Featured image by Alyssa Greenberg @smallgirlbiglens
I had the pleasure of meeting Jess Glazer in NYC last October for the Empowering Women panel discussion at NY Sports Club’s Astor Place. I was immediately drawn to her energy and vibrant personality. Jess is a finalist for Reebok’s America’s Most Inspiring Trainer, she recently graced the cover and was featured in Wayne Magazine (a part of USA Today), she is a featured fitness model in Oxygen Magazine and Strong Fitness Magazine, is the owner of FIT Trips – women’s only fitness based field trips, and is a powerhouse of inspiration. We know you will love Jess as much as we do!
Q: Where are you from? Where do you call home?
A: I grew up in New Jersey, but currently live in New York City
Q: What do you do for “work”?
A: Fitness Professional
Q: How long have you been doing this?
A: My whole life. Growing up a competitive gymnast I started coaching gymnastics, running birthday parties, and working summer camps in my early teens. By the time I was in high school I started working at the local health club (child care room/front desk) and the day I turned 18 I got certified to be a Personal Trainer/Group Fitness Instructor. I taught group fitness throughout college, started training one on one clients before graduating, and worked as an elementary physical education/health teacher in a public school for the last 8 years. I’ve been working as a trainer/teacher/coach since the mid 90’s!
Q: How did you get started?
A: With my gymnastics background and love for fitness, experience growing up in physical therapy, learning about the body, and fascination with anatomy/physiology it was a natural progression to lean towards the health/fitness industry. Science classes were always my elective in school, coaching was always a side job, working at the gym was what made sense, and studying physical therapy in college was a no brainer. I was born and raised in this incredible industry and have never even once stopped loving it.
Q: What inspires and motivates you?
A: I believe inspiration comes from outer sources. So for me, I’m inspired by those around me. Seeing athletes training day in and out towards their goals, watching my clients overcome struggles and celebrate accomplishments, holding my moms hand through her entire (very long and hard) recovery from receiving a kidney transplant, being a part of my students lives and watching them grow, learn, absorb, and get excited about what I would teach them. I’m inspired by so many incredible and knowledgable trainers in the industry who are paving the way and leading by example. Inspiration is all around us and honestly, social media can be a wonderful tool for inspiration when used correctly. That said, to me motivation is internal, it comes from the inside. My personal motivation comes from knowing I overcame bulimia. I’m motivated when I think back to spending months in a wheelchair after major reconstructive ankle surgery (not once, but twice over the last 7 years). I’m motivated by knowing that I help inspire and educate others. There is no greater feeling than receiving a message from someone (especially a stranger) thanking you or letting you know that you make a difference in their lives. I’m motivated by the thought that I can help change the world and the was we look at health/fitness. I’m motivated by the idea that someone, just even one person may relate to my past struggles and I may be able to help them! I’m motivated by my own PR’s in the gym, gaining strength, reaching goals in my fitness, business, and finances, and watching things from my vision board come to life. When I put in the work and I see the results, it motivates me more than anything.
Q: What tips do you have for anyone looking to get into the same thing?
A: I get this question all of the time. People are constantly telling me they want to get into the fitness industry or they want to quit their job to be a trainer/instructor. The fact of the matter is that the health/fitness industry is booming right now. It’s never been more accessible, sexier, or appealing. Our multi-billion dollar industry is hot, that’s a fact. However, I always ask “why” first and foremost. Why do they want to get involved in fitness? Why do they want to be a trainer? Why do they want to help others? Is it because the life looks glamorous or they really love working out? Is it because it’s trendy? Is it because they love their instructor and want to be just like them? Is it for the money or fame? Is it because it seems easy? I never want to crush anyone’s dreams, I’m just interested in knowing why and I want to make sure they have thought about it as well. Because, anyone in the industry can tell you it isn’t always glamorous. It usually means early mornings, weekend shifts, last minute cancelations, constant soreness, working at odd times (don’t forget, we work when most people don’t; so it’s hard to squeeze in family dinners), oh and that class you love to take so much…you may not be able to take it anymore because it’s during a prime time slot. Not to mention, most trainers don’t work for companies that are giving away fantastic benefits and paid vacations. It’s just something to think about. If you’re aware of all the realness and you still want to make shift, I’d say 100% start studying, get certified, get a part time job, shadow other trainers/instructors, insert yourself in the industry for a while to learn how it really works, and then make a well-informed decision. For me, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Helping others learn to take control of their health is my biggest passion despite how hard it can be at times.
Q: What distracts you from your goals? How do you overcome those distractions?
A: This exact question is something that I’m working on really hard right now, it’s actually one of the themes for 2018. I usually pick 2-3 themes/mantras for the years that I try to focus on. That said, one of mine this year refers exactly to distractions. “Stay in your own lane” is a mantra I am constantly reminding myself. It’s really easy to get distracted by those around us, especially with social media being at the forefront of our days. She has a better body, she’s more lean, she has more clients, she was in that magazine, she got to speak on stage, she works with that company, she got a modeling job, she writes for that blog….you get the point. They say comparison is the thief of joy, but it’s not only a thief it’s a huge distraction. I think for many of us it’s easy to get caught in the game of comparison. You want to look like someone else, have what they have, make what they make; but, in all honestly, comparing yourself to them will never give you what they have. You are not them, period. This rabbit hole of comparison is a massive distraction which throws you completely off track, off task, and out of alignment. I’m currently trying to avoid this nasty cycle from happening by writing in a gratitude journal daily. Jotting down 3-5 things I’m grateful for in the morning when I wake up (even small things, like coffee). That shift in mindset helps keep you on track, with clear perspective. I also keep a notebook of “wins” and accomplishments. Every time I have a success or hit a goal, I write it down in the notebook; just a quick bullet point. That way if I’m ever feeling a lack of motivation I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I actually use the same notebook to write down every book I finish reading. It helps me keep track and makes me proud when I see the growing list. For the last few years I’ve read though this notebook on New Year’s Eve as a reminder for all that I accomplished that year. On New Year’s Day I write out a ton of goals for the new year and make a vision board. Lastly, social media can really get you. We’ve all been there; pages deep in the bowls of who knows where just wishing and comparing. If I ever notice that a person/page is making me feel down on myself, I will actually unfollow them. I tend to only follow those who inspire and educate me; otherwise, what’s the point. Social media time restraints have also been something I’ve put into action over the last two years. I go on, make my post, engage with some comments, and hop off before scrolling endlessly. These practices have helped immensely with staying in my own lane.
Q: Do you have any daily routines or rituals that help you to be at your best?
A: I always use the bathroom and drink large cup of water before doing anything else. Sometimes I’ll add lemon/apple cider vinegar to it, sometimes just plain luke warm water. Then, as mentioned above I write in a journal every morning. I write down the things off the top of my head that are causing me stress/anxiety, as well as 3-5 things I’m grateful for at that moment, and I also write down a few things that I’m most excited about at that moment. After my journaling I enjoy a vegan version of bullet proof coffee while checking my schedule/plan for the day. I make sure to move everyday. No matter the time of day or type of workout, I always move! Sweating/stretching once a day is a negotiable for me. Any time I’m walking through the city commuting or even at home getting dressed I listen to podcasts. I’m constantly listening to podcasts and absorbing as much information as possible. Lastly, before bed I like to make a brain dump of things I need to do, get done the next day, don’t want to forget about, or even projects I want to work on. Once it’s all dumped onto paper, I peak at my schedule for the next day and try to read for 20-30 minutes before passing out. I’ll go through seasons where I may meditate more or maybe have an early morning client that will shift my routine slightly, but the core is always the same. Everyday I practice gratitude, eat healthy foods that fuel me, move my body, dump my brain, and learn.
Q: What are your non-negotiables in life? How has keeping these things a priority helped you to be successful?
A: I think my biggest non-negotiable is moving. Notice I said moving, not working out or exercises because it’s simply just moving. As long as I can take a walk or stretch my body, that’s all I need. Moving helps wake me up, clear my mind, reduces stress, makes me feel energized, allows me to focus, moving keeps me moving! I don’t care how stressed or busy I am, if I’m traveling or on a vacation, I must move. It’s my time for myself, it’s for my brain, my body, and my soul. Moving gives me everything I need and making it a priority is the only way. Without movement I wouldn’t have a job, passion, or hobby. I would feel stuck, stagnant, and like I was slowly deteriorating. Through movement I have made some of my closest friends, best business partners, laughs and memories to last a lifetime, the freedom of play. Movement has taught me how to set goals, to trust the process, understand delayed gratification. Movement has shown me how to fail, how to cope, when to learn and when to grow. Movement gets me out of my comfort zone everyday and yet movement is my comfort zone. Sitting still is simply not an option.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: Aside from working out and being active, I also love anything that is creative. Growing up I was always in advanced art classes. I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who was an artist and had a full studio in the basement. We had everything from a clay pottery table, wheel, kiln to sewing machines and canvas with every type of paint. Post college, I actually attended the Fashion Institute f Technology here in NYC for accessory design and had my own accessory line selling handmade purses and jewelry. I also love cooking and baking. Being vegan for the last 16 years I’ve had to learn to get extra creative in the kitchen and I find it extremely rewarding getting to make, eat, and enjoy healthy foods in a delicious way. In addition to my creative side, I also love animals. Any excuse to walk my pups and I’m there!
Q: Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them
A: I have two dogs, but they’re really family dogs at my parents house in New Jersey. Charlie is our beautiful golden retriever and Bentley is our handsome black flat coated retriever. They love swimming, running, long walks, and belly rubs! They are literally the best.
Q: How can our followers find you (website, social media, etc)?
A: I’m most often on Instagram @jess.glazer as well as @fit.trips (FITtrips is the company I founded in July 2016 – FITtrips are monthly, women’s only fitness based “field trips” where we step out of our comfort zones to try new things with the support of others. All trips include a workout class, brunch, swag bags, and raffle prizes!) My website is www.jessglazer.com I’m on Facebook at facebook.com/glazerjess and I run a private, women’s only FB group called “Stronger You” where I share workouts, recipes, inspiration, tips, tricks, etc. It’s a great place to network, ask questions, and meet like-minded women.
Jess is excited to announce the first ever FITtrip Retreat “Stronger You” in Costa Rica May 2018. Please follow this link for more information on how you can join in on the fun! https://www.ketangafitness.com/stronger-you-retreat.html