Tag Archives: Flywheel Charlotte

Welcome Back Jen

I promised I would get more consistent on the blog, so here I am.  I am still working on updating the subsequent tabs of the site, but the main thing is – I AM POSTING.  I thought it would be good to reintroduce myself.  What I have been doing over the past two years and what people are reading a lot of on my blog.


This is me Jen D.  Jenny D.  Jen Duf.  In my former life, I was a college pole vaulter at Virginia Tech.  I moved to Charlotte after getting a graduate degree in Accounting.  I passed my CPA exam and went to work for a large accounting firm before I realized for me to have babies, I physically had to be around my husband.  I traveled for work most weeks Monday through Thursday.  While on the road, maintaining my fitness was extremely difficult.


As good as corporate America thinks they are at maintaining “wellness” programs for their employees, they are failing.  There is no such thing as work life balance.  I have learned it is all a counter balance.  You simply cannot balance it all.  I left public accounting the week before my wedding.  I started my new job in industry (a 40 hour a week in town job) the Monday after my honeymoon.  I also started my career in fitness a few months later when I joined the Flywheel team.


photo 3-140

My second pregnancy at 23 Weeks.

Long story short, I found out once I was physically in town, getting pregnant wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  I began hormones to get a normal period before taking Clomid to conceive my first child.  I started my blog in private while I was pregnant with my first child.  I shared with close friends and family once a week.  Each week, someone else wanted to be added to the list. Eventually, I made it public.


During my second pregnancy, you really got to see the full story.  My first trimester, I suffered a subchorionic hematoma and didn’t leave my couch much for 2 weeks.  We slowly watched the hematoma disappear as the burden of miscarriage passed.  My daughter Morgan is a blessing. To this day her infectious smile shows the joy that she has for life.


I left full time work to be a mom.  I passed my personal trainer certification.  I started a new hustle. To get started in personal training, I did a few things to learn:

  • I worked at the YMCA for an hourly wage.
  • I taught bootcamps at SmartCore Fitness.
  • I visited everything.
  • I started training myself for various events. Played around with methodologies.
  • I formed Cross Conditioning.
  • I continued to seek out the people that are the best at what they do (and people did’t know them yet).
  • I ALWAYS ask for feedback.  Trust me, you can always get better.


Through documenting it all, I learned a bunch of cool things, which I will share, but before I do, let me share where I am at now.


  1. I have three little girls – My angels.  If I can teach these girls anything, it’s how to love themselves.  Be proud.  Work hard.  Treat everyone the same.  If you train with me, you have likely seen them, met them or been entertained by them.
  2. Cross Conditioning is still going strong – I guess I should start posting again on the Instagram site.  You see, what happened is, after I had my third daughter, I decided that my core group would stay my core group with less workouts per month.  No longer would this be an obstacle race training group, but rather a group centered around intentional planned workouts each week both in person and on your own.  I will now admit that running plays a big part in that.   We still meet regularly.  We still compete.  I simply haven’t had a need to market it.


3.  My personal training business has significantly grown. Both in person and through programming.  Most people need guidance when it comes to exercise.  It isn’t natural to them.  The thought of getting to a gym, figuring out what to do and executing is overwhelming.  I literally spend hours a month doing that for people.  When will you be out of town? Where do you like to workout?  What are your goals?  There is a way to do it.  Most importantly, I hold you accountable through human interaction.

4.  I co-founded a pop up fitness company called EMERGE – Let’s face it, exercise is not in a great place to the mass.  Some trainers are fueled by the appearance of big numbers over the quality of instruction and execution.  Through EMERGE, five fitness gurus in Charlotte look to come together to bridge that gap.  How do you execute effectively, giving participants a safe workout, while also feeling the energy of a big group?  In a few pop up events a month, we give that to you.  Check it out.


5. I’m still teaching Flywheel. If you know me, I would do any workout that I would give a client.  I am still a hardcore believer in the Flywheel ride in regards to cross training and low impact exercise.  If fulfills a gap that other brands cannot hit.  I also feel the value in being able to provide my clients with that service when I am in the studio. I’m pretty limited to early mornings, but you can catch me subbing in the evening windows once every other month or so.


