Today on the Healthpreneur podcast we’re going to explore the world of online coaching and fitness. If you’ve never heard of Jen Oliver, she helps transform mothers into mindful, self-loving, and balanced women through her company, Love Fitmama.
Jen discovered that she was pushing herself too hard, and this culminated into debilitating injuries and stress. She realized that this “work-grind” paradigm is unhealthy, unsustainable, and, most importantly, unnecessary. She also discovered that we don’t need to continue defaulting into our cultural norms that create expectations around food and our bodies, especially as women. In fact, Jen discovered that by tapping into compassion, appreciation, and love, we turn inwards and discover our unique place that leaves us vitalized and happy rather than burnt out and unable to show up for life.
If you’re a busy mother who’s feeling pain from a work/life imbalance, this episode will provide you with some invaluable information. If you find yourself feeling pain, stress, or overwhelm, you’ll discover that you really don’t have to. It is possible to balance a career and a family, and Jen has dissected the formula to do so while caring for yourself at the same time. Jen has learned by experience that the “grind” doesn’t work, and a shifted mindset is critical to pain-free life. As a parent, I related to Jen in so many ways. I think you will, too.
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In This Episode Jen and I discuss:
- The pivotal moment in her life and how she tackled obstacles in her way.
- Mindfulness and taking clients on the transformational journey.
- Being a Healthpreneur parent: Critical lessons and finding that balance.
- Online marketing techniques and how Jen reaches clients.
- Shifting the paradigm through story, mission, example and purpose.
5:00 – 15:00 – Pivotal moments, challenges, and bridging the gap
15:00 – 20:00 – Lessons in balancing work and life
20:00 – 26:00 – Marketing and getting your mission heard
26:00 – 32:00 – Being a role model for your message through your story
32:00 – 44:00 – The Rapid 5
What You Missed:
In the last episode, I was talking with Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, who is a young physician—fresh out of med school—and he’s going to talk about his journey from brick-and-mortar to an online practice (with a lot of lessons learned thrown in).
The cool thing about Spencer is that he has a rabid social media following. At the moment, he has about 65,000 followers on Instagram, 25,000 followers on Facebook.
During the episode, we dove into the marketing behind all of this and how you can work on getting not just a big following – but a dedicated following in your business.
Welcome to episode 62 with Jen. While you’re listening to this, I’m also conducting the second day of our Luminaries Mastermind; the highest-level group that I work with of awesome visionary health and fitness entrepreneurs. We have our first meeting of 2018 right now, in Scottsdale, for two days.
We are creating amazing breakthroughs in business, and if you’re ever interested in working more closely with me and a group of incredible entrepreneurs to collaborate with, generate ideas, and learn from, that’s what we do. If you’re interested, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you’d be a good fit for the group.
As I was speaking with Jen, I felt like I was speaking to myself because we are almost on the same wavelength. Anytime we connect with people like us, we feel more connected.
Jen has a very similar background to me; she played collegiate basketball and I played collegiate soccer. She did that for four or five years and worked as a trainer at her university, and I did too. It’s interesting to see how her path evolved and her perspective on fitness and business.
Jen is a core transformation coach and founder of The Love FitMama Way, and you can learn more about her by visiting LoveFitMama.com.
She primarily works in safe core fitness, self-care, and mindfulness. She helps new moms embrace, nurture, and enjoy their motherhood journey, and is most passionate about is supporting women in loving their bodies and lives, which is critical in today’s world. There are still so many dogmatic beliefs, and the quantitative side of dieting and weight loss puts you in a box.
What Jen does is very unique; she offers a deeper, more mindful and heart-centered approach to appreciating yourself and living your life in a way that is truly awesome. She has two young daughters, ages two and four, and she travelled with them around the world about a year and a half ago while she was running her nearly-virtual business.
Yuri: Jen, welcome to the Healthpreneur Podcast.
Jen: Thank you. I’m so grateful to be here, Yuri.
