Can you briefly tell us about yourself (where you were born, profession, education, where you live, etc.)?
I was born and raised in Missoula, MT. I grew up riding horses and was always active in the outdoors. I wanted to go to college to become a professional horse trainer but I ended up taking a break from school to pursue my fitness dreams instead. So in 2011 I became an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, attended Chady Dunmore’s Fitness Camp in L.A., went to Miami for the JNL FUSION World Conference to become “JNL FUSION” certified and started teaching fitness classes at a studio in Missoula. It was a whirlwind of a year! I also teach classes on how to use essential oils and am an Independent Product Consultant for a company called doTERRA. My sister and I also started our own little business venture called doHEALTH where we combine our love of fitness and health with essential oils and everything natural healthcare. I’m glad I took the leap of faith to follow my dreams. No regrets!
When did you first start getting serious about living a healthy and fit lifestyle? Have you always been active? What and/or who inspired your decision?
I’ve always been active. Whether it was riding my horses all over the wilderness mountains right outside our back door, hiking with friends and family or playing high school volley ball, I was always doing something. When I was about 13-14 years old my mom bought The FIRM DVD and equipment set and I was curious. I don’t even think she ever ended up using it! I was in the living room with my dumbbells and steps every day and I followed the healthy eating plan that came with the program. Although I was always active, my love of food left me skinny fat. After seeing my body start to change with using weights and eating better I was hooked for life. I started noticing the fitness magazines at the grocery store and that is when my love affair with Oxygen Fitness magazine began. I still have magazines from the early 2000’s. I’ll never forget flipping through my first Oxygen magazine and being mesmerized by all the strong women in the pages. I knew that is what I wanted to look like. I wanted to be strong just like the women in that magazine.
Once you started living a healthy lifestyle, what has been the most challenging thing you deal with in order to stay in shape?
Time management and diet. The fitness lifestyle is more than just dumbbells and broccoli. You’re not going to see your best results if the rest of your life in unbalanced. It takes time to buy and prepare healthy foods and it takes time and dedication to get to the gym. When my life is hectic and feels out of control my diet and training start to slip. I’m still not perfect but I like to create habits and rituals that align with my fitness goals. Like a morning routine where I start the day with a gratitude list, do some meditation and yoga and have quiet time for myself to go over my schedule for the day and make sure I have my meals prepped and gym time scheduled. Sometimes it takes setting aside an entire afternoon to prep food for the week. I find when I don’t do this I’m more likely to cave to cravings or grab junk food as I’m racing out the door with a busy day ahead. It’s all about planning and being organized. Something that’s taken me a long time to master! I’m still not there yet.
You’ve said that you aren’t a professional fitness model just yet, but do you have a vision of yourself going down that road and also compete?
Ever since seeing my first Oxygen Magazine I wanted to be a fitness model. I wanted to be on that cover! I mean, how doesn’t though? However, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the fitness industry in the last few years and being a model and competing is no longer a top priority. Photo shoots are fun and I love training with a purpose, but I’m discovering my true desire is to inspire others to greatness through the brand I am creating. If I can accomplish that with photos, that’s great! But I no longer wish to be a full time model or competitor.
Besides working out, you also enjoy horseback riding and unfortunately experienced an injury back in 2007. Can you tell us more about it, what you had to overcome, and how that has affected your fitness lifestyle?
Yes I had a pretty bad accident on one of my favorite horses. I’ve had plenty of bad accidents and serious injuries, including a head injury and several broken bones, but this injury has affected me the most. I tore my PCL and Meniscus and unfortunately was never able to have surgery. It’s a long story but two years later I was able to see a doctor and went through months of physical therapy. My knee is much better now but I still have pain and am limited in what I can do physically. I was even limited with riding for a while. It seemed I couldn’t do anything and there was a time I was really down on myself. It’s taken me years to accept what I can and cannot do but it has taught me a lot about life and myself. I can’t run and pretty much avoid any kind of plyos and jumping around. This has been tough to swallow as I used to trail run when I was younger and I love doing explosive plyometric work. It’s just not an option for me anymore. Every once in a while I’ll feel good and will bust out some jump rope or go for a jog but I am immediately reminded why I don’t do that anymore! It can be frustrating but the key with any kind of injury is to focus on what you CAN do, find your strengths and go with it. So for me, I’ve traded running and HIIT workouts for heavy lifting and yoga.
