Gina Johnson Relied On Running To Help Her Through Dark Times


Gina Johnson is joining me on the show today.

She has experienced more than her fair share of adversity and yet she refuses to give up on her running goals.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Gina.

Gina Johnson

Dose Of Reality

Gina Johnson never remembers a time growing up where she wasn’t overweight.

She grew up in a family that didn’t exercise and were smokers.

Gina had an eye-opening moment when her middle son was in kindergarten and she couldn’t keep up with him for 1 kilometer.

Shortly after that, her grandmother passed away.

Gina used part of her inheritance to buy a training package for a local 10k.

She wanted to use her grandmother’s passing as motivation to create healthy habits.

After that first race, Gina was hooked.

Hills and Valleys

Taking up running, inspired Gina to look at other ways she could live a healthier lifestyle.

Quitting smoking was first on her list.

Gina was dealt with another blow when she discovered one of her feet was missing a bone, causing running to be painful.

A combination of physiotherapy and orthotics made continuing to run possible.

Gina had to adjust her routines and type of running she does to accommodate for her foot.

Once Gina was able to run pain-free she signed up for a half marathon with the goal of running a full marathon the following year.

Her life took a drastic and unexpected turn when she had a heart attack the day following a training run.

Prior to the heart attack, Gina was running consistently and her last time smoking was 4 years earlier.

Gina Johnson recovering.

Rolling With the Punches

Gina noticed some warning signs prior to the heart attack, but her concerns were dismissed by doctors.

Her life stress had increased when she became a single mom and that was pointed to as the cause for her chest pain.

Gina’s heart attack changed the course of everything in her life.

Immediately following her cardiac event, she was told she couldn’t run again and was unable to work.

Gina was eventually diagnosed with vasospasmic angina as the cause of her heart attack.

Gina was determined to reclaim her life and begin running again.

Due to the psychological effects of her heart attack, it took her almost a year to conquer her fear and begin running again.

Gina still experiences occasional chest pain while running, but now she knows the “good” pain from the “bad” pain.

Part of Who She Is

Gina could have easily hung up her running shoes after her heart attack, but running has become a part of her.

She would rather die while running and be happy than to sit on the couch afraid to live life at all.

Gina’s heart condition has forced her to accept modifying her training.

She runs on treadmills and in pools when the weather isn’t conducive for running outside.

Gina still has big goals with running and is steadily working to reach them.

She has worked back up to running 5k’s and hopes to tackle a 10k with her son next.

Gina’s mindset has also changed following her heart attack.

She used to be competitive and now she appreciates each run and being active.

Gina Johnson with her son.

Life Coaching

When Gina first began her podcast, it was geared at entrepreneurs and business people and how to create healthy habits.

That all changed after Gina was in the hospital following her heart attack.

As a way to look for encouragement, she began interviewing individuals that had near-death experiences.

A common theme Gina noticed during her interviews, was that many of these people were life coaches.

While on disability leave, Gina took an online course to become a certified life coach.

Gina has found that there are some misconceptions when it comes to life coaches.

In general, a life coach:

  • Doesn’t ever give advice or steer someone in a certain direction.
  • A life coach helps the individual to figure out why they do certain things.
  • Help them to set goals and stick to them.
  • Works with the client to separate excuses from the real reasons.

Without going through all the valleys, Gina may have never found her true passion for helping others.

Start With Mindset

Gina has learned throughout all the hurdles she has faced that conquering them starts with mindset.

One moment can take a person in a completely unexpected direction and make their goals seem out of reach.

There are two choices a person has when faced with adversity.

They can either be frustrated or acknowledge the problem and make a plan to move forward.

Clear your previous goals and start over from where you are today.

Gina has found that success depends on taking the step TODAY, not tomorrow.

With her 40th birthday approaching, Gina has a goal to be in the best shape of her life.

Gina has a profound sense of gratitude for each step she takes.


Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Gina Johnson by checking out her Website and/or following her on Facebook and Instagram.


Gina Johnson had a heart attack at a young age that literally changed the course of her life. Through the adversity, she found a new career path and a profound love for life. Click To Tweet


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