Celebrity personal trainer Jeanette Jenkins has a workout program on Lifetime Television, is an author and much more. Her book The Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan: 21 Days to Make Healthy Living a Lifetime Habit introduces a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. I had a chance to talk to Jeanette about the seven steps to success from her new book, staying motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle and how she’s helping others through her own fibroid diagnosis. Here’s what she wanted to share with Clutch readers.
Clutch: Do you consider your approach to wellness holistic? And what inspired you to take this approach?
Yes, I consider my approach holistic. [It was] trial and error; working in this industry for seventeen years and working with clients, it didn’t take long to see we needed a complete approach to fitness. Initially my approach was geared to fitness in general, where people needed muscular strength, cardiovascular work, and flexibility in order to have the healthiest physique. I began to do more research and study nutrition and the complete understanding of the body. Every year you learn more information.
Clutch: I find your approach refreshing. Give Clutch readers some insight on how being healthy embodies more than nutritious eating and physical exercise?
This year I was diagnosed with Fibroid tumors. I could see the imbalance in my own circle of life. I eat organic foods, I exercise, maintain a healthy lifestyle. But I wasn’t monitoring my work load or getting enough relaxation and recognized the way I was taking in information. You know, you can choose to either let things slide off you (she laughs) or you can take it in and stress about things.
For my own personal growth and from working with different clients with crazy schedules, I could see the impact of stress alone. I’d do metabolic tests on people and see how much stress regulated their hormones and was stopping them from being able to burn fat, because they were constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode. And so you begin to see over time along with wisdom and education of natural and alternative medicine. I would say the biggest thing is just the overall growth of the industry and me not ignoring, but educating myself, reading and finding out what people were doing out there and then being able to take what I could and add it to my own tool box and assist my own clientele.
At that time I was unhealthy, when you look at my complete circle of life. Yeah I had the food and exercise portion right, but I wasn’t balanced in my relationships with my family as far as like I wasn’t giving enough time to the people who love me and it wasn’t so much that they needed it. I needed it (she laughs). Everything was work, work, work; and it’s easy to get in that mode, especially if you love the work that you do. So I was enjoying myself, you know, writing my book, teaching my classes, and training my clients, but your body needs time to relax and recover.
Clutch: How can the foods we’re eating have an affect on more than our body weight?
Each person is different. It may be drinking non organic milk that’s coming from cows that have been injected with estrogen or they’re eating a lot of beef that’s been injected with estrogen. For me I was drinking caffeine at least twice a day. With the intake of caffeine you release adrenaline, which puts you in that ‘fight or flight’ mode. Whenever you’re in that ‘flight or flight’ mode, your body converts the hormone progesterone into cortisol. If you put your body into this position of survival or reproduction it’s going to always choose survival, so whatever alterations need to be made with your hormones or digestion or anything else, it’s going to do that to survive.
Clutch: What’s the one most important thing you’d advise Black women to add to their diet and the one thing you would advise them to remove from their diets?
Number one, remove all processed foods, nothing that’s processed or comes in a package. Add real foods take a trip down to Whole Foods or Trader Joes, buy some fresh fruits and vegetables and lean cuts of meat that haven’t been injected with hormones. When you go back to eating real food, you can cure yourself in so many ways. It’s crazy how Americans have an abundance of food, but we’re all so malnourished. It’s like over consumption and under nourishment.
Shop less at the grocery store and more at farmers markets and markets that carry organic fruits, vegetables, and meats. Ninety percent of the American population has no idea, they’re going to regular groceries stores and they just don’t realize that all their fruits and vegetables are biologically engineered. There are herbicides and pesticides inside and on top of the fruits and vegetables, plus some have been cloned. Tomatoes injected with pork proteins and all the chemicals you get in your fruits and vegetables are disgusting.
The number one is still soda, the average American has eight sodas a day. So if I were to look at the average American I’d say stop eating processed food and stop drinking the soda, that alone can bring down the obesity and diabetes. I am at a whole other spectrum of health. People get there years later, after they are diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes, then diagnosed with fibroids, tumors and cancers and all these other things that came from processed foods or foods injected with all sorts of chemicals.
