Gill Whelan provides the motivation and the means to keep moving forward towards better health
Gill Whelan is a firecracker. All genuine smiles and from-the-inside-out enthusiasm, she’s a thrill to chat with. Little wonder then that Whelan’s company, Whelan Wellness, has quite literally exploded since the pandemic, with folks of all ages signing up to engage in an online journey towards wellness with Whelan and team cheer leading the way.
We ask how she’s grown such a following since COVID. Whelan paused.
“One of the things that a lot of us learned throughout the initial lockdown in 2020 was, as the world hit pause, everybody took a good look at how they were spending their time, and time is our greatest resource,” she began.
There at the Right Time
People transitioned slowly, sometimes against their will, she added, and began doing some sort of self-care or movement or exercise at home. Whelan was there “at the right time to offer structure and guidance,” she continued.
With fitness guidance, mental health sessions, registered dietitian advice and yoga sessions, Whelan helps those at home do it at home.
“There’s no escaping, because it’s right where you are. There’s no making appointments. There’s no worrying about catching COVID. I’m confident that’s why we’ve maintained our client base and grown so much because more and more people are realizing the importance of taking care of yourself and at the same time asking what’s the best, most efficient use of my time to do that.”
Whelan has been coaching fitness classes for 12 years, but her passion has always been coaching people. “I love the physical push. I love the fitness piece. But to me, there’s always been a piece missing,” she said.
The fitness piece can be most intimidating, she added. What was often missing was relationship building, she said.
“I’m forming relationships with people and helping them live their best lives. I employed my strategies on myself because if there’s anything here that needs fixing for now, it’s me. I started practicing my four pillars myself, and it’s literally, quite frankly, changed my life.”
It was a turning point.
Finding the Magic
“Previous to that, it was always like I had to go work out because I want to look a certain way, or be a certain size, and then when I started working instead on wellness, I very quickly realized the link between physical movement and mental health. The balancing of all the pieces that makes you feel well, it’s not about what you do in the gym, it’s about how you take care of yourself, how you work on your mental health, how much sleep you get and all of the other pieces.”
And when you do that, when your insides get well, your outside follows and that’s when you really thrive, she added.
The formula, she said, “was like finding the magic.”
The world needs this right now. People need wellness, she continued. Whelan was on to something and her business grew and expanded across the globe.
“I feel very blessed. The impact, it’s intense. What I’m hearing from people is that life feels very defeating. It feels very frustrating. It feels frightening. It feels all of those things. But when we take control of our own wellness, you feel a little more powerful and that’s what is happening in our wellness community.”
Mindset coaching sessions via Zoom help, she said.
“As we go onto yet another period of unknown with this pandemic there needs to be a calm and people need to feel motivated again and not panicked. Yes, people need exercise, we need to move our bodies, but there’s more. My four pillars are movement, mindset, nutrition and hydration.”
This anytime, anywhere approach is working. “Regardless of your age, size, gender or location in the world, this works. It’s so flexible. What I aim to do is to remove any barrier that was ever perceived by anybody in feeling healthier, so time zones don’t matter. You don’t need a babysitter. Cost is very low.”
Whelan says she aims to offer something that’s “accessible to absolutely everybody.” From 18 to 81, all are part of the wellness family, she says.
Start Healthy Habits
“We have all genders and we have absolutely all body types. We scale and tailor the workouts. We have wheelchair users, we have people that are absolutely beginners and we have people who are fitness coaches. But, everybody feels challenged, no matter where you’re at or where you start.”
Again, it’s not just about the movement. “Every single one of us needs help with our mental health. Every single one of us needs help with our mindset. I’ve been around fitness for a very long time. I’m really passionate about the science and building and designing these workouts so nothing is just slapped together to make you sweat. There’s a real reason for everything that I do here.”
She thrives on variety and has never repeated a workout. There’s live and recorded classes available.
“I care about each and every exercise,” she said.
With 2022 moving through, we ask if fitness dedication is sometimes just a New Year’s resolution. She’s not a fan of such things, she says.
“I don’t love New Year’s resolutions. It’s because of the rap. It’s because this industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that thrives on people feeling bad about themselves on January 1st, and I won’t do that.”
Instead, she encourages folks to start forming healthy habits, and watch the progression happen. That keeps motivation at an all time high, and keeps everybody excited and engaged. Any overall motivational words she can share, we ask.
‘Self-care is not Selfish’
“Find the best, most efficient system where you can carve time out for you every day. Self-care is not selfish. This is about taking care of yourself. This is about longevity. Let’s feel like our best selves.”
Dig out the best part of you and heal the stuff from the past, she added. “Let’s move forward, continually, move forward. Our eyes are in the front of our head for a reason, so we can move forward. And we can do that from the comfort and safety of our home without a lot of equipment, and without spending a lot of money.”
As a busy mom, wife and business owner, Whelan knows first hand how important it is to be healthy. “You got to find time for you. I’ll be 43 this spring and this is the most consistent I have ever been.”
Married 16 years and with three boys, they stay active together as a family. “We move our bodies every day in different ways. (Husband) Peter and I did a virtual spin class the other night. The boys play hockey. We’ve got a backyard rink and a little basketball area set up outside too. We are an active family and we really value movement.”
For more on Whelan Wellness, visit whelanwellness.ca or follow on social media