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Welcome to another edition of Fitness for All with Cam Jenkins, sponsored by Lebert Fitness.
In this episode, Cam talks with Jessica H. Maurer. She is a fitness business consultant and strategist who has presented and consulted for many brands internationally. Her passion is helping fitness professionals & businesses reach full potential through education, program & instructor development, and brand creation & awareness. Jessica is the Senior Director of Instructor Development at FIT4MOM and is a consultant for well-known fitness companies such as Nathalie Lacombe, Lebert Fitness, & One Day to Wellness. Additionally, Jessica continues to offer consulting services to locally owned businesses and fitness professionals.
This article is sourced from the Fitness For All Podcast, a top health and wellness podcast. Listen or subscribe below
Scroll to the end of the article for links to important resources mentioned in this episode.
*The following podcast has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Welcome to another edition of the Fitness for All podcast. I'm your host Cam Jenkins and as always, it is sponsored by Lebert Fitness. On today's show, we have Jessica Maurer on the line, Jessica, how are you doing today?
Hi, I'm doing great. I'm so glad to be here. Thanks for having me on as a guest.
Well, thanks very much for coming on, we really appreciate it. Why don’t we start off with you talking a little bit about your experience in the fitness industry?
Sure. I started off in the fitness industry as a dancer who moved into group fitness into personal training and management, all pretty quickly. From management, I was lucky enough to become a master trainer for companies such as Savvier Fitness, That's Tabata bootcamp, The Bar Above Series, which led me to meeting Mark actually at a convention. I toured around the world presenting for companies that were mainly equipment based like Lebert Fitness, BOSU Fitness, and Hedstrom Fitness. From there, with my experience and management, with working with a ton of different educational companies, I really found a passion in helping people move their education into different places, so the digital world, the virtual world, and of course live training as well. I switched gears and created a consulting company where I help businesses reach their full potential through educational training, onboarding, and upskilling their instructor team, and creating brand awareness.
As far as the education part, how did that become a passion for you? How did you know that that was a passion that you wanted to make your full-time career?
When I first started in the fitness industry, I loved going to conferences and trainings. I thought that was the best part of our job, actually getting to travel, meet other people in the same field in the same world and learn new tips and tricks. What I quickly realized in the education world was, you don't know what you don't know, and every little tip and trick and asset that an inventor or an educator or a master trainer can give you, just sets you a couple of bars above the rest of the fitness professionals out there. It was a way that I could focus on education. I could easily affect personal trainers and group fitness instructors in a positive way, but that created a ripple effect because, I may only be able to train, you know, 20 to 30 trainers at a time, but they're going to go out there and touch hundreds of more people. I found that what was really fascinating about education is the ripple effect that it then created in order to keep spreading these little tips and tricks and pieces of advice to trainers who would go out there and use them in their communities
For the trainers in the communities. How do you train a trainer in the fitness industry?
Trainers in the fitness industry typically will go take certifications, live, or in-person, now virtually or on demand or digitally, where an expert in the field will teach them lessons they need to know, say about a piece of equipment, about a training style, about a class construct; whatever the trainer is interested in learning more about at the time. Education needs to be short, little digestible pieces of information that the fitness professional can turn around and use immediately, whether it is an extra cue, a new class plan, a new exercise or variation, or even foundational learning of what fitness actually is.
We used to think that fitness education was textbooks like big, giant kinesiology textbooks, where you study the book and you took an exam and for the most part, people still get their primary certifications that way. But beyond that, fitness education has really evolved to be much more interactive, much more playful, much more informative at the fitness professionals, own pace, own time, own structure. And that has really been exciting to watch over the last 10 years.
As far as Lebert Fitness, I know you mentioned a bit earlier that you've met Mark and started to have a professional relationship…
Oh, now I'm back. You cut out there for a minute. I'm sorry. Could you repeat your last question?
Absolutely. Actually, it was Mark Lebert trying to call me! He must've known that I was about to ask you that question. That’s hilarious! Can you tell us how you came to work with Lebert fitness? I know you said earlier in the podcast that you met Mark and you started to have a working relationship with him. Can you talk me through the evolution that came to be of working with Lebert Fitness?
