I am really excited this month to feature a talent I recently worked with Tiffany Gaston. Tiffany is a 34-year-old wife and mother of three kids in Arizona.
She is about to compete in her third fitness competition and is also right now in the process of re-branding and re-launching her website www.tiffanyleegaston.com.
With all these amazing things happening for her, I felt this was the perfect time to chat about what she is doing.
James Patrick: You originally launched your blog website in November of last year. At first you blogged on average of about once a week or once every other week, but now you are blogging up to five times a week. Can you share with us a little about what got you to post more and what your content posting strategy is?
Tiffany Gaston: Sure. I really came to notice the interest in the Paleo recipes I was sharing. Since discovering this lifestyle for myself about 9 months ago, I have felt great eating this way. I began cooking more than ever and truly enjoying it. I would tweak recipes and make them Paleo and share them on my blog. It really seemed people were interested in my blogs when I began tapping more into this. Along with my photography skills improving, so did the food porn. I was posting sporadically with no real consistency up to this point. Once I committed myself to writing daily, people seemed more committed to visit my blog. I think they could now see and feel my commitment to them. I enjoy writing about things that inspire me, products I love, sharing personal experiences, workouts, posting recipes, but above all else, inspiring others to expect more of themselves.
JP: Can you tell us how you feel you found your “voice” in your website blog?
TG: When you find something in this life that you are compelled to do and feel passionate about, you have found your niche. I feel at home in the fitness industry as I have since I was a young girl. As a former gymnast, track athlete and runner, the fitness and figure shows were a natural progression for me. Visualization is a big part with me being where I am. I belong here.I can also tell you this. As a teen, I had a very notable Honors English Lit teacher, Mr. Chandler. He has always been very monumental in my journey. I’ve never had a teacher leave such an imprint upon me. The thrill a book can evoke or the journey it can take you on can leave a lasting impression as he has on me. The progression of being and doing in the fitness world joined with my love of writing has become my strongest love of all. I feel the style of my writing has come a long way. Finding my voice and expressing things of meaning to me has evolved and I expect will continue to do so. I love to express myself through my writing and felt this blog would be a great start. Allowing me to fill the need to be creative and productive is where it all began. To my surprise, there are actually people that read it. I certainly don’t take myself seriously and believe that is one of the most likely reasons people come back for more. I laugh louder at myself than anyone ever will.
JP: Who is your audience and how do you track which posts are more successful than others?
TG: I think my audience is quite diverse, but I have a definite Paleo following as well as other moms just looking for a bit of inspiration and everything in between. There are my facets to what I write about and I think that allows for a plethora of personality types to relate. Crossfitters, health nuts, Paleo, Primal, women and men that like to train hard and eat right, etc. Like attracts like. The success of a post depends upon two things. Did I speak from the heart and was it relatable? When I really speak on subjects I am passionate about, I think it shines through.
JP: Thus far, what do you feel is the main reason your website traffic and blog readership has been increasing?
TG: I think my commitment to sharing more of who I am has allowed people to trust me and show an interest in what I am saying. I’m putting myself into everything I write. I have started showing more of my personality and like to think that may have contributed towards more of an interest.
JP: Tell us a little about what we can expect to see with the updates of your website.
TG: I am super excited about what the new website will bring. I want to remain true to who I am and what it was when I started it. I think the main differences will be the improved flow it will offer. I currently have all the components going on but need better organization. The new site will allow you to read my blog as before, but better locate recipes, picture gallery, community chat, product reviews and even more great features.
Moving forward I am competing in both bikini and figure this November. You will see an increase in posts relating to my diet, training and fitness along with the ups and downs of getting show ready. For this reason, I call it a lifestyle and fitness blog because it really is all about the peaks and valleys of my life, having kids and the challenges that can bring.
I rarely share stories about my children and prefer to keep them out of the public eye. It would need to be their decision to be more participatory in it. I have recently written a piece about bullying because of my daughters experience with it. I felt if my story could help or prevent someone else going through similar, it would be worth it. I asked her first if she would mind and she agreed to allowing me to post it. The feedback I received from that post alone was very touching. I felt validated in the decision to take that direction.
JP: Now you are a wife and mother of three. How do you pull from your personal background to share your story and your experiences with your readers?
TG: How can I not? I mean, my everyday is a sitcom. I have a 10, 9 and 3 year old. The stories I could write are endless. Moms really do it all and if you can do it even halfway well, you ahead of the curve. Because of the support of my amazing husband, friends and family, I have daily inspiration to better myself and provide a positive example. Anyone who has not been supportive was drop kicked a long time ago.
JP: What are some of your upcoming goals for yourself in your career?
TG: My short term goals are preparing for my shows and to come in better than ever. Having 3 kids is a huge motivator for me. I want nothing more than to show women that you can do it all. It’s about achieving expectations, setting goals and smashing them. I have never felt good about myself being unproductive. I must always be moving forward. Then again, I’m very type A. Long term, I see myself writing a book. It may be a cookbook but not in a traditional sense. I want the humor and personality injected into it as much as possible.
JP: Last question; what is your greatest motivator to keep pushing forward in what you are doing?
TG: I think for me, I don’t ever want to be that insecure, confused little girl I once was. Growing up, having always been athletic, I’ve always carried more muscle. As a preteen I was super confused as to what I was “supposed” to look like. The message I want to give it that we must all be our best self and not attempt to be that which we are not. If you are not 6 feet tall, you will never be that tall lanky supermodel type.
Reading fashion magazines and scrutinizing myself led to an eating disorder at age 11-12. I don’t ever want that for my daughters. Instead, I want them to have the tools to be the healthiest, best self they can. If I can be that example for them, then I am proud to do it. Through exercise and eating real food, I’ve learned to love what I am today. The scale has no impact on my life and I feel better than ever. I like to think I have taken my best self and improved on what God has given me. No more comparison to others. You can change the shape of your body and mind with exercise, proper nutrition and personal development. The tools are out there you just need to want better for yourself everyday.
Thank you so much to Tiffany Gaston for being a part of this interview. Be sure to check in on the progress of her website updates at www.tiffanyleegaston.com.