Whitney Jones talks about the mental strength to become an Olympia champion and how overcoming depression and bulimia helped build a strong and positive outlook for success.

Whitney Jones is more than a 3x Fitness Olympia champion (which is a big accomplishment in and of itself), she has also succeeded in using her platform to inspire and encourage others towards success. Jones’ career has been a roller coast. She made a comeback to success after breaking her neck years ago and also most recently competed and won the Fitness Olympia with a broken leg.

Jones is very purposefully open about these moments of hardship and many more – all in the effort to inspire young people who may also be facing hardships. In our latest GI Exclusive, Whitney Jones opens up further about facing depression as a young woman and also overcoming bulimia – and how it helped her build mental strength for fitness (and life) success.

Whitney Jones is an open book when it comes to her past challenges and hardships. This isn’t an accident. It’s all part of her plan. Jones wants her stories of overcoming struggle to inspire a new generation of not just athletes but all people towards happiness and success. Whether it was a broken neck, broken leg, depression, or bulimia – Jones noticed that there were hardly any stories available about success.

Particularly when Whitney Jones had broken her neck – she could not find any story of an athlete recovering and being able to compete again. It was at that moment that she wanted to prove the world wrong, dig deep and find the mental strength to recover and become that story to help inspire others who might be going through something similar. Jones also considers this mental strength to be the key X factor in how she became a reigning Fitness Olympia champion. It’s what separates the great from the best.

This mental strength is not simply a tactic for her Fitness career – she uses it in every aspect of her life. She’s often been very vocal about a motto she has: “H2G2.” This is short for “Have To, Get To.” The concept here being that you should not tell yourself you “have to” but instead see it as you “get to” do something. While admittedly this might be a harder pill to swallow depending on your personal circumstances – it can also be a powerful tool for those who face specific troubles but also have things to be grateful for as well in their life. The easier and relatable example here for the fitness world is this: “I don’t have to train, I get to train… and I’m lucky to be able to have that opportunity to pursue my fitness dream.”

But Whitney Jones wasn’t born with this innate sense of optimism. She learned to think this way after going through some early struggles. As a teenage athlete, she eventually found herself developing bulimia. She found that purging before a competition (she was a runner at the time) helped her perform better. Over time, she also fell victim to the body dysmorphia and “looking better” with the accompanied weight loss caused by bulimia. This put her into a state of depression.

It took time but Whitney Jones eventually found a way to face the struggle head on and overcome bulimia. During this time, she went through extreme depression as she tried to find a new possible future after years of living with an eating disorder.

Whitney Jones sees this time as vital. It was how she learned to change her entire perception and build mental strength to materialize happiness and success for her life. She credits this specifically as why she was able to become one of the greatest in the Fitness bodybuilding division. But beyond that, it has helped her find peace, success, and happiness in all avenues in her life. The struggle is always still there and setback occur. But ultimately each struggle turns into a new “get to” opportunity for growth.

Which circles us back to why she is so open not only in our interview here but also any time she speaks on a public platform. She wants to help normalize struggle. That even the greats struggle. She hopes this can be inspirational for not just fellow athletes but anyone who is a fan of bodybuilding and facing struggles in life.

You can watch Whitney Jones’ full comments about facing depression, bulimia, and her recovery in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.