Absolutely. I started working with Lebert Fitness when Jenn Hall first came onto Liebert fitness in order to start an education program. That's something that Mark had really been searching for since he created the equalizers and I was lucky enough to be a master trainer and teach other people these amazing class constructs and new formats, and again, ways to use the equalizers that they may not have been aware of.
I was lucky enough to then move up and become the Education Director and create shorter workshops that were more built for conferences, built for a 90-minute learning lesson that were really specific to populations. So, we did a lot about joint health and recovery using the tool as mobility, not just for strength and cardio purposes. Now it's come full circle. I helped Mark take a lot of his training and turn it to online training, so people could take the equalizer training at any time in their home, wherever they were. I went from live in person to helping him convert to a digital product and now I'm lucky enough to be back at Lebert Fitness, helping them do a virtual training course. So, now we have all three options available, if you're ready to meet in public and in person, we can do a training, if you want to train at 2:00 AM by yourself, we have that option as well.
Now we're going to be doing live virtual training, which is with Mark and myself and, and Pat Savoury. We're all going to be together on Zoom and training other fitness professionals in a live setting, but still in their own home. So, now we have three different places where we are able to really connect with fitness professionals and help them build a stronger and bigger business.
Can you talk to the importance of why having all three different options is so valuable to not just the Lebert Fitness brand, but to any business?
Absolutely. People need to ingest and digest fitness based on their own terms. I like to use the analogy of jeans a lot. When we go into a department store, they're all different kinds of brands of jeans and then those brands themselves make different colours and different styles. That's because well, pants fit people differently and people have different preferences. It's the same for education as well as for fitness, there are going to be people who are the best at learning when they're in person right in front of the teacher and they love that group fitness atmosphere, they want to have people next to them, they want to be able to talk during the lunch break and they really thrive there. Then you're going to have the fitness professionals who maybe this is their secondary job or, or even third job, or maybe this is just a side hustle, and they really need to be able to take education in small little chunks. So, maybe it's only 10 to 20 minutes every night for a week and so they have a digital option. Then you have the trainer too, who's like, no, I really want to be with someone with a training person, but I'm not quite comfortable yet to be in person, or I don't have the means necessary to travel, because a lot of times education for the most part tends to happen in metropolitan areas. We want to make sure that we're really able to reach out to people who may not be able to travel on a Saturday, to come into a metropolitan area, may not have the funds to be able to do that, but still want to be trained by the expert in real time. That way they can ask questions, they can see other people, they can still have a community aspect, but it's just without the travel to and from. So, we want to make sure that we offer enough “Jean styles and colours and sizes” so that we fit all different types of fitness professionals.
That’s a great way of putting it. Now all of a sudden, I have this inkling to go buy some new jeans. Thank you. When consulting with a business and you're getting to know them, a big question that you want to know through speaking with you before is the, where. Can you tell our listeners what you mean by that?
I always want to make sure that when I'm working with a company, that I understand where they've been, where they are currently and then where they want to go. It's really important to represent that legacy of what the company has done prior. You learn a lot about, what's worked, what's not worked, who's been involved, what they need and ways that you can move forward without making the same hiccups or mistakes that you've had in the past. Where they are now takes some time for the company to assess and figure out what are we actually focusing on right now? What are our values and our mission and our statements of moving forward? What are we really doing in this moment to help us get to that next step of where we want to be, what we see our vision as? It's really important when I'm working with a company, whether it's educational or it's brand awareness or it's, up-skilling, their instructors, is making sure I understand that timeline of where have you been, what are you currently doing? And then most importantly, where do you want to go? So I can make an assessment and a plan to help them move in that direction.
You talked about also building a person's brand. Is that also where you ask the questions of where they were, where they are and where they want to go, or how do you build a brand?
That's a great question. For the most part, when I'm coming in to do brand awareness or brand building, it's from scratch. For the most part, the fitness entrepreneurs that I work with who are like maybe leaving a gym and starting off on their own or starting their own studio. We get to start at the ground level that breaks it down to what do you stand for? Why do you do what you do? Who's your target demographic. And then we can start to play with how we dress that skeleton up. For other bigger companies that are looking to rebrand, it's always great to know, what did you do in that past that you really liked? What did you do in the past that you didn't like? Where are you currently? What are you doing right now? And then what would you like to do in the future?