6. I am still running a lot.  I love competing.  I don’t chase people.  I know what I want to do and I try to execute it. I don’t make excuses.  I can only learn from each experience.   I want my people to do the same thing.  The next two races on my calendar are the Orthhcarolina 10K and Around the Crown 10K.  Join me for one or both.  I will also be competing in Beers and Burpees in September.


Grand scheme of things, I’m present.  I love what I do.  Sometimes I’m too much of a people pleaser.  I want everyone to be happy.  I am learning though. I am getting tougher.  what are people reading on my blog these days:

  • A lot about pregnancy – specifically, pregnancy on a bachelorette, my hematoma, postpartum and my weekly logs.
  • ARUBA – my husband and I went on this amazing vacation to Aruba after the birth of my first daughter.  I posted a lot of good tips on Aruba.  Eats, drinks, activities. I also posted a workout on the beach!
  • Race Recaps – obstacle racing, run racing, you name it.  People want to hear about the course and how tos on hydration, obstacles and time.

What have I learned from all of this:

  • Small groups are the best groups.  I love a big crowd.  It looks cool right?  I build long term clients in intimate situations though.  Small groups.  I like talking to people.  I like helping people.  I want to see people feel good about themselves and feel acknowledged.
  • Everything is not what it appears.  Don’t read too much into someone’s social. I know a ton of fitness professionals that are killing the game and never get on Instagram.
  • The fitness hustle is real.  I talk about this a lot.  Most fitness professionals are not set up for retirement.  Hi millennials.  When you decide to pursue your passion understand this, do you want to be teaching cycle classes when you are 60 because you didn’t save money when you were younger?  While all of your friends are retired what will be cool then?  Take a good hard look at that when deciding to go into a profession that doesn’t have insurance, benefits, retirement.  This is my CPA side talking.  Did I tell you I like to help people?

I hope this was an easy to read version of what’s good for my new peeps.  Sorry to reiterate if you already know me.  Like something you read?  Contact me!


Love, love, love.  Jen



I Need Your Help

Through my blog, I let my readers follow me through my process of getting pregnant, having a child, losing baby weight and using an end goal to get me there.  At the beginning of summer 2015, my husband challenged me to sign up for my first Spartan Race in Asheville, NC.  I signed up with the end goal being that through the training I would lose the last little bit of baby weight that I had left and in turn have a finish line to strive for.  The transformation both physically and mentally was unprecedented.


I put in hours of work in my home gym (strength training),  cross training on the bike at Flywheel Sports, performing high intensity core conditioning workouts at SmartCore Fitness and doing runs in the local neighborhoods.  I definitely did it the hard way.  I did it alone.  I planned it myself.  I had to really dig deep to motivate myself on days that I really just didn’t feel like doing something.  When I stood at the start line on the day of the race, I was in the best shape that I have been in since college.  I felt confident in my post-baby body.  When I crossed the finish line I felt empowered.  Everything about the experience was so incredible that even with a dislocated shoulder, I would do it all over again.


I want everyone to be able to put themselves in my shoes that day.  While our goals might vary, I want everyone to have the chance to set a physical goal and in turn be completely surprised by the mental empowerment that follows.  I have thought long and hard about how I want to do this, and I think I have a plan.  Before I put my heart and soul into developing a program that will help others reach their full potential, I want to make sure that there is enough interest and that people are ready to take on the challenge. 


That said, I am taking this huge step to do something that just hasn’t been done in Charlotte in the fitness industry.  Through a twelve week program set to start the first week in January, I would offer participants two at home workouts per week, one SmartCore Fitness high intensity core conditioning circuit per week, one group track workout per week, and one Crossfit Mecklenburg workout per week.  Five days of work (two of which are flexible since they are at home/gym) and two days recovery.


On top of the workouts, I’m talking one group trail run/walk per month.  Let’s start at Renaissance Park in January, build to Whitewater Center in February, and finish at Crowder’s Mountain in March.  Let’s do this together.  I am in the process of getting a nutritionist to perform a session on fueling while working out, having a mobility/stretch session and a photographer/videographer in place to document this incredible experience.  I want you to be able to look back and say, “Damn, I did that, and it was epic.”


