We like a pretty face, but we adore hard-earned muscle. Jen Jewell is the proud owner of both! See what this WBFF pro does to stay in shape, how she changed her unhealthy ways, and how she built a successful career in fitness!
Jen has the education, persistence, and genetic material to dominate the stage. We're proud to name her the January BodySpace Member of the Month!
Name: Jen Jewell
Weight: 116-118 pounds
Contest Weight: 112 pounds
Occupation: Personal Trainer, Cellucor Athlete, fitness model and fitness writer
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Marketing & Public Relations, California State University, Sacramento
June 2011: WBFF U.S. Eastern Championships: I earned my pro card in the Fitness category at my first fitness competition ever.
August 2011: WBFF World Championships, 6th place in Pro Fitness category
Aug 2012: WBFF World Championships, 4th place in Pro Fitness category
Athletic Background: I was a competitive gymnast and cheerleader. I reached National level competition but wound up sidelined with injuries, so I decided to pick up weight training.
Super Powers: The ability to stay positive and optimistic in any situation. Seriously, you'll pretty much always find me with a smile on my face in any given situation.
Ultimate Goal: To help as many people as possible achieve their full potential in health and fitness. I am creating a fitness system that allows anyone, anywhere, to welcome fitness in their lives. It keeps fitness fun!
Quite honestly, I've always been active. As a toddler, I was right alongside my mom as she was working out to her Jane Fonda workout videos! Crunching away, doing jumping jacks and leg lifts—you name it. I was trying to mock whatever exercise she was doing.
I started gymnastics at age 3, and for the next 12 years I could be found in my leotard and spandex. I focused, trained 5-6 days per week, and competed in countless gymnastics meets. Once I stopped competing, I knew I needed an outlet for my energy. I needed something else to achieve. All those years and discipline spent training and preparing for gymnastics competitions set me up for success in the gym.
I started to weight train as a 16-year-old. I was hooked and intent on achieving my goals! Working out just a few days a week to "look cute" was never my goal—I wanted to be the best me I could, in health, fitness, and through my physique. I picked up Muscle & Fitness magazine and then Oxygen. I was mesmerized by the physiques of the women pictured, namely Monica Brant (at that time she had just won the Fitness Olympia title).
It's been more than a decade since I first spotted those mags and was inspired to compete. I've had my share of fitness ups and downs over these years, but I finally stepped on stage to compete for the first time in June 2011.
I never once stopped training entirely. I was off track for a few years during college when I dealt with the death of my best friend. I was working full-time and going to school full-time. I started to neglect my healthy eating habits and indulged in far too many desserts and high-calorie restaurants meals.
I ate frozen yogurt nearly every day at lunch. I'm surprised the owner of the yogurt shop didn't try to have some sort of intervention with me. Then again, I was probably the customer keeping him in business! I enjoyed going out with friends for happy hour or wine night—none of which I indulged in when I was on my "eat clean, train hard, get ripped, compete, and look like Monica Brant" plan.
My body fat reached a level above 30 percent and I was shopping for size 11 pants instead of a size 1. I took serious action and changed my lifestyle habits for good. I welcomed healthier, balanced, clean eating back into my life. I no longer consider frozen yogurt one of my essential food groups, and picked up the pace and intensity in my training. I love working out.
Finding the motivation to hit the gym has never been an issue for me; I've always been an extremely self-motivated and determined individual. Striking the balance of clean eating combined with a few healthy treats in moderation has really helped me achieve and maintain my fitness results.
The lack of variety in my workouts, both strength training and cardio, was a huge mistake. I also made the mistake that many people do: I became complacent with the form and intensity of cardio I was doing, and got stuck in a rut. Each day I'd head over to "my" elliptical in the corner, and push and pedal away at the same level, for the same amount of time, for the same intensity. Yikes!
I was on autopilot when I stepped on that thing. I remember completing 45-60 minute cardio sessions and not sweating one bit! What a shame. When I was new to lifting, I simply copied Monica Brant's workouts, those listed in Muscle & Fitness. I carried around the same, tattered, year-old copy every time I'd hit the gym.
