I was introduced to Jennifer by a friend a few months after I had Harlowe and was beginning my quest to shed the weight I had gained while preggo. Kiki swore by her food delivery program and since I had a lot of bad habits to break (I was still eating for two) I sent her an email and she’s been nourishing me ever since! With her help I’ve been able to lose 40 of the around 65 pounds I gained (I KNOW – more on not eating for two while pregnant later) and am happy to say I’ve gained an extremely knowledgeable health and wellness friend along the way.
A few weeks ago we chatted while she was training one of her clients and I’m excited to share her Creating The Life story with you!
So with that I give you Jennifer, the Principal at Fit Squad:
1. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in downtown Toronto and later spent much of my childhood in Etobicoke. I moved back downtown after school and currently live in the King West neighbourhood – whoot!
2. Did you go to College, Uni or The School of Hard Knocks?
Ha ha! I’d like to say all of the above! I was at U of T pursing a degree in business before transferring to college and completing a diploma in Fashion Design and Technology.
Once I made the decision to pursue a career in health and fitness, I completed a program to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I am a certified Personal Trainer and Kettlebell Instructor and am continually taking courses to stay updated in the always evolving fitness industry. Most recently I completed my prenatal and postnatal specialist course and am a joint mobility and functional movement instructor. With new research and studies that constantly provide findings on improved techniques and physiology, it is important to stay up to date to provide the best service to our clients.
The courses I took at the School of Hard Knocks were all extra curricular!
3. What is Fit Squad?
Fit Squad is a personal training and nutritional service company. We take a holistic approach to health and fitness by offering our clients a wide range of services including one-on-one personal training, private kickboxing, private yoga, meal delivery, nutritional assessments, cooking classes and corporate training. We consider all aspects of our clients’ lifestyle and support them with our team of professionals and experts to help them achieve optimal health.
4. Tell us a little bit about your career path. How did you turn a passion for fitness and wellness into becoming the Principal of Fit Squad?
I remember idolizing the girls on the “20 Minute Workout” show; their fashion, hair and just loved how they made fitness look so fun! In grade school I would host “Step Aerobic” classes in my parents’ basement and always found I was happiest when I was most active.
I was always involved in sports growing up. I was Athlete of the Year in school, coached volleyball, swam competitively and later taught swimming and lifesaving courses. After a career in fashion, I began teaching bootcamps, training clients and eventually made the commitment to build a career helping others meet their health and fitness goals.
When Fit Squad was looking for a female personal trainer to join their team I was eager to get started. As I continued to build my Fit Squad clientele and began taking a leadership role in the company, the opportunity to become Principal was offered to me. There was no doubt that Fit Squad was the perfect place for me to build a unique team of professionals that shared the same values and philosophies for health and fitness.
5. What are some challenges of being a small business owner in such a competitive field?
Setting yourself apart from the competition is one of the biggest challenges. We are only as good as our clients say we are. This means ensuring we deliver the highest quality services to our clients by providing a one-stop-shop. We’ve evolved from just personal training to being a complete lifestyle company.
As word of mouth spreads and our business continues to grow, one of my biggest challenges includes finding staff that are able to meet my standards by performing at a high professional level while being able to connect well with clients.
6. I follow your Instagram and am constantly inspired by your dedication and passion for fitness and health, what inspires you? (because we all know how difficult it can be to stay on that healthy train!)
Awww Thank you! My inspiration comes from our clients. I’m driven to continually challenge myself through training goals, gaining nutritional knowledge and be an example of all the things we preach to our clients. You have to be authentic. I want to be someone our clients can relate to and help inspire them to prioritize what is important for them. This means making time for exercise, making knowledgeable decisions with nutrition and enjoying that lifestyle because we know their overall well being will benefit.
Plus I have a very competitive nature so just being on Instagram among some very passionate health and fitness enthusiasts keeps me on my toes! #fitsquad ha ha ha!
7. What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of our clients’ successes. Making lifestyle changes is not easy, whether the goal is to lose weight, gain strength or simply to live healthy. Their dedication, hard work and constant drive is so inspiring.
At this very moment, I am so very proud of how Fit Squad is evolving. We have incorporated a meal delivery service that is getting rave reviews and as a holistic nutritionist, I could not be happier with how it has been received.
8. What advice would you give someone who is interested in following their dreams and taking the leap to starting a small business of their own?
The short answer is “Do it!” whereas the long answer is a little more complicated. You have to really consider whether or not your dream would make a viable business. It’s important to do your research. Know your market and what it is that you bring that sets you apart. One of the most important questions you should ask yourself is if this is something you are willing to live and breathe everyday of your life.
As the saying goes “With big risks, come big reward.” I know that taking the leap into pursing your dreams can be quite terrifying but the idea of wondering what could have been, can be much scarier.
9. Because we’re suckers for fashion (even at the gym) what are your current ‘must haves’ in the workout gear department?
Sometimes I wonder if I really love my job just because I can legitimately wear workout gear around the clock! Two things I cannot live without :
1.) Lululemon Swiftly Tech Racerback tanks – I love the weight of the breathability and fabrication of these. They provide a relaxed fit that is super flattering and can often be found in trending colourways so there’s always a reason to buy one!
2.) Nike Frees: these low profile runners are super light and pack well. I always carry a pair in my gym bag. With my busy schedule sometimes fitting in a workout can be unpredictable but when I do find time the time I ensure I am prepared.
10. And finally, not so much of a ‘creating the life’ question but more of a ‘creating the body’ one, what would be your top tip(s) for getting in amazing shape like you?
Hire us! Ha ha ha! All joking aside, it’s about consistency. You cannot expect to put mediocre effort into fitness and nutrition and expect profound results. The number one question I get asked is “How can I lose weight fast?” I know this isn’t original and no one wants to hear it but my answer is “There is no such thing as a quick fix.”
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Keep moving! Aim to get your heart rate up 3-5x a week. If you can’t find time for a full workout, remember every little bit counts. Whether this means taking the stairs, walking to work or going out for a quick brisk walk during a lunch break. Women are often afraid of resistance training as they fear they will get “too big and muscular”. The reality is females do not naturally have the testosterone levels to “get bulky”. It is important to include resistance training for bone health, especially because we are more susceptible to osteoporosis. Plus the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.
Keep it “real”. As a holistic nutritionist, my goal is to educate clients and deliver meals that are of a holistic nature. This means eating good quality, nutrient dense foods. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask yourself a simple question when making your food choices, “Does this food look like this in the field?”. Meaning has this food been processed? Avoiding processed foods ensures you are not consuming harmful additives, and easily helps cut out items such as high glycemic foods, fried foods, and junk food.
Be prepared. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Make the time to prepare your meals ahead of time so that you are never caught hungry which may lead to poor food choices. Try not to go more than 3 hrs without eating in order to feed your metabolism and maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Stay tuned as Jennifer will be contributing recipes and workout tips right here on the blog!