Bodybuilding and physique competitors are supposed to look confident and proud on the stage because it projects the best image for themselves and the sport that they proudly compete in. Contrary to popular belief, these athletes aren’t simply born with that confidence, and it doesn’t stay on 24 hours a day. Beyond that, mental health can also lead to physical health ailments. As the popular saying goes, sometimes the struggle can be real.

Christina Bryant Jackson knows this all too well, and she joined Whitney Jones and Lenda Murray on Femme Flex Friday to share her story to help and inspire others.

“I started back in 2015, I was ending a divorce, and ended up going in for health checks and things of that nature,” she explained. “The doctor said ‘hey, at 28 your blood pressure is really high, your cholesterol, you’re tipping the line at being pre-diabetic,’ and other mental health issues that come with going through a divorce.”

Jackson said that she was 270 pounds at one point, and the doctors told her she could either start working out or be on medication for the rest of her life. With the guidance of her mother, she chose to start with walking.

“I was kind of embarrassed to go into a gym. I’m not even going to lie about that,” said Jackson. Walking made a profound difference because she lost 50 pounds on that alone. Once she started focusing on diet and began going to the gym, with the goal of getting ready for a girls’ trip. That helped her lose another 40 pounds. After reaching a plateau, she consulted with other members of the gym, who invited her to start lifting weights with them.

“It was on, then,” she said with a smile. Jackson would eventually decide to compete, and she won her first contest. That was all the momentum she needed to keep going, and she went on to win the 2018 Lee Haney Games as a Women’s Physique competitor.

Jackson shares more about her story as well as tips that helped her get to where she is today. To see all episodes of Femme Flex Friday, go to or subscribe to the Wings of Strength YouTube channel. Episodes air every Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern time. You can also follow @femmeflexfriday on Instagram.