Real Work, Real Life

Personal Trainer

January 10, 2024 Episode 45
Personal Trainer
Real Work, Real Life
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Real Work, Real Life
Personal Trainer
Jan 10, 2024 Episode 45

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On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I'm talking with Jenna Jozefowski (also known as Jenna J). Jenna is a semi-retired professional dancer, dance teacher and yoga teacher, turned personal trainer and kettle bell instructor. Jenna describes her approach as anti diet, so she doesn’t coach intentional fat loss.

We talk about that in the interview, but if you want to learn more, check out her podcast Tough Cookie Talks. While this interview would be great for someone that ever considered building a career in fitness, a lot of what we talk about would be relevant to any kind of small business, like the challenges of balancing the fear of not enough work without  working yourself into the ground, the huge difference between your hourly rate and what you take home, and the personal relationships you get to develop with clients. So much great stuff to share in this interview, but I can’t stop thinking about one of Jenna’s statements at the end “ask yourself why before you say yes”.

Instagram: @itsjennaj
Podcast: Tough Cookie Talks
Certification that Jenna has for personal training: NASM

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at


Transcripts are now available here: 

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I'm talking with Jenna Jozefowski (also known as Jenna J). Jenna is a semi-retired professional dancer, dance teacher and yoga teacher, turned personal trainer and kettle bell instructor. Jenna describes her approach as anti diet, so she doesn’t coach intentional fat loss.

We talk about that in the interview, but if you want to learn more, check out her podcast Tough Cookie Talks. While this interview would be great for someone that ever considered building a career in fitness, a lot of what we talk about would be relevant to any kind of small business, like the challenges of balancing the fear of not enough work without  working yourself into the ground, the huge difference between your hourly rate and what you take home, and the personal relationships you get to develop with clients. So much great stuff to share in this interview, but I can’t stop thinking about one of Jenna’s statements at the end “ask yourself why before you say yes”.

Instagram: @itsjennaj
Podcast: Tough Cookie Talks
Certification that Jenna has for personal training: NASM

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at


Transcripts are now available here: 

Jenna Personal Trainer

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work real life. where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today, I'm talking with Jenna, Joseph housekeeper. Jenna is a semiretired professional dancer dance teacher and yoga teacher turned personal trainer and kettlebell instructor. Janet describes her approach as anti diet. 

So she doesn't coach intentional fat loss. We talk about that in the interview, but if you want to learn more, check out her podcast, tough cookie talks, which I think you'll really enjoy. Well, this interview would be great for someone that ever considered building a career in fitness. A lot of what we talk about would be relevant to any kind of small business. 

Like the challenges of balancing the fear of not having enough work. But not working yourself into the ground. The huge difference between your hourly rate and what you take home. 

And the value of the personal relationships you get to develop with clients. So much great stuff to share in this interview. But I can't stop thinking about one of Jenna's statements at the end. Ask yourself. Why [00:01:00] before you say yes. So let's get into it.

Emily: Thank you so much for being here, Jenna.

Jenna: Thanks for having me, Emily.

Emily: So what do you do for work? Not

Jenna: I am a personal trainer but I'm not just any kind of a personal trainer. I am a personal trainer who considers themselves to be anti diet meaning I don't coach intentional fat loss.

Emily: I love that. So what interested you about it initially? How did you get into this?

Jenna: So I have been an active person for my entire life. I was actually a dance major in college. And so I started doing that, was dancing professionally and teaching dance for many years and felt like I just, Needed to diversify what I was doing because all of that like demoing, like dancing all day and then teaching at night was just a really brutal schedule.

And so I originally got certified as a yoga instructor and I was teaching yoga and through that I got into teaching group fitness and through that I got into personal [00:02:00] training and in the very beginning of my career. I was a more traditional personal trainer of sorts but then just some life events caused me to reevaluate how I was approaching it and how it was benefiting or potentially causing harm to myself and my clients.

And so I made a shift and here we are.

Emily: I love that. So just to go back a little bit, when you think about the certifications that you acquired, do you have a certification specific to personal training or were you able to begin work in that just with all the other experience that you had?

