Breakthrough Spotlight – Jenn Wolfe
Our Breakthrough Spotlight member for October is Jennifer Wolfe! We were so excited to sit down and chat with Jenn about her approach to balancing mind, body and spirit, and how finding strength in all three areas can create some powerful results!
Breakthrough: I’m here with Jenn, who is our Spotlight member for October. And so, last week I put out my latest newsletter post about creating focus in your training, and bringing a mind-body connection to your workouts. And you and I have talked before about your work as a life coach, or a “way finder” as I think you called it, and I’m really interested in your point of view on this subject. Do you find when you are training that you are able to dial into that mind, body, spirit approach?
Jenn: Yeah, lately especially. I’ve been finding in my own work how important it is to find that internal mindset, and how that can partner with your physicality. So, I’ve been practicing recently coming into my training with my intention being one of strength. I set my intention beforehand, and as I’m training, I check in with that. If I get tired during the workout, I re-center and take a few breaths with that strength intention. And that mindset feeds my physical strength, and I’m able to return to my next set feeling refreshed. And of course there’s the strength of spirit as well!
Breakthrough: Yes, that’s awesome! It’s actually part of our mission statement that we want to help people find not just physical strength, but strength of mind, and spirit as well. There’s a sense of wholeness to that that is much more than just a “workout”.
Jenn: Wholeness, yes. We want those three things in line – mind, body, spirit- so that you’re not over-doing it in any one area. So for example, if I come in here feeling kind of all over the place, without connecting mind and spirit and focused only on the physicality, it’s actually a lot more tiring. I find I get worn out way more quickly.
Breakthrough: So you find your training sessions are physically stronger?
Breakthrough: And probably recovery time is improved too, right? You feel that you bounce back faster after a workout?
Jenn: Oh yeah. The best way I can describe it to you is “grounded”. When all three of those elements are working together, you feel stronger and more grounded, so that you’re less likely to be knocked off your feet by anything.
Breakthrough: That’s great! And I think the word grounded can sometimes sound “stuck”, but to me it feels like a solid foundation that I can spring off of and go any direction, and be as creative as I want to be.
Jenn: Yeah, I agree. It’s the opposite of stiffness or anything like that.
Breakthrough: And so, is this idea something that is a new approach in terms of your training?
Jenn: I would say it’s newer, yeah. I think for a really long time I had my focus on external things because I felt like that’s where I was “supposed” to focus. But in the past year that I’ve been training here, and in my own work in my career, I’ve been able to move inward and work from the inside out rather than the outside in. And that really has helped me with strength, and the results I’m seeing. I’ve been exercising my whole life, but in the last year here, yes, obviously the training itself is different than what I had been doing before. But combining that with the more mind and spirit connection has taken my physical abilities and strength to a whole new level.
Breakthrough: So then, speaking of the difference in the type of training you are doing here, how is this different from the training you were doing before?
Jenn: I guess, I was focused on high intensity. In high school I did cross country, and I think I just got used to that feeling. I think I thought I am supposed to wear myself into the ground in order to get results. And I would seek out training that was very high intensity like that. But there were two real negatives to that: Number one is that I wouldn’t want to do that everyday – I would dread it. And second, the results just really weren’t there. I was thin, but there was no strength there. I wasn’t building muscle so I was just, I hate to say it, “skinny fat”.
Breakthrough: Oh yes. “Skinny fat” is a thing.
Jenn: Yeah. And I was it. But I didn’t know that really until a friend, who is a personal trainer let me know in a nice way that that’s what I was. So, I became aware of that, and I also started to notice as a mom of little boys that they really require my strength! And it was like, ok, I’m going to have to try something different, and that’s when I found you guys.
Breakthrough: And we are so glad you did! I’m sure you also probably notice that your energy levels are different too now that your workouts aren’t always high intensity.
Jenn: Yes, much different. It’s almost like the groundedness. I feel that I have a steady flow of energy, and that it’s at a higher level all the time. I used to get so exhausted later in the afternoon and I really don’t get that at all anymore. And I’m happier too because I’m not battling that fatigue. I just feel ready to take on anything!
Breakthrough: Yes! That’s exactly what your training should do for you! People sometimes feel like they didn’t get a good workout unless they are just a puddle of sweat on the floor at the end. But really your training shouldn’t be like that on a regular basis – maybe you go a little harder once a month or do something really challenging twice a year. But most of the time you should leave the gym feeling more energized than when you walked in.
Jenn: Right. And so training is a normal part of my day now, not something I’m dreading. It doesn’t take anything away from me, it only adds benefit.
Breakthrough: That’s awesome!
Jenn: And I want to say too that I feel what I’ve learned here in the gym is the same thing I’ve learned in my work as well, as far as wearing yourself out. Because people think the same kind of thing about their careers for example. That they are supposed to push as hard as they can for as long as they can. We are kind of conditioned to think that in our society. And just like in the gym, that can get you some kind of a result, but it’s a faster burn-out. And so really you’re just taking away from your later years.
Breakthrough: Right, longevity should be considered. I mean you’ve got little boys to keep up with and you need to be around to do that!
Breakthrough: Ok, I’d love for you to share your “why”. What are some of the reasons you prioritize taking care of your physical health with your training?
Jenn: Well I feel like it really goes back to what we have been talking about this whole time. That wholeness of mind, body and spirit. And of course taking care of my family is definitely a big part of it. But even before I had kids, I’ve always felt that my physical health is part of my entire well-being. I don’t feel like I would be whole without that physical component. It works together with everything else I do to take care of myself.
Breakthrough: Yes, that’s very well put. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Jenn: I think the last thing I would share that has come into place for me in the last year with my work and with my training is not self-criticizing. I noticed before I would focus a lot on a “flaw” and then want to work that into the ground. But now when I see my strength, I want to focus on the positives more and make those bigger in my life, instead of focusing on something I see as negative and letting that grow.
Breakthrough: Right, and I find it’s a lot easier to approach working on things that you want to improve, when they aren’t your only focus and you can also recognize things that are going well and where you excel.
Jenn: Yeah, that’s definitely something I’m working on. And the environment and encouragement around here helps. It’s all about building each other up. So if I’m being careful about how I talk to myself, and I’m criticizing myself less, I can help build other up more easily too. And then it just spreads around so that I’m building someone up, they build someone else up, and it finds it’s way back to me and we’re all stronger.
Breakthrough: I love that!
Jenn: I still catch myself saying something negative sometimes, but at least I’m aware now so that I can recognize – Oh, that’s not something I want to say to myself. The words we use even when speaking to ourselves have the power to impact us either in a negative or a positive way, so why not choose the positive!
Breakthrough: Exactly! That saying “be careful what you say, you’re listening” is so true. Well, we really are so grateful to have you share your thoughts, and to have you as part of our Breakthrough family. It means so much to us to be surrounded by other people who get that strength of mind, body and spirit are all connected.
Jenn: Yeah, it really elevates everyone to be in that kind of environment. Everyone is carried by everyone’s like-mindedness. Like one collective consciousness, that kind of thing.
Breakthrough: Oh, that’s great! Thanks again, Jenn!