Jenn’s Story: How To Start Your Fitness Journey Again

It’s not easy to begin a fitness routine or to restart once you’ve already started. Now you must overcome the additional obstacles of getting back into shape, maintaining your motivation, selecting an appropriate fitness program, and sticking with it over time. In this episode of the Bent On Better podcast, one of our members shares her experience with these and other obstacles she overcame on the road to fitness. The change she has undergone is truly remarkable. Seeing how she has made such tremendous progress in such a short time, we invited her to talk about her journey to fitness, her challenges, and the inspirations that have kept her going.

About Jenn

Jenn got her start in the fitness world at a young age when her dad taught her how to play softball. She played softball until her senior year in high school, and there was even a time when she played three games in one day. While it can be exhausting, Jenn enjoys the physical activity that comes from participating in a team sport. She took a break during college when schoolwork and internship took most of her time. In the present day, Jenn has recently gotten married and enjoys watching Disney films in her spare time. She hopes to have a family one day, so she’s working on her physical fitness to have a healthy pregnancy and then care for her future children without any problems.

Finding Bent On Better

Jenn experienced the same difficulties that everyone else did during the pandemic. It hit hard right at a time when she really wanted to get out of the house and do something. She also felt like she was in a rut, physically and mentally. So Jenn searched online for a gym and came across Bent On Better Personal Training in West Chester. Jenn has lost at least three pounds of body fat and gained five pounds of muscle mass, which is a fantastic achievement. She also found a great gym to work out at and an amazing community that supported her progress.

The Struggles

Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

Right before the pandemic, Jenn was diagnosed with celiac disease, which is a chronic disorder of the immune and digestive systems that hurts the small intestine. The condition is caused by eating foods that contain gluten. The disease can cause long-term digestive problems and keep your body from getting all the nutrients it needs. Having found a gym like Bent On Better in West Chester, PA has helped her build up her muscle strength, helped her feel better, look better, and eat better. Strength training has helped her deal with this celiac diagnosis, especially in finding out what meals work for and what exercises work for her.

 Extreme Lower Back Pain

Also a couple of years before Covid 19 happened, Jenn was taking the train home from work when she suddenly felt a searing ache in her lower back after standing up. She had an X-ray, visited many doctors, and was eventually told she needed three months of physical therapy.

Jenn’s personal trainer was fantastic, however, she did point out that Jenn had weak hips during their weekly sessions of treatment. After physical therapy, Jenn knows how to do exercises to strengthen her lower back and similar areas. But ever since that incident on the train, she’d regularly have pain in her lower back and hips, especially when rising from a seated position (such as when getting out of a car), which seems implausible for a 29-year-old.

Jenn didn’t anticipate dealing with something like this at her age, so it acted as a wake-up call to the importance of self-care. The pandemic was also a particularly bad time for her lower back since she stayed home from work and did desk work for eight hours a day. She decided she had had enough of the pain and went looking for a nearby fitness center to work on her flexibility and strength to improve her ability to carry out daily activities, prevent injuries, and be ready to raise a family when the time came.

Strength Training for Everyone

What makes the Bent on Better community special is that the people here come from very diverse backgrounds. And whatever they are going through or whatever their needs may be, the coaches can always find a program suitable to those needs. It works so well for most people because it does not try to force a controlled and predictable structure on them. Instead, it adapts to each individual and provides specialized programs that cater to their needs. It makes strength training fun and accessible to everyone from all walks of life.

“Pain does not matter what age you are it will come to you whether you’re 29 whether you’re 59…  it doesn’t decide whether or not to go for you based on your age.” – Matt April on how pain can be unpredictable most of the time

After finishing physical therapy, Jenn was able to keep progressing with the help of Bent On Better’s regular programs, which helped her improve by 1% every day. Jenn claims she is no longer experiencing any back pain. All credit to the coaches who have been attentive to her requirements.

