Fit Shaming, Motherhood and Entrepreneurship: Jenn Hunter-Marshall


Jennifer Hunter-Marshall is the co-owner and head coach of CrossFit Garden City in Long Island, New York. She’s also an athlete who competes in CrossFit and functional fitness competitions, an actor, and a mom of two young kids.

We talk about her unusual path to the fitness industry,  what it’s like to have your kids grow up in the gym, fit-shaming and why the concept of “having it all” needs to be put to bed.


1:38: Unlikely path to gym ownership

6:19: The concept of “you can have it all”

7:25: Mom guilt

10:25: New understanding of a mom’s need for space

14:19: Co-parenting with your biz partner

16:53: Growing up in a gym

21:34: The importance of being intentional

20:22: Working with pre-/post-natal women

25:21: Competition

34:33: Fit-shaming

38:36: Strong role models for daughters



Tiffy (00:04):

I’m Tiffy Thompson and Women In Fitness Business is my deep dive into the industry from the female perspective. In each show, I talk with fitness entrepreneurs, coaches, and executives about why they got into the industry and what’s keeping them there. I ask about the unique challenges for women in fitness, the balancing act of career and family, and the different strategies for success in a tough field. I’ll present big wins, lessons from failure and real conversations with real women who are improving the health of their clients around the world. It’s a spotlight on the great work of the women who know working out. Today, I talk to Jennifer Hunter Marshall. Jennifer is the co-owner and head coach of CrossFit Garden City in Long Island, New York. She’s also an athlete who competes in CrossFit and functional fitness competitions, an actor, and a mom of two young kids. We talk about her unusual path to the fitness industry, what it’s like have your kids grow up in the gym, fit shaming, and why this concept of having it all needs to be put to bed. OK, Jennifer, welcome to the show.

Jennifer (01:09):

Oh, thank you. Excited to be here.

Tiffy (01:13):

I’m curious, when you were young, did you think you’d grow up to become a gym owner? Did that enter into your consciousness?

Jennifer (01:23):

Not at all. So when I was young, I didn’t even think of it as that was a possibility. Right. I think I was juggling between, do I wanna be a doctor or a lawyer? So this was totally not on my radar.

Tiffy (01:34):

Right. So how did it transpire, like what kind of led to it?

Jennifer (01:38):

Just a series of happy accidents. That I would describe it. I guess I’ll go back to right before it started. So when I was a senior in high school, around that time, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, which was devastating at the time because of the not side effects, but just the issues that I had health-wise. And so that kind of set the stage for my pursuit of health going forward later. And then, fast forward a couple years later, I went to grad school for theater. So I have a master’s in fine arts. OK. And, I was never good at waitressing, not saying that all actors are waitresses or wait staff or anything like that, but I was able to, I was good at fitness. So I taught group exercise and personal training as my side hustle while I was in school and then moved to New York to pursue a life in the theater.

Jennifer (02:44):

And, that is harder than it looks in the movies. Right. And so my side hustle turned to be like a full-time thing. So I had a very successful personal training business in New York City for years. Met my now husband who is in finance at the time. So neither one of us had it on our radar. Yeah. And, then from there, we moved to Colorado and, we found CrossFit when we were in Colorado. This is 2006 and then our lives forever changed and opened up the possibility I think for us getting into CrossFit of having a gym or owning a business such as that, because we hadn’t seen anything like that. Before then it was all commercial gyms or, you know, the traditional type of training facilities that we see that one would visit at those times. So, that was, I guess like the, that was the moment 2006, where things changed like, Hey, perhaps we could do this for ourselves versus working for other people. And then that began our journey.

Tiffy (03:56):

And when you were young, were kids part of your like life plan or was that?

Jennifer (04:04):

So always in the back of my mind, I always envisioned myself as a mother. I used to think I wanted eight kids then after you get one you’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t know what I was thinking about. Those that do that’s great. And, but yes, I always wanted kids and we always thought that we had time. I got, we got married when I was like later I was in like my early, mid thirties when we got married. We were like, OK, we’ll have a little bit of time. I was competing in CrossFit and we were traveling on seminar staff around the world. So it was just like, we thought we’ll have time. Right. And that’s where my autoimmune issues and things from earlier came to bear.

