As someone who’s a major fitness junkie, I’ve been a huge fan of Jari Love since college–a.k.a. the days when I’d pop in one of her weight training DVDs and pump iron in my shoebox-sized dorm room. Unlike those annoying personal trainers who bully their clients with the “no-pain, no-gain” cliché, Jari exudes positive energy and empowerment. With her radiant smile, friendly personality and warm, encouraging attitude, she helps me pull through even the toughest sets of squats and lunges. I feel like I’ve known her for years.
A professional singer who had performed in a country-pop band, Jari switched gears and eventually became one of Canada’s favorite celebrity trainers. Her Get RIPPED! DVD series have grown wildly popular in Canada and the U.S. as well, placing her on fitness A-lists everywhere. Her products have been reviewed (with extremely positive feedback) in publications such as the New York Times, Fitness, Self, Oxygen, Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Magazine, LA Times and Newsday. In December 2010,”O” Magazine showcased the Get Extremely RIPPED! 1000 workout DVD as one of Gayle’s Pretty Delicious Gifts for the holidays.
But success hasn’t made Jari Love any less approachable. Actually, it has given her the opportunity to connect on a heart-to-heart level with so many of her clients and fans. And despite her hard work and busy training schedule, Jari still makes time for her husband, kids and favorite hobbies. The 46-year-old mother of two enjoys competitive running, ceramic painting and volunteering for charities.
I’m not exaggerating when I say Jari possesses an extreme sense of kindness, humility and grace. How do I know? I interviewed her myself.
THE JARI LOVE Q&A with Holly Pinafore
Holly: Jari, I absolutely love everything you do, but I admire the person you are. So I would like to know, when did your career in fitness begin?
Jari Love: Thank you so much! My career began back in 2000 after I suffered a running injury. I became more interested in the body, how it works, and how I could keep my fitness up while not being able to run. This is when I started doing my own metabolic testing, using this very cool device called a metabolic cart. I learned some surprising facts that changed my life, I wanted to share this information and that’s when I launched the Jari Love Get RIPPED! program.
Holly: How do you compare yourself to other trainers out there? What makes you stand out?
Jari Love: I go the extra mile to keep participants informed about the calories they’re burning, whether it’s showing how much you burn on each exercise track in the Get RIPPED! program, or giving direct comparisons to other, often less effective, workout methods. In Get RIPPED! to the Core for example, you’re burning the same or even more than you would on a treadmill, and you continue to burn calories after the workout’s over because of the weight training. Understanding the basic science behind your workout is crucial to long-term success when it comes to weight loss.
Holly: What’s your favorite way of connecting with your clients? How do you show them LOVE—JARI LOVE, that is?
Jari Love: My favorite way of connecting with clients and really showing them who I am is through teaching fitness classes. Talking with clients before and after class, learning from them and getting to know who they are, means the world to me. Sometimes after watching my videos, people have felt intimidated to come up and talk and get to know the person behind the workout, so I always make sure to remain approachable and willing to engage on a personal level. It’s only from this kind of connecting that I’ve been able to create such a successful system, because I feel I really listen and understand what people need and want from their workout and for their lives when it comes to physical health. I also think what makes me stand out is that this is not a vanity show for me, what you see is what you get. The way I handle and talk to students in my class is the same way I would greet or talk to someone in a grocery store.
Holly: Talk about how fitness has changed your life. Any challenges with weight and/or body image?
Jari Love: Fitness has had a huge impact on my life. My biological mother and father were both obese and genetically I put on weight very easily. I had a weight problem in my late teens, when girls are often first starting to develop their sense of self. I wasn’t really aware of my weight as an issue or target until one day when I went go-carting with my boyfriend and his pals. As I sat in one, they started to joke about how I was flattening the tires. This was a big eye-opener, not just about my weight, but also about taking control over my life and learning to not let others affect how I feel about myself in each stage of the journey.
Over time I’ve also learned to use fitness to help handle whatever storm comes up in my life. The effects of fitness help keep my body and mind running at their best, and assist in balancing the hormones and inner chemistry that, when out of whack, can turn a calm compassionate woman into an irritable time bomb! So when stuff comes up that I need to deal with, I have a 48 hour rule: if it’s really bothersome, give it 48 hours and commit to doing an intense workout during this time. I always feel better and come back to it with a fresh perspective after that.
Holly: How might you find motivation to work out on a day when you just don’t feel like it?
Jari Love: I always try to associate pleasure with working out, not pain. I don’t think of it as a chore. If I’m about to work out at home and find myself struggling to get started, I turn on the TV to something upbeat and energizing to watch, like a high energy rock concert. Even playing some tunes I love on my ipod with great cadence can be enough to put me the mood to get going.
Holly: What’s your advice to those who say they “don’t have time” to work out—especially Metropolitan career women on the go? How much exercise is considered enough?
