It really is a very short story. I can tell you that once upon a time, there was a girl who hated exercise and refused to do any of it… Then magically, she became a personal trainer… The End.
Well, it wasn’t actually so simple. Let me tell you the longer version.
My name is Jenna Maye and I am a kinesiologist and personal trainer from Vancouver, BC. My journey into fitness was an unexpected one. While I can’t see myself in a different career now, fitness did not come naturally to me. I was exceptionally uncoordinated most of my life and often frustrated by a lack of physical skill. It has not been an easy journey to get to this point but it has been a rewarding one, so let me tell you a bit more about how I got here.
During my first year of university courses, I found myself working in a Pilates studio. There, I became intrigued with exercise and the mechanics behind body movements. I started to ask the teachers about their fitness journeys and one suggested that I look into kinesiology. The more I looked into the field, the more I realized it was perfect for me—deep down I am a huge science geek and I love biology. Kinesiology meant I could study biology, anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology and learn more about the body. I took a huge leap of faith and transferred to the University of British Columbia into the Faculty of Kinesiology. There, I started to learn how the body moves and why.
“I failed myself to success”
– Thomas Edison
Despite my interest in kinesiology, throughout my degree I often felt like an outsider at a private club. I had entered into a faculty of jocks and athletic types; these people didn’t think twice about playing sports and were all very coordinated. Needless to say, I stood out like a sore thumb. Did this change, you ask? Well…
The cool thing about my education is that it’s almost impossible not to get interested in exercise by learning about it. Once I studied how to use different lifestyle modifications, techniques and conditioning methods in order to get fit, and saw what the best practices are for different body types and different ability levels, I became addicted. I started to gain a real understanding of fitness and over the four years of university study, I began to see how all my small changes in routine and technique could reap huge benefits when applied knowledgably.
During that time, I encountered many challenges to my determination for accomplishment. One by one, I overcame each difficulty until I began to realize that my only limitations were self created. I then decided that instead of being fearful of failure, I would embrace the challenge of new experiences and start celebrating small changes and victories. This opened up a world of possibility for me and has become a crucial link to my training program for both myself and my clients.
To build on the textbook knowledge I was gaining, I experimented with different fitness methods to find a style that would work for me. I found that whenever I tried any of the trendy fitness programs, I quickly ended up losing momentum. I began to apply my education to developing my own personal program.
Soon, a colleague encouraged me to apply as a trainer at a private personal training studio. By then, I was almost through my kinesiology degree and had a full understanding of the athletic capabilities of a body. When I began training, I found it easy to connect with my clients as I was intimately familiar with the struggles of trying to incorporate exercise into their lives. I was motivated to show them that it doesn’t have to come naturally to have a positive outcome. I soon realized I was passionate about helping my clients shift their perspective towards exercise to one of empowerment, and to help them look and feel their best, no matter their age or skill level.
It has been almost 10 years since I started my career as a trainer and I am happy to say I have been able to share my training method with hundreds of clients over the years. In the last few years, I opened my own boutique personal training studio to better cater to my clients’ needs and my training style. This leap has allowed me to work with people from all walks of life in a non-intimidating environment full of encouragement and positive reinforcement. Having my own space enables me to fully combine my educational foundation and practical experience with that passionate drive to craft empowering programs for the wide range of people that come through my doors.
My next goal is to share my training methods online and to connect with a larger community. I’ve dedicated my career to helping others learn how to exercise through simple, attainable training methods so that you can achieve your health and fitness goals.
There is infinite potential inside every one of us. I’m really looking forward to a journey of life enrichment through exercise and healthy living together!
When I first joined a gym, it was because I was tired of having no muscles. I felt scrawny and I never saw results, no matter what I did. It was a very discouraging experience. I tried multiple large corporate gyms with the best of intentions of getting fit, but nothing ever stuck. If I did go, I would only go with a friend – going alone was way too intimidating. I really didn’t enjoy having to physically exert myself. It seemed like a lot of work!
Then I moved to the Cayman Islands. And if you live on a tropical island, you need a permanent beach-ready bod. So, I joined a group fitness gym for the first time… and that’s when I finally fell in love with working out! The group classes and trainer sessions made it fun, I started to enjoy challenging myself and seeing what my body can do. Perhaps even more motivating was the sense of community, positivity and shared experience.
This community feel is what drew me to Jenna’s studio when I moved back to Vancouver. Being part of a group of people who were striving to be the best versions of themselves is ultimately what inspired me to become certified as a personal trainer and offer that same experience for others.
I never would I have thought I would end up becoming a personal trainer. I have worked in hospitality my entire life, and always thoroughly enjoyed interacting with and connecting with new people. But after 15 years in the hospitality industry, I was desperate for a change and ready to commit to a career that brought me joy and satisfaction. I just couldn’t come up with any promising ideas. Over dinner one night, Jenna suggested that I look into personal training certification. This was a major “a-ha!” moment for me. I love working out, I love meeting new people, and training to become a PT would put me in a position where I could take both of those passions, put them together and help train people to be the best versions of themselves!
I love that fitness now lets me bring together a group of people to have fun and push themselves to new heights. My goal is to help my clients realize that they are capable of so much more than they believe. After all, “it’s never too late to be what you might have been”.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother bought me a t-shirt that was decorated with dancing cows, and this slogan emblazoned across the front:
“Mooove your bones!”
I haven’t stopped moving ever since!
Fast forward 20 years, and most of my life has been dedicated to dance, stretching and physical exercise. For me, dancing has not only been fun, energetic and uplifting, but a great tool to build self-confidence. I realized my passion at an early age and grew up as a highly successful competitive dancer, winning numerous titles across Canada and the United States. I started teach dance at the age of 13, and by my late teens I competed in So You Think You Can Dance Canada and made it to the final series – twice! However, after completing the SYTYCD tour circuit, I suffering an ankle injury. I knew I needed to branch out from professional dance and try something new.
Not only did this adventure help me learn more about fitness and exercise, but also about myself. I made it my mission to grow not just my character and self-confidence but to also expand my ability to meet new people. For years I made it my goal to make at least one new friend every day. It started with reading the name tags of cashiers at the grocery store, before eventually saying hello (awkwardly!) to strangers, and finally progressed (painfully!) to meeting and befriending the most amazing people who I still call friends today.
And that is how I met Jenna.
After developing a private relationship with her based primarily on my ability to teach her simple dance movement (sorry, Jenna!), she encouraged me to share more about my knowledge with others. Over the past three years, I have crafted dance routines for weddings, stretch circuits and personalized flexibility assessments for clients to improve their overall health and fitness.
My personal journey has made me highly empathetic to those suffering from injuries. I’m dedicated to encouraging clients to approach their healing journey and physical progress post-injury with compassion, as well as to let go of judgement about the time it can take to heal. I’ve found that stretching is one of the best pathways to movement. It can prevent injuries, increase range of motion and even release trapped emotional trauma and stress. I love that stretching allows people to explore their body and all the great ways it can twist and turn.
Movement helps connect you to your body, and can also help you find a genuine love and gratitude for it at any age. I am forever grateful to Jenna for giving me the opportunity to share my expertise with the world in order to help others reach their personal mooovement goals!