Jenna: So I have a certification in personal training. I did that through NASM which is one of the, I would say, few main, certifying bodies for personal trainers. That was the gateway for me. I will say this, though. I feel like I could have... Kind of snuck in the back door without that and almost did it because I was coaching bootcamp classes at the time [00:03:00] at a studio and they were asking me to lead the bootcamps.

And the thing that led me to become a personal trainer was because I felt like they were asking me to do things that I didn't have the training or qualifications to do. And I was like I feel like I just want to know more before I start doing this with people. And so that's what led me to do it. But yeah, I got that original personal trainer certification 2014, 2015.

Emily: Do you remember how long it took and how much it cost?

Jenna: Yes I studied over the course of a summer. I feel like it was, you know, three or four months or so of doing it. It was all online the way that I did it. And then I took my exam and then I was able to, you start training once I was able to find clients. And I believe at the time the certification cost between like a thousand and like 1500.

I think I'm sure that it's probably gone up from there. And I think you would find that a lot of different certifications are [00:04:00] similarly priced, but they kind of, you know, vary depending on what you do. Continuing Ed is super expensive.

Emily: So you, do you have to do continuing ed for it to keep going

Jenna: Well, here's the fun part. You do. But nobody really checks up on you. Meaning in order to maintain good standing as a personal trainer with NASM, I have to complete certain, you know, a certain amount of continuing ed hours and submit them, and then I get to research And so for that, I do that for myself personally to hold myself accountable to make sure that I'm staying up with, the latest and best things and being able to bring fresh new stuff to my clients.

I have never once had anybody ask me for my certification outside of me initially getting hired. 

at a gym. I've never had a client ask me for a certification. I've never had an employer ask me for, you know, my recertification proof or anything like that. So

Emily: Yeah. Oh, that's really interesting. I think pursuing it when you felt [00:05:00] like you needed to know more in order to be effective, that's the perfect situation for professional education that it's actually giving you exactly what you need and it's worth the investment rather than just pursuing it because you need the, the line item.

So it's nice that it worked out that way, I

Jenna: yes, yes, definitely.

Emily: Can you talk a little bit more about what brought you to Intentionally not coaching for weight loss and, and what that sort of brings for your clients.

Jenna: Yes. Okay. So I started down that path through my own experience. I, as a very active person and also somebody who grew up in the dance world, which is very aesthetically focused, I feel like I had a lot of disordered habits around food and exercise. Like I was very, very restrictive with food. I was definitely an over exerciser and I prided myself on that because I thought that it was the healthy thing to do.

But I had an experience where I had done an elimination diet and it was. [00:06:00] It was very restrictive. I had to give up like a lot of different foods. And the idea behind it was like, you know, we were doing a cleanse and we were just getting rid of all the like, quote unquote, toxic food.

And as a result, I actually wound up being less healthy at the end of that. First of all, it was completely awful for my mental health. I have this very vivid moment of myself sitting at on my floor crying because I had gone to Panera and they accidentally put candied pecans and cheese on my salad when I had asked for them not to be there.

But part of the elimination diet was like, no dairy, no sugar. Um, aNd I just remember having a meltdown on my kitchen floor over a salad and it was like, this cannot

Emily: Yeah.

Jenna: healthy. In addition to that, by the time that I finished, I also had some other weird symptoms. Some like. Itchy, rash kind of stuff on my skin that completely blew my mind because I had eliminated every possible food that could be supposedly causing problems.

I honestly think that it [00:07:00] was just anxiety because once I, you know, finally, like, let that go and was able to make peace with food, I never had that itchy rashiness ever again. I also at the end of my elimination diet, I had actually gained weight. 

had some testing done at the doctor's turned out.

My hormones were a little bit messed up. My estrogen and progesterone. If you've ever heard of like people like having amenorrhea or losing their period as a result of that, that wasn't my experience. I was also on hormonal birth control. So my period might have very well been fake at the time.

But my estrogen and progesterone were what my doctor called the levels of an 80 year old woman. And My thyroid, I was then also diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which I believe this is something that can be very common is when you're super active and you very much restrict your food, it can suppress your thyroid function.

And so I got to the end of this, you know, whole elimination diet situation. I was less healthy than when I started. I had done everything quote unquote right in the pursuit of health [00:08:00] and I gave up all of those things and I had. you know, gain weight at the end and, you know, screwed up my hormones and stuff like that.