Yuri: I’m excited to have you on. Your website is The FitMama Way, and it’s a fit pregnancy blog. That’s a great niche, by the way. I’ve talked about the power of niching down. You’ve done a great job with that.
Jen: Thank you.
Yuri: Talk to me about how you started. You were doing one-on-ones like a lot of our listeners.
How did you make the transition to the online side? Was there a pivotal moment where you saw an opportunity or needed a change? What did that look like?
Pivotal moments, challenges, and bridging the gap
Jen: There definitely was a pivotal moment.
I started Love FitMama, and my website LoveFitMama.com, after I had my own two babies. I realized that all the fitness, general abdominal exercises, and generic stuff that was taught at Mama Baby Bootcamps wasn’t really safe. I’d been working 16 hours a day in gyms as a trainer, but that also didn’t fit into the lifestyle of having kids.
These two things put me in a place where I thought, “Okay, how can I make this work?” I have an extreme passion to help people, and I know that new moms need information about core and safe exercise postpartum. But I didn’t want to be stuck in a gym working long hours while my kids were at home.
So I started with exercise videos in March of 2014. I created little at-home exercise videos, sharing them in my Facebook group and with friends. About six months into the exercise videos and starting the site, I gave myself a very serious back injury.
It landed me in the hospital twice in one week, and I fainted twice with pain and couldn’t get up. I was breastfeeding my little one at the time who was one and a half, and I had a three-year-old at home. My husband traveled incessantly for work, so it was a very intense and pivotal time.
I thought, “Now what?”
That was the pivot point in the The Love FitMama Way.
Before, I was hard on myself. I would push myself to the limit. Even though I had babies at home, I would push myself to a point where I would never push any of my clients.
I felt that, since I was the trainer, I had to be more hard-core. I came from an athletic background, I played five years of basketball at Queens University and was captain of the team.
I was the trainer for all the players for years. Even in my first year, I started training programs with the older players. I just loved it, but it didn’t fit with the new mom paradigm.
Even though I created The Love FitMama Way and always said, “Being a fit mama all starts with love,” what that really meant didn’t come to life until I hurt myself and became physically unable to do anything.
Yuri: That’s awesome. Your journey is very similar to mine. I think it’s relatable to a lot of people in our space.
Jen: The lowest of the low always brings a new dawn, right?
Yuri: Totally. You have to go through that because you don’t know the contrast otherwise, right?
Yuri: During that time, what was one of the biggest challenges that you initially faced?
Jen: The biggest challenge I initially faced, and sometimes still face, is shifting people out of that physical-based paradigm that is fitness, nutrition, and the whole fitness industry, and shifting them into a mindful and emotion-based perspective, if that makes sense.
When we are young, our bodies work in ways that we don’t have a lot of control over. We throw ourselves onto the basketball court, dive in, heal, fix – it’s all good – until there comes a time where there needs to be more of an internal shift. Either we have an awakening moment where a coach or trainer gets us to dive deeper inwards, or we hit a rock bottom moment and have to crawl back out.
One of my main goals with Love FitMama is to not let other moms hit this rock bottom moment.
I’m sure you know, as a parent, that there can be a lot of aftermath with giving birth for the mom. Physically, there are a lot of injuries postpartum; pelvic floor injuries, back injuries such as the one I gave myself, and other weaknesses.
Our society tells women to push, push, push, and there isn’t acceptance and reverence for the beauty of slowing down and letting yourself heal. Even in the the fitness world, we push and want to rip our muscles apart. We want to get stronger, but we don’t realize that strength comes from rest and the repair.
Mindfulness and taking clients on the transformational journey
Yuri: That’s great insight. Business is almost the same. We’re so focused, and the paradigm of hustle and grind keeps us going, going, going, 27 hours a day. We will burn out just like with exercise. Many people eventually evolve in their own journey, but must understand that to get better outer results they must go inwards.
Do you find that many of the women you serve are already there, or do you have to take them on the journey? I ask because many people in our space want to help people understand mindfulness, but oftentimes the people they’re serving just want to lose weight, right?
