Every week I post an interview with an inspiring individual. This week I have the honor to share the interview I made with Jen Comas Keck. A great woman, that leads and inspires by example. In her story you might find yourself, your own struggles and triumphs, but the most important thing is that you will find hope. The hope that no matter what you go through in life, there is always a postivie outcome, as long as you search for it and work hard for it! Read the interview with Jen and I am sure that you will find th emotivation you’ve been searching for all this time! Her words and her positive personality will set you on fire- to eat clean, work out and become who you want to be!
Ines Subashka: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jen Comas Keck: First off, thank you for the opportunity to share my story! My name is Jen Comas Keck, and I’m a nutrition coach, trainer, writer, yogi, philanthropist, powerlifting dilettante, and all around fitness enthusiast. I’m a co-founder of Girls Gone Strong, a team member of the world renowned site www.EliteFTS.com, and the newest Fitfluential Ambassador.
IS: How did you get involved in fitness? Have you done any other sport before that?
JK: I was notoriously lazy as a teenager and subsisted on a diet of Mountain Dew and fast food. (I failed high school gym class not once, but twice!) My awful lifestyle, if you can even call it that, caught up with me when I was 16 years old and my boyfriend at the time looked at me and said, “You know, you’re gettin’ kinda fat.” It hurt my feelings, broke my heart, and then lit a fire inside of me to turn my health around.
I got a membership to the local gym and started taking aerobics classes. I developed such a passion for Group Fitness that I started teaching classes and happily taught every class you could think of. From there I got my personal trainer certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and wanted to push myself even further so I decided to do a Figure show.
While prepping for my Figure show, I fell in love with weight lifting. After my show was over, I dedicated one full year to learning everything I could about powerlifting. Needless to say, my fitness journey to date has been a long and fulfilling one, with plenty of variety and priceless experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world – and it’s nowhere close to being over! I am very grateful for my path, because it’s allowed me to relate to numerous clients that all have different fitness backgrounds.
IS: Do you follow a nutrition plan and if yes, what is it?
JK: I do follow a nutrition plan. I’ve been working with Carter Schoffer of Body Transformation/Precision Nutrition since September of 2011. My nutrition plan consists of plenty of meats, eggs, fats, and vegetables, with fruit and starchy carbs centered around my training.
I absolutely love whole, unprocessed foods and I naturally gravitate towards them. I don’t consume any gluten as I’ve got a gluten sensitivity, and I only eat dairy or grains on rare occasion. My favorite treat is dark chocolate covered raisins or nuts, and No Sugar Added coconut milk ice cream!
IS: Have you ever struggled with disorder eating habits?
JK: I’ve been all over the board when it comes to struggling with body image and my relationship with food. There is a lot of pressure in the fitness industry, particularly for women, to look a certain way and I have definitely fallen victim to this more times than I care to admit.
I went through a bizarre period in elementary school where I refused to eat anything except for dinner, and unfortunately I think that had to do with my mother (who was drop-dead gorgeous) and her awful body image. However, things nowadays are pretty good, and I try to focus, though I admit not always successfully, on my health and having a strong, able body. I don’t want to look back at my life when I’m 95 years old and regret spending so much time chasing the unattainable goal of perfection!
IS: What was your turning point- the moment you decided that you wanted to be fit, healthy and happy?
JK: My turning point was absolutely when my boyfriend looked me in the eyes and told me I was getting fat. As trivial as it sounds, I’ll never forget that day. I’m so grateful to him because if it weren’t for his comment who knows where I’d be now. He unleashed a passion and a desire in me to not only be my happiest and healthiest, but to help others do the same.
IS: Why do you think so many women struggle with eating disorders? What is your advice to them? How could they get out of this lonely world of disordered eating?
JK:I’ve got to give the disclaimer that I’m no expert on eating disorders. I assume that eating disorders sprout up as a result of either body dysmorphia, or trying to achieve physique changes in an unhealthful manner and then it spiraling out of control. I simply can’t imagine how difficult it must be, and my only advice that I can offer is to find somebody to talk to and get professional help.
IS: How do people around you accept your lifestyle? DO they approve it or are they being judgeful?
JK:Over the years, I have learned the importance of surrounding myself with only supportive and encouraging people. My friends and family are used to the way I eat and understand how important it is to me to maintain a strong, healthy body so they are nothing short of wonderful about it.
Our family has seen me pack tupperwares of meat and veggies to our Christmas dinner and they don’t even bat an eye anymore. I feel it is extremely important to surround yourself with people that are respectful of your goals – if they really care about you, they will want you to be happy, healthy, and confident.
Once in awhile, somebody will say something snarky about the way I eat, but I just laugh it off. It bothers them much more than it will ever bother me. 🙂
IS: How was the idea for your website born? What is the message you’d like to spread with it?
JK: I’ve always loved to write. I have journals dating all the way back through my life, with the oldest being a little Hello Kitty diary I had in Kindergarten! As my love for fitness and health grew, it became important for me to have a creative outlet – somewhere that I could write about health, fashion, or whatever else my heart desired.
Originally my blog started off as something I did for myself, but it’s evolved and flourished into a passion of mine. My readers are very important to me, and I strive to write in a way that is down to Earth, and easy and entertaining to read, while also providing valuable content.
My goal with my website is to inspire people to health, and help people realize that you can train hard and eat clean while still enjoying life and food, and not living in the gym.
I recently revamped my blog and got a new logo, which is a lotus (an Asian water lily). I’ve been a diehard yogi for years, both instructing and practicing, and the lotus is very near and dear to my heart.
A lotus is a flower that begins growing in the swamp, making it’s way up through the murky and muddy waters, and finally blossoms on top. I feel like this is the story of my life, as my teenage years were quite difficult. My husband even gave me a beautiful lotus necklace on our wedding day that I wear every single day.
IS: Everybody knows that you are a co- founder of Girls Gone Strong. In your opinion how the movement GGS is gonna help women find the way to being healthy, fit and loving themselves?
JK: Myself and the 6 other co-founders aspire to be role models. We want to show that a strong, healthy body and mind results in more confidence both in and out of the weight room.
Girls Gone Strong feels that we will be able to accomplish this by offering world class education in training and nutrition, based on the best proof possible – personal experience! Each of us have diverse backgrounds and specialties, which allows us to reach a very big audience. We want to be a place of support and encouragement – somewhere that women can go to learn, share, and become excited about health!
IS: Have you ever had a moment in your life, when you wanted to be like everybody else- partying every day, eating junk food, instead of working so hard in the gym and in the kitchen?
JK: Oh yes! I struggle with this from time to time, and wonder what it would be like to gobble down a donut and not wonder how many transfats are in it or what the gluten will do to my system. However, I’ve had to find peace with the fact that I can either eat and drink what I want and be uncomfortable in my own skin, or I can keep my training and nutrition dialed in and feel good about myself.
Needless to say, the latter almost always wins. Anytime I’ve ever decided to throw caution to the wind and indulge in something crazy, I’ve always regretted it, however I’ve never regretted eating healthy.
IS: How would you finish the sentence ”I workout, because…”?
JK: I want to be healthy, hot, happy, and strong!
IS: Make sure to visit Jen’s website and reach out to her:
P.S. If you liked the interview with Jen, please share it with your friends! I’d greatly appreciate it!