| Article Summary:
An Interview With Ms. International & Ms. Olympia - Jen Hendershott.
If you were to look at this year's Arnold Classic list of fitness competitors, Jen Hendershott's name immediately cartwheels at you as the undeniable winner. This isn't a grudge to the other amazing athletes on stage, it's just that Hendershott has stuck through thick and thin, personal crisis, retirement, and a heavy workload to become a legend that is a somersault above the rest.
I have never been a large fitness fan, but at every Olympia and Arnold Classic I attend, I always make my way to my seat when Jumping Jen Hendershott is in the house. I am always left with goose bumps and a raised heart rate during her spectacular routines and everyone else gasps with a moment of silence before thundering into applause.
For entertainment value, she's priceless. As a professional athlete, again she's priceless. As a heart warming, caring and humble human being... need I say more?
I spoke with Jen recently to share with you her preparation for the 2009 Arnold Classic, her Phat Camps, her new supplements line and... well, read the interview to find out.
[ Marika Johansen ] I think most people in the fitness and bodybuilding industry recognize your name and know who you are, but to people out there that have never been involved in the industry might not know who the successful Jen Hendershott is. Could you please give us a short presentation about yourself?
[ Jen Hendershott ] Well, I am flattered you think I am so popular. Honestly, I am just like everyone else. I am definitely not perfect, I struggle on a diet, I eat NOT so great all the time. I have lots of drama in my life. I manage 3 businesses (
www.Wheysensible.com ), competing, fitness model, product developer, traveling, a husband, a household, and charity work.
I am the current Ms. Fitness Olympia and I am thrilled to be the athlete representative for fitness and women around the world. I also am the author of the book, the "Curvelle Lifestyle". So in a nutshell, I am like everyone else. Overworked! Underpaid!
But what makes me different is that I am passionate, genuine, creative, and extremely ambitious about EVERYTHING I do. Most people do these things cause they have to or need to. I do them because I love a challenge and I love to be successful.
[ MJ ] Many of us that have seen you onstage agree that you always have one of the best routines out there on the fitness stage. Did you have any gymnastic skills before you started fitness? How much practice and planning does it take to make a routine of your caliber?
[ JH ] Again I am flattered by your compliments. You know I was a horrible gymnast when I was in
high school, I had to learn all the flipping and jumps in cheerleading. I have been doing all that since 7th grade. I was on stage and started dancing when I was 2 years old. I was born to show off and I am a natural performer. This has all paid off for me in fitness and I never thought in a MILLION years that I would be doing this today. I am very blessed to be 37 and injury free and still flipping like I was 18 years old.
It usually takes me a day to put my routine together. I actually make it up in my head first then I go to the gym and bust it out. I prepare about 6-8 weeks out from a show cause I tend to get really bored fast if I perform or practice it too much. I then practice 2 times a week on top of my cardio, training, and diet.
[ MJ ] We all know that there are different criteria for female bodybuilders, fitness and figure competitors, and so is the training and diet. How does your training look like compared to a female bodybuilder or a figure girl?
[ JH ] You know I am confident that my training, compared to bodybuilder's, is totally different. Figure girls, I believe train just like me or very similar. I do, however, have my own way of training. I am high energy, low weights, cardiovascular driven, and intense every day.
I train like an athlete! WHY? Well, I want to look like one, smell like one, and be the best athlete I can be. I train my muscles to be flexible, quick, and conditioned. I have changed the way I train of the last couple years because I have been doing this for a long time and I was simply getting bored. So now I am definitely a little more crazy.
I put in running, sprinting, jumping, crawling, all into my cardio and into my training each day. It's a little wild but I have seen a BIG difference in my body. This is also the drive behind the success of my online training business.
www.GetphatOnline.com, women love it and they want more of it after they train with me at Phat Camp.
[ MJ ] How many weeks of diet do you have before the show and could you tell us briefly what it consists of.
[ JH ] You know it really depends on how much time I had off in between shows. I will be honest, I am not a fan of the diet, but I am a fan of looking great and a fan of winning. So I use that as
motivation to be the best I can be.
I usually start my diet 8-10 weeks out depending on the off season I had. I run 3 businesses and sometimes over eating or eating the wrong things is not my problem, sometimes it's just that I don't have time to eat at all. Next thing you know it's dinner time and I have not even had a shake. As for the diet, it consists of limited carbs, lots of protein, lots of veggies, a little fruit, and supplementation.
[ MJ ] Do you use any supplements in your diet, and if so which ones?
[ JH ] You know I have used so many
whey protein powders,
BCAAs etc... I find that
glutamine is glutamine. I love glutamine. My favorite BCAAs come from
Scivation's Xtend; I mix that with my glutamine 3 times a day. I am currently drinking 2 shakes a day if I have time from
PGN's Whey Sensible, (
www.wheysensible.com). Then I just started on the newest fat burner
Trim Fat and it should be called BUTT burner. Wow, it gets me fired up.
I will keep using these things through my prep for the
Arnold Classic 2009. I also take a
vitamin B12 and B6,
flax seed, and
ginkgo biloba! All this in conjunction with a great well balanced 9-meal-a-day diet.
