Abby Hankins "Fit Abbs" Interview
How did you get started in fitness?
I played sports throughout middle school and high school, including basketball, cross country, track and volleyball. When I was a junior in high school, I began training and lifting weights after school with our football coach and some team members then slowly got into powerlifting competitions. As a senior in high school I ran a marathon. When I went to college, fitness was my stress relief with classes and that’s when I really had a consistent lifestyle with the gym and grew passionate.
Most prevalent hurdles on your fitness journey?
I’d say the biggest thing for me has always been knee complications. I have what’s called patellar tracking, so my knees are pretty unstable at times, dislocate sporadically and overall hurt frequently. I’ve been through physical training and working on strengthening the muscles around my knee and especially my abductors. Overall, it’s something I push through in most circumstances and try to make the best of. Knee sleeves have been my new best friend.
How is your life in fitness different with the ongoing pandemic?
I think for most people, the pandemic meant at least a few months out of the gym. During that time, I focused on home workouts, like Insanity, and did more running. I was training for an NPC show at the time, so my show was cancelled, and I plan to compete next spring now. As far as currently, the gym in my city is open and I have been back to business as usual. Being a medical student and around patients and the hospital, I try to have an extra level of caution being around large groups of people.
What motivates you to continue to progress? How is it different from when you started?
As I get older, I think more of my motivation comes from wanting to live a healthier lifestyle than just aesthetics. When I was in high school and college, the goal was to lift heavy, but look good. Learning more about health in my classes makes me think about living a healthy lifestyle now so that I can avoid many health complications and enjoy life more as I age.
Next major goal(s) inside and outside of Fitness?
Inside of fitness, my goal is definitely to compete in a bodybuilding show. For the longest time, I struggled a lot with a healthy relationship with food and being able to cut for a show and maintain my sanity and not eat ice cream every day! Hahaha. This past spring, I felt I had it all together before COVID, so I am planning to compete early next year. Currently, a big goal is building strength I lost while out of the gym during quarantine. Outside of fitness, most of my goals are centered around medicine. I am a second-year medical student, so I take my first board exam next summer. I will be spending this school year involved in research and aiming to kill the board so that I can land a residency in a specialty I love. I am also in the Air Force and will be an Air Force doctor in the future, so hoping to land some unique experiences in the future with them.
Current training schedule? Does this deviate at all and why?
I am pretty consistent with my training schedule. Now that I am back in the gym full time, I like my organized schedule. I typically allow myself 1-2 rest days a week, although sometimes during school I need stress relief or will do some cardio like running or tennis instead. My current schedule is set up like this:
Sunday: quadricep focused legs
Monday: chest & triceps
Tuesday: shoulders or rest/cardio day
Wednesday: back & biceps
Thursday: hamstring and glute focused legs
Saturday: rest/cardio day
Although my schedule is pretty consistent, it can deviate based on normal things that come up in life. If I can’t hit a certain muscle group one day or I’m super busy then I’ll make up for it another day. Vacations are always a change up as well. I typically aim to find a gym for the duration I’m away and hit most of my lifts during some down time.
Current diet? Does this deviate at all and why?
My diet deviates an insane amount. It really depends on the goals during the time. During prep, my diet was pretty consistent. I gradually decreased calories for the cut and ate mostly vegetarian while cooking and home and had about 1-2 cheat meals a week, tracking most all meals. Currently, I’m eating pretty healthy through the week, making meals at home, most of which are also veggie. During the weekends I will have a couple cheats meals like a burger or pizza. I’m not too stringent on tracking my nutrition currently since I’m not aiming to cut or bulk, I just ensure I hit enough protein daily and eat around maintain calories.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of Fitness?
I love traveling and that is one of the first things I will be doing when it’s safe to do so. I have visited 17 countries and I really enjoy learning about new cultures and adventuring. I enjoy going to sporting events, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, surfing and diving when I get the opportunity. I also have a dog (she’s perfect) and I spend a lot of time with her.
Top 3 tips for reaching your fitness goals:
#1. Find what motivates you the most. Whether you want to become healthier, fitness is your stress relief, you’re into the competition aspect, you love the idea of building a certain aesthetic, etc. get in tune with that. That motivation is what keeps you going on the days you feel tired or you’re bummed that you’re not seeing the results you want
#2. Zone in on what your goal really is and commit to it. I had the hardest time with this in college when I did a serious bulk. I wanted to bulk to hit a bench press goal I had for four years, but I kept going back and forth because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to gain weight and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. I committed to the bulk that year and finally hit the bench press goal of 135 lbs. The same with cutting. I had to prioritize the cut over dessert and burgers (my personal favorite).
#3. Learn from others, but do not compare yourself to others. With social media, there is so much good information and tips out there about fitness. I have been able to find new workouts and improve my lifts based on the education I have received from some professionals, not to mention find some great outfits. That being said, everyone starts at a different place and each person’s ability to gain mass, cut weight, develop a 6 pack, build that perfect booty is all different. Use fitness to show and develop an appreciation and love for yourself rather than tear yourself down. It’s definitely hard at times, but appreciate progress takes time!
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Where can people find you?
This time of the year, studying with my pup or at a coffee shop or in the gym. Catch me on a holiday and I will likely be somewhere across the world. It’s a balance!
*Editors Note: She was too modest to plug her socials but I'm linking her Instagram cause she should have way more followers!*