JNL Fusion creator: From 'fat and frumpy housewife to super-mom'
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Model, trainer and author Jennifer Nicole Lee says her fitness motto is: Strong is the new skinny. (Mike Brochu, courtesy)
Disappointed with how she looked and felt, she decided to go from "fat and frumpy housewife and mom to super-mom with strong sexy physique." To do so, she started with the mind, which she calls "the strongest muscle in the body."
Why do you keep fit?
I found myself falling into the trap of many moms — getting out of shape after giving birth. I was actually overweight most of my life till I gave birth to my children. [But] I am a weight-loss success story, from fat and frumpy housewife and mom to super-mom with strong sexy physique. I wanted more energy stamina and endurance to keep up with the sport of motherhood. I wanted to prove the point that women only get better after becoming moms.
What's your workout routine?
I train four times a week in 45-minutes sessions — two days on, one day off. I have an active day of rest with the family.
For my workouts, I created a method of training called JNL Fusion, [named after my initials], where I blend or fuse your old-school weight training workout with super spiking cardio bursts for 30 seconds between sets of lifting weights. This allows me to get the best of both worlds: burning fat while sculpting strong, sexy muscle tone.
Cardio bursts sound like a great idea. How did it start with you?
I've really believed that the way I was able to unlock the fat-burning furnace was through weight training, being on the guy's side of the gym or working out in my living room with weights. But I noticed I was not completely in my fat-burning zone so I added super spiking 30 seconds of plyometrics or JNL Fusion, which I created for the modern-day busy mom to work out in her own home. [Cardio bursts could be] either a plyo or jumping moves to get the heart rate up.
Do you ever take a break from your workout routine?
Do you have a personal fitness motto or philosophy?
Strong is the new skinny.
My mission is strength. I know that weight training is the fountain of youth, giving your body energy and not depleting it of it.
What's the most out of shape you've ever been?
I weighed 170 pounds when I met my husband — yo-yoed all my life. After the birth of my second son, I was over 200. That was in 2003 and it was very depressing. To become a mom is an identity shift. You become a baby holder not allowed to look good. That's why it's called "the baby blues." But I used fitness to help me heal and become more positive.
Did you ever consider cosmetic surgery?
No, I felt it was not necessary.
You mentioned you have an "active day of rest" with your family. How does your family keep fit?
We swim, ride bikes, kick a soccer ball on the beach. And I train our kids first thing every morning. We have a 15-minute routine to get their body going and wake up their mental neurons. When you stimulate the body, you stimulate the mind. Then we eat breakfast.
Do you have any physical problems that hinder exercise?
No. Thank you, God.
Did you play any competitive sports in school?
No. I was raised poverty level. Mom could not afford extracurricular activities nor even drive me. I stayed home and watched TV or played outside. No athletic background whatsoever. Not till I became a mom.
What's your typical daily diet?
I eat five or six times a day: breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess and dinner like a pauper. So I trickle down calories during the day. After breakfast, I'll have a protein shake made with water. And a second one after lunch.
A typical breakfast is egg whites with half a cup of oatmeal and a side of blueberries. Or whole-wheat tortilla with leftovers from dinner and an orange. Or all-bran cereal with three hard-boiled eggs but no yolk. I'll drink water or juice of beets, carrots, cucumbers, whatever is in the fridge. Maybe a little bit of coffee.
Lunch might be grilled chicken with sweet potato and a side salad. Dinner, I go without carbs so I'm into steak, maybe grilled filet mignon with steamed vegetables or grilled fish.
Water, juice, coffee — are those what you typically drink?
I drink water, water, water. I always ask myself, "Where's the water?" And I love my red wine. It's chockfull of antioxidants and reduces the No. 1 killer of women, which is heart disease. I have a glass every other day. I have a favorite cabernet.
Do you take any vitamins or sports nutrition products besides the protein shakes?
A woman's daily vitamin.
Where did you acquire your fitness and nutrition knowledge?
On my own. When my sons were sleeping, I would go on the Internet. And I went to a lot of workshops and seminars and read a lot of books to become an expert. My mission is much better than looking good in a bikini.
Do you have any advice for South Florida residents looking to get fit?
Yes, if anyone is silently suffering in their own fat suit, they've got to believe they can achieve their fitness goals and they will. The mind is the strongest muscle in the body.