Yes, this hindered my progress, but now it helps serve as a constant reminder to "remix my fitness." Now I always add in a new HIIT workout, some fun cardio at the track or beach, do a couple of weeks of total-body strength training workouts, and then switch back to specific muscle group split training. Over the past few years, I've made sure that I have fun with fitness and throw in the "remix my fitness" workouts that help me achieve better results than ever.
Winning my WBFF Pro card was exciting and I am proud of that achievement. Turning pro was never my main focus. For more than a decade, I simply wanted to compete. When I finally decided on a contest date I trained my butt off, staying focused and disciplined for those 12 weeks. I accomplished my main goal the day I showed up to the contest: I was finally there, and for that, I had already won!
I cast aside my self-doubt and fear of not being able to achieve a stage-worthy physique. I reached my goal of stepping on stage. That night, being awarded my WBFF Pro Card in my first competition was a fantastic bonus. It was an honor that capped a personally rewarding experience.
As for the IFBB, I respect and admire any and every athlete who competes—no matter what their federation of choice or category. I know the amounts of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work it takes to set foot on stage. My favorite category in the IFBB without a doubt is the Fitness category. With my extensive gymnastics background, I relate to the hours of practice that go into the routines these women perform and perfect, on top of achieving truly admirable and remarkable physiques!
This category in the IFBB sparked my initial interest in competing. Seeing Monica Brant's pictures after she won the Fitness Olympia title prompted me to pursue weight training and clean eating. I can still bust out some one-arm push-ups, but I wonder if I can still do back flips like in the good old days.
A few years ago I was searching Bodybuilding.com for healthy recipes and workout information. I realized there was also a BodySpace community, where other likeminded fitness-oriented individuals could share info, motivation, and help one another with their fitness goals. In the past year, I've noticed just how extremely supportive and encouraging people on BodySpace are. The more active you are on BodySpace—adding workout tips, Body Blogs, new gallery photos, fit status updates—the more people you can reach and inspire to live a healthier life in this truly amazing community!
BodySpace keeps you accountable! Once you enter your current info, measurements, and new goal, the clock starts ticking and BodySpace keeps record of what you need to do in order to accomplish your goal in a certain amount of time. Once I put in a goal—I recently aimed to reach 112 pounds and 10 percent body fat—BodySpace provides me with a timeline and clear-cut breakdown of what needs to be accomplished on a weekly basis in order for me to achieve my goal. This makes everything simple and realistic.
I have had a number of clients over the years confide in me that they felt held back from achieving their fitness goals due to lack of support from close family or friends. Enter BodySpace—motivation and support 24/7! The members are so incredibly supportive. I already have members wishing me luck for my next competition—which isn't until August of 2013! Members exchange tips, workout advice, or even new recipes to help keep everyone on track. One member posted a recipe for a red velvet protein cupcake that was absolutely delicious.
I love the fit status updates! Seeing the status updates on BodySpace is so completely different from those on Facebook; I absolutely love them! Why? Members of the BodySpace community will post anything: their workouts, pounds lost or gained, even updates saying that they've been feeling a bit unmotivated lately. Guess what? Other members, including myself, are there for them. We can help motivate, inspire, or reignite the passion and drive for results!
For weight training days, I've always tried to keep my heart rate as elevated as possible during all of my workouts. I include cardio bursts between sets, supersets, and tri-sets in order to limit my rest periods and push myself the entire time I'm in the gym.
Burpees With Dumbbells (shown without dumbells)15 reps
Burpees With Triceps Push-Up, Slight Jump At Top (shown with normal push-up)12 reps
This workout is divided into two circuits. Repeat Circuit 1 four times, then proceed to Circuit 2 and repeat four times. Rest briefly, up to 15 seconds, between sets.
Circuit 1: 4 times through
Circuit 2: 4 times through, all on adjustable bench
Helping others keeps me motivated. I'm in a position where individuals from around the world ask me for fitness tips via social media—BodySpace included. They ask for advice or workout tips, which I share with them to help them reach their goals. This is truly an honor and I do not take it for granted. I do my best to respond and help everyone I can.
I use almost exclusively Cellucor supplements—everything but my multivitamin. The supplements I use on a regular basis and that have helped my performance in the gym and take my physique to the next level include:
Super HD and CLK - I don't use a thermogenic fat burner all the time, but while prepping for the WBFF World Championships this summer, I stacked Super HD and CLK as my go-to fat-burning stack. I think this combo gave me the extra edge I needed to get stage ready. When not taking Super HD, I still take a serving of CLK every morning with breakfast, and another serving with dinner.