With living a healthy lifestyle, we’re curious, what does your daily diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”?
Since the beginning of my fitness journey I have tried just about every kind of diet. I’ve tried the cabbage soup diet (super unhealthy), the Special K Diet (silly), meals plans from Oxygen Magazine, the Eat Clean Diet, Flexible Dieting, IIFYM, etc. I’ve realized that at the end of the day, what gets results is consistency and eating balanced and healthy meals. Restricting is not my thing. It’s never worked for me. Moderation is key. And to be honest I’m tired of labeling how I eat or eating a “certain way”. I now eat to live and I enjoy my food. I don’t stress about it and if I want some ice cream I eat it. I don’t find myself wanting to binge anymore and I’m not obsessed over my food. I guess if you wanted to label it you could call it Intuitive Eating. But I’m just calling it healthy-common sense eating for now. I try to eat for my current activity level (ask yourself, what will I be doing in the next 2-3 hours? And fuel your body accordingly). I make sure I have a healthy balance of whole foods: protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates in at least three of my meals. The other meals might just be a protein and fat or protein and carbohydrate. I usually eat about 4-5 times a day.
From your posts online, you seem to enjoy cooking. What are some of your favorite clean recipes that you would like to share? What is your favorite part about cooking?
I love food and I love being creative in the kitchen! A lot of people comment and ask how I do it and where I come up with these ideas. Everyone always wants the recipe! I have to laugh to myself because I usually just make things up off the top of my head. I start with a few simple ingredients, think of my favorite dishes and then I get to work! Sometimes I turns out, sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s what I like to tell people; don’t be afraid to be creative and experiment! If you’re favorite dish is mac n’ cheese but you are trying to be healthy, just choose healthier ingredients! It may not taste the same as from the box, but after a while you will learn to appreciate “made from scratch” healthier alternatives. It’s amazing once you start to FEEL the effects of eating healthy, it changes everything!
Breakfast is king and one of my favorite breakfast recipes is French Toast. It’s so delicious and simple, there’s no reason anyone can say that eating healthy is boring and bland. So here’s how I make my favorite breakfast:
*2 slices Ezekiel bread or Udi’s Gluten-free bread
*1 whole egg
*Splash of Almond milk
*1 stp Vanilla or Liquid Stevia
*Lots of Cinnamon
I use a Tupperware to mix it all together, dip my bread and cook with coconut oil in a skillet. I then top my French Toast with a tsp of coconut oil (in place of butter) and sugar-free syrup and a handful of fresh raspberries.
For protein I scramble 4-5 egg whites in coconut oil and a pinch of Sea Salt & Herb blend.
It’s hands down my favorite meal ever.
You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more recipes like this. Like I said, I usually don’t follow a set recipe and I make things up as I go. This last spring I finally started to write my recipes down because I could never remember what I did. So somewhere I have a whole notebook full of recipes I plan on turning into an e-book one of these days.
What’s your training routine comprise of? Do you follow any specific programs? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
I love all kinds of training! I love any kind of yoga; hot yoga, restorative, ashtanga, etc. I also love circuit style training and plyos (when I feel up for it). But my hands down favorite is weight training! There’s nothing more rewarding than to see the changes your body goes through as a result of lifting heavy weights. As much as possible I like to make sure I’m getting a variety of training styles in with the goal to be strong and fit. When I’m after a specific goal, however, I do get into a set routine. Over the summer I took some time off from lifting (another injury, I hurt my shoulder pretty bad) and I focused on having fun and doing lots of yoga. I also got a lot of time in on my bike in the great outdoors. It was a nice switch up from lifting. I missed it though and as soon as my shoulder was good to go I was back into my lifting routine.
Since September I’ve been lifting 5 days a week. Three days on one day off two days on one day off.
