By: Sheri Matthews
Before you even see Jenny Schatzle, the vivacious, perky, California blond with the smile to match, you’ll hear her. She’s loud, full of contagious energy, and not coincidentally a highly sought-after boot camp instructor who’s classes have been named the Best Outdoor Fitness Program in Santa Barbara the last two years.
Basically, she changes lives. I got a chance to sit down with the 34-year-old, and I have to tell you, after one little chat I was ready to scream “I love myself!” like something out of Jerry McGuire. Jenny’s that good.
ATLX: You’re wanted by many people seeking help with their fitness and health, why do you think so?
JS: Two big words: Toxic anchors. If we can identify those for people, whether it’s food, alcohol, people in your life that bring you down, those are toxic anchors. I can relate. I’ve been there. I had to rid my own life of toxic anchors. If I wanted to be a leader, I needed to be an example. Now I help other people change their lives.
ATLX: How so?
JS: I received an email that struck a chord, I couldn’t ignore it. It stated: ‘I hate who I am, I’m fat, I’m gross, I’m insecure, I am desperate and I need help.’ — Jose
Jose came in, was 20 years old and working at KFC. I gave him a six-week scholarship, meaning if he committed, it was free. The point was not the money, he needed help. If he had enough hope to email me, I knew he could do it.
I pulled up to work one day and there was a woman who said, ‘I’m Jose’s mom. I wanted to say thank you for saving my son’s life. I am overweight, and I didn’t want Jose to end up like me. I thought putting him down would stop him from being fat, but I crushed his self-esteem. He’s helping me change how I talk to him.’
ATLX: How did you become the winner of the Best Outdoor Fitness Program in Santa Barbara the last two years?
JS: I came out from Minnesota for school, didn’t love it, but I never went home. My part time job working the front desk at a Gold’s gym was really what opened the fitness door. A Group X (exercise) director said: ‘You’re loud, people like you, your rhythm is great … let me teach you how to instruct.’ To be honest, I was a little lost. I love to dance, I love to work out, but I was pretty self-conscious. My first thought was, ‘oh, there’s no way that I could do that.’
But, long story short, my class numbers started to grow, so the gym assisted me in becoming a certified personal trainer, and seven years later I left Gold’s and started working for myself.
ATLX: Personal training is very one-on-one, so how do you go from that to hundreds of people listening to you holler outside?
JS: I missed the group aspect. It’s fun and you reach more people. I started a boot camp outside, two days a week, three times a day, morning, noon and evening, with six people at most. Kids, parents, everyone was welcome for $5. It grew. Really big. Soon every class was full.
ATLX: With an emerging business, did you have anyone to help you?
JS: Stephen Stowe. We met because he was taking my class and saw potential; he believed I could do more, touch more lives. He approached me and said, “you have a talent, you can take it to the next level. Computer stuff is not my thing. I don’t love the money and marketing part. I needed to let go of the things I was not good at – the things Stephen thankfully is good at. With Stephen as my business partner, I can focus on the teaching.
ATLX: How do you go from front desk gal at the gym to the front page of the Santa Barbara Newspaper paper?
JS: I have learned that passion always wins. I was pulled in a lot of different directions, but when I let go of all those other things, all of the doors opened. When you have one foot in all these different places that one thing is not getting all of your energy.
ATLX: So what does all this boil down to?
JS: You have to love your body and who you are. When you can be OK saying, ‘I love myself,’ and really mean it, you’re on your way.
JS: Again, thank goodness for Stephan helping with the online “Jenny Schatzle program” that will soon be available to people everywhere. And I’m super honored to be a keynote speaker at the 2014 Changing Habits retreat in Australia.
Some people are born to lead groups … and this is exactly what Jenny Schatzle does. She leads people by relating to them, and because she genuinely cares. Whether it’s marathon warm ups or recently kicking off the Avon cancer walk in Santa Barbara, there’s really no stopping her. And given the way she’s changing lives, who would want to?