L2 is something I incorporate before getting on stage or before shoots, as it really helps draw out excess water and gives my physique a tighter and leaner appearance.
On lifting days, I alternate between N-Zero Extreme and C4—the new watermelon flavor tastes just like candy— and I add COR-Performance Beta-BCAA, as well. This pre-workout combo has made a huge difference in developing my physique for the stage and other fitness-related work. Pre-workouts help provide more energy, strength, focus, pumps, and more during all of my workouts.
On cardio days, I take COR BCAA.
Super Sport and COR-Performance Whey protein powders. I alternate between these two types of protein, baking my protein pancakes, protein treats, or protein shakes. My favorite flavors of the new COR whey have to be Cookies & Cream and Peanut Butter Marshmallow—talk about delicious!
I also take R3 Extreme, which is a defense and recovery mix that provides immune and joint support.
This past year, I added:
- A higher-quality protein powder (Super Sport)
- Pre-workouts (N-Zero Extreme and C4)
- Fat-burner stack: Super HD and CLK
I listen to anything from old school rap—Biggie, Dr. Dre and Snoop— to bands like Disturbed, 80s music, Madonna's Greatest Hits, country, or Top 40. It's all on there ... except Justin Bieber. I usually hit play and shuffle through my JJ remix during workouts.
Thank you much; I appreciate the compliment! I know a muscular physique is not always what women strive for. Some just want to be tight and have a toned appearance, and to each their own. I worked with my genetics and naturally-muscular build from years of gymnastics training, which developed a baseline of muscle to transform and fine-tune my physique specific to the stage and fitness modeling.
Not all women who hit free weights achieve the same results. I still encourage women who don't want a muscular look to lift weights and engage in regular strength training. No matter what they think, they are not going to morph into the Incredible Hulk simply by picking up a barbell and repping out biceps curls! The benefits strength training provides are priceless to health and well-being—and being able wear a bikini with confidence year-round!
On active rest days, I love to throw in a yoga class or maybe head to the beach with friends for some fun outdoors. Aside from working out, I love to travel. I have a number of locations on my adventure list this year. I read, check out museums, comedy shows, and spend time with my friends, family, and loved ones.
I am always upbeat, positive, and encouraging! I am always myself. The majority of my clients are online, so I create the workouts or communicate with them via email. Clients send me their results via email, or we Skype. Sometimes their results are what they want, or not on the timetable we establish for them. I'm not the type to scream, yell, or blow a whistle in my client's face. I remain my positive, helpful, and upbeat self. That type of motivation goes a long way and has been instrumental in a number of clients' success.
I love that I can log in, add my measurements, my lifting stats, set a new goal, and then there is automatically a timeline set for me to achieve my goals and reminders of how many days are left and what I need to do in order to accomplish those goals! These aspects of BodySpace are especially helpful for those who may not be able to afford a trainer. The accountability factor is still there, even though you're not working with one specific individual.
I am a member of two BodyGroups: Legs of Steel and Shredded Beyond ABSolute. The members in both of these groups constantly inspire one another, and motivate the heck out of one another with their dedication, training tips, and overall support. Everyone is after a common goal: to achieve the best results they are capable of and maximize their own specific body type to its best potential.
Call it cliché, but this is one of my favorite quotes, as it was instrumental in motivating me to decide to finally train for a fitness competition after over a decade of deliberation:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
This reminded me how disappointed I would be if I didn't at least try to step on stage in one competition. I knew I would always look back and wonder "What if?" It was within a week after stumbling upon this quote that I found a competition that was 12 weeks out. I never looked back. Thank you, Mark Twain, for lighting a fire under my bikini booty and challenging me to take a risk. I am forever grateful as my life has changed completely for the better!
I am interactive with everyone via social media. I try my best to respond to all posts, messages, Tweets, whatever it may be. I am extremely honored that complete strangers would take time out of their day to reach out to me about fitness! I am extremely active on BodySpace, as well as Facebook and Twitter, so please reach out to me with any questions and comments!