Gillian Ward Bio

From Queens, New York. Gillian currently lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband Mac and bulldog Lucy.  Gillian is a gym owner, a personal trainer, a strength coach, a consultant, a model, and a writer. 

“My key strategy is that every moment is a new opportunity for improvement. Every meal, every workout, every rep, every article written, every client that I coach provides an opportunity to learn.”

After 20 years in the fitness industry Gillian and her husband founded the first black iron Strength and Conditioning gym in Eastern North Carolina, Crystal Coast Strength & Conditioning.  Together, their primary objective is to teach strength training with barbells to people of all ages and abilities.  Their mission is to improve quality of life though training, education, and community development.

Gillian was a gymnast at the age of two and competed at the national level until she was 17.  As a gymnast In high school Gillian was also a track and field athlete competing at the state level in New York.  Gillian distinguished herself in 1995 when she won the United States Marine Corps National Physical Fitness Champion  in a competition that included push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 300yd shuttle run and standing broad jump.

Throughout her twenties Gillian dabbled n ballroom and modern dance as well as mixed martial arts while continuing to train in the gym.  In 2008 Gillian competed in the CrossFit games, placing 3rd after only three months of specialized training.


Following CrossFit, Gillian found her true passion in barbell sports.  Since 2011, she competed in powerlifting, to include a win at the 2013 SPF National Championship.  Gillian set Southern Powerlifting Federation and Global Powerlifting Committee world records in three weight classes – 165, 148 and 132s. Most recently in August she set a SPF world record in the 132s for her bench press, deadlift and Push/Pull total.

As a physique competitor, Gillian entered and won her first women’s physique competition at the 2014 North Carolina Body Building Championships, earning her right to compete at the 2014 North American Body Building Championships where she won her International Federation of Body Building Pro Card.

Gillian’s hope is to someday compete on the Arnold or the Olympia stage.

Gillian is a student of movement and, as a personal trainer, she has spent a lifetime of helping and successfully training others from all demographics. She derives true personal satisfaction from the gift of quality of life improvement through movement.

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