I was like, this cannot be healthy. This is not the way. And I can't do it anymore. And so. Yeah, that's what set me on the path of training this way. I also found that it's been a little bit more in a way sustainable for my clients because I want to be clear, I'm not against people losing weight if that is a result of the work that we do together.

My point is, and the way that I think I can practice as ethically as I possibly can, have far less control over our weight and our body shape and size than we think that we do. And I'm not going to sit here and promise somebody that if they work out like me and they eat like me, they're going to look like me, because number one, that's completely false.

We all have a very unique set point, and I think also if [00:09:00] people knew the amount of restriction and potential risk for developing an eating disorder that can come about when you go to these extreme things, I don't think people would actually want to do what it takes to look like a bikini model. And, in addition, I think when people think that they want to lose weight, what they actually want are the feelings and the privileges that they think come with that, whether that's getting less winded going up and down the stairs or having less joint pain or having more energy throughout the day or, you know, feeling strong or being loved or being accepted.

And in many cases, we can come about those things taking specific actions. Weight loss is an outcome. That we have less control over than we think, but the actions and the habits that we implement in our day to day life are going to lead to us feeling more of what we want to feel.

Emily: That is beautiful. And yes, I mean, I [00:10:00] think weight loss can become this like way we think about health, but as you said, it's like not nearly as correlated as we think. And I'm just so glad you're, practicing that approach. It just seems like such a, reasonable and thoughtful and, and most importantly, like I think sustainable, lifelong, approach to personal fitness.

Jenna: Yeah. Yeah. That's the hope. That's, 

that's the 

hope and dream. Yeah.

Emily: So what sort of personality do you think does well as a personal trainer? Oh,

Jenna: I think you definitely need to be a people person. I'm not saying that introverts can't be trainers because I know a lot of introverts that are, but I think you do need to enjoy being around people, talking to people. I think you do well as a personal trainer if you are a curious person, if you're genuinely interested in what's going on with other people's lives.

And also if you're able to... Hold space, I think, for the complexity that people are going to bring into a training session and also have like the knowledge and the boundaries and [00:11:00] wherewithal to know when you need to refer somebody out because within a personal trainer scope of practice You know, is a very limited thing.

We you know, teach people how to exercise. We help them build strength. We help them, build stamina or reach particular fitness goals. We create exercise programs for people. But we're not dietitians. We're not supposed to be giving people meal plans. We are not physical therapists. We are not supposed to be treating, diagnosing your injuries.

We are not mental health therapists, know, a lot

Emily: I bet that's the blurriest one.

Jenna: Yeah. Sometimes you know, want to treat us as such. And I think there's a very you know, fine line between like, can we hold space for this in a session? And also, I think this other provider would benefit you within XYZ thing.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, that's, I actually didn't realize that about the meal plan thing, but yeah, I mean, I think it makes sense that everyone has their, their specialty and that's good to know.

Jenna: Yeah. And to be clear, some trainers might also have like additional education around [00:12:00] that. For example, some like registered dietitians also happen to be personal trainers, in which case that they can, or there are even like nutrition certifications within the personal training realm as continuing ed that you can, you know, talk a little bit more about nutrition, but as for giving like very specific meal plans, that's not really A thing that a trainer is qualified to do.

Emily: right, right. That makes a lot of sense. So if you wouldn't mind kind of sharing maybe a range of what you make and, and maybe kind of a range of what, If you started personal training full time at a gym, what you might make, and if you have a sense of a high range in the industry, that would be really interesting.

Jenna: Yeah. Okay. So I think it really depends a lot on how you set up your business model. And so I'm going to explain this in a couple of different ways. I'm going to explain it in terms of like an hourly rates, and then I'm going to talk about some of the variations that can come into play to make it a little bit more [00:13:00] sustainable.

So I would say the average hourly rate for a personal trainer in the United States, depending on where you live, is anywhere between 50 to 150 an hour. For me, I charge around 100 for a single session. But I also, for sustainability reasons, don't just offer people like training per session. So I have Within the packages that I offer, they all include personal training sessions and then other stuff on top of it like additional support.