[ MJ ] You just started your own supplement line for women and now promote and market the products. How important is it to have a female line when it comes to supplements? Can't women use the same creatine, protein and other products as the men?
[ JH ] You know I don't own the line I just endorse it. The guys at
Scivation wanted to add a line for women so I jumped on board and have been able to put my 2 cents in with the development.
The supplements I spoke about above are all from this line. Some are from Scivation, but they are the partnering company. I think this industry lacks in specific lines just for women so our team has great timing and bringing on Whey Sensible and Trim Fat.
Creatine can be used for women, but honestly I have never used it. I do 100% believe a lot of products that are on Bodybuilding.com are totally for women. Most women are just uneducated and assume the worst with products.
Women always want to lose weight, maintain weight, gain muscle, get healthy, and live smart. I encourage them to educate themselves and trust in people who look the part. If you get advise from people who walk the walk, then jump on board. Supplementation in my opinion can help you achieve your goals quicker than just a diet and some cardio.
[ MJ ] What made you decide to create your own line and how did you get started?
[ JH ] Again, it's not really my line, I am just a part of it. I was working with
iSatori the last couple years and I got to help develop Curvelle, which I still love and am a part of (
www.isatoritech.com)! However, I wanted to do more so I now push
iSatori's products and now
PGN's products and I am not tied to anyone.
I think people have to understand that I don't put my name to something I don't believe in and this is NOT about money for me, this is about helping the individual become the best she can. I am blessed that people trust in me and will give me a chance to educate them.
[ MJ ] I am sure many women out there are very curious of your new line. Where can they find your products?
[ JH ] All the products from the new
Trim Fat (new fat burner),
glutamine, etc... can all be found right here on Bodybuilding.com and on my site,
Jennyh.com. These are the two places you can buy the products and buy my
training DVD's and train with me anytime.
If you have personal questions I invite you to email me and I will gladly help. Here is my email:
[ MJ ] When I saw you at 2008 Ms. Fitness Olympia you were in your best condition ever, at least what I have seen of you. What did you do different this year from other years?
[ JH ] You can thank Michael Phelps for this insane win. You know I have grown a lot over the years and some things I have forgotten along the way. When I watched Phelps win all those Gold Medals it hit me like a ton of bricks what I was missing. What I had lost and now is back is the insane intensity of my passion and drive to be the best.
I feel sorry for those who have to witness this craziness on stage cause its an ego crusher for most of my fellow competitors. They think I am nuts and I really don't care. You know what? I am back to being that athlete I was born to be. I am my own driving force and Michael Phelps, THANK YOU for reminding me of things I have forgotten. U Rock!
[ MJ ] You announced last year that you would retire from stage but you came back and took the Olympia crown. Are you playing tricks with us? People in the industry got quite upset because the stage wouldn't be the same without Jen Hendershott. But I remember Kris Gethin telling people, and you, you would be back. What made you change your mind and how many more years will you be competing?
[ JH ] No one understands! Simple for people to judge you know, till you all walk in someone else's shoes. Don't judge! I love how everyone thinks I keep retiring. I have only retired once and it was because my husband and I really were considering starting our family. The reality of this is someday I have to move on with my life. My life is Brian! Competing is part of my life. Our future is based on our decisions together, we are a TEAM!
What most people don't know is that, I previously had a miscarriage a couple years ago and that really started this up and down career for me. What we wanted, what we didn't want etc... It was a very sad and difficult time for us and we eventually decided that we needed to put this into God's hands and when we did, I got my spirit back, took runner up at the
Arnold in '08, then won the
We are so grateful and when the time is right, Brian and I will know that and we will make that decision together. Retirement and babies are NOT currently topics of conversation in our home at this time. So tell Kris he might have to put up with me for a while.
[ MJ ] I and many others are very happy to hear that you will be competing at the 2009 Arnold Classic. Will you be doing anything different regarding diet and training this year?
[ JH ] I am going to keep the mind set, the intensity, the passion all the same. I feel like I am in the prime time of my career and I am not sure if I will ever want to retire, that's how good I feel about all this.
I am so grateful to hear that so many people are happy to see me on stage. I want to see this industry grow and fitness never die. So you might be seeing me for a while longer. On stage or OFF. I plan to change a couple little things, but the majority of my gameplan is to come to the Arnold the way I walked into the "O", and that's with my game face on!
[ MJ ] Can you please give our readers a look into what makes you the Olympia and Ms. International champion in regards to your training, supplement and nutrition regime?
[ JH ] Again, I
train differently. I eat a VERY strict
diet and do lots of
intense training. I don't know if what I do daily could work for everyone else, but I know it works for me. I stick to
fat burners. But, I am a big believer in
recovery when you are in this mode.
I also think a non-stressful life and surrounding yourself with only good people is KEY in my regimen and success. I do go to church and I do read a lot of spiritual books. I do think keeping your head straight and focused is part of the outcome on stage in the end. It all has to work and it all has to come together.
[ MJ ] We hear, many times, athletes complain about how hard it is to diet and how they have to sacrifice work and family time. I know for a fact that your schedule before the 2009 Arnold Classic and during that weekend will be fully booked.