Jennifer (04:51):

Cause it turned out I had, fertility issues or infertility issues. And that was challenging for like a five to six or so years struggling with that and trying to get pregnant. You spend like your early life as a young woman, trying not to have it so you can pursue, you know, what you wanna do professionally. And then the moment comes, you’re like, now I’m ready. And universe is like, well, guess what? Buckle up cuz it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. And so, and thankfully on the other side of that very stressful, financially, emotionally, journey. We have two beautiful kids.

Tiffy (05:38):

And they’re two and four? So you’re in the throw of the toddler preschooler.

Jennifer (05:46):

Yes. Uhhuh. I want my independence, but I can’t do anything.

Tiffy (05:50):

Change my diaper. Yeah. So when you look at like how you balance kind of the day to day of gym ownership and you’re also doing voice work, you say, and like theater stuff and, and motherhood in a never ending pandemic. We seem to be, what’s been the trickiest part of all that for you?

Jennifer (06:19):

I guess. And I was thinking about this a lot when I knew we were gonna be talking Tippy, like the concept of you can have it all. And I think that’s something that we were sold as women. Like at least I heard as a message. And now that I’m in it, I don’t know that you can have it all, but you need to be very selective about what all that you are pursuing. If that makes sense. It can’t be everything. But what you do keep has to be meaningful and worth you taking away from those other things. So if I’m going to do something, how does this impact my kids, my marriage, that’s my foundation of what’s most important. Yeah. How I do everything, if that answers the question, but that’s one of the things that I still trying to juggle. Yeah.

Tiffy (07:08):

I know for myself, I like, I struggle with guilt of like, when I’m paying attention to work, I’m not giving enough attention to the kids. And then vice versa. It’s this constant and push and pull. How do you kind of contend with that guilt or that?

Jennifer (07:25):

I don’t know if I’ve ever, if I’ve been able to get rid of the guilt, you know, like something like I have to do this, I have to work because this all is on our, like not me, but me and my husband, we have to make this business work. Yeah. And I think the best thing that we were able to do, and we’re fortunate to be able to do it is involve our kids in everything we do. So their stuff isn’t, they’re not separate from us. Right. Like not, they do have activities that are appropriate for them. My son does karate and they have school, but versus like throwing them in other places or on a babysitter per se, we kind of like, all right, they’re coming to the gym with us. I know we’re fortunate to do that. Not everybody can just take their kids to work. At least on my end I think it’s great. I believe our members love it. They just run the roost over there. They are very social and I think it’s nice to have them around the gym for our members to have just my kids seem unaffected by all of the heaviness of what’s going on. So for an hour of the day, I think the people that come to our gym to see and hear the laughter of children and just how they are, you know, they’re getting through it. Then all right. So it’s working right now.

Tiffy (08:53):

It’s almost like an extended like family for them, it sounds like.

Jennifer (08:58):

Absolutely. They’ll grab anybody and sit them down the couch in th lobby and read to them. They ride on the sleds all the time. Anytime there’s a sled workout, they’re jumping on somebody’s sled. So I always tell ’em like, you scaled up the weight on that one. And they just, they’re there. And they wanna go. My daughter today, she was like, I wanna go to the gym. I don’t wanna go to school. I was like, well, today’s your first day back in two weeks. You’re going.

Tiffy (09:28):

We’ll get the workout in later.

Jennifer (09:29):

Yeah. We’ll get it in. So it’s been great. And, but again, you’re always like, whew, I need to spend more time. And as a parent, whether you’re mom or a father, you always these early years, not that all the years aren’t, are so precious because they go so quickly. So for me being like, all right, Jen, be present, like, you’re thinking about what’s going on, what I have to get ready for next, listen to them, see them and be here. That’s what I struggle with, making sure that it’s those things that I don’t miss. So.

Tiffy (10:09):

Yeah. Do you find that having kids kind of changed how you relate to your members and to your staff? Like, did it kind of change that or?

Jennifer (10:24):

I think with my members, I guess those that have kids that understand how better, and I think that makes me a better coach, like how important that hour or like, so they don’t have their kids there. In CrossFit it is the best hour of your day, and it’s a moment where you can just let everything out. So you can be the best parent when you leave or just you’re taking care of yourself in that moment. So that means more to me now, I think, especially I crave those times when I can work out now. And it’s like therapy for me, like I have to get in there and move around. So that’s why it’s so important for us to be open, for people to have that space to go. Cause some of our members are locked up at home all day working still, like I just couldn’t wait to get outta the house. And so we are not considered frontline workers or like anything like that, but it’s healthcare. It totally is. So we are so fortunate, but we feel like such a necessity for us to be open and to be there.