So that's, DM support throughout the week. Sometimes that's me creating exercise programs that people can do on their own. And in a lot of cases, I also have I have a group program. Online where we have a discord community and we have like a private podcast that has additional resources.

And so I offer my clients a lot of things that I maybe create one time and then deliver to many people [00:14:00] over time. So for me, that helps me. To make a little bit more money. So for example, I might be charging like 400 a month for somebody who's seeing me for three sessions per month, but then they're getting all of this other stuff along with it.

That's going to support them in a different way. And that's something that I think I almost feel like in this day and age, it's necessary if you want to have sustainability in the industry because it is so fluctuating. For example, like, let's just make it an easy number right in the middle. Say you're charging like a hundred dollars an hour and now I'm trying to do math.

Realistically speaking, I can only see about five clients in a day before I just lose the ability to hold capacity for that. There's only, there's only so many workouts that I can create. There's only so many conversations that I can have so many things that I can do before. I just cannot do client facing work well beyond about five clients a day.

So that's like [00:15:00] 500 a day. And now I'm like, okay 

Emily: Get on my calculator.

500 times 5 is 2, 500 a week times, let's say, 50 is 125, 000. 

Jenna: that's per year. But also here's the other thing that you have to consider. You're not going to have five clients every day. You are you're going to have cancellations,

Emily: Right. You're not going to take much vacation with that math either.

Jenna: right? And you're also, you're also going to have a hard time filling that schedule of five clients per day consistently given the hours that you're available and when people want to train. For example, everyone wants to train at 9 a. m. At least where I am, like that 9 a. m. spot is very coveted.

And so sometimes I have clients that would like to work with me, but I'm like, okay, I don't have that. I don't have that time slot. We're going to have to do it at noon and they don't want that. So I think for a lot of us, it's very easy to fill those more desirable time slots and. You also have to consider like [00:16:00] your personal preference

as a personal trainer, and then you also have to consider expenses.

So when you just did that math, 125, 000 a year, that's not actually the take home pay because you're not considering all of the other expenses. And I use because I do, I run my own business now. I don't I'm not like an employee of a single gym, although I do train clients out of a space and rent space there.

Um, I'm paying the gym to rent the space that I'm using. I'm paying for continuing education. I'm paying for online platforms. You know that I use 

Emily: Taxes.

Jenna: taxes. Yeah. So here, here's a breakdown. For example let's do you want to do some more math with me right 

now? Okay. So 125, 000 a year. This is I'm using something called profit first, which is what I use to keep track of my finances in my business


Yeah, compensation is typically about 50%. [00:17:00] So half of that. aNd then 30 percent is likely or is like a good amount that you can estimate to go towards your expenses. anD then you usually want to set aside uh, 15 percent for taxes. And then I also have a profit account that's 5 percent that's just kind of like You know, fun at the end of the year, like whatever you want to do with that, I also have a couple of virtual assistants that I work with because I have an online aspect of my business.

So that profit account might be used to, for example, buy them like a birthday present or, you know, if I want to give, if I want to give a bonus or if I decide that, like, we're all going to go out for the holidays for a cocktail hour and I'm going to pay it, stuff like that. So when you hear that take home pay, like it can sound really sexy that you're making that much per hour, but when you break it down, it's.

It's not actually that.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, I mean, it's so important to keep in mind, and with that in mind, what do you do for things like [00:18:00] benefits? Is that, you know, is that something you could buy on the marketplace or, like, theoretically you'd be self funding things like retirement funding and things like that?

Jenna: So I am fortunate because I am married to a man who works in corporate, who you know, covers our health insurance. If not, I do, I do know friends who purchase private health insurance and pay for that. And that's something that you're able to do. It is very expensive. Like that would be another thing.

I question whether or not, I don't even know because I had the privilege of never working at a big box gym.

Um, I only ever worked at like a, like a small business. And so I'm not sure if any of those places offer health insurance, but I do know that if you're working at those bigger places, the pay is often a whole lot less.

I've heard of like big box gyms only, you know, paying their trainers like 20 or 30 an hour

Emily: Wow. Wow. And then you're not having to manage most of the other, some of the other business expenses, presumably, [00:19:00] but 

Jenna: right? 

Emily: that's a big difference. Yeah.

