uOttaKnow podcast transcription

Season 2, Episode 4

Gwen Madiba:

Welcome to uOttaKnow, a forward thinking, expert-driven podcast produced by the University of Ottawa.

Hello, I’m Gwen Madiba, host of uOttaKnow and a proud two-time graduate of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Ottawa. I am also the president of the Equal Chance Foundation. 

uOttaKnow puts you in touch with uOttawa alumni and researchers at the cutting edge of their fields for thought-provoking discussions on today’s trending topics.

Today marks the last episode of season II of uOttaKnow. This season we’ve had the chance to have inspiring conversations with alumni on the topic of well-being and growth. 

Today’s guest alumna Jeanette Jenkins is an internationally renowned trainer and health coach. Our conversation is packed with practical tips to motivate listeners to dream big and embrace healthy living fueled by our guest’s beautiful positivity.

And now to introduce Jeanette, she’s a uOttawa alumna who studied human kinetics at the Faculty of Health Sciences.  While she was a student, she was an avid supporter of the Gee-Gees, regularly attending games, and teaching fitness classes at the campus gym.  She also worked as a student trainer with the men’s football team.

Following her studies, she moved to LA where she began teaching fitness classes that attracted high profile celebrities. Soon these individuals were asking for private training and her brand as The Hollywood Trainer quite naturally followed. Her list of celebrity clients is extensive and has included P!nk, Alicia Keys, Jurnee Smollett, Shonda Rhimes, Mindy Kaling, Olympic Gold Medal Gymnasts Shawn Johnson & Laurie Hernandez & NBA Champion Chris Bosh to name just a few. 

She started her “Fitness Content” productions with a series of successful fitness DVD’s that were translated into 12 different languages and distributed internationally. She authored a book “The Hollywood Trainer Weight Loss Plan” distributed by Penguin and now motivates millions of people online with a combined social media following of over 1.5million across Instagram & Facebook and a virtual club “The Hollywood Trainer Club” with members worldwide! 

Jeanette thanks for joining us today from Los Angeles!

Jeanette Jenkins:

I'm so happy to be speaking to you! My old stomping grounds Ottawa University.

Gwen Madiba:

I mean your story is incredible. I mean I was looking at one of your YouTube workouts on PopSugar Fitness and there was 23 million views of that video!

Jeanette Jenkins:

That's amazing. I'm actually super grateful that I've been able to reach so many people through that platform of YouTube, it's quite incredible the number of people you can reach worldwide.

Gwen Madiba:

Yes, It’s very impressive how you have risen to the top of your field. I know you have talked before about how you grew up in public housing in Oshawa and were raised by a single mother. A big contrast from the world of celebrity in LA. Did you always dream big? 

Jeanette Jenkins:

You know what, I never looked at it as dreaming big at the time, I just looked at it as this is what I'm going to do. Which kind of like it comes from place of self confidence. And the confidence came from two things. One, I had an incredible mother who always told me that I can do it. So, to all the moms out there, whatever crazy ideas your kids tell you they're going to do just believe in them. Tell them they can do it. Because that was really powerful. Having that person in my corner that that no matter what concept I came up with, it could be producing a show in my garage or it could be, you know, just whatever project I wanted to do at a young age. My mother always said that I could do it. So, I felt a level of confidence from that. And the other thing I felt I gained competence from was sports. So, I think it's so important for young girls to get involved in sports because it really teaches them so much. But one of the great things that teaches them is this can-do attitude. Like when you want to excel in a specific skill in sport, like, whether it's, you're playing soccer, and you want to know how to score or you're playing hockey, and you want to improve your skating, if you practice and you put that work in, then you will improve and get better. So and even, academics like it was the same, I fully put my work into studying, I did go to Ottawa University on an academic scholarship, actually. So, I always had that belief that if I put the work in, then I was going to achieve the goal. So I just think that it's really important for people to understand that, there's going to be times that you fall down, and there's going to be times that you don't get it right the first time, you might not even get it right the second time, the third time and the fourth time, but if you're willing to show up, and just keep learning, and keep progressing, and then you will achieve whatever goal that you put in front of you.

Gwen Madiba:

That’s really powerful. That’s a wonderful message for our uOttawa community and even people outside of that community who may be listening! Now, before we go any further, I want to let our listeners experience the kind of energy and passion that you bring to your fitness classes. I mean, I feel that energy right now as we're speaking, 

Fitness Clip Jeanette Jenkins: High impact. High knees! 30 seconds! You know boxers run at least six miles just for one workout so you can do 30 seconds. Good job. High five your imaginary friend, high five you at home, I got you, ok.

Gwen Madiba:

Your energy is amazing. I really would love to steal some of sometime. How do you get in that zone that lets you go the extra mile in a workout and tap into that type of motivation? 

Jeanette Jenkins:

The zone! Well, first of all, I am very strong in my faith. And I believe that my initial energy that I received, I get from God. So I'm grateful for that. So even just practicing gratitude, and then a positive attitude gives so much to your energy. 

