Trainer to the stars
By Rhea Laube
Published Tuesday December 15, 2015
Since moving from Ottawa to Los Angeles and starting her successful fitness business, The Hollywood Trainer, in the late 1990s, alumna and personal trainer Jeanette Jenkins has counted Serena Williams, Pink, Alicia Keys and Kelly Rowland as clients. However, Hollywood has not made her forget her roots nor her alma mater.
Jenkins grew up in public housing in Oshawa. She says fitness and a passion for sports kept her focused.
She decided she wanted to pursue her interest in sports academically and, in the early 1990s, she enrolled in an honours bachelor of science with specialization in human kinetics at the University of Ottawa. Jenkins credits uOttawa courses in musculoskeletal anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology, and probability and statistics for giving her a strong foundation to draw on as a fitness trainer.
While she was a student at uOttawa, she was an avid supporter of the Gee-Gees, regularly attending basketball and football games,and teaching aerobics classes at the campus gym. She also worked as a student trainer for two years with the men’s football team, helping to prevent, assess and treat sports injuries.
After moving from Ottawa to Los Angeles in 1997, she began teaching fitness classes, building her reputation through word of mouth.
“I started having well-known celebrities take my classes. Jessica Biel came to my sculpting class. Christina Applegate took my spinning class and Carmen Electra took my abs class,” says Jenkins.
Soon, many of these well-known stars were inquiring about private training.
Jenkins believes her commitment to science gave her an edge in the LA fitness market.
“There were trainers at the time that caught on because of their ability to motivate, those who became popular because they used the best music combined with great moves. I was able to do both and incorporate the science behind how the body works,” she says.
Branding as The Hollywood Trainer came naturally, explains Jenkins, as her clientele of stars grew.
Jenkins went on to publish a book and to create a series of highly successful fitness DVDs. Her fitness series has been distributed internationally and translated into twelve different languages.
In January 2015, she launched an online weight loss and healthy living club, where she shares nutritious recipes and offers a virtual gym with a variety of workout videos.
Extremely active on social media — with more than 300,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram and 200,000 followers on Facebook — Jenkins tries to inspire people to stay healthy and fit. She often tweets words of encouragement such as “It’s never too late to pursue a dream, set a new goal or make a change for the better.”
“I believe strongly in spreading positivity. The more people I can motivate to make healthy changes in their lives, the better,” she says.
An advocate of lifelong learning, Jenkins has continued to seek out opportunities to acquire new knowledge since her time at uOttawa, and now holds 18 international certifications in nutrition and fitness.
“I’m constantly pushing myself to learn more. No one starts off at excellent — everyone has to work hard to achieve their goals,” says Jenkins.