 “ If we’re doing an exercise and I start to feel even just the slightest pinch, I’ll let the trainer know and I’ll let Alysha or Molly or Nick know and they’ll come over right away and say okay here’s a stretch you can try or you know why don’t you instead of doing this exercise we’ll try an alternate exercise so it’s not like you’re sitting there in pain trying to force yourself through something.” – Jenn B. on her coaches

Going Through The Process

Before joining Bent On Better, Jenn had never even had the chance to try a deadlift. When she first joined the gym, she learned it’s important to ease into using kettlebells by picking up the lighter weights and focusing on the proper form. She improved her core, back, and shoulders under the careful supervision of her coaches. So when asked what she was most looking forward to in the next nine months, Jenn mentioned that she was looking forward to the opportunity to move up to the trap bar. Strength training has been an essential part of Jenn’s fitness journey, and she has loved seeing her strength improve as a result of working with heavier weights. Therefore, stepping into the trap bar is a motivating goal to work toward in the coming months.

People come to gyms for different reasons. Some people lack motivation and simply don’t have time to work out but want to get healthy. Others came after experiencing chronic pain (as Jenn did) and had to undergo physical therapy or were told they needed surgery. In order to ensure that the members are comfortable lifting heavier weights and can complete the workout without injury, it is essential to work in the proper movement and gradually increase the difficulty. At Bent On Better, working out using the heavier ones, such as trap bars or barbells for deadlifts, is a sign of dedication and hard work that can only be done after proving one’s mettle with the lighter weights.


The Accomplishments

a woman lifting a kettlebell in a gym
When we challenge ourselves and believe in our ability to achieve more, we can push past the limits of our comfort zone.


Within a time frame of just three months, Jenn set several impressive new personal records. An important turning point came when she worked with Coach Alysha, who challenged her to push a 200-pound sled. When Coach Alysha told her to try it, she was surprised that she could push a sled weighing 200 pounds, which was significantly more than she weighed.

Jenn also improved her Turkish Get Up after working with Coach Nick. She couldn’t believe it when Coach Nick made her pick up 20 pounds for the third time after she’d only done it three times (the first time with no weight, the second time with 13 pounds, which was already challenging). It amazed Jenn that she could move up to heavier weights so quickly, and she is grateful to have a coach who can show her the ropes. When going to a gym, it can be intimidating and difficult sometimes to figure out what exercises to do and how many reps or times to do them, but, according to Jenn, everyone at Bent On Better was so helpful and encouraging.



“Just Take The Next Step”

When asked what advice she would give to someone in her position, facing similar difficulties such as lower back pain that has forced them to seek professional help, the first thing that Jenn came up with was to “take the next step.” Or at least this is the advice she would give her former self. Jenn was basically in a rut during the pandemic: wake up, log into her computer, work until dinner time, eat, and go to bed. Jenn hadn’t been convinced to make the switch until she had dinner with her sister, who told her bluntly, “you really got to make that change.”

The best piece of advice Jenn could give is to simply begin the process of looking for what you might need and finding something that works. Jenn was able to become her best self after she finally took the leap and Googled “personal trainer” and found Bent On Better gym.

In order to move forward in her life, Jenn felt she needed to take a step back from her current routine and take some time to consider her long-term goals. She joined a gym with a supportive group of people who encouraged her and held her accountable on her fitness journey. Most importantly, she also found a community that made exercising fun and enjoyable.

“You cannot be physically well unless you are mentally well.” – Jenn B. on why she makes fitness a priority


Wrapping Up

Starting a fitness program is not easy. If you have been trying to start a fitness program for months but failed, Jenn’s advice is to find a personal trainer. Looking for a personal trainer has changed Jenn’s life.

“Get personal training. It’s changed my life for sure. Getting that personal attention and showing you how to properly and safely as you touched on those exercises is just out of this world. It’s sensational and can really change your life, fitness outlook, and journey in life.” – Jenn B on how personal training changed her life.

Having a personal trainer has many advantages over working out on your own. They will work with you one-on-one to develop an individualized exercise program and then coach you through each step of the way until you reach your fitness goals. 

Going to the gym and lifting weights had helped Jenn build strength and tone her muscles. Strength training not only helps you look and feel better but also sets you up for success in the long run by strengthening muscles, increasing your stamina, and improving your overall health.

Watch the video here:

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