Pleasanton grad Jessica Weatherby, class of 1996, is taking her passion to the limelight as a contestant on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s hit show The Titan Games.
Weatherby, now a homeschool mom in Waco according to her Titan Games bio, stars in the second season of the show that pits contestants against each other in competitions of physical strength. The competitors will also get the chance to compete against the group of titans made up of professional athletes from across the world that include Olympic gold medalists, Super Bowl champions and UFC champions.
It’s a far cry from where Weatherby, formerly Andrews, saw herself while walking the halls of Pleasanton High School. Academics were what she felt was her strong suit. Her younger self would not take you seriously if you told her she would be competing on national television.
“She would’ve said there’s a reason she didn’t take athletics in high school. I mean, it would be a joke [to her],” Weatherby said. “If there’s anybody in Pleasanton that I went to school with, they would tell you I was the last one picked. I could not even run a mile.”
Weatherby’s improbable fitness journey began around two years ago. The now-41-year-old was told she would need a full hip replacement before she turned 45 because she had labral tears in her hips and suffered from piriformis syndrome and C&P hip impingement.
Rather than throwing in the towel right away and having surgery, which she was told was the only option, Weatherby did some research and started doing her own rehab. She then started doing bootcamp workouts. She also tore her meniscus and ruptured her ACL, MCL and patellar tendon a little while later. She once again opted to rehab her own way rather than going under the knife.
“That was the spark,” Weatherby said. “I never had a weight problem. I’ve got four kids and didn’t have any health problems, didn’t have any weight problems. I would try a Jillian Michaels video and after a few days, a few weeks, I would be crawling around the floor trying to take care of four kids and that’s not an exaggeration. [It was] literally to the point of not being able to stand up and move around.”
She is now a certified elite obstacle course racer and recently completed the daunting event that is a triathlon.
Weatherby says breaking through self-doubt and self-limitations are the toughest hurdles to break through.
“To me, [this journey] is insane,” Weatherby said. “I would love to have it shared from the standpoint of, I feel like people limit themselves and they think they’re too old, or they’re too broken, or they’re too inexperienced to really achieve anything past a certain point. I hope that my [journey] is a message of hope. It is pretty dramatic to go from having zero experience to [The Titan Games].”
Weatherby has documented her fitness journey on her Instagram account (@Jess_Weatherby_Lifts), which has nearly 5,000 followers. Her network of fellow fitness-minded people and obstacle course racers started to tell her to try out for the show. Weatherby applied for the show around the same time a production assistant stumbled across her account and asked her to do an audition tape.
“I did the tape and sent the videos. After a few months, I got a phone call that I made the cut to go to a combine that was held in Los Angeles,” Weatherby said.
Weatherby went to the combine, which featured CrossFit champions and former collegiate athletes. The combine dwindled the thousands of competitors down to about 60 through a series of challenges similar to what is seen on the show.
After returning to her central Texas home, Weatherby got a call telling her she made the show.
“My mind was absolutely blown,” Weatherby said. “At that point, I had only been lifting and working out for two years and my age factored in to that. It was a jaw-dropping moment for me. On top of that, meeting all the athletes at the combine and knowing that these are world-class athletes, … it was crazy, absolutely shocking.”
The experience was a once-in-a-lifetime moment that Weatherby will hold on to for the rest of her life.
“It was really surreal. But, at the same time, the group of athletes was such an amazingly humble group of people,” Weatherby said. “I think we all looked at each other and the skillsets were all very different. Everyone’s strong, everyone’s athletic, but everybody had their thing that they’re good at. We were passing around each other’s phones and looking at each other’s Instagram accounts and the things that one another could do. We were just staggered by one another. For me being around them, it was no different than hanging out with friends. They were such a humble group of people.”
The Titan Games can be seen on NBC every Monday at 7 p.m.