Tiffy (11:41):

Has it changed how you prioritize what you’re going to do with your day?

Jennifer (11:49):

Yes. So one of the things that happened for us, so my husband and I we’ve owned our gym for 11 years, which is long time, especially in CrossFit, I think it’s like, a five year life expectancy, three to five or something for a lot of new gyms opening. I think that’s a statistic that I heard. So to be open for 11 years and move twice within that time. So we’re in our third location. Our location we’re in now happened. We had to move. This was right the same week that I gave birth to my second child. And then six months before the whole world turned upside down. So we had a lot going on at one time and I had a difficult, second, well, both of them were difficult, with my second pregnancy. I ended up with postpart preeclampsia.

Jennifer (12:36):

Which was extremely scary and life threatening. Wow. Cause, if it hadn’t been caught or I didn’t have the resources that I had, it could, it would be a very different end to my story. So dealing with all of that and then moving. So, now where, I lost track now? Oh, so what has changed? So what has changed? Before that time, we had a lot more staff and I kind of worked when I wanted to and I was on seminar staff well I still am and traveled weekends, doing seminars when I could, that were local. So I could get home for my son when I just had one at the time, but because of the shutdown and just financially things had to change for us in order to keep the business afloat. My husband and I do most of the coaching. OK. So that is where the juggle comes in. So my husband does the morning shift to afternoon. And then I come in most days we have another coach that helps us out in the afternoons and then I’ll do afternoon to evening. Right. And so I’ve got the kids in the morning. Right. We switch, he takes ’em to school and then he’s got them after school in the afternoon. So I get home in the evening.

Tiffy (13:56):

Do you, so that’s another layer of complexity, cuz this is like you’re running a business with your spouse and it’s almost like you’re doing, it’s like the daycare sort of trade off. And is it hard to connect with your spouse and all of this? Or how do you kind of navigate that?

Jennifer (14:17):

Yeah. It’s tough. We’re on different sleep schedules. So we try, I just had a birthday. Woo. We managed to have a date night, to spend some time together. But, and my husband reminds me of it often because I get easily distracted again, being present in those moments where you around each other to listen, we share podcasts with each other. That’s another way that we have something to talk about. And in the car, we’re traveling with the kids we listen. So we have something to talk about and share one way that we connect and then trying to, sometimes we’re more successful than others schedule those important date nights or time where we can just be together. Right. And we’ve tried to do sometimes more successful with than others. But yeah, what we gotta do right now. And then we also work weekends, teaching CrossFit level one level, two seminars. So he’s traveling this weekend. To where is he going? North Carolina. And he won’t be back till Monday afternoon.

Tiffy (15:23):

Wow. So do you have like family around to help or like how do you do this?

Jennifer (15:31):

Thankfully my husband’s family is in New York, so we get a lot of support from his oldest sister has been tremendously helpful. And then we have members that we’re very close to that are like family that help. So my birthday dinner, one of our members babysat and a lot of, some of them vy for it. They’re like we wanna babysit. The kids are so much fun. I think they have a bigger fan club than we do. Everybody knows them. Yeah. So that helps out tremendously. Otherwise I don’t know how we would do it. My family lives in Virginia and they would love to help more if they could. One of the things that’s been difficult speaking for our parents, my husband’s the youngest, I’m the oldest, but our parents are older now, so it’s hard for them to take on like a full day with a four year old and two year old. Like good for a couple hours. So, it’s hard to like, be like, Hey, we’re gonna leave them with you and go, but they definitely help out however they can.

Tiffy (16:39):

Yeah. And for your kids, from their perspective, what has it been like seeing them growing up in the gym and like, what do you want them to kind of take away from that experience?

Jennifer (16:53):

One of the things, I guess I hadn’t thought about it that way, but what I see happening is and I hope continues to grow their curiosity. And about people, about the spaces that they’re in. Like they’re not afraid, I guess that’s the way that I look at it. And I guess a lot of children aren’t that way or weren’t that way. Now I see kids that are a little bit afraid because everything going on and maybe that’s transferred on to them by their parents. But we encourage them to be fearless, of, you know, everything. So they’ll climb on top of boxes. So they’ll go up and say how hi to a stranger, like just even walking down the street in our neighborhood, they’re like, hi, how you doing to anybody? And people are like, whoa, who is this child?