Clutch: In your opinion, why is it so important that we get serious about taking responsibility for our health.
You have to take responsibility, that’s huge. We often overlook the food industry. We were raised to recognize a clothing manufacturer or car salesman as wanting our money but the government or food industry and doctors are the nice guys and are going to tell you everything that’s correct for you. But at the end of the day you still have to follow the paper trail and these people who want your dollar are not necessarily interested in the best interest of your health. What does it take to look at the ingredients on a box and if you can’t pronounce ten of those words, maybe those aren’t things you should put in your body.
Clutch: Can you tell us about the 7 simple steps and the core of the book?
From my experience in this industry, I’ve found that anyone considered having a complete star of health have mastered these seven steps:
Number one is the ability to accept change, which is the biggest from the gate. So many people say ‘I want to loose weight’, but when they find out they have to wake up at six instead of seven so they can work out. They’re like ‘heck no’ (she laughs) or that you have to go grocery shopping and actually cook your own meals instead having take out. It’s accepting change and people do not want to change. So that’s number one, accepting the fact that if you want a different outcome you have to do things differently.
The second is a mental spiritual connection. Stop going on auto pilot and really being able to start listening to your body. You know your body better than anybody else. Listen to your signs and signals of what’s going on with your body as well as feed your soul. Whether it’s through your faith, being with family, relaxing or spa treatments. You have to feed your soul as well.
The third being exercise. You can’t be healthy without moving your body. Our genetics go back to being hunters and gatherers and that’s it, you got to move to condition your heart and lungs and cardiovascular system, your hormones.
Fourth is nutrition. You are literally what you eat.
Education is the fifth. The more you know, the less you will be at the mercy of fast food restaurants or pharmaceutical companies. Instead of taking things into your body because the doctor or some else told you, you are actually doing your research and educating yourself.
And sixth is to commit and be consistent. The turtle wins when it comes to our health (she laughs), there is no quick fix. It’s a part of life like brushing your teeth in the morning or any regular thing that you do on a daily basis. You just have to accept that eating healthy and working out is a part of your regular daily regimen and commit to it.
And the final is a supportive environment. If you surround yourself with people and friends and family that aren’t healthy, it’s going to make it that much more difficult to be healthy. So sometimes finding that supportive environment is surrounding yourself with people that are healthy. As well as being a positive influence on others. For instance the next time you go out for a walk, invite that person you know might need a little extra support to go with you.
Clutch: You mentioned the importance of relaxation and balance in life. What are some ways you relax and maintain balance in your life?
The first thing is I’ve learned how to say no, when I used to think that I had to do everything. I can kindly decline things or pass it on to somebody else. You know my schedule is full I’m sorry but you might want to consider this person or that person to do it.
I schedule one or two days off a week and relax, vegetate not necessarily do anything but try to spend time with friends and family. Dinner and socialize, going to the spa, booking regular messages. I schedule in days off now and what I’m going to do on those days to relax. You think you’re going to be able to just do these things, but I actually have to schedule them in, (she laughs) like anything else because it’s important. I take baths now instead of showers. With showers, your standing on your feet, the water is beating on you and there is nothing really relaxing about. You got to get washed up, get in and get out. So at least three times per week I will make sure that I set my butt down in the tub, light a candle, throw in my little bath stuff and I relax. Now having a bath is like a whole experience instead of ‘I got to quickly wash and keep it moving’.
As far as balance, I’m making sure that I’m in tune to my hormones and listening to what I feel from my body. If I feel something bringing me down, so I know it’s affecting my hormones and now I can see how much my hormones are having an affect on my fibroids. You can feel when you are in a place of anxiety or stress, so when I feel like I’m about to go there. I just relax and calm things down.
In a three month period, by removing caffeine and utilizing more relaxation techniques and monitoring my schedule, I was able to shrink my fibroids.
Clutch: Being one to take responsibility for your health, what challenges did you face with your medical providers once diagnosed with fibroid tumors?
I have a conventional doctor, though I study alternative medicine. I do this on purpose (she laughs) I like to hear what he’s saying to everybody else. I have to go through a lot to have them retest me, to release the documents to me so I can read them myself. And it’s a lot, but it’s information that I want so that I can share with other women who go to conventional doctors. I can share my experience and let them know they have the power to demand certain things from them, just be patient and they’ll give it to you. They may give you a little attitude with it (she laughs). The funny thing is even after I got the 2nd ultrasound and I asked the doctor to help me read it to show me how to find the diameters and volume, he didn’t acknowledge the fact that they’d shrunk. So now more than ever we have to take responsibility for our own health, because there is a huge divide between conventional doctors who are trained to treat disease so they just want to go in and operate, they may not have been trained to diagnose or determine the cause. They don’t look at the entire functionality of your life and what caused you to get the fibroids. I didn’t just want someone to go in and cut them out. I want to know why they are there and what to do so they are not reoccurring. African American women are of the highest percentage of women with fibroids and they’re getting them cut out and two years later they’re right back again, because these women haven’t made any lifestyle changes.
Because conventional doctors may not know themselves and their paycheck is in the diagnosis. Their either going to get their funds from a surgical procedure or in the prescription they write or by putting the patient on a program where they have to return to the doctor every month. Everyday Dr. Will and Deepak Chopra are becoming more and more popular. Dr. Will has a whole line of nutritional supplements and Whole Foods is growing in every state. People are fed up and looking for and finding solutions. I just graduated from the school of integrated nutrition based in New York and there were at least a dozen physicians in my class –doctors, M.D.s and it’s because they don’t get any nutritional education. On of our instructors is Dr. Will.
They don’t want the people to believe they can be healed by eating healthy because what would that do to their business. Just a few months back pharmaceutical companies were trying to make vitamins prescription based.
Clutch: What advice would you give for getting and staying motivated to workout?
I would say focus on the finish line. Focus on the vision of the person they want to be. It’s the same with your career or anything else, if you want to get a promotion you are going to get up and get that work done.
And remember how you feel. It gives you confidence when you have the physique that you want. It helps you radiate from the inside out. No one wants to feel tired and depressed. When you finish a workout you just feel so good. A natural high, even if it’s just a twenty minute walk around your neighborhood alone can boost your spirits. Prozac is not being sold in the millions and billions for nothing, but because people are feeling depressed. So instead of popping the Prozac, just get up and move around for twenty or thirty minutes.
Clutch: What do you say to the woman who wants to workout, but is completely intimidated by going to the gym?
Again, I would try to get them to accept change. There are a million things you can do in home. You’ve got all kinds of exercise programs on television. I have one on Lifetime Television (Monday and Wednesday 7:30 a.m. EST), there are workout programs on FIT T.V. and programs on the internet these days. So as far as accessibility, it’s everywhere. As far as support and fun, you’re not going to beat the level of support and fun you’re going to find if you get involved in group exercise.
And most cities have women only clubs, like Curves, if they don’t want to workout around men. Every time you face a fear, you achieve a new horizon in your life you get to a new pinnacle. It’s a fear that needs to be overcome because once they get into the gym and start meeting other people. I’ve seen it a million times, they just don’t want to go because of the lack of self confidence, but by going you’re going to overcome that and become more confident. I’m not that person to say ‘ok well just stay home and do this and that’. No, no, no, no (she laughs) go feel uncomfortable, it’s o.k. it’s good to feel uncomfortable every once in a while because that means you’re growing.
Clutch: One of the many things I enjoyed about Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan: 21 Days to Make Healthy Living a Lifetime habit was the music playlists throughout the book. You’ve selected great music from various genres for people to workout to. Why does music matter to you?
Music is so motivating. Gospel music is so uplifting when it’s time to workout. The lyrics alone make you feel like you can conquer the world. Make a play list of songs that make you feel good.
My favorites are gospel, I love the Clark Sisters and I am a hip hop kid, so whatever is top forty in hip hop and any dance/club music makes my body feel like I want to move and old school music too.
Last week, I did the Nike hit remix five mile run. The entire five mile run they had bands playing at every mile. They started with Naughty by Nature, Dawn from En Vogue, Sugarhill Gang, Sir Mix a Lot, M.C. Hammer. Whenever there wasn’t a band playing there were spectators playing music, so there wasn’t one meter of the five mile race without the sound of music and it was so much fun. It was the most fun five mile run, I danced at every stop. When it’s fun, people will do it. So if anything, add music for the fun factor.
