Meet your trainer!
Hi, I’m Jennifer and I can help you get healthy, which can mean different things to different people. Maybe that means losing weight, or eating better, or moving more, reducing medications, sleeping better, just feeling more energetic or all of those things! Every good little habit you form builds over time to create a healthier lifestyle. I was once overweight and tried everything to lose weight but nothing ever stuck. I kept gaining weight until I was obese and I finally set my mind to do it the right way…naturally and gradually. Yes, I did gain and lose some weight over those years and I also hit plateaus but I stuck with it!! Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, months turned into years and here I am now…ready to teach YOU how to do it! I became a Certified Personal Trainer in 2008, opened my fitness studio in 2013 and obtained my Nutrition and Wellness Counselor Certification in 2015. But let’s start from the beginning….
I grew up in Asheville and was an active kid – I loved riding my bike, walking all over the neighborhood and just playing in general. When I was 9, I gained a lot of weight the summer that I stayed with my grandparents. I drank lots of flavored sodas and ate ice cream about 3 times per day – with peanuts, bananas, chocolate syrup, gummy bears, anything I could find – and by the end of the summer I couldn’t get my pants up past my thighs. I became less active and continued to gain weight through middle school, high school, college and into my 30s. I moved to Charlotte in 1994 and worked my way from Temp to Operations and Training Manager for a computer training company. I was stressed, sitting down all day and drinking a lot of alcohol after work to relax. At my heaviest, I was 205 lbs (see below)!! Around 2003, I had to buy a size 18 pants and that was my rock bottom – I was ready for change!!
I joined Curves and slowly started losing weight. I was exercising consistently for 30 minutes 5 days every week but I wasn’t really watching my calories. I stayed at Curves for 3 years and lost about 30 lbs before I finally had the confidence to join a “real” gym. The company I worked at for 13 years went out of business so I was laid off and even more stressed but was hired as Director of Operations at another computer training company. I joined Bally, took yoga and step aerobic classes and did a lot of cardio (treadmill, elliptical, stair stepper, bicycle) but I didn’t know how to use the weights or machines. I hired a personal trainer (for $75/hour!) and, although I liked it, I felt like that I wasn’t learning anything…the trainer was just handing me weights and telling me what to do. Why this weight? Why this many reps? What muscle are we working and why? I had so many questions!! Almost every week I had a different trainer with different ways of training so I was confused and frustrated. When I was laid off from my new job after 3 years, I decided to make a career change to help women lose weight and gain their own confidence back! I took the WITS Certified Personal Training class at CPCC, completed my internship at Lifestyle Fitness and received my Personal Training Certification in Nov 2008.
In Feb 2009 I was hired by No Excuses Fitness Training (my first job as personal trainer!!) and received a lot of hands-on education from Monica, who was a Master Trainer with over 7 years of experience. She spent a lot of time teaching me more practical information, as well as teaching me how to instruct a Bootcamp class. Unfortunately, after a year, she decided to take a full time job and closed her business. In 2010 I moved to New Orleans with my boyfriend. Although I was jogging up to 7 miles to Lake Ponchatrain, I was not doing strength training and was gaining weight from all those yummy daiquiris. When we moved back to Charlotte later that year, I started working with weights again. I trained family and friends at their houses to get back into the swing of things. I got a part-time job at ZX Fitness then at Energy Sports and Fitness where I received a certification to teach RIPPED (choreographed cardio and strength training classes). I took another part-time job at Curves and received my Cleveland Clinic Certification for weight loss coaching in 2013.
I was driving so much to my part-time jobs and client’s houses for “mobile” training that I didn’t have any time available to accept new clients. I started to look for a brick-and-mortar place to train and found the perfect spot in Matthews!! I opened the studio in April 2012 – it’s just one large room with a huge window that gives it a small, intimate feeling. There are shared bathrooms in the building but no showers or lockers so clients usually arrive ready to work out. The girls who come to class are amazing! Everyone has their own starting point, everyone struggles with their own issues but we meet each week to get through it together!
The summer of 2014, I reached my goal of 139.8 but, unfortunately, I let myself become lazy and gained 10 pounds. I watched that damn scale go up a little bit every week until I decided it was (once again!!) time to do something about it. I started my food journal and jogged for about an hour 6 days every week. Remember, strength training boosts metabolism but CARDIO and NUTRITION are required for weight loss. I began losing 1-2 pounds each week, even with the holidays! In late 2015, I started training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) so I was running 5 miles TWICE a day, averaging about 50 miles every week. You may have seen my pony tail swinging or my bun bobbing on my run through Matthews every day! On April 24 2016, I completed my first half marathon on Venice Beach in Santa Monica CA with a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 52 seconds. So now I’m back to running 5-6 miles and just maintaining my weight between 135-140, which still takes mindfulness!!
I don’t always want to jog but I simply put one foot in front of the other and I feel so much better when I’m done. I can’t do the work for you but I can help you learn to make exercise and good nutrition a habit. I prefer to work with people who really want to reach their goals, not give excuses about why they aren’t doing the required work. Weight comes on quickly and comes off harder but it’s so worth the effort!! Exercise and eating healthy is just a way of life if you want to be fit and live longer!