Jackie Wren shares how she helps people be fitter, healthier and happier and love the skin they’re in
I meet Jackie over a glass of champagne at an event and it’s like a meeting of minds. Within minutes we’ve identified the same shared passion of helping women to be happier with themselves and it’s like two light bulbs exploding simultaneously. Ideas flow, laughter erupts and I make a life-long friend and soul sister just like that.
Her story, like her laugh, is infectious, uplifting and full of her no-nonsense approach to life – meet the incredible Jackie Wren.
Jackie, introduce yourself.
I’m Jackie Wren, I’m a personal trainer and I’m married to Mark and together we’ve co-written and presented ten hugely successful top selling fitness DVD’s with Davina McCall. We’ve also created an amazing daughter Alex and have two dogs. I’m also a very proud District Councilor for my area.
Tell us how you came to be a personal trainer.
My life has almost always revolved around exercise. I was a gymnast when I was younger and then I started to teach aerobics and slide aerobics that’s how long ago it was! I also worked as a private coach for the British Gymnast team and went onto manage the gym at the Reigate & Redhill YMCA. During my time there so many people asked me to do 1-2-1 sessions that It was simply a natural progression and 25 years later and I’m still loving it and I love knowing I’ve helped so many people over the course of that time!
I love that no two days are the same, 1 day I’m training someone who’s recovering from heart surgery and the next I’ve got a new mum who’s coming back to the gym. I’ve trained some clients for 20 years as we’ve evolved together and I’ve seen them through their weddings, children, work life – they don’t leave me because we have such fun.
But you became really well known when you showed up in thousands of living rooms with Davina McCall didn’t you?
It was 1.5 million living rooms!!! Yes, it was so much fun and so rewarding. I started to work with people in the rehabilitation side of training – I helped people from all kinds of things and that area of training fascinated me. I met a wonderful physio and we did ski fit classes together and she introduced me to a friend of hers who was pregnant and wanted to train. It was Davina. The rest, as they say, is history!
“I want people to enjoy life. None of us are getting out of her alive anyway!“
How did your past as a gymnast influence your work as I know you have a brilliant approach to training and life overall.
To be honest, gymnastics has changed a lot since I was training, but it was a strict eating regime and I was really lucky that I didn’t get into bad associations with food. But I understood, even then, how easy it would be to create a negative relationship with food and my body. But training in that way taught me to look after my body, how to push it but not push it further than it was capable of. Training for 4 hours a day, I’m not going to lie, it was painful, but I learned that if you treat your body well it can achieve great things.
Now both personally as well as professionally I have a really open and honest approach to nutrition and training. I’m adamant that training and nutrition are about fueling healthy relationships with your body. I want training to be fun and enjoyable and part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
You’ve seen a real change over the course of the time you’ve been working in the way clients view health and fitness, haven’t you? Tell us about that.
It’s absolutely changed over the years. Today we’ve more stimulus and opportunities to compare ourselves to others. We’re told we’re a failure if we don’t eat quinoa or certain superfoods and today being a little over weight or having a take away is demonized. Frankly, we’re constantly stressed out. I’m passionate about moving away from that negativity and helping my clients, my family, my followers simply love the skin they’re in and be happier overall.
In the short time I’ve known you we’ve laughed a lot, in fact your laughter is infectious and I know this plays a big role with your training.
It certainly does! I have a lot of fun with my clients and I truly believe that laughing is the best thing for the body. I like to bring positivity and humour to all my sessions to lighten the load for my clients. I tell you, laughing works your stomach muscles more than the sit ups I’d make you do!!!
And being such a busy lady, what do you do to take care of you?
I eat well and I exercise irrespective of if I have clients or not and walking the dogs every day certainly helps! For me the most important part of any day is the time I take for me. I spend at least 15 – 30 minutes alone listening to music, meditating or just simply being still. I need to have that every day to calm me and to allow me to have the energy to fit everything in.
Laughter is the best exercise.
Jackie and Mark Wren
You’ve got a beautiful ethos and approach to life having been in the health and wellness sector for such a long time. I love that your approach is all about helping people be the best they can be – can you tell us more?
It’s true. I believe we’ve been given our bodies for this crazy journey called life and we need to look after it and use it to fulfil whatever our journey is. We’re whole beings and we’re individual multifaceted and complex. And as a result I believe we have to nurture and train all of ourselves – body, mind and spirit – whatever you call it, you can’t focus on just one aspect you have to nurture all three. It’s why I build in laughter and focus on training people in a holistic way. Every person is unique and beautiful and in my own way, I want to help them to not take life too seriously and to learn to love themselves.
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