Jennifer Irons founded FitGirls NW in 2009 after the birth of her daughter. A true labor of love, FitGirls NW specializes in small group training and spring/summer boot camp classes for women. Find out how getting back in shape after having a baby figures into her business philosophy.
How did Fit Girls NW come about?
After 10+ years in the banking and mortgage industry, and having just experienced the mortgage meltdown, I wanted to be in charge of my own future. I was 32 and unhappy sitting behind a desk selling products I really didn't believe in. I took a huge leap of faith and quit my job and went back to school to become a personal trainer.
Have you always been fit or was there a decision to get fit at a certain point?
I grew up active – competed in figure skating, gymnastics, track and volleyball. I always enjoyed it but was never competitive enough to really push my ability and see what I could accomplish. My turning point came after the birth of my daughter. That’s when I decided to concentrate on my personal fitness.
Why do you choose to focus on fitness for women?
I had a really rough time getting back into shape after having my daughter. I knew all the right things to do, I just couldn't pull it together. I really struggled with balancing being a wife, being a mother, getting back in shape and working. It took me a good two years to really understand that until I took care of myself, I wouldn't be able to take care of my daughter to the best of my ability.
I identify with all the women out there – with or without children - who are bombarded every day with images of women who "do it all.” I don't want you to do it all – I just want you to feel your best, healthy self. It's all about finding what works for each individual woman. The majority of women struggle. We set such high standards for ourselves. It’s Pass or Fail. No pluses or minuses. Those are the women I want to help.
When is your favorite time of day to workout?
I love love, love early AM workouts (5 am – woohoo!), but recently I've had to learn how to be more flexible – Gah! And it's been hard… I have so much respect for those that workout after finishing work. 2 pm is about my cutoff time.
What is your favorite pre-workout snack? Post-workout snack?
I'm a huge coffee lover! Leftover coffee with About Time chocolate mint protein powder blended with coconut milk is like a yummy frappucino without all the extra calories. Post workout fav is four or five runny eggs cooked in Kerry Gold butter over a bowl of crispy brown rice with broccoli. And always Frank's Hot Sauce. Frank's is a must!
What is your favorite workout right now?
This month has been so crazy with moving house so I've had to improvise. No gym access and my squat rack packed up, I've relied on my kettlebells, TRX and pull up bar. Lots of KB swings, pull ups and core work on the TRX. It's all about finding what works best for you in the time you have.
Any advice for women wanting to get fit but having a hard time getting motivated?
Start slow. Be easy on yourself. Small steps forward are still forward… keep looking ahead. Don't look back. Don't be afraid to ask for help - sometimes that extra push is just what you need. Set small achievable goals and get after it! Find what works for you – if you love Zumba – do it! If you love Crossfit – do it!
Tell me about your journey to compete in the NPC Bikini Competition? What prompted it and why this competition?
I had a full hysterectomy in 2012 and it completely changed my body. My abdominals were destroyed and I felt really poorly about myself. It was a huge setback. I needed a big, scary goal to push towards. I had always admired the men and women that competed and I wanted to push myself and see what my body could accomplish. I am learning what to do and what not to do and I've come to respect this sport and myself along the way. It's all about the journey and if you don't enjoy the journey, well then you won't enjoy the destination….
What is your favorite lucy item and why?
lucy pants!!! Specifically the Dashing Dots Space Dye Tights! They are cute enough to go from the track to Trader Joe's without missing a beat and the fit is perfect. So flattering and can be paired with literally anything. I love the Perfect Core Legging too – tight but not restrictive. Throw some boots and jacket on and you are good to go from gym to out and about!