Whitney Wilson is a former college athlete and mother of two who always looks for new ways to keep her fitness routine exciting. After growing up in Lexington, Tennessee, and playing basketball competitively, Whitney ended up playing in college at Freed-Hardeman University. After graduating and completing her basketball career, Whitney had a bit of an existential crisis. “I needed to figure out who Whitney is without any competitiveness and without a coach in my face every day telling me what to do,” she remembers. 

After college, she went straight to graduate school for dental hygiene, where she turned to running and cardio to stay fit despite feeling burnt out from years of competitive training. Over the next few years, she moved to Memphis and had her two children via C-section very close in age, which was a significant physical challenge. In 2019, she was five weeks postpartum with her second child, having two kids under two, and working full time. “I didn’t feel like I had things together with myself, and I wanted to find a way to keep my mental and physical health up and become stronger again,” she says. She decided to get back in touch with her competitive nature and sign up for a bikini bodybuilding competition. 

Whitney trained for 25 weeks with Daavon Grayson, who taught her everything she needed to know about weightlifting, proper cardio, and nutrition. Though she was sometimes exhausted during her training process, Whitney began to love how her body looked and felt again and began feeling stronger and more confident than ever. “I was drained and tired, but also had a strong sense of happiness and motivation, and I could still find time and energy for my husband and kids,” she remembers. She attributes the mental toughness she exerted during training to her years as a full-time athlete and was able to tap back into that mindset to achieve her goals. 

While Whitney is no longer competing in bikini shows, she has taken what she learned from her training with Daavon and applied it in a way that fits her schedule. Through her bodybuilding training, she learned what she needs to do regarding exercise and nutrition when she wants to look a certain way, and she can pick it up whenever she needs to. In addition to her weightlifting and cardio training, she enjoys group classes at F45. 

However, Whitney is not opposed to picking up bikini competitions again in the future and may even look into being a trainer once she retires from coaching her kids’ sports teams. Overall, she hopes to spread the message that keeping up with your health is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. “I am all about encouraging my family and my African American community to be health conscious. I am a firm believer that keeping up with health is the best thing you can do.” 

By Zoe Harrison 

Photo by Tindall Stephens