Jennifer (17:43):

Some adults dunno quite what to make of it. My son is, very outgoing. So that’s something that I hope continues and that we’re gonna continue to foster. And I think being in a supportive community like ours helps. So he’s got more than just two parents. He’s got that village of people who look out for him and right. And, love both of them. But, yeah. So I think that’s the thing that I wanna see for both of them as they continue to grow just their, what is it? People literacy or just in and about themselves as well. Yeah.

Tiffy (18:25):

And they’re also getting a very positive image of like health and fitness and taking care of themselves and seeing you guys take care of yourselves, it must have an impact on them.

Jennifer (18:37):

Oh yes. And the teachers tell us all the time, at least my son, like at school they’ll get like little snacks or something and one of he goes, my son goes to Spanish school once a week. I grew up in Europe. And so I grew up speaking, or being exposed to other languages and cultures and I speak Spanish. My German’s not as great, but I thought it was important from an early age for them to learn. Yeah. So he gos once a week and he was at school and I guess they gave him snacks and the teachers, like, I just wanted to let you know, does Hunter have an allergy or anything? And I was like, no, why? He said, because we gave out, I think they were fruit snacks or something like that. And he said, I’ll eat it, but don’t tell my daddy. And I was like, what? Like, no, no no. It’s because we don’t have it at our house. She’s like I know you guys own a gym. I was like, but he can have it if he’s at school, we don’t want him be a weirdo. But he already knows. This is like when he was like four. Yeah. He’ll tell people that’s a bad sugar.

Tiffy (19:55):

I’m curious like how, like having kids and being an entrepreneur, if you feel that having kids has kind of held back your progress as an entrepreneur or augmented it.

Jennifer (20:11):

Guess depending on where I’m standing each day could be either or the other. Right. In terms of availbility. There’s a lot of logistical things that have to happen for me to like spontaneously go and do something, like have an idea and I’m just gonna start this tomorrow. It might not be tomorrow. So I have to, it’s more planning involved because we have them to like, juggle, like, oh, I wanna do a class in the evening. I’m like, oh, well, how’s that impact dinner? Like bedtime, being home, all those things. Because that’s the time where most of people are at the gym, so yeah. Weekends and things like that. So I guess it just, it depends, but I try not to let it hold me back from pursuing those things that are important to me, going back to, you know, you can’t have it all, but what are those things that are meaningful to you? Right. So, I think it’s important for my kids to see me pursuing those things. So like, mommy, you know, I need to, you know, so they don’t hold back.

Tiffy (21:17):

When you’re kind of filtering out all the noise and identifying what those things you wanna focus on are, how do you do that? And like what are the kind of tactics that you use to kind of narrow in?

Jennifer (21:34):

I’m still working on it. Tiffy, my husband asks me all the time. He’s like, you can’t do everything. Because people ask, I think it was last year. I said, I’m just gonna say yes to everything. I think it was Sean, she’s created a lot of popular TV shows. She’s a African American writer best way to describe her, but producer, Grey’s anatomy. I remember reading an article that either she was interviewed for, or she wrote, and she was talking about, I think she has three daughters and she was just busy all the time. And she’s like, I’m just gonna say yes to everything. Yes to playing with my children. If they ask me, and see where it goes. And then, you know, so I took that and I ran with it.

Jennifer (22:24):

And so my hashtag is yes, coach Jen. And so I was just like, yes, to everything. And then you find out like, whoa, what that leads you down to. So it’s like an initially, is it something intrigues me, is it something that I would be good at? Does it add value to my life versus not? And then there’s like the three things that kind of think about and then how can I juggle it all? And again, some days it doesn’t work out so great. But, and then I’m still trying to weed out things. Cause I’m in classes for my acting, trying to be a good mom and wife plus a good coach and a seminar staff member. So there’s a lot of balls that I’ve got juggling. Yeah.

Jennifer (23:19):

And, just trying to put them like, this is the only time I have to do this and making sure they don’t bleed into one another. I guess that’s the other thing like multitasking, I don’t think works and it doesn’t exist. I think you just have to focus one thing at a time and then that’s it. This is all I have to get done with and then move on to the next thing. I guess it came up from my doctor put it to me this one time, I see a functional medicine doctor. She’s like, yeah. In terms of doing everything you wanna do, you just have to give it a certain amount of time. Like this is as much time as I can spend on this. Right. I work with a nonprofit and we went through a massive rebranding. There was a lot of stuff that I had to do.