For those same purposes of realizing what mistakes have you already made? What successes have you already made? What can we build off of in your past? What are you currently focusing on so that you don't come in there and, you know, totally throw the baby out with the bath water, and then in the future, where do you want to be? What does it look like next year? What does it look like in five years? I think that a lot of times fitness professionals only see to the next class, and they don't necessarily see to next year. We saw this a lot during COVID of the great pause of 2020, is people went to this fear, this scarcity tactic, they started saying yes to everything and they quickly realize now, none of that is sustainable and actually, this isn't the lifestyle that's going to bring me any closer to my goals. So, it's great to work with fitness professionals and actually have them brainstorm on what do you want to do in the future so that we can take the steps from now to get you to that place.
You mentioned about how, in the fitness industry, they just kind of look at their next class and not necessarily into the future. What are some of your other experiences that businesses have done well and what they could also improve on?
I think that businesses that are doing really well now and, in the past, and will continue to do well in the future, is because they know their target demographic, they know them to a T. So, they know gender, age within 10 years, they know socio-economically. They know where they live, how they shop all the intricacies of that amazing dream client and those businesses who can pinpoint that person and niche down, they thrive. The reason why is because they create programs that answer that target demographics, pain points. So, it makes it really easy if you can pinpoint your target demographic to say, okay, what are they Googling at 2:00 AM at night? And how can I be the answer to that Google search? So those are the companies that we see do really fantastically well.
The companies that we see that that could really improve on is the person who says, well, I'm for everyone. You're not for everyone. That's not true. There are people that you like to work with, and there are people you don't like to work with. It's okay to admit that, it's okay to say this is not for me, this is really where I thrive and I'm going to say no to this offer, because I know that this opportunity, this class, this training program, isn't for me. But the only way that you really get to know that is if you experience, if you go out and try new things and you educate yourself, you go to different online trainings or digital trainings, experience things, and then you can really make the assessment of, oh, I actually really thrive working with a certain clientele because I love doing regressions or I love doing progressions, or I have an affinity towards this specific person. So, I think it really comes down to, if you want to thrive, you need to pinpoint your target demographics so you can pinpoint their pain points.
Is that challenging to do for a person; to be able to pinpoint your demographic? Or is that something where, there’s some that are easy to do and then other ones it's not as easy to do.
Absolutely. A company like Lebert fitness can be challenging for us to find our target demographic, because we know we want to work with fitness professionals; we want to educate fitness professionals, but that's a wide variety. Is that a group fitness instructor, is that a personal trainer, is that a bootcamp instructor? So, instead of being specific on their profession, we instead found we really want to help fitness professionals take their next step. We want fitness professionals who feel like they need a little bit of their next step forward, whether it's an education, whether it's in training, whether it's launching a new program or finding their next step in their career, those are the fitness professionals we're really interested in working with. I think for some target demographics, while we really want you to pinpoint it down, like to your point, there are some businesses that the target demographic does need to be bigger in order for you to really get your message and your point across. It depends on what your product is, what your why is and who and what, you really want to serve in the fitness industry.
I also wanted to touch back on the education part of things. In your experience, what is the best way to educate somebody or is that too hard of a question to answer because everyone kind of learns differently?
Well, everyone does learn differently, but that in turn makes good education. I think of appropriate education as small bite-sized but delivered in multiple ways. Delivered in written text, as well as delivered visually as well as delivered in a group setting or in a private setting; the more ways that you can use different mediums in your education series, the more people you're going to positively affect. The people who have to read and take notes are really going to appreciate the written version versus the people who are very visual are going to want to be there going through with it, hands on the equipment and ready to go. I also like to think of education, specifically fitness education, almost like a woman's skirt and the fact that it should be long enough to cover all of the assets, but it should be short enough to be interesting. That's how I really look at education in terms of what can we put out there that trainers are going to find necessary for their next step in their career, but short enough that it fits into their life so that they're not having to take extended periods of time away from their family, away from their clients, away from their business, in order to take that next step forward in their career.