Clutch: What advice do you offer to those who lack discipline?
I find that people who lack discipline lack planning. They’re not disciplined because they don’t have a plan put in place. You have to write a schedule. Think of someone studying to get a degree. You have to have a meticulous schedule, you know exactly when you’re going to class, when you have time scheduled to study, when you’ve got papers due and at the end after all that planning over a four year period you get your degree. It’s the same in life, you have to plan. Because you can wake up in the morning with every intention, but if it’s not scheduled everything else comes up and ends up taking over your schedule. So for those who are not disciplined, just write out a schedule. For example, Monday morning 7:00 a.m. power walk, Tuesday 5:00 p.m. kickboxing class at the gym and stick to it.
Not just for your workouts, but for food as well. A lot of people get stressed out when it comes time to eat. You may want to get something healthy but there are not healthy options available or selections of healthy foods are not that exciting, so if you had prepared your food and brought it with you when it’s time to eat you’ve got that delicious chicken pesto sandwich on whole wheat bread, snacks of walnuts and cranberries or Greek yogurt.
I have my high end clients order food delivery services where food is dropped off at five in the morning. If you eat out all the time it can be very reasonable, like thirty dollars a day, from like Delivery Zone or whichever service you choose. If you have a very busy schedule Monday through Friday, and it’s difficult for you to prepare your own food, then try delivery instead of eating out with these large portions and places where you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting. Most major cities have food delivery services where they will drop off you food every weekday morning—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few snacks. I really recommend that to people, especially if you’re eating out everyday why not get your entire day of food and get food that good and healthy.
Clutch: As a personal fitness trainer you’ve built a strong celebrity clientÃ¨le. Which celebrities have impressed you most in the gym and how?
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. They’ve all impressed me in different ways.
Terrell Owens impresses me with his discipline and dedication to his sport, and by just being a great football player (in terms of training and eating healthy). I’ve worked with several football players before and he is by far has been the absolute most disciplined.
Queen Latifah is so in touch with her spirit and soul and her self confidence. She is probably healthier than so many people because she has such a healthy soul and spirit. She lets things roll right off of her, and finds the positive in everything.
Taryn Manning also is very well rounded. She too has a positive spirit, disciplined in her workouts, and healthy eating habits.
Kimora Lee for her humor (she laughs), confidence, finding a way to make it work. It’s very inspiring to see someone being able to juggle motherhood, running a business, and trying to achieve her own dreams. Doing all of that and still eating healthy, working out, and being happy. A lot of people are taking on all these things, but choose not to be happy, they focus on stressing out.
Clutch: What are some essential apparel elements for a no fuss workout wardrobe? And what do you suggests to women on a budget?
Target, Ross, and Marshall’s—everybody has fitness sections in their stores now. You can easily pick up some great things without spending a lot of money.
You want a couple of pair of black tights that are cool max or dri fit or some type of material that pulls the sweat away from your body. A supportive sports bra, T-shirts, and you’re good.
To make the clothing last longer wash it and hang dry it. The drier keeps the smell of the sweat in the clothing and wears out the elasticity much quicker.
Clutch: What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I have a couple of DVD’s. A core and stretch DVD coming out in the next month, available at Target or my website www.thehollywoodtrainer.com and a kickboxing party workout with intervals of kickboxing and dance for Crunch fitness series.
Clutch: It’s not a Clutch interview without asking…..what’s in your Clutch? What products don’t you leave home without?
(she laughs) I don’t leave home without a bottle of water, my Gucci sunglasses and my iPod. I never know when I can get a workout in. When I am traveling, I can workout anywhere all I need is some music.
Clutch:What would you like Clutch magazine readers to know about Jeanette Jenkins?
My goal in this industry is to help people see how they can live their fullest life just by being healthy. I love trying to help people find the answer and recognize the answer is right there inside of them. And so as a motivator, instructor and educator my goal is to help people realize they have everything they need right inside of them. They don’t have to keep looking everywhere for the answer, simply turn inward and it’s right there.