Yuri: So how do you bridge that gap? Are you attracting people who already get it, or are you bridging that gap for them?
Jen: That’s great insight, and I agree. For me, it’s about meeting people where they are.
I love the postpartum time period where someone has just had a baby, realize things are not quite the same down there, and don’t know what to do. They want to get back to their old ways; working with a trainer, doing CrossFit, running marathons, whatever was their mindfulness practice, and now they don’t have it and it becomes an internal struggle. They end up placing the focus on their weight.
I focus on that with them because that’s where they are.
I loved a video I saw of yours recently. You said, “Steve Jobs wasn’t asking people, ‘Hey, do you want an iPod?'” People had no clue. It was like, “Sure. Whatever.” So if I’m telling people, “Hey, do you want to repair your pelvic floor and rehabilitate from the inside?” They think, “Well, that sounds good, but what does that mean? That all just sounds weird to me,” right?
Jen: I don’t focus on weight as a primary thing, but people end up coming to me through a weight journey. My real philosophy is around breathing back your body. So many people say, “I want my body back,” and they think it has to be this, that, or the other.
They think they must run harder, lift heavier, restrict food, or whatever, so I teach a new way, The Love FitMama Way. It’s a shift in perspective where they can move towards their goals with ease and flow. It just feels good.
It doesn’t have to be forced, and for a lot of my clients, it’s a unique thing. But they do require a bit of a journey to get there, mostly due to socialization and cultural norms.
I was high-pressure; I did five years of university to play basketball for five years, and got two degrees. I did a thesis. I did my personal training certification, and traveled all over for basketball.
The same thing goes for the entrepreneurial space, as you know. It’s that hustle you talked about. We think more equals better, and when it comes to fitness, when it comes to being a fit mama, and when it comes to being an entrepreneur, it doesn’t work.
Yuri: This is the stuff our listeners need to hear. There is a time to put in work, but eventually, the less you do, the better off you’re going to be.
Yuri: Whether it’s business, sports, or the human body, you can’t go in fifth gear all day long.
Jen: I thought I could. I made it 33 years then crashed and burned.
Yuri: You have two daughters that are pretty young. What has being a parent taught you about entrepreneurship, business, and marketing?
Lessons in balancing work and life
Jen: I don’t recommend starting a business when you have babies at home. A little momentum before I had kids would’ve been good, but I’ve found a perfect and beautiful harmony. Kids are the essence of presence, are in the mode of play, and watch life unfold curiously.
When it comes to our businesses, we try and control so much. When it comes to our bodies, we think we need to control more. Just like growing a baby inside your body, the beautiful, amazing miracle that happens is actually when you take your hands off and just let it be.
They bring that to me every day, and allow me to check out of the business, out of the focus on what else I have to do. I have a long to-do list, and there’s only a limited number of hours in the day. It allows me to stop and be, put everything aside, and just focus on what is really important.
What’s important is their emotional health and well-being and having a present parent. Because regardless of all the fit mamas I help, they want me to be there for them. I love my role as a mom and I feel very grateful.
Yuri: Everything you’re saying is what I believe and experience. We have the same core values and belief systems, which is what it’s all about. I was listening to a great podcast on parenting by Dr. Meg Meekers, and she was talking about how kids’ self-worth is determined by their perceived sense of how much time their parents want to spend with them. I’ve never considered that.
Kids just want your presence. They don’t need all the presents and gifts.
Jen: That’s a quote in my book: “They don’t need your presents. They need your presence.” It’s actually a quote I have, so it’s so funny you said that.
Yuri: You work from home. How do you balance that with the kids?
Jen: My little one just started junior kindergarten, so they’re both in school five days a week. We’ve actually not had a full week of school yet because we always have trips on Fridays. When I started my business, my kids were in daycare two days a week.
We had them in a Montessori and they enjoyed it and were fine separating from me. I was the one bawling at home for a long while thinking, “Why am I doing this?” I truly wanted to be with them.