Jenna: Yeah, it is a big difference. Which is why I think there's definitely a benefit to working for yourself, but also you have to have, you have to have that business savvy and you have to, you know, be able to, to figure that stuff out for yourself

Emily: Yeah,

Jenna: along the way. So it can be challenging. And can I add one other thing 


If you're working for yourself, 

you also have to do your own advertising and your own you know, right now it's a lot of content creation. Like if I want to find clients, I have a podcast of my own. got to

Emily: takes a lot of time. 

Jenna: does. There's a lot of, there's a lot of free labor that goes into creating free content.

You know what I mean? And posting stuff on Instagram so that people can find me or blogging or different things like that. And You know, it's not one of those things, like, if you build it, they will come. Like, you can build the most wonderful thing, but you have to actually let people know that it exists.

Emily: yes. 

Jenna: working for yourself, you have to yourself.

Emily: Yes. [00:20:00] The, the social media aspect of small businesses is such a double edged sword. And I actually interviewed someone who's a social media manager for small businesses. And I was done. I was like, I need to hire you probably,

but, but it is, but again, that is also an expense too, if you were to outsource that.

So it's that trade off of do it yourself, but it's going to take you plenty of time. And there's people out there that can do it, of course, and are really experts in it. So something to think

Jenna: Right. Yeah. And that's something that I half outsource and half don't. I'm still, like, the brain behind a lot of my content, but I do have a social media assistant who does things for me. the boring stuff that I'm not good at, like edits my Instagram reels or, you know, clips the podcast audio or makes a Canva graphic or something like that for me.

So there is a happy medium, but yeah, it's a trade off. It's either your time or your money and you have to decide where, you know, you want to spend both of those things.

Emily: yeah, absolutely. Gosh, it's so much to think about. So, [00:21:00] Do you mostly train remotely now? And how much has that changed since the pandemic?

Jenna: I Would say it is maybe, honestly, about 50 50. Right now. 

I was doing mostly in person before the pandemic. And I had like an online group program, but that program didn't have you know, like a zoom training component or individual sessions. It was more or less like I was creating workouts for people that they could do on their own.

And so I had that aspect of it that I started in 2019. And that was that was like a little bit easier to manage. I wasn't doing zoom sessions at that time when the pandemic hits, I was actually in a good spot because I already started the online thing before the online thing was a thing. And I started doing some zoom training sessions with people actually realized that I actually quite enjoy it within, within a certain context.

I think that's another one of those things. If we're talking [00:22:00] Zoom sessions, I feel like I can do like maybe three to four of those in a day be before it becomes too much. And it's something about like the screen time that's a little bit more draining than the in-person time.

Emily: Interesting. Interesting. Okay. I was thinking about how this career has probably become somewhat you know, available for some amount of remote since the pandemic. And I'm sure that that's, True for lots of trainers, but yeah, it's good to know that thinking about your hours There's only so much you might be able to do and I'm sure there's still plenty of people who really just want in person training

Jenna: Exactly. And I found that once things started to open back up again, that's really what people wanted. It was almost for a while, a very hard sell to get people in my online programs, but I was waitlisted for in-person training because people were just really craving that. That coming back.

Emily: wow. Okay. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So can you sort of walk me through your average workday?

Jenna: [00:23:00] Yeah, I have a couple of different average workdays. It depends. So let's talk about today. Today's what Wednesday. All right. Typical Wednesday morning is a virtual training and work from home day for me. So I get up in the morning at about 8 30. I dropped my son off at daycare. I come back home and then I either get started with virtual clients and or podcast recording depending on who is scheduled.

So today I had a little bit of both. I recorded an episode for my podcast and then I saw virtual clients and now I'm talking to you. And then after we're done talking, I'm going to have another virtual client. When I'm done with that, I'm going to take a break and you know, eat some lunch. The benefit of working from home is I can like.

Throw in, throw in a little laundry, straighten up the house a little bit. I will have a phone meeting with my social media assistant about tasks that need to happen for the next week. And then I will [00:24:00] either go, I will probably go to the gym for myself first. Just to get my own workout in and have that little break.