So right from the start, I would encourage anyone like when you open your eyes in the morning, start your day with gratitude and a positive attitude. Because if you're if you have a positive attitude towards the goals and the things that you want to achieve you vibrate higher, it's much easier for you to achieve those goals. Where if you're self-destructive, and you're putting yourself down and you don't believe in yourself, and you just have a negative attitude and a negative outlook, I mean, think of the last time you had a negative attitude towards something how that felt, it holds you down, and it makes it harder for you to actually achieve your goals. So straight out the gate, you got to have a positive attitude towards whatever it is you're trying to work towards.

The zone is a place where you have to tell yourself, you're gonna do your absolute best and give everything you got. So from that clip of the workout, you're hearing me tap into that place of like, I'm going to give my absolute best my 110% without giving any excuses, no complaints, and I'm gonna give it everything I've got and that and depending on what you're doing the task it can sometimes be something as basic as practicing the basics over and over. 

So if you're a new person to fitness or you're a new person to a new task, sometimes the zone is removing your ego and allowing yourself to just do the work that's necessary to learn the fundamentals so that you can progress.  And not being afraid to take the stairs. Like so many people are afraid to take the stairs. You got to remove your ego and be willing to take every single step to get to the top. Like you hear the great's whether it was Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan or anyone. What they've done over and over again is practice, practice, practice, practice, you have to be willing to take every step in your journey to be able to achieve greatness and to tap into that place of greatness. 

Then the zone can also be a place where once you've practiced those things, you're telling yourself, this is it I'm giving. I'm going to empty the tank like I'm going to jump higher. I'm going to run faster. I'm going to give it everything that I got.  So, there's levels to the zone. But most importantly, it's a place where you show up, and you focus on the task at hand and you give 110% of yourself.

Gwen Madiba:

These are great tips, honestly, I will definitely use some of them. When I was looking at your Instagram I was really touched to see that you had been on the Access Daily Show with your very own sister Camille Jenkins showing both the high impact and lower impact versions of a work out. What has it been like working together like this?

Jeanette Jenkins:

Well,it's been amazing. And my sister is brilliant. She's five years older than me. And she 
actually is a trained pilot. And she used to run a flight school. So she's one of the few African American female pilots, she actually ran a flight school. And she was a pilot for a major airline. She’s totally just brilliant. And I'm just absolutely grateful that that I have her to run the operational side of my business. 

So we decided to do a workout series called The Sister Series. And the reason why we decided to do that was because we couldn't be more different physically. So genetically, I'm more like my father's side, and my sister is more like my mother's side. And she is extremely sensitive. And I'm like, built like an ox. 

So, she is sensitive to everything, even food, like sometimes she gets inflamed from eating kale, which most people will be like, okay, really, you're having some issues from kale, but it's the exotic acid. And a lot of people have sensitivities to cruciferous vegetables, but that's her. She has a challenges hormonally as well, which a lot of women can relate to. 

So over the years, I have always interacted in my community with these women who have every all kinds of different issues from Hashimoto’s from chronic pain to joint problems, to, you know, so I could relate because of my sister. Not everyone is built physically with these genetics that you know are unbeatable. A lot of people suffer from a lot of these things.

 If you wake up each day, and you are in good health battle alone, you need to be grateful for. So balancing a woman's hormones is really something that millions of women have to deal with. And so that was the reason that I decided to do the sister series because I wanted the following my following on social media to see that we could do the exact same workout. I can do a version that was high impact, high intensity, and my sister could do a workout that was still high intensity, but it was low impact, so it is less stress on her joints.

 And there's so many people like hundreds of thousands of women have reached out to us from those sister series workouts and have joined our club. I have a club called the Hollywood Trainer Club, where I run boot camps and I have over 500 streaming workouts. People come in and they join us from all over the world and thousands of women have joined specifically because of our sister series workout because they felt welcomed because when you look at fitness from the outside in 95% of the images you see are ripped people who are genetically blessed, that are extremely athletic, and is a very small percentage of the fitness population that really represents the rest of society, which is really the higher percentage like you know, the average clothing size of women is like a size 16.

Gwen Madiba:

Hmmm. That’s really beautiful. 

Well, we have a spotlight question for you today from a fellow alumnus, former Gee Gees Football player and member of the Cree Nation of Chisasibi.

Trevor Monaghan:

Hi Jeanette. My name is Trevor Monaghan and for over ten years now, I have been the manager of the Chisasibi Fitness Center located on the eastern shore of James Bay up in northern Quebec. I really admire your confidence and the way you use your platform, especially as a woman of colour, to motivate and empower your audience. As a personal trainer, my clients include Indigenous women from the Cree Nation who often lack self-confidence in part due to the history of residential schools and trauma passed down through generations. What kind of advice would you offer to boost self-esteem and is there a message from you that I could share with these women young first nation’s women? 

