When Jen Jacobs graduated from college, she became an endurance athlete. She started out running 5K races, then half-marathons and marathons. In 2007, she completed her first ultra-marathon.
During the time she was training for races, Jacobs did some weight training in addition to her endurance training. But in 2008, when she went to complete her second ultra-marathon, she didn’t finish the race.
A couple of weeks later, Jacobs was stretching in her living room and decided to knock out a set of 10 push-ups. She couldn’t make it through three.
“It shocked me. I figured all these years I’ve been doing workouts and I’ve been doing gym stuff. It wasn’t like I wasn’t working out. And I realized I’m not as in shape as I thought I was,” recalled Jacobs.
A friend connected her to CrossFit Capital Hill in Washington D.C. Starting there in 2009, she progressed from a member to the head Coach in 2013. During that time frame, she also received her Level 1 Certificate and gained a passion for learning as much as she can about the sport.
“I just knew that type of workout is what I needed, and I enjoyed it so much that I just kind of want to give back. The passion was there just to help others and to want them to be fit,” said Jacobs.
Today Jacobs is a trainer at Old City CrossFit, also located in Washington D.C. According to Sean Emery, the co-owner of the Box, Jacobs’ energy and her attention to detail never wavers when teaching class. “Jen is the perfect example of how a focus on the basics can elevate your performance and fitness. She’ll break down a burpee and get on you when you do one sloppy,” said Emery. “When you’re a student in Jen’s class, you watch every move you make, because you know Jen is out there watching you and wanting you to execute each and every movement with the virtuosity that Coach Glassman talks about.”
Aside from coaching, Jacobs is a co-owner of a dog walking and pet-sitting company. She said all the dog walking gives her a lot of time to listen to CrossFit podcasts, seminars and dig into a “rabbit hole of YouTube videos” to perfect movements.
“Be as curious as possible. Be it podcasts, be it reading, be it YouTube videos, find what your passion is … and immerse yourself as much as you can. Find a path and go with it,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs’ constant thirst for knowledge led Emery to put her in charge of training Coaches at Old City CrossFit. In addition to sending members weekly emails as “homework” to read, once a month the Coaches of Old City CrossFit come together and Jacobs walks them through curriculum she has developed.
“If there’s any Coach that embodies the essence of simplicity and virtuosity more than Jen, I haven’t met them,” explained Emery.
1. Greet your members by name on their way in and out. Make your time with them a personable experience.
2. Everyone can always give a little bit more, so encourage members to reach their potential especially if they don’t know how far they can go.
3. Give feedback and praise. Even small improvements should be acknowledged.
4. Workout during one of the class times. Let them see you suffer through the same workouts you put them through.
5. Knowledge is power. Learn something new everyday to make yourself a better coach.