And then I'll come home and do a little bit of admin work. That's going to look like a virtual client check ins checking. I have people that send me like virtual form checks online. So I'll do those. I'll answer my DMS. I'll answer emails. I might crank out an Instagram post. There's almost a never ending to do list 

of. stuff to do. I might schedule an email to my email list because that's another way that I promote my services. And I have some new stuff that's coming up. Might edit a podcast while I steam some laundry. It's, it really depends on like what needs to most be Urgently done for the day. And then I'll wrap it up around 5 p.

m. and go and pick up my son from daycare and I will hopefully shut it down then. But the reality is because when you run your own business, it's never ending. I might, you know, Get a burst of energy and decide that I want to, you know, [00:25:00] make an Instagram post for tomorrow or program some more workouts for people.

It just depends. That's one of those things that especially as a, like, working parents, I have a hard time shutting off because there's really never, you know, the amount of childcare

Emily: right

Jenna: that I need to get it done. And that's another thing to consider too, if you're paying for childcare, That's in a way a business expense

Emily: Yeah, 

Jenna: in itself.

And so that's what my schedule looks like today. A different day I'll use as an example would be Monday. My Mondays look like playing mom all day until about 2 PM. My mother in law comes over to watch my son. Left the house, ran a couple of errands really quickly, went to the gym saw two in person clients, took a little break, got my own workout in saw another in person client, edited a podcast, scheduled that.

Answered a couple emails and then headed home

Emily: Yeah.

Jenna: the night. Yeah, so [00:26:00] those are, those are a couple examples of typical days. Sometimes I see people in the morning. Sometimes I see people in the evening. I definitely I see people on Saturdays. That's actually one of my more popular days. 

Emily: Sure. Yeah.

Jenna: I think that's an important thing to mention, like when you're a personal trainer, you can make your own schedule, which is great.

bUt. You also kind of have to weigh the pros and cons of when you want to see people versus when people want to come, because I could not work on weekends, but Saturdays are my bread and butter because I'm always, I'm always booked solid

Emily: yeah. Oh, man. And I bet, I mean, thinking about like, I bet there's people who would love to work out super early in the morning and maybe later at night and, and all these sort of off hours. And if you're, you know, have demands or wants outside of the working kind of traditional working hours, you're, you have to pick and choose and

Jenna: You do. Yeah. You do have to pick and choose. That's one thing for me.[00:27:00] I'm not a morning person. I don't see clients before 9 a. m. anymore, and even that's a little bit of a stretch for me personally. That's a choice that I make. Different people might choose differently, but I will say if you're constantly choosing the thing that is going to like make you the most money or appease your clients I Don't do it.

You're gonna burn yourself out. The best business advice that I ever got was to work in your business the way that you want your future business to be versus what it currently is. So don't just take on any random client at 6 a. m. because those are the people that want to see you because at some point.

You're going to get to a point where you have enough clients to sustain yourself during the hours that you actually want to work and you don't want to just be like hustling at random hours where you see people at 6 a. m. and 7 a. m., but then you're off for 2 hours, then you have another person at noon, and then you're off for 5 hours, but then you see people from like 5 to 9 p.

m. or whatever. It's you'll burn yourself out [00:28:00] that way.

Emily: Oh, my gosh, that's such great advice. And I'm sure it's so tempting early on to just take whatever is available. But yeah, I could see how that would really not work out for you in the end by just taking kind of anything that comes your way if that's not really what your goal for your business is.

Jenna: Right? Right?

Emily: Oh, my gosh. I, I interviewed someone that was a music therapist. And one thing she mentioned was that that is a type of therapy that people get for kids outside of school hours. They don't take them out of school to go. And so that meant she was working. From like after school until late in the evening every night.

And, and once you have your own kids, that's such prime time for all of these activities and events and things. And it's like, yeah, you really have to think as you think about different career paths, that knowing when those peak hours are and what opportunities will be available to you in that field based on those hours is so important.

Jenna: Right. And there's definitely an opportunity for mixing and matching a little bit, especially like in the personal training field. I think a [00:29:00] lot of people that come into this have other movement backgrounds, especially whether that's like some other sort of athletics. So I actually also still teach dance.

AnD I do that two evenings per week. That's like a, like a night thing that I do for myself and I love it. And, you know, I'll probably always do it regardless of how like my, you know, training career builds up and stuff. But that's a thing that much like your movement therapist guest you can only do that.