Jennifer (24:02):

Then I was like, whoa, this is more than I signed on for. My doctor’s like, no, you need to just set your limits. Right. I wanna help. This is how much time I have. And that’s it. And people will take it or they won’t. Right. And that’s, and you have to be comfortable with that. So I’m trying to do that now with everything that I have, if people are looking at me, when people are asking me to do stuff, if it’s something that I wanna do. Then I’m very selective about what I do. When people ask me, like, we need you to do this. We need to do this. And like, hold on, let me just see what time I have to work with and how that deal with everything else I have to do.

Tiffy (24:41):

Being very intentional and

Jennifer (24:43):

Yeah, yeah, yeah.cause there’s only 24 hours in a day and I already don’t get enough sleep. So I need to like carve out some more for that.

Tiffy (24:54):

I read an interview with you and it was talking about how you were competing and you switched off, like you didn’t go on social media for the whole time because you wanted to be focused. And that really kind of stood out to me. Is that something, is that a practice you employ or like how does kind of the digital world meld into your life and how do you control that?

Jennifer (25:21):

I remember that was the year that I went to the Games as a masters, 2014 and it stressed me out to like kind of see like leaderboards, see where people are. I was like, you know what, what you did is what you did. That’s what you got and how it shakes out at the end. I can’t do anything more than I did. So does it help me psychologically, mentally, emotionally to every week or every day be looking and then seeing other what other people were commenting on? No. So I didn’t even put my scores in. My husband put all my scores. I didn’t deal with it at all. And that was immensely helpful. And I think that helped me get through. Now it’s tough because this age that we’re in, you market yourself, kind of have to be on.

Tiffy (26:09):

The metaverse.

Jennifer (26:12):

Some days you’re like, I just wanna get out and yeah. Everybody knows you can get in. So it’s not like you can’t be like, oh no, you can look. So it’s harder. But I have the one thing that I did do is take Facebook off of my phone. So the only way I have, and I only go in for like groups that I’m in. So some things that I’m in, either acting groups or, I’m taking a course now on, the female athlete, pre and postpartum, which is an amazing course that I’m taking right now. I think they’re a Canadian group actually.

Jennifer (26:57):

But it’s a great course, but they have a Facebook book group that I have to submit weekly assignments on, but I only go in for that right. Go into our community page. And that has helped a lot because I don’t have enough time as it is to be sucked into just like, oh, so and so posted this and then that means something else. And then you’re down a rabbit hole. Do you see like a bulldog on a skateboard? So it’s just it gets crazy. Yeah. Trying to work on that with the Instagram, my husband is better at that. So he got the only thing he can use on his phone is text and email. So that he’s not pulled in, so then you’re intentional. So I have to pull out my laptop yeah. So then when you’re at the stoplight, you’re not like, oh, lemme just see what so and so posted about.

Tiffy (27:53):

I wanted to ask about like your experience with like the pregnancy issues and the preeclampsia and stuff and the postpart depression. Right. And now you’re in this course for pre and postnatal stuff. Do you see yourself heading in that direction in terms of helping your clients with this sort of thing? Or where do you see that heading?

Jennifer (28:19):

I see it as being more of an extension of what I’ve already doing. I started out, let’s see, I’ve been training people for over 20 years now. And when I first started out and this was prior to CrossFit, I distinguished myself as a trainer where I was working by working, not primarily with women, but working with prenatal women. OK. And then during pregnancy. So I took all the courses that there were out there at that time. And there weren’t many, and the information that was out there is very different. The landscape has changed tremendously. I think on my own, and I don’t know how I knew to do it was less conservative than what was out there. Cause at the time it was the American gynecologist, they had like guidelines for how to train pregnant women. It was very conservative.

Tiffy (29:14):

Right. Like no running.

Jennifer (29:17):

You can’t lift over five pounds.

Tiffy (29:23):

Pick up that watermelon for me.