I know we were talking before the podcast as well and I had asked a question in regard to like as an example, I have the Lebert Equalizer bars, the EQ bars, and I've had them for a little while now. What can you teach a person or educate a person on about a piece of fitness equipment they have had for say three, four or five years?
I like to look at it in terms of cupcakes. A squat, is a cupcake, right? And so it is always going to be a cupcake. However, the way you perform a squat can change the flavour of your cupcake. The little bit of queuing that you might do, that's different, is giving you a different icing. Then on top of that, there's a way that you can add a variable that either increases or decreases the intensity and those are like sprinkles or cherries on top of this cupcake. Every time you teach a squat, you are inevitably giving someone a different style of cupcake. A squat is a squat is a squat, but you can change the recipe in order to make it look different, taste different, feel different, so that your clients are always either being challenged or they're always thinking that they're learning a new pattern. Their brain sees it as the same mechanical function, but they internalize it as something new and something different.
So, education can really teach you that, okay, you've got the foundation part, you know you need these ingredients, but let's mix it up and change your recipe slightly so it appears that you are giving somebody a different cupcake, when really and truly you're teaching them how to squat. Education is a great way to expand your toolbox, expand your own personal library, reinvigorate something that you may have thought boring in the past and present new information to your clients.
That’s a really interesting way of presenting it because, first you're talking about jeans and now you're talking about cupcakes and that's a fascinating and creative way about how you explain it. I think that's a sign of a good educator or trainer as well.
Well, thank you. I do really love my cupcakes.
No, they’re phenomenal! Can you tell us what's going on with Lebert Fitness in the future? What are you working on or is there trade secrets you're not allowed to say?
I can definitely tell you because I'm so excited! We are going to be teaching a How to EQ, which I love the name as well. How to EQ four-hour workshop on June 12th and we invite everyone to come join us. It's going to be four hours with myself and Mark Lebert and Patrick Savoury who is our Canadian trainer. We're so excited because we're going to be teaching 10 different foundational EQ iq’s. So, 10 different tips and ways of using the equalizer. However, we're going to show it to you in a way that ends up creating a hundred different exercises based on just these 10 little pieces of information on how to use equalizer.
The ones we're going to be presenting in June are going to be really strength-based and functional strength training. We're going to be doing another one later in the summer that's going to be cardio driven and one after that, that's also going to be mobility, flexibility, and stability driven. We're excited about expanding out the offerings we have to offer in a way that again is either live and in-person, or you'll be able to put it as a digital product or you can be live and in person with us via Zoom and actually take the training, ask your questions, get feedback, and walk away with a ton of new exercises ready to put into your bootcamps, your personal training, at home trainings, even your group fitness classes.
That’s amazing. I've seen the advertising for that, How to EQ and I think that's a really neat name as well as to be able to put that out.
It really puts everything together, like in a nice little package, that's really what we're teaching. We're not just teaching sets and reps. We're actually teaching you the science behind the equalizer and why, external rotation is so important at one point, why pushing in on the bars is so important at some point, how to properly set up the equalizer in order to get the most beneficial, efficient exercise as possible. If you don't understand the why behind the exercise, you're never going to fully get the full benefit of the exercise. You're just going to get up close to it, but never really fully experience the magic of what the equalizer can do.
Absolutely. For our listeners Jessica, if they ever want to reach out to you or for any of your services how can they do this and how can they get ahold of you?
Absolutely. You can find me www.jhmfitness.com. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook at @jhmfitness. And you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There's a trend there.
Most importantly, though, please join us on June 12th. Come meet me in person meaning in person, as we are right now in 2021 in person via screen. We're going to have some, some laughs, some really good times and have a sweaty four-hour session where we're really diving into “How to EQ” exactly like it says.
Perfect. Thank you so much for being on the podcast, Jessica. I do really appreciate it. To our listeners, make sure that you do reach out to her if you have any consulting needs. This has been the Lebert Fitness podcast and my guest this week was Jessica Maurer from JHM Fitness. Thanks very much for being on the show!
Contact Jessica Maurer at: