Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness and wellness authority, bestselling author, wife and mother, entrepreneur, and frequent guest on national media. She was recently named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness” by Greatist and ranked sixteenth on the list of the “Most Impactful Fitness Entrepreneurs” by Web MD. Jennifer is also consistently featured in national health, lifestyle, and entertainment publications, including People, Cosmopolitan, and Woman’s Health, as well as in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. Jennifer has regular columns in Forbes and Entrepreneur, which have garnered a loyal readership and are widely considered the most popular on their respective sites.
In her life beyond training, Jennifer is the lifestyle and fitness spokesperson and consultant for world class brands including Muscle Milk, Polar Heart Rate Monitors, KIND Bar, LOEWS HOTELS, and Weight Watchers. Her first bestselling book, No Gym Required – Release Your Inner Rock Star (2009), outlines her no-nonsense approach to fitness and health, and serves as an overall healthy lifestyle guide.
FtC sat down with Jennifer to uncover her favorite career aspects, her approach to healthy living, and the success of her brand-new podcast. Feel inspired and get in gear with Jennifer Cohen!
This Face the Current Sports & Fitness Feature is published in Issue 24 / July-August 2019 Edition. Order PRINT here, SUBSCRIBE to digital membership for unlimited access to our content, or continue reading this article below.
Most people want to know more about boosting their mental stamina, not just their physical side. Everyone wants to look good on the outside, but it truly does start from within. In my Forbes column, I teach executives and entrepreneurs how to boost productivity through wellness.
Sasha Frate: What is a “body image consultant” and how did this become part of your repertoire?
Jennifer Cohen: A body image consultant is someone that helps to improve, enhance, and upgrade a person’s physique through methods of exercise and proper nutrition. It doesn’t stop just in the gym and with a food journal. To achieve the goals a person wishes to obtain, you have to adjust many facets in your life, a main one being the way you think about yourself. It begins with loving the skin you are already in. I knew I wanted to help people become happier as a whole and adjust their mindset, not just what they see in the mirror.
SF: As a columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Men’s Journal, and Health.com, what are some of the most in-demand topics you’re asked to cover? What do you most enjoy writing about/sharing?
JC: Most people want to know more about boosting their mental stamina, not just their physical side. Everyone wants to look good on the outside, but it truly does start from within. In my Forbes column, I teach executives and entrepreneurs how to boost productivity through wellness. I enjoy writing for these publications because it expands my reach so that I can help the most people get to the next level in whatever path they are on. That’s why I started my podcast, Habits and Hustle, with my partners at Habit Nest. Habits and Hustle uncovers rituals, unspoken habits, and mindsets of extraordinary people. The podcast just got picked up by Entrepreneur Magazine and is now a part of their podcast network.
SF: You’ve been ranked in the “100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness” by Greatist. What are some of the ways you have been involved in and influenced the fitness world/industry? What is your favorite thing about being a fitness influencer?
JC: I was the co-creator of the Hot 5 Fitness App which was acquired by Weight Watchers and was ranked #1 immediately upon release. I also starred in 9 workout eDVDS for Weight Watchers and helped develop and lead their fitness pillar. I am the President and CEO of my wellness brand, No Gym Required (NGR), which offers products and services based on my “anytime, anywhere – no excuses” fitness philosophy! Under NGR, I produced a first of its kind wellness toning shoe, which was the only sneaker to use removable weighted soles. The shoes had hundreds of thousands of fans including Courtney Cox, Jennifer Garner, David Beckham, Jennifer Aniston and more, before it was acquired. I also wrote two best-selling fitness books titled No Gym Required and Strong is the New Skinny.
My favorite thing about running my fitness brand and being influential in the fitness world is that I truly believe there are no excuses to block anyone from success except a negative mindset. I am here to change that mindset and help people achieve their goals.
SF: What are two of your most frequently asked questions in regard to fitness and body image or weight?
JC: I am always asked what the fastest way is to get “skinny” and how long will it take to see results. First, let me just say I hate that term. It’s all about being STRONG, physically and mentally. Your goals can be attainable if you first have the proper mindset and the want is long term. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts that last. When it comes to fitness, it must be sustainable. I don’t create summer bodies. I want you to have a life body! This is a marathon, not a race.
SF: In your second book Strong is the New Skinny—#2 on the Bestsellers list—how do you speak to concepts such as the “fit ideal” and “be fit to be healthy” vs. “look fit to be sexy”?
JC: I trained a young lady who came to me and said, “Jen, I really want you to help me. I have fluctuated in weight all my life trying to do quick fixes for last minute photo shoots or for a dress for a red carpet. I’m pushing myself for a temporary fix just to be exhausted and feel like crap when it’s all done!” I don’t want you to look good in your clothes. I want you to look GREAT naked! At the end of the day, when you are stripped down and ready for the shower, you should walk by the mirror and love what you see. You should see results from hard work and how YOU want to look, not what social media portrays, leading you to believe the world is one size fits all. There are many different body types and I find what works for you.
