Building Mind and Body

2018 grad Makenna Miller promotes positivity to her 18,000 followers on Instagram.


Photo courtesy of Makenna Miller

Makenna Miller poses for a Gym Molly photo shoot to promote the company’s different supplements and products.

Piper Pinnetti, Bullseye Editor-in-Chief

For 2018 Maize South graduate, Makenna Miller, her fitness and modeling career actually started by playing varsity sports. Her fitness-filled lifestyle started in high school when she played volleyball and softball for the Mavs.

Even after a few hours of practising with her team, she would find herself at the gym exercising and staying healthy.

“I’ve always worked out. I would go to the gym after practices and instead of going to structured practice all the time. It’s been my outlet since high school,” Miller said. 

During her senior volleyball season, she was offered a scholarship to play for Wichita State University. Miller was excited to play at a Division One college in her hometown.

In her first year at WSU, she struggled with her teammates, and she was constantly on the move trying to juggle two jobs, school, volleyball, while still saving energy and time for the gym towards the end of her day.

Miller would go to the gym for a 40-minute individual practice at 6:00 in the morning for volleyball. Next, Miller would have class for a few hours that ended just before noon. She would follow her class time with another practice from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and still found time to go to the gym for a workout to finish her evening.

“I was by myself at the gym. I did not have to deal with anyone else and could do what I wanted to do. It is so nice, and that is why I stuck with fitness after volleyball. Even if practice was for five hours a day, I would still go,” Miller said. 

She uses the gym as an outlet, a stress reliever from the worries of her everyday life.

“Sometimes, it is hard because I have things on my mind and it actually makes it harder to go to the gym, but once I am there, I’m like a different person,” Miller said.

Throughout her freshman volleyball season in 2018, she noticed a change in her behavior and was not happy with her life. Miller found herself mimicking the team’s attitude on a daily basis.

“If they were complaining, I would be complaining or if they were upset about something I would be upset. I just wanted to be happy, it was not a good environment for me and I did not like it. I quit, and that’s when I got more into fitness, after the first year,” Miller said.

On top of volleyball, Miller signed up for a National Physique Committee (NPC) bodybuilding competition. For 12-18 weeks during volleyball season, she hired a coach, changed her diet, and changed her macronutrients every week. Without the distractions of the volleyball team, Miller found a way to incorporate her love for fitness into her life substantially more than before.

“I wanted to do something for myself, instead of a team’s work because I always played softball and volleyball. I really wanted to push myself and get healthy and have a better mindset,” Miller said.


Graphic by Piper Pinnetti
To save money for a competition, Miller asks her mother to do her stage hair prior to her performance.

In the weeks before the competition, she focuses on purchasing her bikini, dropping down her weight, and taking care of other things that could boost her chances of winning. Every competition costs at least $1000, also depending if you are traveling for the competition or not. 

As she continues this healthier lifestyle, Miller has realized how much she likes it. The meal plans she has been on and the exercises make her healthier and happier. After she completed the first competition, she gained some weight after because she was finally able to enjoy some of the food she has been without.  

Miller quickly noticed what was happening and began to stop it. 

“I started to rein myself back in, I put myself back on the diet. I did it more as a lifestyle, and keep myself at more of a healthy weight so I don’t have to drop pounds every single week,” Miller said. 

During March of 2019, a supplement company, Gym Molly, began to send her free products. They were at their beginning as a new business at the time, and were looking for people with a positive influence to try their products. A lot of companies were sending her free products at the time, but she did not like any of them until she tried the ones from Gym Molly. 

“I absolutely loved it. I was going through prep for my competition, and it was the best pre-workout I’ve ever had,” Miller said. 

The company eventually started to send her messages on Instagram wishing her good luck on her competitions, supporting her as her own athlete, and commenting on her posts. 

Miller wanted to build a relationship with the company. In July, the owner told her that he wanted her on the Gym Molly team. However, she wanted to grow by herself first and waited. 

Eventually, they contacted her again and offered her an athlete sponsorship. Miller now gets paid for every photo shoot and get a free plane ride to and from California through Gym Molly.

With over 18,000 fitness enthusiasts following Miller on Instagram, she feels that it’s important to demonstrate a positive body image to her supporters.

“My favorite part is the positivity that I am surrounded with. It is not about the money, it is about changing people’s perspectives on fitness and goals,” Miller said.