The 12 week program would end in hopes that participants would be prepared to compete in the Charlotte Sprint Spartan Race in April.  However, this is NOT a requirement.  Here are my requirements – be at group workouts, set goals, bring a bad ass attitude, build self efficacy (you can do anything), be better humans.  In a time when the fitness industry is driving so far apart, I want to bring it back together.  Push, what I would consider some of the best workouts in Charlotte, together to make some incredible functional athletes of ALL abilities. Think about it.  I need to know.  Should I do this?

Getting Motivated & Spreading the Message

If you have seen me in the past week, you have probably heard me talking about (or really complaining about) this acute pain in my shoulder.  I have had no issues with rotation, but if I move my arm just right, I get a sharp pain in the area where my shoulder and the top of my arm bone meet.  With everything I have going on, I don’t really have much time to mess with something serious.  That said, I went to get it checked out.  Well, verdict is in.  There is good and bad news.

IMG_6788Remember that Spartan Race I did?  Did you read the details of each obstacle in my write up of my race?  Click here, if not.  When I mention the bails of hay and jumping over them, I talk about how I’m pretty sure something got popped out of place for a second.  It didn’t seem like an issue the rest of the race and even into my training post race.  However, it took several weeks for me to figure out that there was more damage than I thought.  In my examination, I found out that one of two things happened:  One, it dislocated and popped back into place or, two, I experienced shoulder subluxation (it partially separated).  Either way, I experienced joint damage.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  I should be back on track with training in the next week or two.


I am extremely happy that I took the steps to have it checked out.  I hate to see doctors.  I have a high tolerance for pain, but I know my body well enough to know that something wasn’t right (and wasn’t going to fix itself on its own).  When an injury starts to affect my functionality (i.e. taking care of my little girls), I have got to take a step back.  Spartan World Championships are this weekend.  Maybe next year I will be there?  Hey! you have to set your goals high.

IMG_7112Injury and all, I haven’t slowed down at Flywheel and networking with fitness professionals all over the city.  The bike is one place my shoulder is extremely safe and impact is limited.  I will be doing a lot more running and riding the next week or two.  Flywheel master instructor, Jenna Bertram, and I kicked off the week with a power hour dual ride.  Two instructors, one ride.  What a blast!  I can’t wait to do it again.

IMG_7110I stopped by Crossfit Mecklenburg to check out the facility and chat with owner Brendan McNierney.  I was impressed.  A good friend of mine has been trying to convince me to do a Crossfit workout with her.  I have been hesitant.  Seeing people do multiple overhead shoulder exercises takes me back to the weight room in college.  Somewhere I don’t really see myself going back to.  In just a short conversation with McNierney I understood what drives people to his facility.  He gets the exercises he is coaching.  He knows modifications.  He has people’s safety in mind.  In my experience this is lacking in some of the Crossfit gyms that I have been to. We swapped ideas for Spartan training and talked about the fitness industry in Charlotte.  If you have not checked out a session with Brendan, or you want to try Crossfit, I suggest you start here.

IMG_7150The rest of my week was filled with all things getting my message out there.  What is my message? Well it starts with taking care of yourself.  I started this blog with the intention that I would share easy, quick healthy recipes and workouts that were geared towards the busy individual.  We all have a lot going on in our lives in our own ways.  Sacrificing our health is not really an option.

IMG_7170On Wednesday, SmartCore Fitness was on the Charlotte Today show talking about easy exercises that can be done at home spending little to no money.  It only takes 10 minutes a few times a day.  A little adds up to a lot.  Start simple and then progress.  Starting too strong will only lead to setback and possibly injury.  Exercise releases endorphins that make our moods better (ultimately making our relationships better).

IMG_7135-1I spent Monday and Wednesday afternoon coaching a Girls on the Run team.  As they completed laps around the track, we asked them to write down something they were feeling or something that they had gotten out of our lesson for the day.  See paper above.  Isn’t that incredible?  These young girls are so inspiring.  In just ten minutes of running, their moods were so positive.  In a world where bullying is common as early as elementary school, these girls are building each other’s confidence.

