#Goals: Jennifer Cohen, Author, Entrepreneur, Health & Fitness Expert
The wellness economy is exploding and we couldn’t be more on board! It seems like everyone these days is either a wellness coach, a fitness pro, or a healthy business owner of some sort, amirite?!
Sounds like the ultimate career path in our opinion! So we wanted to find out, what does it really take to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career? How do you even get started?
Well, that’s why the amazing Jennifer Cohen is next up on our #Goals Series!
Jennifer inspires us because she’s done it all. She’s gone from teaching fitness classes on the beach to writing three books, building her own wellness initiatives, and has been linked to several major brands including Muscle Milk, Polar Heart Rate Monitors, and Weight Watchers.
Join us, as Jennifer walks us through her journey and tells us what it really takes, personally and financially, to pursue a dream-like career in health and wellness…
NB: Not only are you a well-respected fitness superstar and TV personality, but you’re also an accomplished author, a repeat entrepreneur, and a mom. You are #Goals on so many levels! Take us back, and tell us, how did your career in fitness get started?
JC: At the time, I was working in the music world, but I always loved fitness. I decided to take a chance to make my hobby my career, so I quit my job.
I’m a big proponent of paving your own way. It’s about being tenacious, and creative, figuring out your own path. And that’s what I did. I went back to the labels I was working with and talked with people I knew, people I had built relationships with, and I created an opportunity for myself. And it pretty much mushroomed from there.
NB: In looking back, what was the scariest thing about pursuing your passion as a career?
JC: I guess a couple things… Was I going to make a living at this? Was I going to get stuck? Sure, I had concerns, but those questions, they came from fear and I knew better. So, I plowed through that and believed in myself enough to keep going.
NB: What helped you overcome those fears? What kept you moving forward?
JC: What I try to tell people, no matter what goal they’re trying to pursue, is to find their niche. I believe people should focus on what they are really good at and then highlight those things. So for me, it was my personality– I’m aggressive, driven, and don’t like to take no for an answer, so I made it work for me. What is a strong trait that you have? Highlight it, and make it work for you.
And as far as moving forward goes, it was small wins that motivated me. I can’t say that there was this big grandiose thing that happened to me. Success certainly didn’t happen overnight. I’ve had a lot of rejection, too! But it’s really the small wins that motivated me and gave me the confidence to keep moving forward.
NB: What did your financial journey look like, specifically as you were trying to get your dreams off the ground?
JC: It wasn’t easy. It’s not easy for any kind of success! You have to have a super strong work ethic. For me, I had side hustles and I learned how to live pretty cheaply. That’s what I did, and that’s what I recommend doing, too.
NB: Are there any financial tips, tricks, or hacks that helped you get started?
JC: I was creative. I would teach classes at different gyms. I would do group training sessions on the beach and charge $10-$15 bucks. I picked up clients wherever I could! I also reached out to a lot of different companies and offered my training services to their employees. I didn't wait for opportunities to come to me, I went to them.
It’s always a good idea to build relationships with people who are bigger than you. Work with people better than you, smarter than you... They can help take you to the next level.
Setting goals without setting intentions is a waste of time. While setting goals is fixated on the future, setting intentions keeps you grounded and present in the moment. In order to achieve optimal success and stay in alignment with your values, your goals should be accompanied by daily intentions. Setting a goal is black and white—you either achieve it, or you don’t. Intentions, however, come from a growth mindset, and they set the standard for how you live and act, regardless of whether or not you achieve a set goal.
Beautifully said! Can you tell us more about the role that intention-setting plays in your life and in your goals?
JC: Anyone can put a lofty goal out there, but I believe that people need to be very specific in what they want to achieve in order to get to the finish line. What typically happens is, you set a goal that’s too lofty, you get overwhelmed, and then you give up. You need to start small and focus on those small wins. Those small wins will set the stage for you to go on and do something bigger later in the day.
I also believe that it’s really important to have structure in your day. I’m big on habits and routine. When people have positive habits, that structure and routine helps you to be much more honed in, and have intention. I’ve had the same breakfast every morning for the last 20 years. It might seem cooky, but for me, it’s a part of my routine. By eliminating the options, and sticking to my routine, I can save space in my brain to focus on things that are more important.
NB: You’ve reached heights that many only dream of, but you’ve made it known, it hasn’t been without a whole lot of sweat and hard work! You once said your favorite piece of advice is, “The only time greatness comes before hustle is in the dictionary.” Tell us, in the life of Jen Cohen, what does it really mean to hustle?
JC: It’s all about the hustle! It’s not about talent, it’s all hustle. If you look around at some of these actors and actresses that are in the movies, it’s not because they are the best in the business, it’s because they worked for it. I also believe that success occurs when opportunity meets luck. You’ve got to put yourself in that right opportunity for luck to happen to you. I hustled better or harder than someone else beside me, and when the opportunity came around, I knew what to do with it.
NB: What’s next for you?
JC: My third book just came out, called Badass Body Goals. It’s more of a journal than a book. I give you a 10 week plan, you track your progress as you go, and I provide links to an exercise library. It eliminates any excuse for someone to fail. So, essentially, you do the workout with me, then you can keep track yourself. Its been doing quite well!
I also do a lot of corporate wellness, creating different wellness opportunities for employers to help keep their employees healthy. I’m also going to be starting a podcast soon, so keep an eye out for that!
NB: Do you have any daily habits or life hacks that help keep you motivated?
JC: I don’t get out of bed in the morning until I have one, full glass of room temperature water. This helps me make sure I drink enough water throughout the day. I also workout every day, it’s a non-negotiable for me. It helps me focus, helps with energy, everything!
NB: Current favorite workout song?
JC: Sidenote, I love the ‘A Star is Born’ soundtrack! But for working out, I love Confident by Demi Lovato and Fefe by Nicki Minaj
NB: Current favorite fitness app?
JC: I used to have my own, but I sold it to Weight Watchers. Currently I don’t use a fitness app. I use Spotify for music.
NB: Who inspires you? [Include someone you know, and someone you’d like to know!]
JC: For someone I know, I would say my mom because she was/is such an amazing mom. I learn from her all the time how to be a better mother.
And honestly, people I don’t know, don’t truly inspire me. How can they? We don’t really know what public figures are truly like, but if I had to choose someone based on the outside looking in, I would say, Jennifer Lopez. Mainly because of her work ethic, she’s a beast! She seems to be good at everything she does and she just keeps getting better!
NB: Top 3 exercises or movements that everyone should be doing?
JC: Squats (the king of all movements), Pushups, Pull-ups
NB: What kind of legacy would you like to leave?
JC: To be honest, it has nothing really to do with my career. I want to be known to be a really good person and a really good mom... and as someone who gave it her all.
NB: What final piece of advice would you share to others looking to get their dreams off the ground?
JC: My best advice? Just go for it. When you do something you love, you’ll never really be a failure at it. Find whatever superpower you have within you and exploit it. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Be self-aware, it will lead you in the right direction.
Awesome! Thanks so much, Jennifer, you inspire us!