Written by Kathryn LekasEditor-in-Chief
Photography by Paul Buceta
Hair & Makeup by 
Monica Kalra

For STRONG Cover Athlete Gail Mitchmaintaining her fitness is something she simply won’t compromise being a mom of two: “It allows me to keep up with my kids,” she explains. “I don’t ever have to worry about my ability to be down on the ground with them, or run around playing, or dancing—we have dance parties regularly in our living room,” she says. “Although, the benefits of focusing on fitness reach much deeper than easing daily life.” Gail believes it also sets an important example for them. “My kids see me being active, so to them, lifting weights, doing yoga, stretching, or walking are normal every day things. They don’t think it’s weird or hard because they see it as just... part of life, and they participate with me, which is truly fun for all of us. I know that’s also creating a solid foundation for them. One they can lean into as they grow. They’ll see fitness as a tool for success.”

The choices she makes about fitness not only breed confidence in Gail as a mom, they instill an unimaginable amount of strength within her as an individual. Something that turned her life around after becoming a parent. 

In the beginning, as a mom with young kids, like so many women Gail found herself in a challenging position—she had little time and energy for herself. “I felt unfit. My clothes didn’t look good. Nothing I tried on felt right, and my confidence was in the gutter. I didn’t even know what I liked or didn’t like anymore,” admits Gail. “I was so lost, and so disconnected from myself.” It affected her every day. “I was depressed, grumpy, and easily irritated. I didn’t have enough bandwidth for my kids the way I wanted to. I never wanted to go out for social events because I felt like I had nothing to wear, and I just felt like it kept getting worse and worse,” she shares.

Desperate, Gail tried extreme plans and workouts. To no avail. “That just made me feel like I was starving and sore, and nothing changed. In fact I even got injured,” she says. But Gail was also determined. Those fails prompted her to dig into a strategy that would finally fit her new life. 

“I did a ton of research. I used my personal training, my yoga teacher training, and all of the nutrition and coaching training that I’ve been through to put together a simple plan—and actually stuck to it. I worked out lifting weights consistently with minimal cardio, and I ate my favorite foods—I didn’t starve myself,” she explains. “The other thing I realized I needed was a wellness component. This was the magic ingredient!” Gail says. “I began showing up for myself every morning. Doing things like making my bed, and closing my eyes for a few minutes to connect to my breath. I began reading again, and learning things that I love. My energy went through the roof—I had so much more to give my kids, and to get out there to start dating again after a really heartbreaking divorce.” 

Experiencing such amazing results, Gail’s confidence came back, which ultimately got her life back on track—and over a decade later, she’s not only still going, but doing so better than ever. “I can easily maintain a body weight that feels good to me, and I’m super strong! I truly love myself,” she says. 

Gail’s revitalizing transformation prompted her to start helping other moms in their 30s and 40s to achieve fat loss while learning to love their curves, so they, too, could feel their most confident. “Through my coaching business, Rock On Fit, I specialize in innovative workouts that meet you where you are, at any fitness level,” says Gail. “I make you move, but most importantly, show you how good it feels to build strength and increase your energy.”

The message Gail has committed to communicating to women through her programs and platform as a Fitness and Wellness Coach is how interconnected the body and mind really are.“I always tell my clients the quickest way to change your mental state is to move your physical body. I believe that, and I live by that,” says Gail, who knows firsthand just how impactful movement can be for mental well-being. “Some of the biggest challenges that fitness helped me through is really bad depression, and anxiety… where it’s like you have all this pent up stress, anger, or sadness,” she shares. “You can work out when you’re sad. You can work out when you’re stressed, when you’re anxious… and it really does the best thing to get rid of that energy. To move it through you and allow you to change your mental state.”

Gail says learning to lean into fitness is what empowered her in every way. “To me, the word STRONG means a belief in yourself that is deep and rooted—one that nobody else can take away. You can take my body. You can take any physical thing away, but you cannot take that inner strength that is in the mind and soul,” she explains. “Being strong truly comes from depths within, and until you’re tested in life you don’t really know how strong you are. Once you’re tested though, and you feel that strength and your own resilience, nothing can stop you. Having that attitude and belief in yourself really allows you to live your best life.” 

“My hashtag #RockOn comes from not only
my love of rock and roll music…
To me, ‘Rock On’ means ‘Keep Going’."

Another factor Gail hopes to help women prioritize? Patience. 

While in some cases, it’s true, your life can change in an instant: one moment can set you on a new path, one incident, derail you. A loss, a promotion, a divorce… they can all quickly change the trajectory of your life. However, when you’re working towards something, Gail says it’s critical to recognize it’s often a process. Some things, like building strength, or making dreams come true, take time.

“I hope when women see me on the cover (of STRONG), they realize that this is a dream I’ve had for over 15 years, and there’s been so many bumps and blocks on the road, but I’ve never let that deter me to become my best self. To work hard to put my health first,” says Gail. “If you don’t give up, if you keep going, if you keep rocking, you can truly make your dreams come true, and I hope that seeing me on the cover is just one small example that women can take to make their own dreams come true—no matter how hard, or what moments they’re dealing with in life. It might take longer than what you want, it might not look exactly how you want it to, but know that it can come true if you stick to it.”

How exactly does Gail keep rocking? “As a 41 year-old mom-of-two, some of my non-negotiables are strength training three to four days a week, getting high-quality lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals, doing daily meditation, getting outdoors to walk as much as possible, and really finding time in life to celebrate and have joy,” says Gail. “My fitness philosophy has definitely evolved over the years. and in its current state is all about sustainability, longevity, and living the best quality of life you can with the years that you have. So you can really do what you want actively with your loved ones.”

“I always tell my clients the quickest way to
change your mental state is to move your physical body. I believe that, and I live by that.” 

Although her approach has changed, Gail says what initially drew her to fitness hasn’t. “I got into fitness as a Hairdresser and Makeup Artist, when a friend brought me with them to a personal trainer. I just really started falling in love with strength training, and the whole process of being able to transform yourself from the inside out,” she explains. “The way training changes you—your confidence, your self-esteem—and the way you’re able to show up for yourself, your family, and your community… it really changes you, and I truly believe that if you can change yourself you can change the world.”

In her latest role as Host of the recently launched podcast STRONGtalks presented by STRONG Fitness Magazine, Gail is excited for the additional opportunity to reach even more women as she continues making her best effort to have a positive impact as a leader in fitness. 

“One of the biggest complaints that women come to me with as a Coach is feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and so confused by all the information out there about workouts and nutrition. They’re also feeling anxiety because they really don’t know where to start to get their energy back,” she says. “Being able to have in-depth conversations through The STRONGtalks Podcast with other industry experts about success strategies that can help, and to work with an incredible team of people as part of the STRONG family, just makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning. It gives me so much purpose and passion to be able to help others through my story, my column, coaching, and now the Podcast,” says Gail. “Having found the strength to help myself and now help others in all of these ways really is a dream come true. It means the world to me inspiring everyone to ‘Rock On.’”

STRONG Fitness
STRONG Fitness Magazine is a trusted source of cutting-edge fitness and health information for the modern woman who lives to be fit. STRONG’s sophisticated editorial voice combined with raw, powerful imagery and a modern, athletic design reflect the direction fitness has taken in the last decade.