With over 18 international certifications in nutrition and various methods of training, and a training repertoire that boasts the names of more than a few A-list celebrities, Jeanette Jenkins has made quite the name for herself in the world of fitness training in Hollywood. And as she continues building her exercise empire with her books, an ever-expanding DVD collection, and the launch of a virtual weight loss and healthy living club, she proves that she’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon.
What was it that first drew you to athletics and fitness?
I played sports from the age of 4 and I have an older brother, Roger, so growing up, I always wanted to play with him. He was always the best on the team and whatever he did, I wanted to do because it was so exciting; from juggling soccer balls to catching footballs, hitting baseballs and shooting on hockey nets, I wanted to do it all!
When did you start considering training as a career path?
At the age of 16, I became a lifeguard because it was a great paying job while I was in high school. I started my fitness career in aquatics as a swimming instructor, diving instructor and aqua fitness instructor. Then while studying Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, I worked as a sideline trainer for our men’s football team, taping up all the players before games and attending to emergency injuries. Throughout high school and college, I worked in many areas related to sports, health & fitness and I loved every minute of it. I’m just amazed by the human body and I knew I would continue working in this field.
How did you get started as a trainer in Hollywood? Had that been a goal of yours or did it sort of come about on its own by chance?
I moved to Hollywood as soon as I finished my studies at the University of Ottawa in 1997. I had met several Los Angeles-based fitness professionals from 1993-1997 at fitness conferences, and several of the ergometric and fitness equipment companies were also based in Southern California. In addition to loving sports, I also had a love for biomechanics and probability and statistics so there were many areas of the fitness industry that made Los Angeles a perfect fit for me. When I moved to Los Angles, I had already been working in the health & fitness field for six years and I immediately started teaching classes at Crunch on Sunset and Sports Club LA (which has since been bought out by Equinox). My classes started to get regular celebrity clients and many of those celebrities started inquiring about personal training. I never advertised for a client in my career; I am extremely passionate about the work that I do and grateful that all of my clients have been referred to me.
What were some of the connections that you made through referrals?
A perfect example is when I started working with Serena Williams who I met through mutual friends and she then recommended Kelly Rowland to me. Now, Kelly and I have two successful workout DVDs and a great business/family relationship.
What would you say are some of the biggest rewards about what you do? Challenges?
The biggest reward is always knowing that you have helped people improve the quality of their life through improving and strengthening their mind, body and spirit, and those people you have helped have a ripple effect and help others. The greatest challenges at this point in my career are constantly adapting to the ever-changing industry and the way we distribute content and information.
What are some of the most important aspects of your approach when working with your clients? What have you found to be the most effective tools in ensuring overall success?
The most important aspect when working with clients is to listen to exactly what their needs are and why they are hiring you, then design a plan to achieve their specific goals. You would be amazed the number of people and businesses that don’t actually listen to their clients/customers. If you do not listen and deliver to your clients, at some point they will probably move on and look for someone who can and will. The most effective tool in ensuring overall success is to always under promise and over deliver. Show up and give 120%. Teach and encourage your clients to be independent so they know they can achieve health and fitness success with or without you and they will respect you even more.
What have you found to be some of the biggest misconceptions about food and fitness that new clients often come to you with when starting out on their health journeys?
I think it’s the difference between organic and conventional, and how added chemicals to your food affects your health. I also believe that there obviously is a lack of discipline towards healthy eating. Many people turn to food for emotional comfort, so the issue is getting people to realize that they need to plan their meals in advance so they are not a victim of their own emotions and hormones. They should get used to feeding the body the nutrients it needs to stay alive and function at it’s best. People need to change their perspective and their relationship with food, and to become more educated on food and how every cell in your body is made from the food that you eat.
You mentioned your line of workout DVDs. As a trainer, what do you think are some of the unique values of video workouts?
Yes, I have been creating workout content in the form of home videos, DVD’s & books for more than 15 years and now all of my workouts are available for anyone to stream worldwide at www.TheHollywoodTrainerClub.com. The program has over 220 workouts, 52 weeks of healthy meal plans, over 130 healthy recipes, daily nutrition tips, daily healthy living and motivation tips and of course daily workouts and meal plans. Two of my clients, Alicia Keys and P!nk joined without me knowing and then told me during a training session. I came in to train them both at separate times and Alicia Keys said, “Hey Jeanette, I’m loving the Butt Challenge you’re doing in the club right now,” and P!nk said, “I’ve been doing all of your workouts in the challenge and it works, I love it!” It feels so good to know that your clients and friends believe in your work and benefit from the workouts! Anyone who joins the club is getting great workouts that are safe & accessible to them anytime, anywhere. So if you’re traveling – and many of my clients are usually on the road – you can still get in a great workout. P!nk used to do my Power Yoga Workout while she was on her “Truth About Love” tour and Alicia Keys told me that she also would do my Power Yoga Workout with her mom. Plus, Alicia suggested that I make shorter 30-minute workouts for busy moms so when I created the club, I loaded all of the workouts into 10 minute chapters so if you are short on time, you can still get it in!
Something super interesting that you did recently was a fitness pop-up “shop,” or pop-up workout, in Atlanta. Where did that idea come from, and why did you decide to put it together?
I decided to do a “Hollywood Trainer Club Pop-Up Workout” because one of the benefits of joining the club is to have access to do live workouts with me in different cities. I love interacting with the people that work out in my “Hollywood Trainer Club” because I get to hear what they are going through on their healthy living journey and that gives me firsthand experience to be able to make more content that fulfills their needs.
You have experience teaching everything from cross training and kickboxing to yoga. Of all the workouts, which would you say is your favorite to teach and why?
I honestly love them all because they all fulfill different needs for myself, my clients, students, club members and the body. I love to be able to help people de-stress and elongate with yoga. I also enjoy guiding them through meditations and peaceful yoga flows, helping them touch areas of their mind, body and spirit that they have yet to awaken. There is nothing more gratifying than watching someone release and let go of things that they are holding tight in their bodies. I also love motivating people to tap into their strength and then carry that strength into the day into the other areas of their lives. But I also enjoy knowing that someone started off and they could only make it through the first 10 minutes of my Cardio Kickboxing Workout and then after 5-6 weeks, they can now make it through the full workout and they improved their cardio, muscular endurance, muscular strength and overall stamina.
What does your own diet and fitness regimen look like? How do you balance a busy schedule with a healthy lifestyle?
My own diet and fitness Regimen looks EXACTLY like what you see when you login to www.TheHollywoodTrainerClub.com. I am 41 years old and thanks to healthy eating and regular exercise, I feel like I’m 25 and I’m often mistaken for a 20- or 30-year-old. I wish everyone truly understood how much healthy eating and regular exercise is the key to the fountain of youth and the fountain of quality living!
I balance my schedule by creating a strategic plan and that plan includes these top 10 items:
1) Putting God and my purpose of motivating, educating and inspiring people to live a healthy life first.
2) Daily prayer, meditation and positive outlook on life and in every situation.
3) 7-8 hours of sleep every day.
4) 5-6 workouts a week of my own, not training clients.
5) Healthy meal plan 5-6 days a week.
6) Date night on Fridays with my boo aka sweetheart.
7) Weekends off having FUN. I will work the occasional Saturday, though.
8) Saying “No” to jobs that do not add to my overall strategic plan.
9) Saying “Yes” to philanthropic work but keeping it within a specific number of hours so I can still work and fulfill my purpose.
10) Mentoring additional trainers and instructors so I am taking time to help others and show them how to run a successful fitness business.