Physical Therapist. Artist. Genius. Boat – owner. Doggie Mommy. One of the greatest humans you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. I’ve (Coach Mary) known Jenn for almost 15 years. We went to College together. Traveled to London together. I was never more happy than to have the opportunity to reconnect with her, check in on her life and learn more about how she’s built a life centered around giving her energy and passion into sharing healthy practices with others. As a Physical Therapist, she’s on her feet all day and comes home to her energetic dogs and despite the “busy” that is life, she still makes time for fitness and wellness and boat time with her handsome beau. So let’s dive in …
Give us a little background about yourself…
I grew up in upstate NY with two siblings and very loving and supportive family. I had a passion for basketball at an early age. I played tennis in the off season to stay active, and at that time in life I sustained severe ankle sprains, jammed fingers, a wrist fracture, and a torn ACL. I, like many people, struggled with my weight and self image. During my college years, I put on 45+ pounds. *gasp* After realizing how important my health was, not just my weight or size, I took ownership and responsibility of my situation and current level of fitness, and decided to begin my journey to better health.
What is your profession?
I am a doctor of physical therapy, and
have been in practice for 8 years. I specialize in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine, have a passion for working with vestibular dysfunctions and restoring balance, have extensive experience with aquatic therapy, and I have my certification in manual therapy.
What do you do to stay fit?
I do variable exercise routines from HIITs to weight training. I’ve completed Beachbody programs, and have enjoyed them so much that I became a PiYo and TurboKick LIVE instructor. During my own personal weight loss journey,
I realized I disliked running, but fell instantly in love with Zumba and dancing. I have taught Zumba as a way to motivate myself and have fun, as well as to encourage and inspire others. I practice yoga for relaxation, and to work on myself, on a more introspective level. On active rest days I walk or bike on the SC Spanish Moss Trail.
What does fitness mean in your profession?
Fitness is very important to the healthcare field, and especially PT. Given my history of injuries, I try to use fitness as a pre-habilitation; I use fitness to prevent injury and in an attempt to slow and delay degenerative changes. I use fitness to address poor posture and core weakness at all stages of life. It means improving longevity of your bone and joints, muscle, ligaments, and tendons, as well as your mind in order for people to live at a higher level of fu
nction. Fitness in my profession translates to a better quality of life!
Do you eat a certain way or follow a particular nutrition plan?
NO DIETS! (Because it has the word “die” in it!) I try to eat healthy with good portions, all things in moderation. I tend to try to stick to an 80/20 meal plan. I try to eat protein at every meal, eat healthy fats, and drink plenty of water. I drink coffee, but over the years have switched to black coffee. I avoid “fat-free” foods and soda.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy tennis, boating, and fishing. I’m practicing and learning to take up bow hunting. When I’m not participating in community events and festivals, I’m usually hanging out with my boyfriend and our three dogs, who keep us on or feet. I enjoy painting and crafting, and to balance out my active lifestyle, I love to curl up with a good book!
Any advice you want to share with others? (How to manage stress….something you practice every day or regularly that helps you….discussing insecurities. You can take this anywhere you want to go)
My advice after years of struggling with this is to just l
ove yourself. Believe in yourself and and be kind to yourself. Stop the negativity now. Say positive things to yourself every morning in the mirror (or not in the mirror, that’s up to you). Your own worst enemy is going to be yourself, nobody else, because in the long run it’s you that you have to live with. This applies to all aspects of your life, whether it be your physical appearance, your self-worth, your abilities, etc. Love who you are, and the rest will happen with time. Once you reach this level, stress fades, worries will still be there, some situations will still be out of control, but you’ll have your own strength behind you. Yes, it may all sound cliché, however until you actually reach that point and understand why so many people say this, you may still struggle. So, why not make it easier for yourself now? Also… listen to your physical therapist if you ever need to work with one 😉
You have an infectious positivity and energy…where does it come from and how do you maintain that outlook?
My energy comes from within. It took me a while to learn to love myself and when I did, influencing other people became that much easier and more rewarding. It was a proverbial ripple effect. There are days I still get dragged down, and in those moments, I think of how blessed I truly am, and think of all that I have, not what I don’t have. I also have the amazing love and support of friends and family, and I try to live up to the person they see me in me
Did you play sports as a kid and did you have an influential coach or mentor that has stayed with you?
I played basketball and tennis from 5th-12th grade. I had the same coach in those year with a few assistant coaches. Coach will always be an influence on me to strive to be better, to step outside of my comfort zone and see what I can do. He always quoted John Wooden… and the fact I can still recall this shows how much it stayed with me!
Take Away’s from today
Jenn’s a busy professional….no doubt…but I think her presence and how she addresses what she is insecure about has become a healthy mainstay in her life. I think what resonates so loudly is her message that movement/fitness is empowering. Just because friends are runners and love it, doesn’t mean you have to love it too. Jenn has found what works for her and what lights her up and there’s not a damn thing wrong with it. It’s constantly varied and well-balanced which allows her to participate in all of life’s great things….Her fitness allows her to be on her feet working with others for long periods of time. Her fitness helps her keep up with three busy-body dogs. Her fitness allows her to try new sports like bow hunting. And her fitness allows her to enjoy boating time in a bathing suit with friends! So get out and move! Find what works..whether that is at home, at a gym or just out walking with friends….get out and move! Thanks, Jenn, for taking the time to answer our questions and share your experiences with so many others!
If you’re in SC and in need of Physical Therapy, Jenn really is one of the most empathetic and kind practitioners out there. She really knows her stuff and can get you back on your feet and through pain-free movement to enjoy the rest of your life more fully. She can be found at http://therapy.optimhealth.com/ and you can find her registration with the American Physical Therapy Association here.