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Deconstructing Jen – Part II: A Jen Heath Interview
by: Marc McDougal

A 28 year old girl from Idaho Falls by the name of Jen Heath is starting to make some serious noise in the fitness industry. And not because she wears stripper heels on hardwood floors. Well, not only that. For starters, she’s a mother of four with her pro bodybuilding card, a sought after personal trainer, and a highly successful fitness model. She writes for multiple online magazines including Testosterone and Bodybuilding.com, and has a fan club rivaling that of Oprah, Brad Pitt, and Jesus combined. Recently she has even started co-hosting The Fitcast online radio program. So you’re asking, how does she do all of this every day, and not forget that she left her 4 kids locked in a hot car with the windows rolled up? We’re going to find that out, and much more…including some pics that might even turn George Michael straight.
Let’s pick up where we left off in our last installment… Marc: Let’s clear something up that’s bothering me. I’ve talked to you on several occasions, seen what you can do for yourself and your clients, and it turns out, you’re pretty smart and you appear to have lofty goals. So, what’s with all this ambition and intelligence? How do you sleep at night knowing you are quite possibly single-handedly ruining it for thousands of low-IQ, super hot girls by raising the bar?Jen: Ha! All I can say is that I am just me. I love what I do. I love training, I love nutrition, and I love the science behind it. I love finding information that makes me more effective at what I do, and allows me to positively impact my family, friends and clients. I am a doer. I don’t like to sit still for very long. If I am not engaged in something, I get bored. My life is very goal oriented, although knowing when to put it all down and relax is very key for me. Everybody has a limit; I get busy and stressed out too. In those cases, I simply let go and take time for myself, or give to whomever I’ve been neglecting. Life is too short to base happiness on any one thing. Obsession is only good if it is organized. Marc: Are you a believer in bulking/cutting phases, or year round re-comps? For yourself? For clients? Jen: Again, it depends. Wow, I’m starting to sound like _______? What was his name, Marc?Marc: Ian King. Get organized. Jen: Right. Well, it seems as though “bulking” and “cutting” per say have this stigma attached to them, interpreted as either pigging out or starving. Metabolically, I think it’s a good idea to “bulk” but you have to know how to do it without getting fat.Timing and macronutrient manipulation is a beautiful art when perfected in caloric excess, and can amount to significant muscle gained and not much, if any, fat gained. I personally love to hover at maintenance or above and actively gain lean muscle mass. So, I guess you could say I favor modified bulking and cutting phases. I don’t ever have clients just indiscriminately slam down calories with hopes that some of it might be partitioned to muscle. Same with cutting, very precise manipulations to ensure lean body mass retention. I think people have been conditioned to accept way too much fat gain and way too much muscle loss when following bulking/cutting plans respectively. Marc: Interesting. Who in the fitness industry would you say has significantly influenced your ideas (writers/coaches, etc)? Don’t say Bill Phillips or the interview is over. Jen: So many people! I better list Marc McDougal first, for obvious reasons. Going on…Alwyn Cosgrove, Dr. Eric Serrano, Dr. Mauro DiPasquale, Kelly Baggett, Erik Ledin, Cassandra Forsythe, and a whole slew of others. Marc: That’s a solid list, some intelligent folks there…aside from that first d-bag. What about influences outside of the fitness industry? Jen: My family of course is number one. And this is going to sound funny, but I have a favorite quote written by Mary Ann Williamson that seems applicable here. It has always had an influence on my life… “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?” Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest what is within us. Greatness is not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fears, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marc: Powerful words. Now, before you get people so motivated that they stop reading this interview and get back to work, let’s change the subject back to training info. Let’s cover weight training during fat loss phases. Do you prefer low rep/heavy weight to retain LBM under restricted calories, or metabolic workouts? Or both? How does this vary from person to person/body type to body type?

