Jessica Jessie | Envisioning Your Personal Best

We all want to be in shape and lead a healthy and fit lifestyle, but many of us fail to even start – or continue once we begin. Ann Neri Gause sat down with Jessica Jessie, IFBB Bikini Pro, Former Washington Redskins Cheerleader, Master Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist to get some insight on how to get and keep the body we have always wanted.

Q. What was your breakthrough into fitness and nutrition?
A. I have been an athlete my whole life. I played soccer almost as soon as I could walk, and I played three sports in high school – ultimately earning a soccer scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University. But I never paid much attention to fitness and nutrition. When I graduated from VCU, I became a professional cheerleader for the Washington Redskins. It was during this year of my life that I developed some bad habits. The weekly weigh-ins were pressurepacked. That’s when I had an epiphany. Instead of taking shortcuts and starving myself, I became obsessed with learning everything about nutrition and exercise. I became a certified nutritionist and master personal trainer through NPTI (National Personal Training Institute). Since then, fitness has been my passion. Not only do I love helping clients transform their bodies and lead them in living healthy and fit lifestyles, but I have also competed in the IFBB (International Federation of Body Building) bikini division.

Q. What is your advice to people who are trying to lead a more fit and active lifestyle?
A. I am a big believer in setting goals. Then, once you set the goal whether it is losing weight or developing more muscle tone – envision your success. You have to be able to see what you are shooting for in order to make progress. Once your goals are set and you can envision what you want, then it’s up to you to go for it. Shameless plug: Hiring a qualified, positive, inspirational personal trainer can be immensely helpful, too!

Q. Do you have any words of advice/inspiration for people looking for “the key to success,” or a bit more motivation?
A. Trust the process. If you do things the right way – eat well and work out – results will follow. Don’t obsess on the scale because once you start getting fit, your body will change, but the scale sometimes won’t change as fast as you may want. But your clothes will tell the story as your physique changes. Once you get going, I promise you can achieve all of your fitness goals.

Q. What are some of your greatest accomplishments?
A. Besides getting married last August to the love of my life, I’d say I am most proud of transforming my clients’ bodies. It is very rewarding to see clients go from an unhealthy lifestyle to being fit. I’m often amazed at my clients’ progress when I look at their before and after pictures. I also am very proud that I was able to compete in the IFBB’s Miss Olympia twice and in the Arnold Classic. It was thrilling to step on stage with so many beautiful women who are at the top of the fitness field.

Q. Women tend to be very hard on themselves. How do you help your clients reach their personal best?
A. I am a big believer in positive reinforcement, so I focus more on the progress they are making than on the areas in which they need to improve. I also try to keep things fun and interesting by mixing up their workouts and exercise routines. Variety is the spice of life, so I never want workouts to become monotonous. When I was competing in fitness, I didn’t want to just go to the gym every day, so I mixed in boxing classes, sprints outside and tennis from time to time. When the process is fun, the progress becomes that much easier.

Q. What is the most frustrating thing about being in this industry?
A. The toughest thing is maintaining discipline when getting ready for a competition. When I go to a game with my husband or out with friends, I’d love to have a drink or eat a pretzel, but I know that I’ll regret it the next day. Still, I make sure I work in at least one cheat meal per week. I love me some pizza!

Q. We all know men can eat way more than women. How do you continue to stick to your goals while hanging with your man?
A. My husband and I have a deal. I cook, and he cleans. And since I cook, he is at my mercy when it comes to dinner. Most of the time he doesn’t complain, and he’ll eat my grilled chicken, asparagus and sweet potatoes. Other times I’ll make him a different meal than what I’m having. But one of the things we have in common is our love of fitness, so it works out pretty well. We love going to the gym, taking kickboxing classes and having dinner together. That said, I know there are times he sneaks to McDonald’s behind my back. That’s okay, as long as he still does the dishes!

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
A. Finally, I want to let everybody know that they can do it. Getting fit can sometimes be intimidating. It can seem so hard, but anybody can do it. You just need to start. Set a goal, and I promise you that you can accomplish it if you stick to it. Fitness truly is my passion, and I love changing people’s lives.

Jessica is now taking one-on-one personal training appointments out of Rockville Fitness in Maryland but also offers an online program you can follow as well. You can find more information about Jessica, fitness and nutrition on her website, www.JessicaJessie.com.

Ann Neri Gause

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