Monday: Back/Posterior Chain
Tuesday: Push (chest and shoulders)
Wednesday: Leg day
Thursday: rest day
Saturday: Shoulders & Arms
Sunday: rest day
It doesn’t always go exactly as planned and sometimes I have to take a week off to let my shoulder or knee recover. I’m okay with that though because it gives me time to do yoga or other training that I usually don’t have time for when I’m hitting the gym 5 days a week. I’m more focused on my overall journey these days so having to take time off from the gym doesn’t bother me like it used to. I also do a lot of foam rolling, stretching and rehab exercises. After you’ve been injured a few times you make sure you take the time to warm up before and stretch after you workouts. I have even started to foal roll and do a little stretching routine in the mornings and at night. My body craves it now and I don’t know where I’d be without my foal roller! I don’t do cardio that often. With a bum knee it’s just not very fun and I’m so active anyways with my horses that I’m lucky if I walk on the treadmill at an incline for 20 minutes once a week. My heavy lifting is the only cardio I need! And I swear by it. I’ve been working with a coach to design a program specifically for me and to accommodate my injuries so I can’t share the details of the program but I can tell you some of my favorite exercises.
I used to like doing crazy moves or trying to reinvent the exercise wheel. But what it comes down to is this: basic lifts work. Don’t complicate things. I’m not saying don’t be creative or have fun, because I love trying new workouts and new ways of doing things. What I’m saying is if you have specific physique goals, stick to a program. Stick to the basics and what works. Lifts like squats, deadlifts, pull ups, push-ups, Olympic lifts, etc. Other than what I already listed, for back I love wide lat pull downs, straight arm pull downs, and the cable row. For legs I love the Leg Press and Squat machine, squat rack, lunges and kick-backs or glute bridges. There are so many exercises to choose from. I could sit here all day and list all of my favorites. Just pick 3-4 and focus on those for 4-6 weeks. Only changing your sets/reps/weights during those 4-6 weeks. You could start with 4 sets of 8-10 reps slow and concentrated and by the 4th or 6th week switch it up to 3 sets of 15-20 at a faster pace. It all depends on what your goal is. The next 4-6 weeks pick another set of exercises and do the same thing. Before I hired a coach I spent a lot of time on Google and YouTube. There are so many free resources out there! I encourage everyone to do some research and find what works best for you and your body.
In addition to your diet and training, do you believe in supplements? If so, which kinds do you use and what results have these given you?
I like to tell people to keep it simple. I take a multi-vitamin, mineral and omega complex supplement called Life Long Vitality from doTERRA. It covers all your bases and even has a special blend of essential oils in the omega capsules. They have helped me a lot with some health issues I was experiencing a few years ago and I can’t go without them. If I’m training really hard I will add in BCAA’s, L-Glutamine and coffee for a pre-workout. doTERRA also has a non-stimulant natural energy supplement called Mito2Max that I take when I feel like I need that extra push. I’m very sensitive to stimulants and I can’t do the pre-workouts you see most fitness guys and gals drinking. Sometimes coffee is even too much for me. I guess I consider myself lucky I don’t need all of that stuff. I have enough energy as it is!
I do protein shakes after my workouts or as snacks during the day and sometimes before bed. I’ve tried all kinds of protein powders over the years and I am very particular about taste and texture. I’m always open to try different brands and types but right now I am just using doTERRA’s Slim&Sassy Trim Shake. It has a blend of whey and egg white protein. Can you tell I love doTERRA products??
You are an independent consultant for a company called dōTERRA. Can you tell us more about the company, how you joined, what you do, and how your experience has been?
I’ve been in doTERRA almost 4 years now. To say doTERRA has changed my life would be an understatement. I was seeing multiple doctors and neurologists at the time for strange episodes I was experiencing 4-5 times a month. They didn’t make sense and nobody knew what to call them or what to do for me. After having some MRIs and CAT scans the doctor wanted to put me on migraine medication. I was very frustrated and didn’t want to be put on a random medication just because they didn’t know what was wrong with me. I ended up going to an essential oils class at my mom’s work (she worked in a health & body shop) in March of 2010. We immediately starting using the oils and taking the supplements. A few months later I noticed my episodes were gone, my depression was lifting and I had more energy. I tried going a few weeks without taking my supplements and my episodes came back. That is why I do not go anywhere without my oils or my supplements. I haven’t had an episode in years! I was able to share my story with others and we started holding our own essential oil classes. In 2012 I was able to quit my job and focus more on my fitness career. It has been an amazing journey and I feel very blessed, not only physically but financially as well. To be 24 years old and not be tied down by a 9-5 is pretty cool. I’m free to pursue my passions.