Jen:I support both methods during fat loss phases, as long as nutrition is varied properly for each training style. For me, it works best to do a combination of both. When I, or any of my clients begin a fat loss phase, I place a priority on muscle preservation. Intuitively, my first thought is fat loss + muscle preservation = lift heavy weights! I typically advocate one or two workouts per week in which all body major body parts are covered with heavy sets of 6-8 reps per set. However, if someone wanted an over powering or non-symmetrical body part to shrink I would change that. I find that many women have over developed quadriceps muscles, particularly if they are shorter individuals. Once the heavy lifting is in place, I implement either steady state cardio and/or “metabolic workouts” as you referred to them. My metabolic workouts typically involve sets of 10-15 reps with little to no rest between exercises, typically compound movements. I’ll also incorporate some workouts that focus on bodyweight movements for stability, dynamic flexibility and/or speed and agility. Some people might find it counter-intuitive, but on these metabolic weight training days I recommend higher calories be consumed unlike traditional steady state cardio days, where I would advocate tighter caloric restriction. I am currently prepping for a contest, thus in a “fat cutting” phase if you will. My own personal routine includes two days of heavy lifting, two metabolic workouts, two intervals sessions and two steady state cardio sessions per week with two days completely off of training.

Marc: I don’t have a calculator, but I think that’s 10 days. Maybe that’s why you look so good, your week has 10 days in it. Jen: Right, obviously there’s some overlap there smart ass! This layout works immensely well physically and psychologically for me. I eat more calories on the heavy weight training and metabolic days, and less on my steady state cardio and off days. Regardless of who I train, they are usually on some sort of individualized spin off of what I just described for maximal fat loss. Marc:Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been gaining popularity these days; do you ever incorporate this dieting scheme for yourself or clients? What are your thoughts on it? Jen: This method has been known to increase “nutrient partitioning” which is a fancy way of describing a more optimal end point of the nutrients we ingest. I have used it myself in various forms and find that it does yield solid results. However, personally I find it rather unpleasant. I prefer exercising self control with a steady flow of nutrition to the body at all times. Nutrient partitioning can be mastered without fasting. For my clients, it is simply unrealistic. If a client were to ask me to incorporate it in their program, I would if was appropriate to their goals, but I would never volunteer it as a primary dieting method. This is not to say that I don’t see merit, and I know it is perfect for some people…it just doesn’t fit the average person’s lifestyle or learned psychological approach to eating!Marc: What about PSMF (protein sparing modified fast) diets? Any thoughts/experiences? Jen: This is something I’ve actually been experimenting with quite a bit lately. I really like it, I’m just trying to nail down the specifics to really make it work for me.