SF: What inspired you to create your company NGR (No Gym Required), what does it offer, and who are some of your client-fans that have found success through NGR?
JC: No Gym Required was developed because I am a working mom. I am always on the go. Sometimes, I don’t have room in my schedule to pack up my things, go to the gym, wait for a machine (if it’s peak time), drive back through traffic, thank the babysitter, etc. Do you know how long all that takes in LA in real time?!
No Gym Required offers you solutions to get the workout in whenever, wherever, however. I feel my best if I have done a workout. Fitness boosts your endorphins, which are intricate in productivity both physically and mentally. I have numerous clients who message me on social media telling me how they love being able to workout using the simplest tools that are right at their fingertips. Those are my favorite success stories.
SF: If no gym is required, what are your top recommended places and ways to train, and why?
JC: Your local park. Being outdoors in the fresh air does wonders during a workout. You can do incline push-ups on the bench. Your office is another great place. Take mini breaks to do squats or lunges. Or, just WALK; it’s the most underutilized form of exercise. Park further, take the stairs, don’t drive to your go-to lunch spots. Download an app that keeps track of your steps and check it at night. You will be surprised and I guarantee you will have a personal competition to beat your previous day.
SF: What are some unique things that your latest book/journal combo Badass Body Goals: The Booty Building and Waist Trimming Journal addresses and provides that you believe have not really been properly/fully covered with other books out there?
JC: Badass Body Goals is more of a journal than a traditional book. I wanted to create something that people could engage with and use to keep themselves accountable. It’s interactive. You can read all day about how to do a proper squat or different forms for push-ups, but once you’ve read it, what’s next? Badass gives you the tools you need and encourages you to carry out the tasks. It’s a start-to-finish manual that will help you look and feel better once you’re done. It’s literally a trainer in your pocket.
If you set goals and a path to get there, you will be more likely to check things off your list without exhausting yourself or feeling overwhelmed. ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.'”
SF: Tell us about the Hot 5 App and what do you believe led to its popularity and success to bring it to number one on the Apple App store and to be acquired by Weight Watchers?
JC: The Hot 5 App gives you five-minute workouts you can do anywhere. Life comes at you fast. Not everyone can take an hour out of their day to devote to the gym. But what if you could break up that hour into five-minute increments? That was the thinking behind the development of the app. Once it launched, people related and felt included, and it was so popular that Weight Watchers acquired it.
SF: In your podcast Habits and Hustle, you interview thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and extraordinary people on what has made a difference in their success. Can you share a couple examples from people you’ve interviewed on habits and rituals that stuck out as exemplary to you and perhaps you’ve since implemented them into your life?
JC: I am so thankful to have launched my podcast and that it has been so well received. I wanted to share with others the knowledge of thought-provoking people and the routines and habits that helped them achieve their goals.
Some of the guests we’ve had on include Dennis Rodman (NBA Star); Toni Ko (Founder of NYX Cosmetics); Autumn Calabrese (Founder of the 21-Day Fix by Beach Body); Alli Webb and Brittany Driscoll (Co-Founders of Drybar); Valorie Kondos and Katelyn Ohashi (UCLA Gymnastics Coach and six-time All American and four-time USA Gymnastics Junior National Team gymnast); and more. We have upcoming guests like Mark Cuban, Magic Johnson, and Oscar De La Hoya which I’m very excited about. I think you learn something every episode—I know I do!
SF: You yourself juggle an extraordinary number of things. What’s your success secret to efficiently and effectively “hustling” without draining yourself along the way?
JC: Planning, planning, planning. I’m not saying that my daily schedule is perfect! There are times where I’ve had to change things at the last minute because life will throw you curveballs, but if you set goals and a path to get there, you will be more likely to check things off your list without exhausting yourself or feeling overwhelmed. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
SF: How has your role in the fitness industry lent itself to coaching in corporate wellness and business-building?
JC: It helps to build mental strength. You develop mental clarity. When you are working out, no matter what setting you choose, you aren’t thinking about the stress. You are releasing. You are opening your mind. I’ve gotten some of my best ideas on the treadmill. There is a direct correlation to synchronizing the mind and body as it connects to fitness.
SF: What has been the most fulfilling for you on your path so far, and what is something you aim to achieve in the near future that aligns with this sense of fulfillment?
JC: It’s so hard to put one thing at the top of my list of achievements. I’m proud of being a good wife and mother, and I’m super excited about my most recent accomplishment with the launch of Habits and Hustle podcast and it being syndicated on Entrepreneur Magazine. I celebrate all victories with my hardworking team and my family. I know that if you don’t have like-minded people around who also want the best for you, it can be easy to get held back. I would say I am most fulfilled thus far being able to do what I love and still being able to tuck my kids in bed at night!