During after school hours. And that's one of the things that led me to pursue personal training in the first place was because that meant that I didn't have to work, five nights a week and Saturdays that I could kind of like pick and choose and do some some regular daytime hours and stuff.

Emily: Yeah. Absolutely. that makes a lot of sense. So you've mentioned a bunch of things that you love about your job, but is there anything you would add that you love about this work, especially if it's something that you think people might not know?

Jenna: Oh, wow. You know, I think It's cool, like their [00:30:00] relationships that you get to develop with people when, when you see them over the course of many years, you get to know them as a whole human and in a way, like develop friendships with those people. And obviously you have to hold certain professional boundaries and stuff, which I think is something that I've gotten better at over the years.

But it's really lovely. The kinds of relationships that you get to build. And also, I think surprisingly, like I learn as much from my clients and their various things that they're good at as they learn from me. About fitness. And I just think it's so cool to think about, you know, talking to my therapist client, for example, and learning about the work that they do or talking to my client whose husband does home renovations and like them telling me how to clean my deck and like what kind of paint to get, or uh, you know, my client, that's a grandma who's telling me stories about how to deal with my mother in law and, 

Emily: I love that. Yeah. I [00:31:00] imagine those are just really kind of deep relationships that you develop over time, even if they're kind of more on a professional basis, but

Jenna: Yeah, I mean, you really, learn a lot about people, especially especially if you're with them over the long term. And it's also really cool to, like, see the ripple effects, I guess, that happen when you work with somebody, even if you, like, stop working. With them for a while. I remember a couple of months ago, the highlight of my day there was a former client that I had worked with.

And in addition to, you know, exercise related stuff, we would also talk a lot about her struggles to, get exercise in on her own because she was very stressed out at her job. And, I, you know, in our conversations about how she didn't like her job, I think I definitely like planted some seeds in her that she deserved better for work.

And we aren't working together currently anymore, but she sent me a message a couple of months ago and was like, thank you so much for everything. By the way, I quit my job. I started at a new place. I'm so much happier. And now I'm about to, go off on a trip to [00:32:00] Europe and You know, climb a bunch of stairs 

Emily: Yeah. 

Jenna: and I'm really confident in my ability to be able to do that now.

And I'm like,

Emily: Oh my gosh, what a lovely note to get, and

uh, so happy. Life is too short to have a job you hate. That is, that is just the truth.

Jenna: Yeah,

Emily: Oh, my gosh, that's beautiful. I'm so, so glad you found something new.

Jenna: I know, me too.

Emily: So not to get too negative, but is there anything that is tough about it that you either didn't expect or you just didn't anticipate how challenging it would be?

Jenna: Yeah. Oh, gosh. Okay. I mean, we already talked about the challenges a little bit of, of scheduling. I feel like that's definitely something that I've gotten under control. Gosh, I think one of, one of the challenges is like the insecurity of having to have your client roster full and the fact that like, you know, you lose one client. and you potentially, [00:33:00] you know, depending on how often they're seeing you, you potentially lose a thousand dollars a month, which is a lot of dollars less to have to be. Working with, and so it's pretty unpredictable. I think it's important to kind of, save first of all, for a rainy day.

In case that happens, it definitely can bring up some scarcity and stuff like that when it happens. But then sometimes you also have really good months too. So it's just. That you know, that awareness, I think, of the fact that, like, just because things are good right now doesn't mean that they always could be.

And I think sometimes, especially when you're doing work online or advertising your work online and using social media and stuff like that Oh, the, the amount of times that I just wish that I could not be on Instagram anymore and just 

Emily: Yes. 

Jenna: an anonymous trainer.

Emily: I've heard this from a lot of small business owners that like the push and pull of really needing to use Social media to promote your business in a lot of ways, but [00:34:00] just the challenges of it, because that's not what you do and what you're passionate about is social media,

but but it's really hard to completely avoid it as well.

