The biggest “excuse” I hear from clients of why they don’t do the things they think they should be doing to improve their health is a lack of time. Everyone is so busy running from one task to the next that their health takes a back seat. Convenience rules and processed food, fast food, skipping workouts, and mindlessly moving through life becomes the norm.”
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Cassetta.
Jennifer is a nationally recognized health and empowerment coach, speaker and self defense expert who’s mission is to help more women feel strong, safe and confident from the streets to the boardroom. Equipped with her 3rd degree black belt in martial arts and a Master’s degree in Nutrition, Jennifer has been coaching clients to release their inner She Warrior since 2005. She’s been featured on The Today Show, Rachael Ray, The Doctors and more and loves speaking on women’s empowerment and wellness to her corporate clientele that include airlines, hotels and tech companies.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness? Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I traveled around the world with a VIP client. I made smoothies on a private jet and we walked (for exercise) around cities that include: Paris, Shanghai, Rio De Janeiro, Capetown and NYC.
I taught Carrie Fisher self defense on The Today Show. She was hilarious and asked me if she can kick her attacker “in the balls” on live TV.
I was on a reality tv show called, My Diet is Better Than Yours on ABC-TV. The mission was to help my client lose the most weight with my combination of fitness and diet. I taught my client martial arts as a way to bring my unique background and love for martial arts to the show and hopefully inspire others. My client wasn’t always agreeable to put it lightly. She wound up quitting the show before the competition ended. What felt like a failure back then, actually wound up being a big shift for myself and my career. I took all that I learned and intuitively knew: that weight loss had way more to do with mindset than calories in/calories out. I started a speaking career and traveled to college campuses and corporations around the country speaking on women’s empowerment and wellbeing.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
In one of my first jobs, I worked for a woman who was very demanding and outright rude to me. She would raise her voice and scold me and I always felt horrible after speaking with her. One day, she sent me an email requesting that I complete a task for her and she wrote “then F/U”. In my young and inexperienced mind, I thought she was cursing me out. I marched into her office and told her that I will no longer tolerate the way she treated me. A friend later told me that F/U just meant follow up. Oops! After that day, she actually started treating me with kindness and respect!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
My unique contribution is that I bring my martial arts background to everything that I teach. It’s a unique mind, body and spirit approach and stems from centuries-old wisdom. I’ve used my martial arts background to create self defense training for women that help them not only physically protect themselves from predators but also develop a fierce sense of confidence.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people who have helped me along my journey. From all of my martial arts instructors to Joe Trainer who gave me my first job as a personal trainer even though I had zero experience. But, I would absolutely not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the constant encouragement of my father. He was an entrepreneur himself so he knew how challenging it could be. Even if I didn’t think of myself as successful, my Dad encouraged me to keep following my dreams and never, never, never give up. He told me in conversations and wrote me letters that I still have today. Even though he’s now gone from this world, his voice is still with me every day, especially on the most difficult ones.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
1. The biggest “excuse” I hear from clients of why they don’t do the things they think they should be doing to improve their health is a lack of time. Everyone is so busy running from one task to the next that their health takes a back seat. Convenience rules and processed food, fast food, skipping workouts, and mindlessly moving through life becomes the norm.
2. Lack of clear goal setting. Goal setting has always been a part of my adult life. Even if I’m not always reaching my goals it keeps me steered in the right direction of them. Whether it be in my health, finances, career or relationships, I create a vision for my life and tweak it and set goals each year. If people don’t have clear goals around their health and wellbeing it can be easy to ignore that part of your life.
3. Mindset. A healthy mindset takes time and work. I’ve been studying self development since my early 20’s and before that would hear my Dad listening to his Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer cassette tapes when I was a kid. It’s a huge part of my life and I have invested tons of money and time into developing my mindset. You no longer have to read a book or pop in a cassette tape to work on your mindset. You can listen to a podcast on your commute, listed to a book on tape on your next roadtrip or have bite sized meditations from world famous thought leaders at your fingertips. My favorite easy and accessible tips are Mindvalley Podcasts but I’m still a sucker for an in-person, stand-on-your-chair and jump up and down event with a motivational coach and speaker like Tony Robbins.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
Meditation. Meditation takes time. Time that could be used exercising, packing lunches, answering emails or doing laundry.For people who already feel maxed out on time, it’s easily skipped or not made a priority. I pretended to have a regular meditation routine for about a decade. Finally, I took a 2 day meditation and intuition training with Mindvalley a couple of years ago. Ever since that training, I never miss a day. I also feel like my routine doesn’t take time away but actually makes me more productive throughout the morning and the rest of the day. It sets me up for success and puts me in a great mood, first thing in the morning.
Sleep. Make sleep a sacred ritual. Prepare for sleep for an hour or two before you actually get into bed. Start winding down and shutting down your laptops and screens. I like to have a cup of herbal tea as part of my heading to sleep ritual. I also light a candle and dim all the lights about an hour before I go to sleep and in that time try and read or foam roll and put on nice pajamas. My husband and I also play ocean sounds or thunderstorms on our Alexa and set it as a timer to go off in two hours. It’s so relaxing and sets me up for sleepy time.
Detox your feed. I like to be hyper aware of what I consume whether that be through media or what I put in my body. I have a regular practice of “detoxing” negative social media accounts from my feed so I’m not unconsciously consuming their messages. I’ve unfollowed so many account over the years of wellness influencers who promote extreme dieting, orthorexic behavior or any other messaging that I find unhealthy for me. Surround yourself with positive people both online and offline and you will raise your vibration.