But I realized that I was more productive and present for them because I felt filled up. I felt truly fueled. I felt passion in the work that I was doing – affecting change, helping people, on my mission – and it allowed me to be fully present at home.
I have great babysitters because we have no family within 350 kilometers of us, so when I travel for a week or two, my husband is able to step in as dad of the year. He’s great. We have no real issues that way, and my kids just love doing stuff.
We are always doing active things, so whether it’s with me or on their own, they always feel protected, safe, and engaged. I know they’re not sitting there looking out the window pining for me, which helps me be more productive as well.
Yuri: It’s always cool to see how people juggle family and business.
Jen: The freedoms for me outweigh the negative side of it, which is working late at night when I could be watching Netflix. I don’t even know how to work our Netflix because I just don’t take the time for that. I’d rather take the time for other things, prioritize, and find a good flow.
Marketing and getting your mission heard
Yuri: How do people find you? How do people engage with you as a client or a customer?
Jen: I have a Facebook group and I like to foster community with Love FitMama. FitMama is really about, like I said, connecting within and giving ourselves permission to breathe, slow down, feel what our bodies are feeling, and listen to our intuition instead of others who told us we should be doing this or that, or we’re not doing good enough.
I am present in the Facebook group community daily. We do a lot of challenges.
Beyond that, we have break-out Facebook groups for different programs that I’ve created. I privately coach, where I work one-on-one intensively with my clients over the phone, through Skype, and based on their schedule.
My clients are generally very busy moms who run big businesses or corporations, are VPs, or run their own medical clinics. We don’t have time to engage much.
I help them utilize the tools that I’ve created so they can drop inside really quick, trust their intuition, set boundaries, ask for help, and let the guilt go aside.
We shift that whole paradigm because, as moms, in the history of time we’ve had to not only run our household, worry about food, kids, and school, but also run businesses and be really engaged in our work and have a dual-income household. But those are the times now, and there is no rule book.
Just like raising kids, there’s no real understanding of how to do it until you’re thrown into the fire. The women I work with are paving their own way. They’re figuring it out while they’re in the fire, and the beautiful thing is that they don’t need hours and hours of conversation.
What they need is short hits of inspiration, of trusting, of following their intuition and their heart. There’s a lot of evidence out there through HeartMath Institute to support living in a more heart coherent space. When we live from a place of love instead of our head, we feel our gut and core, which is why I talk so much about the core transformation that moms go through during this time.
Yuri: That’s awesome.
Jen: It’s about community and giving women a safe space to realize they don’t have to push harder. They can actually ease up on the gas and end up further down the road at the end of the day.
Yuri: That makes sense. Since you started your business online, what’s been the most effective marketing strategy for you to get in front of new people and turning them into clients and customers?
Online marketing techniques and how Jen reaches clients
Jen: Facebook Live. I love hanging out on Facebook because a lot of the mamas hang out there, too. You can get in front of them in a way where they’re discovering you through referrals. People share your videos in an authentic way and video, as you know, is just a great way to connect and allow people to get to know and trust you.
You can only be so prim and proper on video for so long, so people really get to know you on a deeper level. I share my story, my vulnerability, and my crises, and how I’ve come out of that has been one of the biggest connecting points to my clients and prospective clients.
As entrepreneurs, especially online entrepreneurs, we often talk about freebies, free opt-ins, and different things like that. But before that, it’s about offering good content that hits home for people and gives them a wake-up call.
I like sharing polarizing content, like, “No pain, all gain,” instead of “No pain, no gain,” and shifting the conversation. I point out things to people that they take as the norm, as gospel, and when they hear something different they’ll begin to shift the way they see things. My main thing is giving good content and having people share it, because the content speaks for itself.
Yuri: Awesome. I wanted to touch on something that is important for our listeners to hear: your story. That is the biggest differentiator you have, and that’s how we connect with people. You’ve done a great job at that.
Second, you talked about sharing your beliefs; “Here’s the status quo. Here’s what I believe instead.” That’s a huge thing that I think everyone needs to do. Don’t just share what you know, but what you believe. That’s how you build your tribe.
