So most of the time when you see a profiled Fitness Story, it’s dramatic. Like a huge weight loss or someone who had an epiphany and turned their life from living on Tostidos to being a Tri-athelete or something like that. That’s not Jen. And that’s probably not you, either. This is a story about a scientist who always knew the value of exercise but couldn’t seem to get consistent because she faces the same challenges we all do (too much to do. Not a morning person and doesn’t want to get up to exercise).  This is how she has managed to methodically develop healthy habits that make her feel good.

This is Jen’s Fitness Story:

Have you always been active/healthy?

In my adult years, I have always tried to be active and healthy. However I lacked consistency.

What was your situation before you found Fit Feels Good?

Before FFG, I was not prioritizing health and fitness. I had slipped into too many roles in my life for which I have neither training nor formal accreditation: caregiver, cook, cleaning lady, launderer, travel agent, event planner, chauffeur, social worker, medical doctor, nurse, therapist, cheerleader, nutritionist, declutterer, interior decorator and renovator, personal shopper, music teacher, homework coach etc.

I had been doing this so well and for so long that everyone, myself included, had gotten used to it. Making time for myself for fitness and nutrition seemed like an indulgence rather than a priority. So I guess I wanted to bring myself back.”

How did you find us and what made you take the plunge?

I found FFG through GOOGLE. Knowing that I struggle to fit fitness into my life, I basically wanted to find the most convenient option and FFG was very close by and at a time of day that worked (6AM).

What has happened since then?

For me, FFG hasn’t been an epiphany moment or a “quick fix”, but rather a slow and steady gain in forward momentum leading me towards a fitter body and mind.

I was part of the first 28-day challenge cohort. This was very eye-opening. More recently I have been doing the 1-year Precision Nutrition (PN) coaching program that comes with the Bootcamp. This has really changed my “wiring” in terms of how I assemble a meal with appropriate building blocks and how I structure my day. After 10 months in the program new healthy habits have now become internalized and intuitive.

As a result, I’ve lost about 5kg and 20 inches in girth. I find I  bounce back from illness and injury more readily. Sleeping better. Most importantly, I feel I have a more positive and happy outlook.

So what would be a typical day’s food for you?

Breakfast: Either a “super shake” (my recent favourite is protein powder with beets, kale, dark cocoa powder, pecans and frozen cherries) or I will fry up some greens in garlic and chilis and serve with eggs and some sweet potatoes. Plus coffee of course!

Lunch: A greens bowl with tuna or chicken, some bright vegetables like carrots, peppers or beets, and some whole grains (quinoa for example), tossed in a vinaigrette.

Dinner: Have been doing Chef’s Plate 2x/week as it helps a lot with meal planning, especially when I’m travelling. Other go-to meals include things like turkey meatballs, fish tacos, chicken burgers with greens or salads as sides.

Snacks: Raw veggies with peanut butter!

Jen’s Healthy Latke Recipe

The secret is spaghetti squash which gives the fake latka that grated potato texture. And it’s easier than grating potatoes (bloody knuckles). 

  • Poke a spaghetti squash all over with a fork and microwave for 5 minute increments until it is tender. Cool, cut in half and scoop out seeds.
  • Using a fork , remove pulp and put in a bowl with one free range egg
  • Add some diced green onions, both white and green parts. Chives would probably be nice too although I have never tried it.
  • Add enough of your favourite flour (rice, wheat) so that you can make patties that don’t fall apart. At this a point you can fry up the patties or stash them in the fridge to fry up for a future meal

    Fry flattened patties in your favourite oil until golden on each side. Place on paper towel and sprinkle some salt over top. 

  • Serve with a dollop or yogurt on top (I like Saugeen county as it is a bit tart) along with a serving of protein and veggies. Sliced cucumbers, peppers and some poached salmon would be perfect.

What do you do when you just. don’t. want. to. get up and workout?

I have to do a combination of practical and persuasive things to get out of bed as morning is not my natural “on” time. Self-persuasion tactics include internal arguments such as “Listen Jen, if you think you will workout later in the day you’re kidding yourself”, or I fantasize about the nice breakfast that I will make for myself when I get home from my workout.

From a practical perspective, I always lay out my exercise clothes the night before (sometimes I even sleep in them). I have an alarm on my wrist watch which rudely jolts me out of sleep. I reward myself with an espresso if I make it downstairs and half a banana if I’m hungry.

I know you travel a lot for your job. How do you stay on track and motivated on the road?

If I have control over my travel, say when I am given a range of dates to give a seminar at another University, I book it so that I only miss 1 Bootcamp or I cluster 2 trips together if they are in the same time zone. I pack running gear and ask the hotel for a route map – I usually don’t use hotel gyms because they depress me and I get over-heated on a treadmill. If I am gone for more than 2 nights, I’ll ask for a bar fridge and stock it with good stuff for breakfast and lunch, bringing protein powder packets. Dinner is usually out, but I feel I can enjoy it more if I have followed these steps.

Travel is tricky but on the up-side, it’s fun to track my runs through exotic places (Paris) or not so exotic places (New Haven). And if all else fails, I can go shopping at nice stores and call it cardio.

What are you most proud of that you’ve accomplished over the last year?

My first road race!!! I never would have thought I could do that.

What’s the next goal for you?

To do a chin-up. I have never been able to do that. I have bad memories from the suspended arm hang portion of the Canadian Fitness Test (circa 1980). Some day I’ll get ‘er done.

(Note from Oonagh: I love this goal!! Here’s a quick tutorial on How To Go From NO CHANCE to Full On Pullups!