly dramatic changes on the outside, there definitely had been on the inside, and that my bones were nice and healthy again.
I also recently did Dry July this year, and for those that know me they will know that not drinking any red wine for a whole month is probably the greatest health challenge of my life to date!
Tell us about any of your daily health routines that help you achieve your goals outside of the gym?
I have a super overactive mind, a never ending ‘to do’ list and I’m a really bad sleeper, so meditation is something that I try to incorporate into my daily routine. Even if it’s just 5 mins in the morning and 5 mins before bed at night, I really notice such a huge difference in my mental state/cognitive function if I haven’t meditated so I try my best to do it daily.
The beach is also a major part of my life that helps keep me zen. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful state with some of the best beaches in the world on our doorstep, so I try to get there every day even if it’s just to do my 5 mins of meditation. I’m a very outdoorsy gal so getting out into nature and hiking is another of my favourite things to do – it’s so good for the soul!
Food prep is the other big one, I try my best to get organised on a Sunday as I’m pretty time poor during the week and it really does make such a difference. I’m by no means Chantal/Tiff champion food prep level– those two are major food prep goals!
What are some of the goals you are currently working towards?
• Upper body strength & chins– gimme them Jay Bae guns!
• Sleep – I usually only get 5ish hours so working towards trying to get 6/7 at the moment.
• A BBR challenge – I’ve never done one before and I was unfortunately away in the middle of the current challenge, so I’m hoping to be able to do the next one!
Tell us something special/surprising about yourself that we wouldn’t know?!
Hmm…well, I’m not from Perth. I’m a bit of a gypsy and I have lived in every state in Australia, except the territories…I get itchy feet very easily and love exploring and new adventures!
Fast five favourites
Fave HIIT/Strength station? – any deadlift, BB glute thrusts, cable ABs… burpees and sleds?! (sorry, I couldn’t choose just one!!)
Least fave? ASS BIKES.
Fave café and your order there? Strong ¾ skinny long mac (yes, I’m a Melbourne wanker) or a long black.
Fave cheat meal? A gigantic bowl of pasta and an equally gigantic glass of red (or two)
Fave holiday destination? MEXICO!! I’ve been five times. Such an incredible country!
I know I’ve probably already written WAY too much, but I just wanted to say two things to finish off…
1. If anyone that reads this is struggling with an eating disorder, of any kind, or knows someone who is, please know that I am more than happy to talk/share my experience/any information I can to help, so please don’t be afraid to reach out. Also, WA has a pretty good array of resources for people suffering from eating disorders – The Swan Centre, Centre for Clinical Interventions, The Hollywood Clinic and Bridges Eating Disorders Association are all eating disorder specific organisations that have some really incredible people with a wealth of specialist knowledge in this area.
2. I want to say the biggest thank you to Ryan and Gene for being such incredibly genuine, passionate and hard-working bloody legends. I think anyone who trains at BBR would agree you guys make our lives better on a daily basis…even if it is when you’re yelling at us to go harder on the f****g ass bikes!