IMG_7156Being flexible with my own workouts has translated into my actual day to day activities.  With two children under the age of two, every day is different.  Trying to make them happy or, more so, compromising with them for the best solution for both parties can be difficult.  Hence, why our jogger ended up in the living room one afternoon this week.  She didn’t want to take a nap on the couch or her bed.  This works as good as anything.  Once I accepted the fact that some of my workout time could and would be interrupted, I was able to accept that in my daily life activities.  Nothing goes as planned.  If it does, well, hell yea!

IMG_7139Shoulder injury or not, I am going to keep up my exercise routine.  I am cleared to do several of my regular activities.  Since running is such a big piece of any race, and frankly, I need to work on my run, I am going to use this time to hit the pavement.  Everything happens for a reason they say.  I guess it made sense that I would pick up my running when, Mizuno, of all companies contacted me through one my fitness ambassadorships to review a pair of their new running sneakers.  I was pumped when these beauties arrived on my doorstep – Mizuno Wave Inspire 12.

IMG_7155I’m going to be talking about them a lot.  I love them.  Not just because they were free.  They are super light weight, but afford so much extra support.  I need that.  I naturally pronate when I run.  I run on my toes.  I ran a marathon on my toes.  I need all of the support in the entire front and side of my shoe that I can get (without weighing me down).  First run in the new kicks?  Nice and easy 4.5 miles.  It’s all about getting out there.  In under forty minutes, I got a relaxing workout in and felt ready for the rest of my day.

IMG_7175I realize that I can kind of be intimidating.  You might be thinking, exercise is easy for me because I do it for my job.  It’s quite the opposite.  Outside of Flywheel, my own workouts have to come on my own time.  Training and running around with two kids is exhausting.  It leaves me with little energy by the end of the day.  That is why I choose to do my workouts early in the morning.  It sets the tone for the rest of my day.  Let me reiterate, most days I only have time for 30 – 45 minutes of exercise.  That’s it.  Let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things that is a tiny piece of our day.  My point is.  A lot of the issues that we experience as we age, could be avoided by a small life change.  If you have any questions, please ask me!  Better yet – check out a high intensity core conditioning session at SmartCore Fitness or a indoor cycling class at Flywheel!

Survival Mode

I’m just going to go ahead and throw it out there.  Single moms are incredible.  Thankfully, my husband only travels for work for more than a few nights a week, every once awhile.  It’s during these times that I am reminded how much he actually does (and how good an hour break from kids in the evening feels).  Sure I have a sitter that comes over a few days a week, but when she is here, I go to work.  I would love to use that time to get a pedicure or stroll through the mall.  It’s really not the break that you are thinking of.

IMG_7035-1Let me pick up where I left off last week.  I turned 31!  What?!  I am for real in my thirties now.  There is no border line.  Incredibly, I feel like I’m still in my twenties.  That won’t ever change will it?  My husband and I did not do anything on my actual birthday, however, we did go out the following weekend for dinner at Napa on Providence.  We had our rehearsal dinner there when it was Providence Cafe.  We hadn’t been back since.  Whoa!  We were missing out.  See my meal above.  I was all set to order fish when I did my pre-dinner scan of the menu online.  I ended up getting this ridiculous beef tenderloin.  Red wine anyone?  Incredible.  We will be back.

IMG_7033-1We topped off birthday week with donuts from new kid on the block – Duck Donuts.  I had no idea what to expect when I opened the doors to this franchise.  MTO.  Made To Order.  Wait.  I was put on the spot big time.  Who knew?  The cinnamon sugar donut was a no brainer.  In my hesitation, I ordered the daily special as my other selection.  Reeses.  Spot on.  The special deal here is $4 for two donuts and coffee.  I can dig that.  I just hope that they can get enough people to stay open at that price!

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 7.24.20 PMLet’s be serious though.  I can afford to eat bad sometimes because I do take my workouts seriously.  This week was no exception.  I have been trying to sub at Flywheel Charlotte all over the place.  I have been gone a lot.  People have been covering for me.  I am working to return the favor.  That said, Monday morning I picked up an additional class on top of my (now regular) 10:45 AM class.  Loved the group.  See playlist above.

IMG_7061On Monday, Girls on the Run officially kicked off its Fall 2015 season.  I was there.  While I am only an assistant coach this year, I already feel so much camaraderie between the girls on just the first day.  I actually brought a sitter with my girls to the practice.  They were not in plain sight, but at least my girls had a chance to spend some time outdoors on the playground (instead of cramped up in the house).  1 week down.  9 to go.  I am so excited to be a part of this organization.  It is important for me to give back so much of what running (and fitness, in general) have given to me.  I hope that these girls find a friend and/or a role model in spending time with me.  Times have changed.  I know how hard getting through school was when I was there.  I’m sure it hasn’t gotten easier.


Y’all, I taught at Flywheel Thursday – Monday.  I doubled three out of five of those days.  By Tuesday, I was ready to throw around some heavy weights.  Not literally, but I wanted (and needed) to pick up something heavy.  I once saw a quote that said, “Nothing is more functional than carrying around heavy s*it.”  I agree with parts of that statement.  Feeling physically strong is empowering.  I did a modified Spartan Training workout.  See below.  It took every bit of one hour.  I used the new sled that my husband got me for my birthday.


  • Burpee Pull up x 10
  • Wall Balls x 20
  • Tricep Extension x 20
  • Step Up x 20 (with sandbag)
  • Deadlift x 20
  • Pull up x 10
  • Bicep Curl x 20 (with sandbag)
  • Box Jump x 20
  • Sled Pull x5 – pull backwards back to start
  • Heavy carry – 5 minutes – I used our bucket filled with rocks
  • Repeat 3-4 times.

I am going to be running in another Spartan Race in the next 1-2 months. I haven’t picked which one.  I’m sure if you look at the schedule you can guess which ones I have on my mind.  I will keep training and keep you posted in the meantime!

12017725_10207040946489408_5681058766172844777_oI had to find my way back to Flywheel Tuesday.  I HAD to.  You see, almost two years ago, we hired our first baby sitter.  Her name is Kelsey.  Since then, Kelsey has grown so much professionally and literally become a part of our family.  She joined the Flywheel family over a year ago.  She intended to one day become an instructor.  Well, she tried out, she trained and she had her practice ride on Tuesday night.  She was incredible.  I am one proud friend.

FullSizeRender-60Talk about watching someone set a goal and reaching it.  She has come so far since the day that she walked into our house and picked up our oldest daughter for the first time.  If you haven’t met her, please introduce yourself.  Her energy is infectious.  Her friendship is genuine. Go Kelsey!

IMG_7090My husband left Tuesday morning early.  I managed to get through Tuesday okay.  My parents were here to help when I needed it.  I didn’t sleep much Tuesday night, but I did manage to get up early on Wednesday morning to do a SmartCore HICC workout (HIgh Intensity Core Conditioning).  You got it.  I design it.  I do it.  I know exactly how I want you to feel, because I put myself through the same pain.  Again, every bit of one hour.

IMG_7078My motivation for getting up was  really driven by the fact that I had a busy morning.  I dropped one child off at preschool before heading to Flywheel for a fall photo shoot and lunch with friends.  I am LOVING my new head shot.  So much more representative of who I am.  Jen D.

IMG_7075When dad goes away, no one is on their routine.  Bummer.  In an attempt to get every one to nap, I laid out pillows on the floor, so I could at least lay down.  My attempt turned into one after another failed selfie attempts. Hey, at least we had fun (and wasted 20 minutes!)

IMG_7065I love these kids.  I am also lucky to work for a company that sometimes gets tickets to local concerts and events.  In my Thursday class, we raffled off tickets to Disney On Ice.  A suite.  On a Saturday.  While this is typically a small class, I was actually excited to see how many people showed up for a chance to win.  I honestly felt bad as I dug in the pot to pick the winner.  I wanted everyone to win!

IMG_7099When daddy is gone, there is no break.  I drink a lot of coffee.  I realize I am not as much of a super mom as I think I am sometimes.  Biggest takeaway for next time?  I need to hire a sitter to come over one evening so I can get away, and not go to work.  I don’t care if I go to Target and walk aimlessly through the shoe aisle.  I need some adult time.  Quiet.  No worries that someone is going to need something.  Hence, why I give single moms so much credit.  I love these kids more than they will ever know, but I need an hour or two a day to be the best mom that I can be.  They are growing up too fast.  Time is going by too fast.  I wish I could push pause somedays.