Being a role model for your message through your story
Jen: Yuri, I couldn’t agree more. Personally, what I am most passionate about is supporting women to love their bodies and love their lives, and in our society right now, there’s too much of a scarcity mindset around our bodies. There’s a lot of shaming.
There’s a separation between people, and I want to bring back that sisterhood of women supporting women. We need to let go of that judgment, which really is judgment of ourselves, and say, “Hey, I’m not a bad person if I eat a donut. I’m not ‘cheating’ because I’ve decided to eat pizza instead of my boiled chicken breast or something.” The word “cheating” is so negative.
People are ripe and ready for the opportunity to let all that negativity go, they just need more role models. They need more people standing in it. As entrepreneurs, especially Healthpreneurs, we want to project the perfect salad or the perfect soup, a beautiful, ideal mix of macronutrients on our plate.
Yes, vegetables and vibrant colors do make for better pictures, but what’s the reality and what perception are we giving of what this really needs to look like?
Raising daughters, my perspective has shifted. It pains me to imagine my girls, who are just full beams of light, somehow turning darkness onto themselves.
I can’t accept them feeling shame around their bodies for eating this or that or not doing this or that. I can’t accept that for my own kids. I can’t accept that for myself, my friends, my loved ones, and any women out there. They don’t deserve that.
Yuri: So good. As you said, we need people, role models like yourself to stand in that voice because there will always be people gravitating towards the restrictive, dogmatic rules. The work you’re doing is amazing. It really, really is, and I just wanted to commend you for that.
There are a lot of parallels with business, too. People feel bad because they’re not doing all the stuff they feel they should be doing. Just do you. Find your path. Do you, and that’s it.
One of the biggest things that people got out of Healthpreneur Live was the relief in feeling that they could just do their thing. They hear about people and business owners doing things differently.
It’s the same with health. You’re giving people permission to be themselves.
Jen: Exactly. Nobody has your story so you can’t compare yourself to others out there. That is absolutely detrimental.
We can’t fit ourselves into a box, because when it comes to online, and spreading our messages virally across the globe, there is no box and right or wrong way of doing things. If you check in with yourself, your stomach ache, stabbing anxiety, or pinch in your neck, pain can indicate that you aren’t on the right route.
Keep trusting your inner guidance system, it will take you where you need to go. Let go of the ego’s sense of comparison lack. All that is irrelevant when you begin to stand in the power of your personal message. We each have a unique advantage when we look inward at what that really is because that’s what we’re here to share.
The Rapid 5
Yuri: That’s good advice. Thank you for sharing what you’ve shared. Are you ready for the rapid five?
Jen: I think so.
Yuri: All right. Number one, what is your biggest weakness?
Jen: My biggest weakness is my mindset around fun. Sometimes the things that I consider fun are detrimental and end up taking me away from my goals. I sometimes procrastinate, want to have fun, and not focus because it feels like work.
The issue is the definitions that I’ve given to fun and work. I’m always playing along the boundaries of that because I feel like I don’t have a job. I feel like I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.
To make it fit, I ask if it was the best use of my time and fun. If not, it’s an old, antiquated way of thinking about work and fun. I’m playing with the definitions.
Yuri: Nice, I haven’t heard that one before. What is your biggest strength?
Jen: My big heart. That plays into a weakness, too. I just have so much love to give, which it’s a beautiful thing. It lets so much love and light in for others, but sometimes it does push back and allow me to feel like I’m pushing through my own boundaries, so the strength and weakness seems to come back to boundaries, but my strength has always just been my heart, unconditional love, reverence, and a connection for others.
I never felt different from anyone else in a way where I would be condescending or judgmental of others. I truly feel one with others. They have something to teach me and are here to gift me their knowledge and wisdom. I just want to embrace everyone and give them a hug.
Yuri: That’s awesome. Number three. What’s one skill you’ve become dangerously good at in order to grow your business?
