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Jem Brooks Personal Trainer

by Alexandra Parren
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personal trainer fitness

Jem has always been sporty but was inspired to become a personal trainer after becoming a mother. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

Tell us about any sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

I love to run and be outdoors, so I’ve completed in numerous running challenges and triathlons. I was injured a couple of years ago and haven’t raced since. But I’m recovered and excited about my next challenge, a SwimRun event. It's sea swimming around bays in Anglesey coupled with costal running. Sea swimming is something I’ve been working on lately along with cold water, as I prefer swimming in warmer, fresh open water, so it’s an exciting challenge for me.

Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

I’ve always been the sporty one of the family, and fitness is something that’s in my DNA, I’m just programmed to do it. I remember pestering my dad to take me to the school running track to train for my upcoming 100m sports day race (age 8!) and wearing purple leotards and lycra at aerobics classes with my mum! Living in Canada at 18 years old also ignited my love for the great outdoor sports.

I enjoyed a successful career in marketing and would regularly participate in 10k and half marathons whilst at the same time training hard in the gym. When I became a mum, I somehow lost my sporty spirit; my babies came first, then work, but I was struggling, tired all the time and only just keeping it together.

I started researching what exercise was safe postnatally and gradually built up my fitness again, I started to come back to life. I knew I had a deeper calling to help women. So I qualified as a PT and my career helping women regain their fitness and start to value their body took off.

What are your training goals now?

Staying injury free by continually working on my imbalances, maintaining strength and flexibility. I’m still focused on my running endurance and transitions from the sea to climbing and running in a wetsuit. My current fun goal has been to be able to master crow to headstand, it's taking time but I’ll get there.

Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

My grandad was from Beirut, so I’m a quarter Lebanese.

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

Don’t worry about what the competition is doing, stay true to yourself, your beliefs, values and there will be enough people who will want to work with you.

Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

My dad is a dietician so I’ve been brought up to believe that everything in moderation is fine. I have tried different approaches over the years, but I try to eat intuitively these days and within a 10-12 hour window. If I eat meat, I choose the best I can afford, I like to make my plate look as colourful and tasty as possible and cook everything from scratch.

What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

I think it’s important to remind my clients what their ‘Why” is, I will repeat the exact reasons they used in our first meeting as to what they wanted to achieve from working with me. I find this is really powerful.

I also focus on performance gains over the scales and measurements, this mental shift can be really empowering.

Talk us through your training regime.

I commit to a minimum of 3 weekly sessions that are just for me, they include a 5-7k run, 1,250m swim, strength-based workout, Pilates core and flexibility. I like variety and I manage my training intensity around my 28 day monthly cycle to maintain the optimum balance for my body and mind.

I also teach MethodologyX and Post Natal classes during a regular week and on average take 15-20,000 steps daily.

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

I read books on subjects I want to find more about for my own development or my clients, I constantly have a fitness themed book by my bed. I also have a coach and mentor to keep me in check.

I’m currently coming to the end of a mat Pilates qualification, I enjoy participating in Pilates, (it’s nice to be taught rather than be the teacher sometimes) and wanted to learn more about it as a discipline, so it seemed a natural step to become qualified,

What are your top 3 trainer tips?

  1. Listen and get to know your clients.
  2. Knowledge is power, so invest in your development, read, connect with other trainers and learn, constantly.
  3. Practice what you preach.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

It would have to be sushi, I love the stuff.

Why work with Sundried?

I’m a coffee junkie who loves to run on beaches and swim in the sea. So wearing clothing made from recycled coffee grounds and discarded plastic from the sea couldn’t be more fitting for my workout pieces, playing to my need to buy more responsibly sourced clothing. Sundried have got me covered for all my outdoor gear so what’s more to love.

Favourite fitness quote:

"It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger."

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