Jari Love: As women, we often put everything else ahead of us, career, kids, home life, we forget that our personal needs are a priority too. We often leave the workout to the bottom of the list and yet our bodies thrive on 30 minutes a day of exercise – at a minimum! Even someone like Oprah, who is the definition of a high-powered career woman, finds a way to fit exercise in to her schedule. When we take care of the core needs of our bodies, it benefits everything and everyone else around us, we’re healthier, in a better mood, and have more energy.
My advice is to put your workout before your latte. Women often see going for coffee as “me” time, but turning your workout into “me” time and then fitting the coffee in when you can will leave you with a much deeper sense of personal reward.
Holly: So many people forget to do strength-training exercises. I see women at the gym doing only cardio and never weights. Explain why weight training is important.
Jari Love: Weights are crucial to overall fitness, and highly effective in weight loss and management, especially as we age. One study showed that as our bodies get older, they put on an average of 15-17 pounds of fat and lose about 5-7 pounds of muscle. This is a really big deal when it comes to burning calories and metabolism. We burn an extra 30-50 calories a day per pound of muscle, so building and maintaining muscle weight is what makes the biggest difference in keeping the fat off. Lots of women worry that weight training makes you bulky, but that’s not how I’ve designed the Get RIPPED! workouts. Anyone who’s done them over a period of time knows that high intensity weight training, done in intervals with aerobic exercise, makes you lean and ripped without the bulk of a bodybuilder. The other exciting news about weights training, as I mentioned earlier, is that with aerobic exercise your metabolism sinks immediately after you stop, but when you add the weight training, it stays elevated for hours after the workout! I utilize the benefits of weight training in all my videos, and you can pick your workout based on your goals. For example, if your goal is to lose a lot of weight fast, the high intensity interval training in the Get RIPPED! 1000 is especially effective in delivering speedy results.
Holly: What’s your favorite way to motivate people, particularly other women?
Jari Love: I motivate others through affirmations, positive words, great music while we work out, and most of all by walking the talk inside and outside the gym.
Holly: What do you love most about your career? Which part of it makes you feel happiest?
Jari Love: So many things! One of the most rewarding parts of my career is watching people follow through on their goals and succeed, and how it changes their life. This is a very uplifting career because people are always sharing their personal feedback and experiences. When I teach a class in front of all those smiling faces and then they stay behind after to talk about their progress and goals, I feel like I’m surrounded by not just clients but a very large group of friends.
Holly: What do you love most about yourself? Don’t be shy!
Jari Love: What I value most about myself is that I work hard to be someone who is approachable, generous, and who listens. I’m also always willing to learn more, no matter the subject. I consider myself a student of life.
Holly: I know you do a lot of charity work. Can you talk a little bit about the ways you prefer to make a difference in your community?
Jari Love: I’m a big believer in sharing the wealth of one’s life, and one way I commit to doing that is by fundraising for causes I believe in. One group I’ve worked with over the years is Inn from the Cold, a grassroots movement dedicated to improving life for homeless families. Having my own kids get involved, too, helps give them a broader perspective on life. And to me that’s a huge part of developing character and defining what success is really about; not just focusing on how great we are as individuals, but how well we support those around us and in our community.
Holly: Are there any specific turning points in your life that you would like to acknowledge?
Jari Love: A big turning point took place during my time as a member of a country pop band with my sisters when I was younger. It was easy to get wrapped up in the lifestyle of going to parties and events like the Country Music Awards, of trying to make it big and embody the “celebrity” lifestyle. A lot of weight (no pun intended) was put on giving off the right image. One time we were shooting a video in Nashville, and without thinking about it between takes I stopped to talk to a homeless man and gave him quarter. My agent saw and came over and yelled at me, asking what I thought I was doing. He said I needed to carry myself properly and always act like a star. Things shifted for me right then and there, and the emptiness of what stardom meant to most people made me realize this was not my calling. I needed to build a career around something that would let me be the real me at my best and encourage others to do the same.
Holly: Finally, Most people know you as Jari the fitness guru. But what’s something about you that most people don’t know? Any quirks or kooky habits? What makes you unique? What makes you, YOU?
Jari Love: I’m a Christmas fanatic! Every year my tree is up by the end of October, including lights, decorations, the whole show! I would say what makes me, me, is that I’m led through life by a tenacious drive, a curious mind and a multi-tasking nature that always keeps me on the go with new and exciting projects. I believe in the importance of developing resilience and strive to teach my kids that how you handle situations is more important than always getting what you want. When I do take a break, I can be found lounging in a pair of fantastic flannel pajamas, sometimes for the whole day if I can get away with it.
Oh, Jari. Thanks for sharing the love with us! We heart you!
Photo Credit: Kristian Bogner © 2005 (used with permission)