You had the opportunity to attend the FMI Spring 2013 Conference in Las Vegas. How was your experience, what were 3 important factors you took away from it, and would you go again?
I had an amazing time at FMI and would definitely go again! I highly recommend it to all of my fitness friends who are trying to break into the industry. I loved a lot of things about FMI but what I loved the most is that you’re given practical business information and tools. It is also accredited through ISSA, which is really cool. I’ve gone to a few fitness model camps and although I learned a lot about the camera and posing, there wasn’t too much specific information about what it really takes to start a business in the fitness industry. You learn more than just social media tips and how to smile at FMI. It’s a very well rounded course and you get to work with some awesome photographers and network with some big names in the industry, as well as hear their personal stories to success. I also realized that you don’t have to be a certain “look” to be successful. If you want to be on an Oxygen Cover, yeah you’re going to have to have that “Oxygen” look, but being an entrepreneur and creating your own brand based on who you are and the special gifts you have to offer far outweigh a magazine cover. I learned magazine covers don’t pay the bills. Building your own business does! If a magazine cover happens, that’s great! But it shouldn’t make your entire existence. I could go on and on about all the cool things at FMI but if you want to know more, you just have to go to an event! It is so worth the trip.
As an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and a JNL Fusion Master Trainer, what advice would you give to someone who want to transition their life towards a more healthy and fit lifestyle, but don’t know where to start?
Like I said in a previous answer, I’m a huge fan of Google, YouTube, and I forgot to mention bodybuilding.com. It’s crazy how many free resources are out there on the internet. If you get lost and need some help, research some local trainers in your area. Gyms and studios are always having personal training specials, so take advantage. I recommend shopping around and trying out a few places and people before committing to pay for a trainer or coach. You need to have confidence in the person you’re working with. After all you’re putting your life in their hands. That might sound dramatic but your health is your life! It should be taken seriously. I love it when people come to my classes and of course I’m always open to more, but if someone has a specific issue or injury that I can’t help with I’ll be the first to recommend a better fit for that person. Again, it’s all about finding what works for you and your body. Always remember that this is a journey, this is your life. So enjoy it and always focus on being your best YOU. Throw out the scale and enjoy being fit and healthy without becoming a slave to the number on the scale, food or the gym.
What are your plans and goals for the future? When and where can we see you next?
As far as modeling and competing goes, I’m not exactly sure when or where you’ll see me next. I have so much going on but I have a few photographers I will be working with this summer for some projects I am working on to expand my brand. I would love to attend the next FMI and I plan on continuing my doTERRA business as well as my boot camps at the studio. Within the next few years I would also like to attend a Yoga Teacher Training and I’ve been thinking about going back to school for my Equine Degree. Horses are in my blood and I miss being more involved in that lifestyle. My vision is to one day blend both my passions for horses and fitness, into what I am still trying to figure that out. Cowgirl Yoga? Cowgirl boot camps? There are lots of ideas floating in my head! I guess we will have to wait and see how the next few years unfold.
Any shout outs?
Kim Agnew, Marla Huggins and Siene Allen have been a huge influence in my training and everyday life here in my hometown. I have many “magazine cover” role models and photographers: Chady Dunmore, Jamie Eason, Monica Brant, Ashely Horner, Natalie Minh (of course!) Mike Byerly, Jennifer Nicole Lee and everyone I’ve met along my journey.. Alicia Lozano, Amy Skarsfeldt (both I met at Chady Dunmore’s camp and FMI), Marina Aleksintser, oh gosh I could list a whole page. I’ve met some amazing people and some have even become dear friends. But sometimes it’s the people in your life, who aren’t famous or on a cover that make the most difference in your everyday life. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by amazing women.
Lastly, where can we find you on the Internet?
One day I will have a functioning website! But for now, you can find me on..
FaceBook Page: JennaKFitness