This weeks Meet a Mom is the hard working and goal-getter, Jennifer Nagel. Jennifer is a wife, mom and fitness & lifestyle expert right here in East Lansing! Feeling burned out and unhappy, she left a successful career and created Figured Out Fitness. A comprehensive fitness program to help busy women begin and transform their fitness journey! She said, “the thing that really would make me happy, that I would love to excel at, that would be a real challenge, was not what I was doing,” and she changed her path and where she is headed– left us astonished!
She also has the BEST love story, check out the YouTube video below, it has ALL the feels ♥ Welcome, Jennifer!
Hi Jennifer! Please introduce yourself, Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Hi moms! I’m Jennifer and I am a certified personal trainer and fitness & lifestyle coach. I help women over 30 learn how to be strong and healthy by creating simple solutions that they can easily incorporate into their everyday lives.
I was born outside of Chicago, but my family moved around a bit so I also lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I grew up mostly in Farmington Hills, MI before moving to the East Lansing area twenty-ish years ago. You may see me walking around my neighborhood in Hawks Nest.
You’re a mom! How many kids do you have and what are their ages? What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I went from being a mom of one to being a mom of four after marrying my husband Paul almost 6 years ago. Our kids are 27, 18, 17 and 16. My favorite thing about being a mom is that each of our kids are completely different and yet when we all get together, we have so much fun. Our kids are at the point where they are making big life decisions such as relationships, career and college, it’s been great helping them navigate through it all.
How do you juggle work with being a mom?
I don’t! But seriously, I have mom guilt all the time. As an entrepreneur, my business is my fifth “child”, so I never feel like I have enough time with the kids, especially as they are becoming older and more independent. Instead of balance, I try to be completely engaged with my kids when we are together, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
We’re big on self-care for moms, as hard as it is to find the time, what’s something you do just for yourself?
I’m a big believer in self care and there are two non-negotiable things that I do for myself. The first is exercise. Movement makes me feel good and I try to exercise or move every single day. I do it first thing in the morning so I kick off my day in a positive way. The second non-negotiable is my bi-weekly massage. I have been seeing my massage therapist for over 3 years, so I definitely made sure she made it into my pandemic “pod”. Massage keeps me healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. If I ever move, I’m building a guest house for her so she can come with me!
What are your go-to restaurants and shops in the East Lansing area?
I miss restaurants! I haven’t eaten out much since the pandemic, but before that, my favorite girls night out spot was Maru and my favorite date night restaurant with my husband was Boston’s.
Lately, I enjoyed shopping at Plato’s Closet! My daughter started working there, so first I would go to spy on her, but you can’t beat the deals, especially on athletic wear! I go through a lot of workout clothes, so this has become my new favorite find.
What is something you wish was in the East Lansing area?
We need more shoe stores! And a Trader Joes! And a place where I can get custom jeans! When you’re muscular, the standard Old Navy fit doesn’t always work.
You’re a certified personal trainer & fitness and lifestyle coach- Tell us how you got started in the fitness industry and how Figured Out Fitness evolved?
I’ll give you the Cliff’s notes version. I have LOVED fitness & nutrition since I was a little kid. My sister and I would do all of the workouts on ESPN from 10am-noon, Monday- Friday during the summers. I had my first fitness job at 15 when I worked at a personal training studio. I loved the science of food and nutrition, so I earned my bachelor of science in Food Science from Michigan State University. Even when I worked a “regular” job after graduation, I still followed my passion and earned fitness certifications and coached on the side. It was always so much fun! Finally after 15 years in a traditional career, I decided that I wanted to take a chance and do what I’ve always loved in a way that was sustainable for our family, so that’s how my online coaching business, Figured Out Fitness, was born.
What’s the best thing about your job? Most challenging part?
I love what I do! The best part about my job is seeing the a-ha moment when my clients realize they don’t have to beat their bodies up or restrict foods to achieve their fitness goals. I also love when former clients reach out to me months or even years later to tell me how much our work together improved their quality of life. The challenging part is turning off my coaching switch. It’s easy to be fully immersed in coaching and neglect my own self care. I’ve worked hard to set more personal boundaries so that my cup is full.
Best piece of advice for someone looking to get their health back on track? How do you stay motivated?
Start small! One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is trying to make several changes at once. ‘Jennifer, I’m going to work out for 45 minutes per day AND follow a low carb diet AND meditate AND walk for an hour a day AND give up all sugar AND….”
The best way to sustain health and fitness routines is to do a little bit at a time and slowly add more habits. My goal is to help you insert fitness into your life and not to completely overhaul your life for your fitness. The latter never works long term, trust me.
For motivation, I give myself a small reward when I master a new habit. It can be as simple as programming my FitBit to show fireworks when I hit a step goal or listening to my favorite playlist when I workout. Little rewards make the process fun!
Now some fun ones!
Can’t live without skincare or beauty product– The Ordinary moisturizer with hyaluronic acid. Run, do not walk to use this product!
Exercise you dislike doing the most – Running.
Favorite foods to splurge on – A rich chocolate gourmet brownie.
Fun fact about you – My husband and I met online on a Facebook fitness
page. We were Facebook buddies for years before any romance started. I only saw him in person 3x before he moved cross country to be with me. He proposed by bringing together all our online and in person friends together in this YouTube video and posted it on Facebook (because that’s how we met). It was awesome!
Current binge shows – The Bachelor (don’t judge me) and old episodes of Criminal Minds
Last question, who is your mentor in this business?
I am fortunate to have a group of people who I consider my board of directors. I talk to them to vet ideas or to get advice. I would say that my main mentors have been my long time business coach Reuben Driedger and my Powerful Partners Forum Group, a small family of female founders and entrepreneurs who I love and trust.
If people would like to get in touch with your business, what is the best way?
I’m pretty easy to find using my social media contact information below, but if you have a specific question, contact me through my website!
Jennifer has been so kind to offer a special offer for ELAM followers~
I love deals too! I’d love to offer $50 off my new program, 1,000 Strong Women for the East Lansing Area Moms. Use code: ELMOMS at checkout.
Is there an amazing local Mom you would like featured? Please share by emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org