Marc: These types of diets (IF, PSMF) tend to work exceptionally well with the assistance of the good ol pharmaceutical world. Do you or your clients ever dabble in things like clenbuterol, albuterol, DNP, T3, etc? If you’re not comfortable answering, I’ll just make up an answer for you that implicates excessive use of all of the above. Jen: Yikes! I’d better answer. Honestly, I have never touched any of those things. That doesn’t mean I have a negative outlook on those compounds, I’ve just never needed them in order to get extremely lean. I have no issues with thyroid (all testing I have had done has come back optimal), or any other factors affecting metabolism. Thankfully, I have the ability to go about it the natural way without anything more than a lot of hard work and discipline. Anything that is worth accomplishing takes both of those things. When prepping for a contest, I take plenty of stimulants/thermos, extra BCAA’s all day long, and right now I’m using Lipoderm Ultra which I love. Marc: I’m totally going to sneak some clen in your Lipo Ultra bottle. Jen: Better not! I do get a weekly injection however, which includes inositol, methionine, choline, dexapanthanol, b-vitamins, and glutathione. Marc: I wouldn’t even bother sterilizing a needle for that. I kid. Let’s get back on the other side of the counter, what do you think of specialized fats; like MCT’s, lecithin and diacylglycerol (Enova)? Jen: I’ve recently started using unrefined coconut oil; I use it primarily for cooking. Too early to report any specific benefits, but I like the taste! The research on DAG oil is impressive…although I hate to admit I haven’t started incorporating it. I haven’t supplemented much with lecithin. Boring answer, sorry! Marc: We’ll consider that a yellow card. You can recover by telling us about your nootropic regimen, and there better be one. Jen: I consistently use sulbutiamine, rhodiola rosea, acetyl-l-carnitine, and I’ll throw in tyrosine when I’m taking breaks from caffeine. Marc: Not bad, rookie. Now throw something that ends with –racetam in there and you’ve got yourself a sexy lineup. Ok, enough supplement talk for now. What do you think of Biosignature modulation? Non-invasive hormonal analysis or voo-doo? Jen: Actually, I respect the theory behind it, and it seems to be a very effective tool. Unfortunately, most of my clients work with me through correspondence, so it is fairly impractical for me to rely on such methods. I have to make do with what I can over email, but pics help, and I’ve never had a problem getting people to reach their goals without it.I have clients take circumferences at the chest, waist, belly button, hips, upper arm, thigh at the largest point, and calf. I also encourage clients to get their body fat tested at their local health club, and have it retested as often as they like, at their convenience. The number doesn’t really matter, but it is nice when the same person is measuring them, to “see” the downward trend happening. Some don’t get tested at all. It’s all about the person. Marc: Now you’re making me feel weird about getting my body fat tested 6-7 times per day. Do you have any trouble/stubborn fat loss areas? If so, any tricks to get it off? Jen:My problem areas are my thigh/glute region, just like most women. Shedding the last bit of fat from that area takes patience and consistency. Lyle McDonald’s stubborn fat protocol has helped me a great deal when contest time comes near. Basically I supplement with Yohimbine HCl, Tyrosine, and caffeine prior to early morning intervals followed immediately by steady state cardio. This is of course in addition to highly dialed in pre-contest nutrition.
Marc: What do you think is a good goal for tracking fat loss? A given percentage per week/month etc? I know you were able to go from 18% to 7% in about 3 months, which is phenomenal. Jen: I feel that roughly 1% per week would be the absolute cap on fat loss. This is for a person who is competing and has to lose fat fast. At that rate, scrutinized caloric and macronutrient manipulation schemes should be followed. The problem is, it is almost impossible to maintain all muscle mass without some sort of supplementation and even then, some muscle loss is probable. I much prefer about .5% percent per week for permanent and long term fat loss if time allows. I’m a believer that metabolic rate can be increased while shedding fat if things are done right, and that involves the old phrase “the slower you lose it the better.” I also believe that the more body fat a person is carrying the faster they can lose that fat without losing muscle. It’s when someone is already lean that fat loss should be a bit slower to compensate.Marc: Do you plan on continuing a career in competitive bodybuilding? Jen: You bet. Really excited about my upcoming show, and there will be many more in the future. Marc: I’ve heard you mention a consideration for dabbling in the dark scary world of powerlifting…given any more thought to that? Jen:When I was getting ready for my last bodybuilding show, it was the tail end of my off season. I had dabbled a bit in the “back room”, you know, where all the strong people lift. I was about 130 lbs, and my bench press was 150 and only going up at that point. After much persuasion from the boys, I decided to go ahead and compete in an upcoming regional meet. I trained on my Saturdays for about 6 weeks. It was very fun and I learned a lot of things. I did compete, and benched 155 lbs, setting the regional record for my weight class. I enjoyed it a lot! Rumor has it that the rocky mountain west gets nationals in a few years. As long as it falls in my off season, I do not see any reason why I wouldn’t compete again.Marc: That’s a big bench for a little girl. I know those powerful legs of yours were able to post some impressive squat/dead numbers at the meet…don’t be shy, let’s have it. Jen: The meet I did was just a bench contest, although I trained for the squat/dead with the guys. I got them both up to 205lbs, but I’ve gotten much stronger since then.” Marc: Anybody sponsoring you right now? Jen: World Gym is sponsoring me, which is nice. I’ve had a few recent offers I’m considering as well. Marc: And I’m sure you’ll have more. Especially after this interview, this is one very small step below Letterman. Any upcoming events you’re involved in that we should mark off on our calendars? Seminars, competitions, charity car washes, etc? Jen: Are you trying to get me to plug your fitness expo? Ha! Well, I’ve been asked to speak at the Evolution Training Concepts Fitness Expo coming up in Denver. If Marc would get it in gear we could have an exact date for that…but I’m told it will be within the next 3-4 months. Some really big names are scheduled to present at that, I’m lucky to be a part of it. So all of you better be there! I already mentioned I’m prepping for a contest, I have to leave you with something to chew on, so I am not going to disclose which competition it is. It’s nothing huge it’s just a big deal to me. Some people tell me I should try and gain a higher profile in the competitive world. For me, it is about the love of the sport, and I am not saying that to be cheesy. The personal challenge that being a bodybuilder provides me in my life is reward enough. It has been said that if it precious to you, don’t flaunt it to the world. That is how I feel about my competing in this sport. So, stay tuned for subtle updates about my competitive life. You might have to search for them though!

