Tag Archives: personal training

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



The Importance of Integrating “Body work” and Personal Training

Ever been injured?  Or in pain?  You proceed to make an appointment with your chiropractor or physical therapist, maybe get a massage, get some temporary relief before you head right back to your high intensity exercise class to repeat the same process?  Fitness is in a weird spot.  I train a lot of different types of clients (some performance driven, some for fitness longevity).  The growing trend?  When in pain, they are self prescribing, and not actually prioritizing the root cause.


I have been lucky not to have experienced any significant injuries in my athletic career (no surgeries or broken bones). That said, I have dislocated a shoulder in a Spartan Race and twisted my ankle in a fluke fall when I stepped on a pile of leaves while running.  In both cases, my range of motion was tested through force, and my body failed.  Recovery time was minimal as was physical therapy.  Here’s the thing, in my own experience, I realized it wasn’t the fall that caused the injury, so much as it was the lack of specific training in those areas.  My ankle mobility is bad.  I often turn my foot out to compensate in my squat.  At the time of my shoulder injury, I had an anterior tilt going on from postpartum pelvic floor issues that had not been resolved. Long story short, I had strength issues in mobility I was neglecting. It was only a matter of time before they were tested.


I’m a trainer.  When I realized my problems, I talked through my rehab with my physical therapist and I modified my training.  I adapted the way I train personally for specific events and overall quality of life.  It’s not always go hard or go home. You can’t always “modify” a group exercise class. Also, let’s face it, I have to use my body to do my number one job – mom.  Being laid up on the couch is not an option.

So what’s my point?  When you get hurt, ALWAYS figure out the underlying issue.  If you have constant low back issues, have a physical therapist check your alignment, test your range of motion through your hips, find out where you are weak.  Don’t just jump to dry needling, cupping or whatever the newest trend is. These are the areas you will compensate.  Your physical therapist is going to give you a plethora of knowledge and exercises that you might not understand.


Here is the key that most people miss.  If available, have your trainer understand your weakness and communicate with the person making the assessment. Take that information to them. In the grand scheme of things, your trainer will see you more than your body work therapist, your physical therapist or your chiropractor.  Your trainer should be helping you strengthen your body to correct areas that might be causing pain and ultimately resolving that pain. If your trainer or the person working on your body are unwilling to connect, this should be a RED flag.  Direct communication from these two modalities will save you time, money and make you feel better.  That I can guarantee.

When “body work” and training are merged, big things happen. I have an amazing group of physical therapists, chiropractors and body work therapists that I refer people to and I can’t tell you much I appreciate directly knowing a client’s limitations. And let me preface all of this by saying this doesn’t mean you can’t do high intensity interval training and still work towards a performance goal.  My clients know my seemingly easy workouts sneak up on them. Being on offense is always better than being on defense. Taking care of things before they escalate is better than trying to fix them after they do.

Justice Fitness – A Family Approach to Overall Fitness

Through Flywheel, I have had the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing people.  As I have gotten to know each and every one of the instructors outside of the studio, I have really started to develop a new level of respect for everything that they do in their “free time”.  Sometimes we get accustomed to perceiving that the person leading our athletic class “hangs out” when they aren’t teaching.  That is most definitely not the case as it relates to most instructors.   I have spent some time talking about Denise Duffy and her new business, but I also want to take some time to talk about Steve and Lindsey Justice and their “family” business.


I had the pleasure of hanging out with the family last weekend for a few hours.  I felt bad interrupting a family lunch, but I must say it was so much fun watching the two athletic parents sip water out of mini mason jars while their sweet daughters munched on fresh veggies.  Was their adorable two year old taking down plain spinach like candy?  How did they get their children off to such a good start?  Opposite the table that they were enjoying lunch, was the family office, in which sports memorabilia from both of their athletic careers hung.  I should note that Steve was an All-American center while playing football at Wake Forest (he later went on to play in the NFL for a few years) and Lindsey was a member of the soccer team while at Wake Forest.


Upon Steve joining the Indianapolis Colts, Lindsey completed her Master’s degree in Exercise Science from UNC and the couple moved to Indiana.  With little job opportunities in the new location, Lindsey took the first step in starting Justice Fitness (training people out of an Anytime Fitness near their home).  Steve would help during the offseason; however, it wasn’t until his retirement from the NFL in 2010, that they both took on the business full time.


Steve and Lindsey developed a “concierge” training service that is like no other.  Both recognize that bettering ourselves physically is only one aspect of being fit.  They also help their clients understand their mental and spiritual capacity through not only training properly, but eating properly.  Isn’t that what every trainer should do?  Sure, but that doesn’t always happen.  When I asked Lindsey how they differentiate themselves from others her answer was direct and what I wanted to hear.


Since their focus is so much on quality services provided to each individual, they spend a lot of time customizing training and nutrition plans based on a client’s unique goals, needs, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses.  In fact, she even said that it would be wiser for them financially to add more clients, but that was not an option, because it would compromise quality of service.  If they can’t add more clients then how do you get in on this?  They don’t anticipate that their clients will need them forever, instead they hope to “teach them how to fish” (i.e. they want their clients to be able to sustain a healthy lifestyle after working with them).


Individuals have the following options to customize their service:  personalized custom training, sports performance training and nutrition.  Steve and Lindsey overhauled a section of their garage to provide a custom gym that their clients could train out of. Again, the décor is mesmerizing (a bible verse on one wall, pictures of clients, and special articles about their relationship with fitness).  Steve and Lindsey have found a niche with sports performance training.  When I say sports performance training, they are working with high school athletes to build skills and strength during off months and the actual season.


While I was visiting, Steve was also running a client through some sports performance training.  It was great to see him in action.  For as laugh out loud hilarious he is at times during a Flywheel class, he was incredibly focused and motivating when working with his client.  In fact, when he was done he whipped up a protein shake for the young man and spent some time chatting with him.  You see, I found while I was sitting with the two of them that Steve and Lindsey are not only training these kids but they are in a way mentoring them.  Seeing Steve around his girls in such a positive manner is such a great way for a young man to see what a functional family should be like.


Snacks didn’t stop there.  Before heading out, I got to taste one of the couple’s famed cookies and talk nutrition.  You didn’t think an NFL center could teach a Flywheel class did you?  Steve has lost an incredible amount of weight since his days of playing football.  Lindsey’s background has given the couple another edge as it relates to tailoring specific nutrition plans using resting metabolic rate, current calories consumed and the perfect balance of clean foods to help clients reach their goals. Their nutrition plans work.  They aren’t just a fad.  I have seen individuals transform in front of me after they have gone to see Steve and Lindsey.


As I finish up this post talking about Justice Fitness, I want to point out the family vibe that I got the entire time that I was at their house.  I was no stranger, but the two girls and highly talented parents, invited me to their table like family.  I stood astounded at how down to earth the couple was and how easy to get along with their children were.  They are clearly used to being around the gym and having clients come and go.

Interested in getting in touch with this sweet couple or learning more?  Check out their website.