This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Jen VanZant.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I am a full time business owner of a medical day spa in Fairfield, CA. I have been a business owner and esthetician for over 16 years. I am a mom of a handsome 17 year old boy and a full time athlete on top of everything.
I got involved in the fitness industry about 10 years ago. I was always an active child growing up, with softball, gymnastics, cheerleading, etc. As I became a mom I gained a little more weight than I anticipated, which led me back to the gym. With finding my passion lifting heavier and heavier objects became such a inspiration. I decided to give myself a goal. I signed up for my first competition.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from this drive I have always had since a little kid. I want to push myself to the next level. I have always been a goal orientated person, I strive on bettering myself.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion - what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
My passion in fitness has always been a hobby, a hobby that has turned into a second career. Fortunately I haven’t had a lot of roadblocks along my way. This last completion in Australia was definitely my first huge road block. During my preparation I was undergoing a lot of mental stress from a divorce and physical stress from my training. I came down with shingles, it was so painful and definitely was extremely hard to keep my motivation through preparation. But I did it, I pushed myself and made it through that huge hurdle.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self-care is an important role in everybody’s life. If you don’t take care of yourself you can never be the best person in this world. Health care is important to live a healthy and long life.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
The biggest misconception is that you will look like a man. How many times I got that statement, but the truth is that if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle lifting weights is the ultimate weight loss and premium health benefits.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
During my years of competing I have learned so much on diet, nutrition and proper weight gain and loss. Many women think in order to lose weight you don’t have to eat. Proper weight loss with proper nutrition will get you the results you want. Proper protein and carb cycling will help you to stay firm and tight and keep that amazing toned body.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
The lessons I have learned are life changing. I am so much more healthy and have learned what my body likes and doesn’t like. It has changed my outlook on keeping my body healthy year round. Fitness has also changed my perspective in wanting to help and motivate others in pursuing their dreams. To watch someone lose 10-20 lbs or to step on the stage for the first time gives me an amazing feeling.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
To maintain balance in my life is keeping business, personal, and training well balanced. I book my time in my schedule to spend time with my loved ones, as well as pencil in my daily workout routines.
Life is busy and crazy for me and I always take time for myself as well. I keep up by doing weekly massage to keep my body and mind sane.
How do you stay productive?
Staying productive, well I am a motivated person. Who has a little bit of an OCD. So staying motivated is pretty easy for me.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to have started this journey younger. If I knew what I could achieve at a younger age. I could see myself achieving and pushing myself towards more goals.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
During my off season I keep my fats and add in a bit more calories and have a little more eating out treats. My prep diet is very strict:
- Meal 1 - 7 egg whites with 2 oz of oatmeal
- Meal 2 - 4 oz chicken with 1/2 cup white rice with 1 cup broccoli
- Meal 3 - 3oz chicken with 1 cup white rice
- Meal 4 - after workout, 1 scoop of whey protein and then a small gatorade
- Meal 5 - salad with white fish
- Meal 6 - 5 egg whites, 1 cup asparagus
The science behind prep is to keep calories constant with carb cycling but in order to start gaining muscle you need to keep calories a little higher and adding in more fat into your diet.
Going into 2017, what are your biggest life goals?
Going into 2017 my biggest goal is to enjoy life. In life there is a balance you need to achieve. I have competed for the last 4 years and this is year I am giving myself and my body a nice well rested break. In 2018 I will try hard and push myself to the Olympia.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place