Q: Hi Jen, thanks for taking time to answer our questions today! First off, give us a little update on what’s going on in your life right now?
Jen: I am currently expanding my business with health and wellness seminars and self-defense seminars. I’m also in the finishing stages of my book and actively competing in jiu jitsu tournaments.
Q: We know you’ve really switched your focus from competing in bikini competitions to jiu jitsu… how exactly did you get into the sport?
Jen: I’ve always been fascinated with martial arts and was looking to train and compete in a sport, which requires a skill. After competing in gymnastics as a child, I moved on to fitness competitions since they were closely related. I spent a lot of time building my physique for that aspect of the competitions. Later, several people in the fitness industry suggested I switch to the bikini division since it was more suited towards my physique. After a couple of years, I realized that I missed training for a skill and then began jiu jitsu. I immediately fell in love as it reminds me of gymnastics in many ways.
Q: Now that you’ve been competing in grappling tournaments for a while what’s your favorite submission to use in a fight?
Jen: Rear naked choke is my favorite submission.
Q: During a match do you prefer to take your opponent down or pull guard?
Jen: I prefer to take my opponent down rather than pulling guard. I’ve been working on my guard a lot in recent years to be comfortable on my back. Even though I’ve never pulled guard, I have purposely given up the take down to my opponent to get into full guard and work on submissions from there.
Q: What separates you from other fighters in your division?
Jen: I often have a strength advantage from my background in bodybuilding, which helps when I go up a weight class. My strong balance and base from gymnastics also helps in many positions.
Q: What competition is next on the agenda?
Jen: Gracie Worlds in August.
Q: What does your training split look like during a typical week and leading up to a competition?
Jen: I do jiu jitsu 4-5 times a week and strength and conditioning the other 1-2 days. The strength and conditioning becomes more cardio based as the tournaments get closer. Sometimes it is a circuit and other times it is sprints or swimming.
Q: Do you have a specific nutrition regimen that you follow to keep in shape year-round?
Jen: My nutrition regimen focuses on eating all real foods. My proteins in my diet are mainly eggs, chicken, fish, & plant based protein powder. My carbs I eat are mainly oatmeal, yams, gluten free bread, red potatoes, brown rice, fresh fruit and veggies. My fats consist mainly of coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and salmon. After years of learning about nutrition and my body, I can assess amounts on how I feel depending on how much training I’ve done that day. I typically eat 5 meals a day to keep my body properly fueled and recovered.
Q: Besides having a well-rounded diet, what supplements do you use to help aid your training?
Jen: I take BetaTOR prior to my training and CORE and HEAL by Proven Nutrition after training jiu jitsu to rehydrate and replenish my electrolytes. I take HMB throughout the day to aid in recovery. It has helped tremendously in bodybuilding, strength & conditioning and jiu jitsu for my recovery and maintaining muscle.
Q: What are you ultimate goals with your jiu jitsu career? Where would you like it to go?
Jen: My goals are to receive my black belt in jiu jitsu, continue to compete at higher-level tournaments, and eventually teach jiu jitsu. I’ve always been a teacher at heart. It has always been my passion. I began teaching gymnastics at age 14 and taught everything I’ve done and/or studied throughout my life.
Thanks again Jen for sharing about your new found love for jiu jitsu and we wish you the best of luck with training leading up to Gracie Worlds.