Jennifer (29:26):

Exactly. But I was in the gym and I was with women who were professional marathon runners, those were the people that I was training and I was like, they wanna run. And I was like, well, this is inconsistent. They’ve been doing this for so long. How can I help them manage this at this time safely? So took whatever was out there.and then kind of developed my own kind of thing. And then, you know, I did, I taught Pilates and yoga for years and did Pilates and yoga and incorporated that, I had a class in Colorado. I taught one of my former members, this is like 2007. She’s like, I still remember your pre and postnatal Pilates class cause I allowed the women to bring the babies back. So they could, you know, start to reintegrate themselves into fitness, and it was cute. Cause we had playlists that we play and the babies would respond to some of the music.

Tiffy (30:21):

Well they can hear it all.

Jennifer (30:22):

They can hear it all. They’re like, oh, they must remember. Yeah. And so I guess as time has passed on, and especially because of my experience, it’s a demographic that’s near and dear to my heart. So as the field of training, pre and postnatal, women has grown and developed, and I just wanna seek out more. So the course is geared towards physical therapists. OK. Which I’m not. So I’m learning a lot like, OK, these are things that I may ask my client or member to ask their PT or pelvic floor PT, whoever they go see, and then I can help inform me. And then I will just know more. I feel like my journey as a trainer and a coach is ongoing. I encourage everyone, myself to approach everything like you don’t know. So I’ve never reached like I’ve got it all.

Jennifer (31:17):

No, I’m like, OK, let me learn some more. I’m like, oh, I didn’t think about this. And just and then maybe you don’t not necessarily agree, but just you have the tools to like question and like, does that really make sense? Does this work, can I test and retest? And those are some of the things I’ve learned in the last few years from the courses tha, I’ve taken, don’t be so attached to one particular track or dogma or like no, each person is different. You, approach it from a place of care and wanting to truly help them and you’ll find what’s the best solution for them. So I think that’s how I approach not only training my pre and postnatal clientele, but just all of my clients. Serve you as the individual, within a group because we do group training. Also do individual training.

Tiffy (32:09):

Sounds like you’re taking like your own life experiences too. And allowing them to inform how you respond to people and how you see like perceive their journey too.

Jennifer (32:24):

Yeah. It’s interesting. One of the reasons why we got into group training is you can do more at one time versus I did one on one for years. It was exhausting, like eight hours of like one person at a time, but you still have to create that same environment within a group. And so how can you do that? And it takes time and patience is like juggling. That’s why we always recommend you start with one person at a time before you have a group of 15. Cause you just can’t do that effectively. So I think those trainers that are able to do that or coaches gradually do that and create that individual within the group setting, will get the best results for the people that are working with them.

Tiffy (33:09):

And I also like that you have a theater background too. Does that must play into like, especially the group dynamic.

Jennifer (33:19):

Oh, so much. My jam back in the day was called butts and guts. That was the most popular class that I taught. I was like, what? It’s just lunges and sit-ups but with the right music and the good corny jokes, like it was the best 45 minutes of their day. Yeah. And people reach out to me like I miss your class, I used to have a class called pump and jump, and I am not afraid to be silly. I fully commit to my silliness and my corny jokes. And I layer that on with like also being a good coach. Right. And I think that provides the levity that’s needed cuz people wanna have fun, but they wanna go after their fitness goals too. So it definitely helps.

Tiffy (34:06):

Mike had a question for you, like, you’re a functional fitness role model essentially. And we’ve heard a lot from people who are critical of women with muscle, have you had to deal with that crowd? And what would you say to ou say to women who have had run-ins with ignorant people?

Jennifer (34:33):

I’ve had that. OK. So answer your question. Women with muscles or being very muscular. I’ve dealt with it my whole life. They’ll say a lot of times I’ve heard this. I don’t wanna look, you know, be fit or build muscle. I don’t wanna look like you. My response, no problem. It won’t happen. It takes a lot of hard work for that to happen. And for people I actually it would be interesting to see, I did an episode of what would you do? It’s on US television, but it’s a show hosted by John Keone. It was on fit shaming. So it was, I think it’s on YouTube where you still find it, but I was exercising for like eight hours outside. Right. And, the setup of the show is there are actors that tried to get other people to say something about the person the episode’s about.

Jennifer (35:27):

So random people walking by and these two other actors would go by and try to say, look at that, look how musclely she is, that’s gross. And try to get a response from the people agreeing with them or not agreeing. Right. And it was interesting because I would say like 99% of the people were like, leave her alone. So it’s great. Or like, maybe that’s not what I’m into, but let her do her thing. Right. Which very, like, not that I was shocked, but it warmed my heart to know that people defended me like that. And I think now with when, I mean, I consider myself a mature, experienced woman at my age, but when I started out like 20 some years ago, there weren’t a lot of women that looked as muscular as me, even in CrossFit when I was competing, people were like wow, she’s jaked.

