Jenna came to me in October 2012 eager to develop her strength, rehabilitate her injuries and make some crucial changes both physically and mentally.
Training Jenna allowed me the opportunity to get to know this esteemed model on a personal level, her weaknesses, her strengths and her vibrant personality. This fiery girl next door has achieved her titles and her long list of physical accomplishments through brutal hard work, determination and her relentless attitude to reaching her goals. Training Jenna also meant delving into her past to uncover where she had come from, what she had experienced and how to move forward with her physical potential and attitude that is set forth today.
This awe inspiring girl made time for tea, to give us some insight into what the world of modelling and fitness training truly meant for her and how she has battled some of the biggest hurdles of her life.
After just a few short months under Chris's guidance, Jenna was asked to hit the stage. Not knowing anything about the modelling world and what it entailed, having never even seen a show, she dove into it head first. After the customary first spray tan and a couple borrowed bikini's later, she stood back stage about to face something she had yet to even witness. Cherie Loomes (Ex Miss Universe) gave her a quick 'how to' backstage and Jenna walked on and faced the light.
Jen a complete amateur, at only 19 years old, with no previous experience, knowledge and a couple months training was completely elated when they called her name as winner of NABBA Miss Bikini South Africa. An indescribable feeling she says, that moment had changed her life course completely. Utterly in love with the feeling of triumph and achievement.
With the fame came the recognition internationally from people from all walks of life, Jenna was inspiring girls who like the majority of society today, believed that skinny is beautiful. Jenna changed that image for many young people and used her epitome to help those with eating disorders and self esteem issues. This impacted her in a huge way and made this her calling in life.
It goes without saying that with the highs, came the lows. Devoting her every last minute to her training and diet meant missing out on the 'life of a 20 year old' many friends had drifted as Jen isolated her life. Those close to her not being able to understand her devoutness quickly left. In this, she learnt that if those who were not supportive of her passion then, were just not worth keeping around, as this was her life, this was her ecstasy.
2010 bought some dark times as she struggled with her diet, and her bodies reaction to the amount of stress from training was prevalent. Jen followed the ketogenic diet, however along with some bad advice her approach to the diet only aided her in destroying her body. Living on hake, egg whites, broccoli and the occasional nut lead to her demise. She had reached a point where she began to struggle with memory loss, lack of energy and weight maintenance. Every show was a nightmare and with the return to a normal diet, Jenna's weight was on the increase, and escalated by 16kgs quickly. However with each mistake came a new beginning, these lessons have enabled her to better herself, after a year of self discouragement and lack of ownership of her body, Jenna rose again.
Winning NABBA Miss Bikini SA 2011 and then placing 6th at World Champs Jen was back on track.
However no sooner was she back on stage, did her past came back to haunt her. Spending 6 hours a day in the gym under heavy load took a toll on her legs, pushing through the agony, like the soldier she is, she slowly put herself at greater risk. Experiencing excruciating pain from her knees down for months on end, still she kept on. Jen later learnt she had developed compartment syndrome in both her legs meaning that the muscle in her calves had grown too much for the fascia surrounding it, cutting off circulation from her feet, in the fear of losing her limbs she finally went under the knife.
Jen came to me shortly after she began her rehabilitation, where we focused her training on ligament and joint strength development through body weight training. Together we literally started from scratch and began to rebuild her body. With each day came set backs and with each set back came a call for a bigger come back.
Today 18 months later, Jenna proudly says she is currently in the best place in her life. Following a balanced diet, spending 5 days a week under my watchful eye and making strength gains she once only dreamt of. Now 24 years old, with still so much to offer the industry and the stage, along with her international sponsor OLIMP (a lifelong dream) she is ready to step up again.
I quote "When I step on stage again, I will have a totally changed physique, changed for the better, close to show time I will hone in on my nutrition, I am still so young and still have so much left inside me, I am more determined than ever. I am back"
Watch this space.
I am fortunate enough to call Jenna my client and extremely lucky to have her under my wing, hearing her say
Jenna's story proves that failure can lead to your greatest conquests have you the will and determination to rise after you fall.
NABBA Miss Bikini SA 2009
NABBA Miss Bikini SA 2011
6th Place World Champs 2011