Hello Friends…today I wanted to share with you an interview with a friend and huge motivator of mine! I love fitness and Jenn has played a huge role in helping me reach my goals, enjoy fitness, get out of my comfort zone and truly believe that I can do it!! I worked with Jenn as a student and colleague for 3 months last year and absorbed as much of her energy and knowledge as I could! She was very patient and so generous with her time and information! Because of the difference she made in my life, I decide that along with my nutrition studies, I would focus on fitness coaching in hopes to teach other women how to feel amazing!! Jenn is one of the best so I hope you enjoy this short interview and please leave feedback so she will visit us again!
A. Hello Everyone! My name is Jennifer Ricupero and I am currently the Athletic Facility Director at the Fort Orange Club in Albany, NY. I have been teaching and educating others on fitness and wellness for 11 years now. I started in college and have been lucky enough to have fate blow me down a path where I have been able to teach fitness to so many wonderful people; men and women, young and young at heart, and of course to MJ at Green Mountain at Fox Run! I am currently AFAA certified and continue to learn more and more as my path continues forward.
Q. I know one of the reasons I am a huge fan of yours is because you inspired me when I was feeling overwhelmed with getting back in shape again. Can you please share with us what you would suggest to someone that has been out of shape for awhile and wants to start incorporating fitness into their lives?
A. There is something to be said about Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”. So many of us are very good at making excuses; I’ll start when I lose 10 more pounds, I’ll make it me New Year’s Resolution, It’s too hot/cold/rainy/snowy out. We have all made those excuses, but we need to realize that we are only given one life and if we don’t start finding the balance in ours right now; proper nutrition, regular exercise, and peace within us, then it will be a short and unpleasant one. A helpful thing to remember is that exercise is a part of a daily routine that as with anything new to our routine, will take time to truly enjoy. But the more you add small amounts into your daily routine, the easier it will be to motivate yourself. It will be hard at first, so start with 10-15 minutes of walking after one meal, then add it to another meal, and hopefully your body start to crave movement after mealsJ Fitness is comprised of three components; flexibility, strength, and cardio. Try stretching every morning and night and enjoy the joint and mental benefits of relaxation.
Q. Of course everyone is in a rush once they make that decision to get moving, we all want results yesterday ( haha). I hear from many women that they just aren’t seeing the results. But I ask well what results are you measuring? What are some key things women should track other than weight to truly measure their progress.
A. I always try to listen to what each woman or man is trying to tell me when they give me their fitness goals. When someone tells me they want to lose 10 lbs., what is the reasoning behind that? Is it truly to lose 10 lbs? Or would they be happy knowing that their cholesterol numbers were down, or that their blood pressure numbers are finally within normal limits, or maybe they find themselves feeling more energetic? Is it really the 10 lbs. that will make the difference? Or do some of these other things sound good to you? If someone is stuck on using numbers as a guide, I would suggest using circumference measurements instead of weight, and remember that muscle will add to these numbers potentially at first, only to replace what was fat before, so stick with it and get ready to work towards lowering the amount of fat versus muscle on your body first. I also like to use lung capacity as a guide. Notice how much you might struggle to breathe that first few times around the block, or on the treadmill, but keep on it, and you will start to find yourself breathing better, recovering your breath quicker when you stop, and maybe even singing some songs while you exercise! Who wouldn’t want to breathe better? We always said at GMFR, has the scale helped in the past? Did it keep you motivated? Did the results stick? If you answered no to these questions, start trying a new way to manage your expectations.
Q. I have learned so much from you in making fitness fun. You teach an awesome Zumba class and fill a room with energy every time you enter for any class you teach! I have learned to surround myself with energetic people to help keep me motivated. What are some suggestions you have to help women stay on track with their fitness goals.
A. MJ, it is so true that when we find ourselves surrounded by people who share the same desires to live a healthy life and stay fit, you will start having more fun. When you find your “support group” learn what you can from each of them and talk honestly about your “hiccups” along the way. Obstacles arise and when you can chat with a fitness friend who might be going through the same thing, you can conquer it together, rather than feeling lost and alone again. If you don’t like gyms, then find something that you used to or do love doing, and get around people that enjoy that as well. People who go to gyms, have to find some enjoyment in them, or else they would quit. There are hiking, biking, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing clubs in almost every state. Recreation Fitness has helped many people find the fun that they had been missing.
Q. And of course the dreaded PLATEAU…ugh! You really helped me overcome some plateaus (thankfully)! What is your best advice for someone that has hit a wall and is struggling to figure out what next?
A. Exercise plateaus will come, so dig deep and know that hard work and dedication has brought you so many positive things with other goals in your life that you have strived for, and exercise is no different, keep fighting and you will win! And if all else fails, try something new! You never know what will kick you back on track! There is a principle called the FITM principle that might help as well. It stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time and Mode. Change one of these at a time when you feel like you have become “stuck”. I am sure MJ can elaborate more on this topic, but even the most extreme athletes have to use this principle to continue towards their goals.
Jenn- thank you so much for your time and motivation! You helped me on my journey to discovering how to truly live a life filled with fun fitness! I can still hear your voice telling me to ‘shake my vava’! thank you for being such an awesome motivator and inspiration for us all! I look forward to a live interview once I can figure out how to do that on this blog. But if anyone wants to reach you for personal training, motivation etc. how can they reach you.
Thank you MJ! I am currently teaching and training at a private club, but I am working towards opening a recreational fitness retreat in the Adirondacks. I love talking fitness, as MJ knows, so if you ever have a question or comment, feel free to friend and contact me via facebook…and just remember that fitness is meant to be fun, find yours today!
Look for more articles and blog posts by Jenn and we will keep you posted on her upcoming events, retreats!!
|About the Author Jennifer Ricupero
I have been teaching and training others in the fitness industry for 11 years. I started teaching aerobics in college at the age of 18 and thankfully found my passion right then and there to help others enjoy fitness and make it fun! I have been an internship coordinator for 4 different businesses, and loved every moment helping new instructors come out of their shell and find their passion for fitness. Teaching hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing to women and men are hobbies of mine. I will take any fitness class outdoors to enjoy the wonderful nature that surrounds us wherever we live, you just have to be willing to look deeper. Kickboxing and Zumba suit my style, but I continue to challenge myself by embracing yoga into my life. I currently train at a private social club in Albany, NY, helping those that are under high stress and long work hours in the city embrace the right kind of fitness that fits their life now and that will become part of their new healthy life to come. Laughter has always been my favorite thing to have around when I teach or train. Don’t forget to have fun!
BS Recreation and Leisure Management from SUNY Brockport
MS Leisure Studies Education from Boston University
AFAA Primary and Kickboxing Certifiied