Jennifer (36:21):

I had a six pack. And I thought something was wrong with my stomach. Cause I didn’t see any women that had that definition. This is when I was in college. Yeah. And I didn’t like it. I would like cover it up and now cause like every, you know, people walk around outside to go buy groceries with their shirt off, but so I had to deal with it. And it was, I went from being kind of embarrassed by it to now it’s a source of pride for me. It’s like, I work very hard to have a strong body that allowed me to survive mentally and physically the hard deliveries that I had. And if I did not have this strong body that forged a strong mind, I would not have gotten through it. I don’t think so. So like that hard, and it doesn’t always translate into muscles. I don’t want anybody to think, like I have to have muscle to be strong, but just that, pursuit of fitness and working hard in the gym or whatever you choose to do to be your or outlet for fitness, it by doing so develops your mind to be like a little bit more resilient, a little bit tougher.

Tiffy (37:32):

Do you think some of that confidence has come with age or maybe the experience of becoming a mom kind of built that up?

Jennifer (37:41):

I think both cause motherhood and age happen at the same time yes. So it’s like, ah, like I don’t give a shit anymore. And not to be joke about it too much, but say women say like, oh, you’re so muscular. That’s unattractive. I think now we have great role models that exist out there, aside from me, Serena Williams, Simone Biles that are muscular and beautiful and I think are showing a different narrative. So we don’t have to, and there others as well, those are the two that come to mind that I look up to and be like, yeah, I’m like a mini Serena Williams.

Tiffy (38:25):

You have a daughter? A son and a daughter. So what is your hope for her when she becomes an adult and what she’s capable of doing? What do you want her to know?

Jennifer (38:35):

I just want her to be strong, which she already is, she’s always saying like, feel my muscles, but she’s holding her arm, I’m like, you’re not flexing anything or contracting. And she’s like, I’m working out and she calls herself wonder woman. We were both wonder woman for Halloween and she has a wonder woman jacket. And the other day she insisted that I not call her by her name, but her name was wonder woman. So I hope she keeps that. And I tell her you can do anything. She’s like, I am strong. And so we do like little, I do little affirmations with the kids so not to give them a false sense or to raise their confidence artificially, but for them to believe it.

Jennifer (39:24):

So they know that they are, they’re capable and we make them do things for themselves. They’re foreign too. But they’re very resourceful.

Tiffy (39:34):

They can do a lot.

Jennifer (39:37):

Oh yes. They’ve figured out how to get what they want. If we’re not moving fast enough, they find chairs and things and boxes and put them on top of it and they get I’m like, where did you get that? My son does muscle-ups into the refrigerator to get what he wants. So I’m like, OK, he’s gonna be all right. As long as they don’t figure out how to drive, not yet. But that’s what I want for her. Just to be a resilient, young woman to not be beholden to labels, whatever they may be. And just be herself fully, unapologetically like her mama.

Tiffy (40:18):

I could talk to you all day.

Jennifer (40:22):

I know. I thought like, oh, we’ll talk for half hour, but I could talk forever.

Tiffy (40:26):

I appreciate you coming on with me today and chatting about this stuff. It’s been a real pleasure.

Jennifer (40:38):

Same here. Same here. I hope I answered your questions well, or like, you know, I’m somebody who’s still trying to figure it all out, Tiffy. And I think that’s everybody, anybody says they know all the answers, they lyin’.

Tiffy (40:50):

Well, thank you very much, Jen.

Jennifer (41:05):

Well, thank you. Give my best to Mike. One day, hopefully I’ll see you in person.

Tiffy (41:10):

That would be amazing.

Jennifer (41:13):

Stay safe and be well and I enjoyed it very much.

Tiffy (41:18):

Take care.

Tiffy (41:22):

You’ve been listening to the Women In Fitness Business podcast and I’m Tiffy Thompson. If you like what you heard today, subscribe for more. Thanks for tuning in.


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Women in Fitness Business is Tiffy Thompson’s deep dive into the industry from the female perspective.It’s a spotlight on the great work of the women who know working out.

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