Meet Jennifer Jacobs, CPT, former Peloton instructor and founder of The J METHOD…and rockstar mom of two. Perhaps you recognize her from a Peloton class you took from your living room, or you still follow her and her #fitspo game but either way, WOW.
Jennifer officially started her fitness journey in 2015 when she joined the Peloton team and became one of the top instructors on the international platform. Jacobs was with Peloton for four years before moving on to start her own business. More than a “method,” her programming is a mindset to resist your limits, unleash your best self, and was created for all ages and all fitness levels by focusing on the individual.
Jennifer is also the mother of two children, is a CPT, and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and is a graduate of UC Irvine and the Yale School of Management’s Executive Education Business Management Program. She holds over a dozen certifications recognized internationally spanning from Strength & Conditioning Coach to Performance Enhancement Specialist.
We got to speak to Jennifer to discuss her business, how she practices self care and more – read on for more!
Tell us about how your fitness and wellness journey started?
Jennifer Jacobs: The year 2015 was a very pivotal time for me. I had been living in France for 10 years. I had what most would view as a fairy tale life – husband, two kids, living in a picturesque seaside French town. It was wonderful until it wasn’t. I had certain dreams. I wanted to do more and more importantly I wanted to be in a relationship where we equally supported each other. I wanted to be with someone who believed in me just as much as I believed in them and unfortunately, he just wasn’t that person.
So, in 2015 I went to New York. I knew that if I wanted to make my dreams happen, that is where I needed to be. I wanted to reach so many more people beyond my clients and help change their lives for the better, and I knew I would not be able to do that from France. During my time in France, I was still able to maintain my personal training business which I started in college as a way to help pay for my education. I was ahead of the curve of “online virtual training”, as I not only trained clients in person in France, but I also trained clients in NY and CA online via Skype. Every now and again I was able to work with them in person when visiting the US, but for the majority of the time, Skype was the platform that I used to train them.
I decided to go to NY because at that time I believed it was the heart of the fitness industry with so many boutique fitness companies opening up such as Barry’s Bootcamp, SoulCycle, FlyWheel and of course a little-known company called Peloton. A close family friend actually told me about Peloton and said they were reaching their customers “online” similar to what I was doing via an online platform but offering cycling classes only, not strength training. Shortly after that I read an article on “John Foley” where he talked about how Peloton was the Future of Fitness and the goal of training people on a global scale. That was it! That was the same thing I wanted to do! From then on, I knew I wanted to be a part of what he was looking to create and achieve.
While I was in NY, I thought I would check this company out. I downloaded the app for Peloton, attended a class in their studio and was truly amazed as I saw what they were trying to do and how they were trying to disrupt the fitness industry. Soon thereafter I saw a post on Peloton’s Instagram account. It said ”Do you have what it takes?” I thought “YES I DO!”. I had headshots taken, sent it in along with a bold cover letter and before I knew it, I auditioned, was quickly offered a job and was asked to help them create and build their first program offering strength classes off the bike – originally called “Beyond the Ride.”
I soon became one of Peloton’s top cycling instructors (there were only 12 of us at the time) and helped them create their first strength classes which of course became extremely successful. Most importantly I was reaching hundreds and soon thousands of people just like I had set out to do!
How did you pivot your personal brand into The J METHOD?
Jennifer Jacobs: I loved being a part of Peloton, being a part of a team and being with such a great company. But I also always wanted to build my own brand which was called The J METHOD. At some point in your life, you reach a pivotal time when you need to decide whether to just be content with the way things are or push yourself even more and take what you always wanted to do to the next level.
Peloton gave me the confidence, recognition, and platform (exposure) to make that leap/jump to break out on my own, develop my own brand and reach people in a different way to help them in their fitness journey.
Why is mindfulness so important, especially during the pandemic?
Jennifer Jacobs: Doing things consciously and with purpose helps calm the chaos around you. Especially during the pandemic, it gives you a sense of control of your own life when sometimes things can be so out of control.
What are some ways you practice self-care on a daily basis to stay grounded?
Jennifer Jacobs: I’m going to start the day doing something for myself and end the day doing something for myself, something as simple as breathing and taking in a few quiet moments. I often start my day with some gentle stretching and mobility moves just to get my body going, and I typically end my day with a nice hot bath. It’s a way for me to just take a moment to assess my day and really take time for myself. Nowadays, we all lead such busy lives that it is important to remember to just start and end your day simply on yourself.
Some other things I like to do are drink matcha in the mornings and at other points during the day. Matcha has so many health benefits: it has antioxidants, helps increase your focus/boosts concentration, and gives you sustained calm energy. I often use eye patches in the morning, as it just helps brighten my eyes and gets me ready for the day ahead.
How do you juggle being a working mom and running your own business?
Jennifer Jacobs: During the quarantine period of the pandemic, I had my kids with me for 8 months, and loved it. We had so much fun! We cooked A LOT! We tried new things, we played games like Chess and Monopoly. We even danced a lot together. The important thing is to find balance. When you are with your kids, you should all put your phones, iPads and devices away and just spend that time with each other.
As a result, when it is time for you to spend time on your own work etc., they know that and are okay with it because you just spent all this time with them, or they know that they will be spending time with you. Don’t get me wrong, it is not always easy. With COVID, it was a challenge homeschooling them (often in French) and trying to run my own business, but we made it work.
What are 3 tips you can share to other women looking to launch their own companies?
- Find your WHY- if you don’t know why you are doing something you won’t have the passion to really do what you need to do to help it succeed.
- Be fearless and relentless in your pursuit (don’t take no for an answer)
- Surround yourself with the right people…people who support you and challenge you.
Who are 3 mentors or women you look up to? Not mentors so much, but the 2 women who I look up to the most are?
- My mom is the strongest woman I know. She’s fearless, resilient, and taught me to never settle.
- I look up to Madonna for her ability to live completely unapologetically – she’s not afraid to take risks. She thinks outside the box and sometimes breaks the box.
- Jillian Michaels is a great businesswoman who invests in what she believes in.
What is your favorite quote?
Jennifer Jacobs: “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent Van Gogh
Giving back is so special, especially now, can you share how and who you gave back to during the pandemic?
Jennifer Jacobs: During the beginning of the pandemic I launched ‘THE J METHOD WELLNESS FOR HEALTHCARE PROGRAM’ in New York which was at the epicenter of the pandemic last spring. I never realized how great of an impact it would have. The messages I’ve received from the healthcare workers expressing their gratitude is one of the highlights of the past year. The program involved releasing “Break Size” workouts exclusively on my YouTube Channel designed for small spaces such as a hospital break room that our healthcare workers (and you) can do anytime anywhere. In addition, I donated hundreds of sets of my J METHOD minibands to hospitals in the New York area to accompany the online workouts and equip our frontline heroes with the tools to unleash their best. I also made a very special visit to the NorthWell Long Island Jewish Medical Center over the summer to host a LIVE outdoor training session to express my personal thanks.
I am also an ambassador for the Smile Train. It is a charity that helps children born with cleft palates. I have been supporting them for years. In 2019 I actually went to Mexico to learn about the program there, meet the doctors, nurses and teachers who work for the charity, and most importantly meet some of the most beautiful children and their families. Through my trip I helped raise awareness to my followers on social media and raised thousands of dollars. Most recently this past November 2020, I hosted their first ever Smile Ride. This was a virtual event where participants raised money for Smile Train through donations as they completed a virtual ride via their stationary or outdoor bikes. I co-hosted the event and also led one of the rides virtually on Zwift. This fall, Smile Train is planning for an in-person (fingers crossed) charity event where I will be leading a team and together, we will be riding 100 miles outdoors.
Anything else to add?
Jennifer Jacobs: I’m so excited for the future and the opportunities ahead. I have so many things planned for myself, my brand and my business in the coming year and beyond. If there is anything I have learned, it’s that nothing is impossible as long as you have a strong desire and confidence in yourself. It takes a whole lot of courage and strength to achieve your goals. Visualize your highest self and start showing up for you. Sometimes it’s the bravest and most important thing you can do for yourself. Strength is not only in your ability to persist but the capability to recognize when it is time to take a different path. Whatever goals or challenges you face in life always remember your “why.” Always remember your purpose because that will be your motivation, your reason to move forward, and it is what will keep you moving forward.
Pursue better on a daily basis, resist your limits, and unleash your best self!
Photos: ℅ Jennifer Jacobs