Jenna: right. Exactly. And knowing that the trade off would be if I wasn't using social media in that way that I would have to hustle and work hours that I didn't necessarily want to do and that that schedule would be completely unsustainable. I think the social media thing. Yeah, that's that's a really me.

a really big negative thing. And then I think, you know, a lot of, a lot of the client facing work is good. I think I've had a lot of really good experiences with my clients. I think if there's like one frustrating thing about like working with clients and working with humans is that when, when you feel like somebody came to you for a certain thing and you're not able to, to help them get to that place that they want to be.

And I guess the tough pill to [00:35:00] swallow is that we weren't meant to save people, people to some extent have to want to do things for themselves and you can be, you can be the best coach in the world you know, and have all of the right knowledge and all of the right skills and working with people and sometimes it's just not the right time or it's not the right fit and it's really easy to, you know, internalize it and make yourself think that, yeah.

You're bad at your job, but you know, I've told my clients before when they come, I'm like, you're not a project and you're not. You're not here to be fixed you're in the driver's seat here and you are the expert on your body and your lived experience and like I'm just the guide,

Emily: Yeah.

Jenna: but I don't do the work for you.

I had somebody. I can't remember where I saw this, but talking about like like a, like a hammer and a nail.

Emily: Yeah.

Jenna: You know what I mean? I can't just, like, hammer stuff into you. You know what I mean? Like, you, you have to do the work for yourself. You are the one that drives it home.

Emily: [00:36:00] Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I mean, I think it must feel amazing when you see the successes people have, but I bet it can be kind of defeating over time when you just realize that like your actual influence has a limit to people's own, you know, ability to make changes.

Jenna: Right. Or when you see somebody's potential, but they don't see it for themselves. 

Emily: Yeah. 

Jenna: you believe in them more than they believe in them.

Emily: Yeah. Oh gosh. Yeah. I can imagine.

Jenna: Yeah.

Emily: What do you hope to be doing more of or less of in the next five to 10 years?

Jenna: I hope to be just doing less generally. Oh,


Emily: familiar.

Jenna: I hope to be doing more relaxing. I think I'd love to be able to find the balance where I have like a greater ratio of people. In my online programs, those sorts of things where I create once 

Emily: Yeah. 

Jenna: to many, because that takes hours [00:37:00] off of my plate, but I think no matter how many people that I get in an online group program, I'm never going to not see person in person clients because that really fills me up.

That really brings me a lot of joy. So I think I will always continue to do that. You know, maybe someday we'll get off Saturdays, but like only if I can find a way to move those people do a different day because I do very much enjoy my Saturday clients. I think just you know, finding more space for pleasure and relaxation and and enjoyment.

Emily: love it. So this is the last question I have for you, and then I want to leave time at the end so you can tell people where to find you, but what is one piece of advice generally about work that you would give your younger self?

Jenna: Oh, okay. This is, this is going to kind of come out in a roundabout way. I've been saying this a lot lately, which is before you take on a job. Or a [00:38:00] class or a client ask yourself why, because in many cases we just get stuck on the grind and we run ourselves into the ground doing all the things and go, go, go.

So we can make a hundred dollars more per month. Or something like that. But why, what are you spending that a hundred dollars on? Does it even matter? do you even care? Do you even need to have that new pair of leggings or is the thing, I guess, is the work that you're doing is the trade off for that?

worth it. Because sometimes we just think more money is better, but then, you know, you hustle and you run yourself into the ground and then you wind up, you know, spending all that money on like therapy because you're burnt out or physical therapy because you're injured or, you know what I mean?

Emily: Yes. A hundred percent. That


Jenna: why before you say yes.

Emily: That is fantastic advice. I love that. And I think we could all apply that to so many situations.

so so thank you so [00:39:00] much for making the time to talk with me. Where can people find out more about the work that you do? I

Jenna: Okay, so my website is ItsJennaJ. com I have a blog on there that I haven't been writing on as much recently but if you go there, there's also links to my podcast, which is where a lot of my more current content is my podcast is called Tough Cookie Talks and we talk a lot about the intersection of Fitness and the anti diet world and all of the gray area in between, because I feel like I do inhabit a lot of that that gray space and the room for both and.

And so that's a really fun podcast. It's everywhere that you listen to podcast. And then my primary social media places, Instagram, and my handle is at it's Jenna J.

Emily: love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I just really enjoyed talking with you.

Jenna: Thanks Emily. It was so great to talk to you too. [00:40:00] 

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