Marc: Which leads me to my next topic, stalking you. How do we find out more about you, read your articles, etc? Jen: All of my articles can be found on my website, www.JenHeath.com, or onwww.MuscleWithAttitude.com Marc: What does the future hold for Jen Heath? Miss America? Moving to Denver and being Evolution Training Concepts’ #1 trainer? Our Employee of the Month prizes are epic.

Jen:This is a funny question! Some things I am sure of…building and maintaining my online clientele for one. I love designing programs for my clients. I love the interaction and I love the results people see. I have a total love affair with people’s self-esteems increasing, and not to pat myself on the back or anything, but all you need to do is go to my website and read the client testimonial page and you’ll see what I am talking about. It is highly rewarding. I also know that I have four little rugrats that aren’t going anywhere for a while (16 more years!) and I won’t say for sure, but I think I might give new meaning to the term “soccer mom”. Evolution Training Concepts #1 trainer? Is that a job offer? Lay it on the table and I’ll consider it! I eventually want to end up in a bigger city, as beautiful as Idaho Falls is, so bring it on.

Marc: Any other projects you’re involved in? Will we be seeing your face on a Wheaties box anytime soon?Jen: Probably not going to see me on any cereal boxes, but I did just create a cool fat loss guide, that I happen to be on the cover of! It’s called “Fat Loss Pros”. It’s a collaboration of new interviews with some pretty big names. Serrano, Lowery, Cosgrove, Chek, DiPasquale, Staley, Ballantyne, etc. I had some very specific motivations for creating this. For me, keeping the fat off and maintaining an ultra lean body composition over the long haul was not achieved by someone telling me what to do. I went through a lot of trial and error trying to find a “carbon copy plan” that would work just right for me. It just never happened. Even me, a busy mom of four children and full time trainer and coach, couldn’t succeed until I actually learned what would work for me. There really only is a short list of real ways to lose fat. All related and complimentary ideas having to do with that short list are worthwhile, and the rest of what is out there is pretty much a waste of time and money. I wanted to recruit the world’s top fat loss experts to reveal only the points that count. And I wanted everybody to have access to the information. It is the nitty gritty, bare boned truth about training and nutrition options for fat loss. It encompasses 18 full length interviews, so it will keep you busy for a while. Marc: All I can say; is that I better be one of the interviews for Fat Loss Pros II, and you better give me a free copy of this thing. Really smart idea though, and it sounds like you got the right people involved. I’m looking forward to checking out the interviews. Now when are you going to write a groundbreaking article for Mind and Muscle? Jen: If you ask nice, I just might! Marc: All right, that’s just about everything I’ve got for now. Thank you for doing this interview Jen, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Check out www.FatLossPros.net for Jen’s product, andwww.JenHeath.com for articles and more pics.

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