Listen to this interviewThe Bulk Hackers robot can read Jenna's interview aloud for you (playtime 8 minutes and 48 seconds) 🤖
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi, I’m Jenna, a 27-year-old certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise. I live in Virginia Beach with my husband Landon and dog Nala, and every weekend in the summer you can find us outdoors and at the beach.
I’m a full time personal trainer who runs my own online business Jen Epp Fit, (you can find me on instagram at @jeneppfit), where I have online workout guides and train clients virtually one on one.
I have been an athlete my entire life. I played soccer starting at the age of four and played for my University’s intercollegiate Varsity women’s soccer team all four years I attended.
After graduating college and being so used to a team/athletic atmosphere, I realized that it was an environment I wanted to continue to be in along with helping people, which is why I pursued Personal Training and have been doing it for four years.
Because I have been an athlete my entire life, I love the competitive atmosphere and the feeling of pushing yourself, setting goals and getting better/stronger.
I also believe there is a huge mental component to all of it, and because of my personal experiences and unique approach, I am able to help my clients overcome the mental battles and obstacles that so many of them face that hold them back in multiple areas of their lives.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I love moving my body. I believe that fitness and exercise hold so much more depth and positive effects other than just changing your body to look a certain way.
After spending years of chronic over-exercising and only working out to manipulate my body to be a certain size, I have finally found a balance that allows me to push my body to feel better and stronger, while enjoying the process.
I train for longevity and to feel good. I create my own programs for myself as a personal trainer and typically workout four to five days a week. I prefer resistance training accompanied with a little bit of HIIT and running thrown into the mix.
I typically workout alone, but coming from a soccer background for my whole life, I love the team aspect so I occasionally workout with friends or take group fitness classes like Orange Theory or Cyclebar.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
To me, fitness is a lifestyle. When you look at it like that, as opposed to something you “have to do” or only looking at working out as “punishment” for something you ate, or a lazy day you had etc, that’s when you find freedom and enjoyment in it.
I believe having intuition with your body and what it needs is crucial, so on days when I’m lacking motivation; I do a deep check in to see where that lack is coming from.
If my body is physically and mentally worn out, and working out would genuinely do more harm than good, I pass and do a self care activity or something more low key and therapeutic.
But if I am just being lazy, I try to remind myself of how good I always feel after a workout and put on a killer playlist to get me motivated, or ask my husband or a friend to workout with me for motivation.
If working out is going to take significant time away from my family or friends and cause me to miss an event, be late for a hangout, or take away quality time on vacay-I won’t workout. Those times just don’t seem worth missing to me.
But if I am on vacation and getting in a workout won’t disrupt anytime spent with those I’m with, or I can bring them into the workout and include them, then I’ll get my sweat on. I think it’s about finding balance and not letting your workouts rule your life.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My goal is to continue growing my personal brand, Jen Epp Fit and have an app where I have workout guides and personalized training plans. Right now, I have ebooks and programs that get mailed out electronically, but the end goal is to have an all–access app that my clients and followers can use.
I am at the best place I have ever been at right now with my fitness routine. I have finally found freedom in it and enjoy it for more than just the way it makes my body looks- I think that’s where you find full freedom and truly enjoy it.
I probably have a pretty unconventional approach from most if I’m being honest, but after personal experiences and working with so many women whose worth and identity are placed solely in their physical bodies and feel trapped by it, working towards finding freedom and changing the mindset is imperative.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I think the main way to avoid injury is to make sure you don’t over train. A lot of people overlook it, but REST and RECOVERY are crucial in anyone’s fitness journey.
When we rest, we give our bodies and our muscles time to respond to the stress we place on them through exercise…so when clients say they’re scared to take rest days or don’t want to, I ask them why are you working out then?
Since rest days are the days where your muscles properly respond to your workouts. Seems a bit counterintuitive if you don’t recover – dontcha think?
I take at least two rest days a week. I think there is a misconception that rest days mean you lay on the couch all day eating Cheetos or something which is why people are afraid to take them- I mean no judgment at all if that’s what you do- but a majority of my rest days do not look like that.
I take time to stretch, and foam roll and make sure I get adequate sleep – at least eight hours a night. And if one week my body feels more tired than the previous, I’ll add another rest day! It’s all about working FOR and WITH your body, not against it.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I follow an intuitive eating approach. Again, this may be unconventional in the fitness world and everyone is different in terms of what works for them.
But after taking too strictly of an approach in the past towards nutrition, cutting out entire food groups out of fear, and under-eating for the amount of activity I was doing, I have been able to heal my relationship with food through intuitive eating and working WITH my body to properly fuel it with nutrient dense food that makes me feel good.
I love to cook so my husband and I cook most nights, but we have fun experimenting with new recipes and cooking for one another.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Kelsey Heenan (@thedailykelsey on instagram) is a huge inspiration to me. She is someone who battled a severe eating disorder, but overcame it and found freedom and healing through intuitive eating and strength training.
Kelsey has incredible programs and a freeing approach that helps people to remove the food rules and get out of a negative headspace.
So many people think you have to have strict rules in order to enjoy fitness, and I just don’t believe that is the case, and I love listening to podcasts or following fitness people on Instagram who take on those same beliefs.
Other fitness influencers/trainers I like following are:
- Kelsey Wells
- Alexia Clark
- Madeline Custer
- Laurie Christine King
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
This may sound silly, but I think accepting yourself throughout the entire process is crucial. You don’t have to love everything about yourself, but I don’t think you can hate your way to being happy or fit. You have to extend grace and compassion and acceptance to yourself throughout the entire process, in my opinion.
I think working out with friends, or group fitness, or a personal trainer can be super helpful if you’re new to fitness/the gym because they can help you learn exercises and make you feel like you don’t have to learn it all or figure it out on your own.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am taking clients currently, yes, and I take clients virtually so I can work with anyone, anywhere. I have seen my approach help so many people find freedom from their self-destructive thoughts and find love for themselves again.
I think you can absolutely enjoy working out and love your body simultaneously, and I help clients uncover that and gain confidence in their abilities. That has seemed to set me apart in the industry, because not a ton of trainers take this approach. But I think it is so important because I have seen so many people hurt and “ruined” by the fitness industry and some of the lies that are thrown out there.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My Instagram page is @jeneppfit, that is my main channel on social media. My website is jeneppfit.com. I have a podcast called Fit Fueled Free and that can be found on Spotify and iTunes. The Instagram account for that is @fitfueledfree