Athletes & Celebrities

How Natalie Jill Built Up Her Strength and Confidence to Become a Tremendous Fitness Star

The inspirational story of how the of the 46-year-old achieved fitness stardom.

Natalie Jill
Per Bernal

Ten years ago, Natalie Jill hit rock bottom. She’d recently given birth to her daughter, but her marriage was coming to an end. A successful career in sales took a turn when she chose to spend more time with her newborn, and financial pressures were mounting. And she was carrying around much of the 50-plus pounds she’d gained while pregnant and feeling depressed, lethargic, and uninspired. One morning while out walking, she caught sight of herself in a reflection on a building. “I didn’t recognize myself. I realized that this isn’t who I was or who I wanted to be.”

That day, Natalie went home and created a vision board, tearing out pictures from magazines. “I pasted photos of fit women, healthy food, and happy scenes—things I wanted my life to look like. And then I started to work toward that direction.”

As a new mom, she did mostly body-weight exercises at home to be close to her baby. As someone with celiac, she was careful to avoid processed foods, eating mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. She began posting pictures of her meals on Facebook and was surprised when people started following her. “People saw how my body was changing and wanted to know how I did it.”

She went on to get certifications in nutrition and personal training, and her following continued to grow. Today, she counts more than 1.8 million followers on Facebook and more than 500,000 on Instagram. Forbes magazine named her one of the top 10 fitness influencers of 2017. Moreover, the 46-year- old says she is in the best shape of her life and happier than ever. “I firmly believe that you can do whatever you set your mind to,” says Natalie, who has watched her fitness empire grow along with her social media presence. Last year she published Unprocess Your Diet and has a second book due out in 2018. She’s created a series of workout DVDs and has several e-books on fat loss and training.

Her secret weapon, Natalie says, are body-weight moves. “I wanted to do something simple, but the more I got into it, the more I realized that body-weight training is extremely functional and can be as challenging as you want to make it.” She credits this functional training to helping her stay fit, even after undergoing surgery a few months ago to repair a ruptured disk. And she says it helps her sculpt a six-pack that is the envy of women who are 20 years her junior.

Today, Natalie trains three to four days a week but spends much of her day moving around. “I’m constantly in motion!” She also spends her time trying to help her followers achieve their own goals. “I tell them that change won’t happen magically. Believe in yourself. Do that one thing and progress will come.”

ON HER MENU:

Breakfast: Smoked salmon and mixed berries
Lunch: Bone broth with chicken and vegetables; salad with avocado Pre-workout: Protein powder and water, plus fruit
Dinner: Grilled fish, vegetables, 1⁄2 sweet potato
Snacks: Handful of nuts or seeds, raw veggies like carrots, radishes, peppers

FAVORITE MOVES:

Pushups, chinups, pullups, plank series, lunge series

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