Jeanette Jenkins:

Yes, the first message is that you are your ancestors, wildest dreams. That's straight out of the gate. So, when we have a history that is painful, you have to stand on the shoulders of those people who have sacrificed for you. And you have to make the absolute best of your situation to honor them. Okay, so to sit in the pain, and to not move forward, is dishonorable. So you, it's okay to feel pain from a history that has happened to your people, I can relate because I'm half African American, and my ancestors were slaves from South Carolina. So, I can relate 100% I actually even keep a plaque in my office. I wouldn't call it a plaque. But it's actually the sign of the selling of slaves. And it shows the price of what a black woman would go for in a slave trade in the South. And I keep that to remind myself that I stand on the shoulders of people who have sacrificed so much so that I can have all of this opportunity. So, I want those wonderful women that you work with, to always know how many other women like you that will come around and support you because they understand your journey. 

So don't be afraid to do the work. Don't stop yourself, before you even get started out of fear and out of pain, you have to change your perspective. And instead of looking at things like I'm in a disadvantage situation, because of this pain, you have to look at it like I have all of these opportunities that are afforded to me. So now I'm going to put in the work, create the plan, and achieve the goal. It seems sometimes, like it's easy when you just say the words like create the plan, do the work, achieve the goal. But I am a testament that if you put the work in, you will achieve the goal and you're going to fall down sometimes. And things are going to be painful at times. But if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will always progress.

 I can give one example. I grew up in government housing in Canada. And one of my goals was always to own a property because I always lived in government housing. So, while I was finishing up school, I started to think about my number one goal was financial independence, how can I create this financial freedom? So, I started to read financial books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The Wealthy Barber, and the wealthy barber was so beneficial because it's literally just a book about a barber and how he made his first million. And it was actually a Canadian. So it was like, how he made his first million and he was actually cutting hair. He didn't do anything crazy other than save his money and make investments. So, I could relate to that being in fitness because I was making modest money. 

But I wanted to know how could I invest my money so that I could continue to have financial freedom. So, I did the things I also got the book, you know, Real Estate For Dummies, and I put the work in to learn what I could do. So that by the time I was 25, I bought my first property. And then the following year, when I was 26, I reinvested and I bought my second property. So that beginning at the age of 25 was the beginning of my financial freedom. And then I continued to educate myself further and I took courses at UCLA, to be a financial planner, a certified financial planner, and it wasn't because I wanted to be a financial planner, I just wanted the information because we don't learn in school how to invest our money. So, what are we just supposed to trust someone. So read the books, do the work, you can do it !

Gwen Madiba:

Thank you very much. That was very inspiring. And thank you for taking that question from Trevor Monaghan.

I’d like to end our conversation to hear from you about what you are finding new and exciting in the world of fitness and health right now?

Jeanette Jenkins:

I mean, the biggest thing is obviously community which I absolutely love because I built the Hollywood Trailer Club about four years ago before the pandemic. So, when the pandemic started, I was like, I'm ready for y'all, I got my streaming workouts, I got my platform ready, like, workout with me. So, then I started to do the live workouts, which I used to just put prerecorded workouts in my club. But now I actually do weekly live workouts as well. And people tune in from all over the world.

 And if you see, I actually read this morning from one of the business outlets that they're expecting a virtual fitness to grow by 30% in from now to over the next like four or five years. So which is no surprise, I mean, we can name all the brands that have exploded during this pandemic. And now people are realizing that they can work out at home and still stay connected to a community. 

Not only is it keep you safe on a science level from viruses and catching anything from other people, but it also saves you time, instead of taking an hour to travel to the gym workout an hour traveling home. This is something else you can add in. I mean, nothing replaces that one-on-one contact of being in a gym and in a class and with a one-on-one trainer. That is amazing as well, and nothing will ever replace that. But having virtual as well is one of the biggest things that I see every outlet doing every major gym that used to just be a box gym now has a streaming platform as well. So that is where I see the industry continuing to grow as is every fitness company trying to connect with their consumers. 

Gwen Madiba:

Well, thank you for the insider insights!  Jeanette, could you let our listeners know where they can find you online?

Jeanette Jenkins:

You can definitely find me in my club, which is the Hollywoodtrainerclub.com. I have a streaming platform there where you can come and work out with me. And you can also find me on Instagram and Facebook. My handle is my name @MsJeanetteJenkins. So if you just want to stop by and say hi. I love talking to the people!

Gwen Madiba:

Thanks, so much Jeanette for making time to come talk all things health and wellbeing with us today!

Jeanette Jenkins:

You're welcome How time flies. My first year at Ottawa U was 24 years ago. Can you believe that.

Gwen Madiba:
Thanks so much Jeanette it was great speaking to you.

Jeanette Jenkins:

Same! Bye guys!

Gwen Madiba:

uOttaKnow is produced by the University of Ottawa’s Alumni Relations team. This episode was recorded remotely with the support of Pop Up Podcasting in Ottawa, Ontario. We pay respect to the Algonquin people, who are the traditional guardians of this land. We acknowledge their longstanding relationship with this territory, which remains unceded. For a transcript of this episode in English and French or to find out more about uOttaKnow please refer to the description of this episode.