You will be dieting and preparing for the Arnold, running your Phat Camps, host the fashion show during the Arnold weekend and at same time be working hard promoting and marketing your supplement line.
How do you do it!? What is your recipe to make the most of yourself?
[ JH ] It's very simple (at least to me) - The busier I am the better I am. I thrive on CRAZY. I don't fail very often and I am the type of person that, if I commit myself to something, then I do it. I am great at
multi-tasking and great at prioritizing my priorities.
I also have to admit that I have 17 people who work for me, 5 full time and the rest part time. With out them and my husband I could not do it all. They are all great friends and employees. I have spent a lot of time learning to trust people and lots of time training and teaching them all what I know and want. They just roll with it. We all make money and everyone is happy!
I personally have financial goals like I do personal goals. I am very competitive and I am building an empire for women to come to us and let us change their lives. All the companies work together and it's a very good life.
[ MJ ] Your Phat Camps are worldwide known and I know you are working hard to promote them. Tell us what is a Phat Camp? When and what made you start them?
[ JH ] Gosh...
Phat Camp is where my passion is. To walk into a room of 50-100 fitness enthusiasts who are excited to learn and listen is just awesome. I was a born teacher and I am doing what I love.
Phat camp was started for 3 reasons: my mom needed a job; she was my first employee and is still with me. She has sacrificed a lot for me and now I can help her.
Second, I needed a job; had 2 college degrees but was not doing anything with them so put them teaching skills, with my years of experience from teaching cheerleading camps and here we are - we have a fitness camp for women called, Phat Camp.
Third, I needed to find my passion like most people do. I wanted to change peoples lives, this is the avenue I was looking for. It's so rewarding to help others. Phat Camp has grown and is still growing. It's a place you can come where it is not cut throat and competitive. It's where you are opened to new ideas for training, cardio, nutrition, mind set, and those looking for motivation. You will find it at www.GetPhatWithJen.com.
[ MJ ] Does Phat stand for anything?
[ JH ] Phat stands for: Perseverance, Hard work, Ambition, and Tenacity! I won't tell you the funny versions. LOL!
[ MJ ] How can women get more info about the camp and find the closet Phat camp to them?
[ JH ] Well, you are always welcome to email me personally at
email@example.com, or my camp coordinator Heather Bear at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Our company website is
We have 20 camps scheduled in 2009 and we try and hit a little bit of the country. We do 4 visits in Canada and 2 in Australia. I love to travel and love the amazing women I meet. We hope you will join us!
[ MJ ] Another project that is taking your time is The Arnold Fitness Fashion Show in 2009. I myself am very excited for this event since I will be lucky enough to promote my own collection among many other brands. How did you come up with this idea and do you have experience in this area?
[ JH ] You know I was actually asked by Jim Lorimer, the promoter of the Arnold Classic Weekend. I have been a part of the Arnold committee for 5 years. I attend the committee meetings and get to be a part of the whole big production of the weekend.
I had NO experience in this but Mr. Lorimer knows my work ethic, my organizational skills, and my reputation, so I believe he trusts me and gives me this great opportunity every year to run the fashion show on Sunday for the Arnold weekend. Come see the latest and hottest clothes in fitness. Will take place Sunday at noon on the expo stage during the Arnold weekend. Location: Columbus, Ohio. See you there!
[ MJ ] I know you have a great team behind you that works with your Phat Camp and you other big projects. How long has it taken you to build up this big emporium of yours?
[ JH ] Well, I would say over a course of 7 years I have added new employees and built jobs for girls in the industry. Most of the individuals that work for me are NPC and IFBB competitors so it's been great to open doors for them to be able to make a living at something they love doing. I am very selective at who I work with and I will say I have some of hardest working women in the business on my staff. I am proud.
[ MJ ] Do you ever consider starting seminars of how to become a successful business woman? You certainly could guide and motivate other women in the fitness industry to make more of their knowledge and experience and to make a career even after they retire from competing.
[ JH ] No, I have not thought about this, but I am willing to do so. One thing I would say is what I was told by my friend
Monica Brant and that was: "Find your nitch in the industry and make something of yourself. You will not make a living on modeling and competing. Don't be a follower, be a leader. Don't go into debt to compete, and don't ruin relationships because your on a diet and have an attitude about it." I have to pass on this advise. It has been my driving force since day 1.
[ MJ ] Bodybuilding.com wants to thank you so much for your time and that you have given our visitors an insight in your exciting life as a fitness icon and role model. We wish you all the best with all your preparations and projects for 2009. We look forward to see another great routine from the queen of fitness at the 2009 Arnold Classic. Maybe this will be the final one... no way!
[ JH ] Thank you Bodybuilding.com. You have trusted in me and believed in me and what I believe in. We believe that we have to invest in our health like we invest in material things. "Supplements, training, commitment, goals, and hard work will make you a champion." BB.com and I have the same passion for helping others. All my best to the readers, friends, and fans. I hope to see everyone at a Phat Camp in '09 or train with me online. I am always available to help you reach your goals.