Jen Tallman's Inspiring Fitness Journey

The talented trainers who drive Life Fitness On Demand—instructor-led workouts available on Discover SE3 HD consoles—come from diverse backgrounds and each approaches fitness with a unique perspective. A few of them share their stories about what fitness means to them and how they got to where they are. Jen Tallman is a likable and energetic New York-based personal trainer and fitness instructor. Follow Jen on Instagram (@jenspinsnyc). We asked Jen a few questions about the role fitness has played in her life.

How did you get started with fitness?

My introduction to fitness was about 10 years ago. I actually was very overweight for most of my life. I wasn't really interested in sports due to really low self-esteem, lack of confidence, never having somebody in school believe in me and show me that being an athlete doesn't have to look like a particular body.

One day I just got really sick of feeling terrible and unable to walk a mile at 21 years old, unable to walk up a flight of stairs without losing my breath. I decided that's it. I started doing daily 10- to 15-minute walks. I worked up the courage to join a gym. I started running a little bit here and there, lifting some weights here and there. But really walking and running is where I fell in love with fitness.

What was your approach to your fitness journey?

I actually really never had a destination in mind. I just knew I wanted to feel better. I took the steps necessary to start feeling better. Those 10 to 15-minute walks began to feel really easy, which I never thought they would feel easy. Once that felt easy, I added time on. Then actually one day, probably nine months or so into that, my husband was like, "You could actually just start running and you wouldn't have to walk for three hours. You could just run for 30 minutes." That was kind of my introduction to, "Okay, let's take this up a notch." But I really didn't have a destination in mind. I just wanted to enjoy the process and feel better.

At what point did you know you were succeeding with your fitness goals?

I would say probably about seven or eight months into it, I just felt lighter. I could climb up a flight of stairs without losing my breath. That walk that took maybe 30 minutes to complete a mile was now down to 15 minutes. Then the mile turned into a run, which turned into having the courage to join a gym and say, "I'm allowed to take up space here too."

It's always great to have that goal in mind, but you have to celebrate the small progress along the way. 

How important are goals in a fitness journey?

It's great to have a goal, whether that's running your first 5K or being able to do 40 push-ups, which is what one of my clients wanted to be able to do last year. It's always great to have that goal in mind, but you have to celebrate the small progress along the way. That first time that you run a mile without stopping or the first time that you're able to do two push-ups off of your knees. All of those are so important to celebrate along the way. I'll always assess a client, ask them what their main goal is, but then we set small goals in between then. Just in case it takes, five months to reach that 5K goal, you have all these small goals in between that you're celebrating that really gets you pumped up to reach that ultimate goal.

What workouts are your favorites?

My favorite type of workout is definitely running, but I actually really love to do like a 10-minute hard interval run. Mix in some weights, come back to the run. But running for me is just, it's really freeing. It's really kind of this reminder of something that I spent about 22 years wishing I could do and decided one day I'm going to do it.