Jen: Great question. The thing that comes to mind first is talking. I fancy myself a fabulous listener, but I’ve become dangerously good at talking about what I love and what I’m passionate about. I’ve had many instances in the last year where I’ve lost my voice, and that’s the sign to slow down and listen more.
Yuri: Nice. Number four. What do you do first thing in the morning?
Jen: I go into my hot room, and turn on the heater. I’m incessantly cold, so heat is the one thing that will get me out of bed with a smile on my face. So I have a little room, a glorified closet that I’ve emptied out, and I have a heater in there with a little salt rock lamp and a diffuser that changes color.
I go in every morning. I would consistently go in at 5:00 am, but now I’ve been traveling a lot over the last two months. If I can snuggle an extra few minutes with my little one if she comes in at 5:00 am, I do.
I’ll walk into my hot room, turn on the lights, turn on the heater, and just sit and breathe. That’s the beginning of every day, and it just connects me.
Yuri: That’s great. It’s like a makeshift sauna. Finally, complete this sentence. I know I’m being successful when…
Jen: When I feel good and slow down enough throughout the day to feel. I know myself and my body so well that I can feel when my heart’s racing, and it’s very similar to the feeling I had when I had new babies and they would nap. I would think, “Okay, do I know if they’re going to nap for five minutes or half an hour? How much time do I have?”
I would run around the house like a crazy person fitting in everything that I needed to do, there was an anxious race against the clock, and I know I’m being successful when I don’t have that feeling and I feel peace and calm. I breathe. I check in throughout the day, and move into my heart and gut area.
Yuri: That’s really good. Some people say, “I know I’m successful when I get testimonials from other people.” Then there’s people like you who said, “I just kind of introspect. I’m like, this is how I feel. I feel like I’m in the zone or I’m doing my thing.”
It’s cool to see the different perspectives. Great stuff, Jen. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you so much for being open and sharing what you shared. It’s been extremely valuable for me, and I bet our listeners are going to get a lot of good stuff out of this as well. What’s the best place for everyone to follow your work online?
Jen: Thank you, Yuri. You can find me at LoveFitMama.com. That is my website and I’m always updating things there. I’d love to hear from you, so just drop me a line there, or find me on social media @love_fitmama on Instagram. I love Instagram Stories and am always sharing them.
Yuri: Very nice. There you go, guys.Thank you so much, Jen, I appreciate you for all the amazing work that you’re doing, and the wisdom and growth that you’ve gone through to come to this point. It’s a beacon for a lot of women and men who can relate to your stories and your journey.
Jen: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure, and I appreciate all that you do, too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this show as much as I have. As I mentioned before, it’s just funny to see the parallels between Jen’s journey and my own, and it’s always great to connect with amazing people in our space. This podcast is all about highlighting other amazing entrepreneurs doing great stuff in the health and fitness world and just sharing their journey, their ups and downs, their highs and lows, what you can learn from them, and how you can be inspired from them.
My hope is that over repeated lessons and episodes you get the idea that building a successful business takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. There are faster ways and slower ways, but I want you to understand that the journey of being an entrepreneur is extremely rewarding and challenging, but it’s rewarding because it is challenging.
You grow so much. You learn so much about yourself. You become a better person because you are responsible for your success or failure. We have to take 100% responsibility for our lives, for our results, or lack thereof.
I think one of the greatest marks of leadership is the ability to recognize that we are responsible for everything, good or bad. We must be okay with that and take ownership.
Everyone we’ve interviewed are at different places in their journey. Some people are building huge companies. Other people are working on solo-type businesses.
That gives you a different perspectives and one might really resonate with you, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about finding your path and doing what you do. It’s nice to model success and what other people are doing so that you can avoid a lot of mistakes and potholes. At the same time, be very careful not to copy or compare.
I’m going to challenge you to spend more time introspecting than comparing. By going within, you’ll discover where the breakthroughs can happen in your business, the type of business model you want to have, and the type of lifestyle you wanted to create. These are all things that only you can answer, and we can only answer that by creating separation from all the noise.
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