Hi, I'm Jenny.
I'm a 2nd generation bodybuilder and proud of it. My mom was the 1st and has always been my biggest inspiration.
She and I have always the best of friends. I've turned to her for everything - from every new love to every break-up, for every success and for every disappointment. My mom and I have been extremely close for as long as I can remember. And she was and still is my idol. We are close. By the way I'm happy to say I've now been married for 25 years and have two amazing boys - Dakota (16) and Zane (8). So now usually my sob/venting stories revolve around me. just. being. tired. "Mom" stuff.
My mom's love affair with fitness started early on - as a child I remember her speed walking the block with a group of friends, toting my younger sister Heidi around on the back seat of a bike, and then later getting in to Jazzercize.
By the time I entered high school, she was not only weight training in the local gym, but she was competing wearing next to nothing, performing short routines on stage, as a bodybuilder. At that time, women's bodybuilding was new, and she was an early adapter.
Though she doesn't compete anymore, fitness is still a big part of her life. As she got on in years she switched that passion from the gym to skiing, to cardio at home, and finally...golf. Still.
Now me. I took my health for granted during my 20's and 30's. As a teen I was active in limited sports, but being a teenager, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. I married at 20 and pretty much all activity came to a halt, but my eating didn't. I ballooned up and by the time I was in my late 30's I was at my heaviest weight. I'll save most the details here because I've written about it in my fitness blog on www.jen-fits-playground.com, but I will say that when I finally decided to once and for all turn my life around, a great deal of my inspiration came from my mom. At 37 I was my heaviest. My mom on the other hand was beginning her bodybuilding journey before she even hit 40.
10 years ago I jumped in to fitness feet first. I immersed myself in it. I have had the pleasure of experiencing so much since that time - from running the Boston Marathon 2x, the New York marathon 1x, several other marathons, half marathons, and shorter distance races. I finished my first Spartan, got hooked, and completed my Trifecta at the World Championships just last year. I've completed a half dozen or so obstacle races and sprint triathlons. I became a CrossFit Level-1 and Endurance coach.
And I'm a bodybuilder. I know. Two extremes. But it's my reality. I started in figure, competed just shy of 10 times and then transitioned in to Women's Physique. I most recently competed in Pittsburgh Nationals where I placed middle of the pack for the two Masters classes I entered. I'm getting up there in years.
I've also had the opportunity to write for several national fitness magazines, sites, and have been an active brand ambassador for dozens of local, national, and international companies (ie Asics, Under Armour, Fitbit, Timex, and Lorna Jane just to name a few).
I got in to social media early on and grew All Things Fitness for Gals to over 125,000 organically. I branched off of FB and started IG under Momma_Gal and have grown it too to more than 32,000. I am an open book, raw, real, and transparent, and I feel that is why women connect with me.
I've co-hosted a 3-month national radio talk show specifically on weight-loss, women's issues, and my personal transformation.
I've been a guest speaker for groups ranging from a handful to hundreds.
I've authored an oatmeal cookbook.
I've helped coached literally hundreds of women from all over the globe on every female issue you could imagine.
I've also had the pleasure of judging Utah NPC bodybuilding shows for the last 5 years.
Why do I share this all with you?
To make a point. If you take some time to read my story on my blog, you'll learn that at 37 I really thought my best years were behind me. I'd given up. I thought I was too old to make a change, to make a difference, to allow myself to dream, and to do the things I am doing now.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
I have learned that I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to.
And so much of it stems from the bravery my mom exuded during her bodybuilding years. She did what no one did back then, and she did it well. She was strong, confident, and oh so courageous. As a teenager how could I not notice? I had so much admiration for her.
So that brings me now to She Gear and how it started.
One year ago I was sitting in the Halloween costume store when I got a call from my dad. We'd barely been home from Hawaii for a month. It was the last trip we would take together as an extended family - care free.
I learned my mom had "has" stage 4 lung cancer. Terminal.
My mom. My idol. My role model. The epitome of clean eating before it was a fad and the long-time fitness fanatic.
I learned that day she had tumors on her lung, in her glute, and on her back. And it was growing.
That was a year ago. So much has happened since that time. So much. Our emotions as a family have been through the ringer, but we are now in a place where we are living day to day, moment to moment, and from infusion to infusion. Chemo no longer works. They stopped radiation. But for now, the clinical trial is slowing the cancer down.
Remember how I mentioned my mom and I are close? Well, the news nearly broke me. And I consider myself strong. I went in to a really dark place for awhile. I made some poor choices. I closed myself off. I didn't want to have to talk or see anyone. I didn't want to explain, and I didn't want to smile. I just wanted to bury myself away in my tears and pretend it wasn't happening. I couldn't lose my mom. She was my best friend.
I've learned that life is precious. It's short. It's unpredictable. There are no guarantees. You. Just. Don't. Know. What. Will. Happen.
I'm now trying to be more in the moment, more observant, and fill my time with things of meaning. Things that will matter. Things of significance.
A few months ago I ran an idea by my mom. I was merely talking out loud. Nothing more. A couple of days later she brought it back up and told me I should do it. She encouraged me to do it.
She didn't need to say anything more.
That thought. That idea. That conversation. It was the start of She Lifts Gear, and I can tell you, I know it was meant to be. I can feel it. Nothing has EVER felt more right. Ever. It's a chance for mom and I to be connected every day. It's our story. It's our combined passion. It's our little tiny way of leaving OUR mark.
And when that unfortunate day comes that I no longer have my best friend, I'll still have her here. Because though I'm running She Lifts Gear, I think of her with every product I package, every note I write, and every message I reply to. This is about her story. Our story. Our legacy. And creating products that every single one of us SHE athletes would be proud to wear.
I am BIG on community. Inclusivity. Empowerment. Kind words. Good vibes. And paying it forward. In a world where everyone is trying to get ahead at the cost of someone else (whether it be something as simple as a mean comment on social media or a business deal gone bad), She Gear is built on the premise that we can all succeed, we can lift one another up, we can be empowered, we can be proud, and we can do it together.
And together as we sport the apparel now and the future products in the works, we can know that we are making a difference because She Gear is also about giving back. 5% of every sale goes to the Dream Foundation. It's a charity that makes dreams reality for adults who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. We all have dreams.
So that, in a very long and detailed nutshell, is OUR STORY. That's how She Gear came to be.
I hope you enjoy the gear. Wear it proud. You are making a difference. We all are. And stay tuned. There are so many exciting products in the works.
By the way, if you have a story you'd like to share, please email me. I'd love to read it. Send me pictures of those who inspire you. From your story.
Thank you again, "She-Lifter". I'm so grateful for you.