Living Life, Loving Life: Jenn De Jesus

Meet Pilates Instructor, Jenn De Jesus

Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer Jenn De Jesus is no stranger to large life changes – from moving continents to changing careers, she’s been there, done that, and loves the life she has right now. We caught up with her to find out what inspired her career change, what energises her, and what advice she’d give to those looking to make their own life change.

You worked in investment banking for over a decade before becoming a Pilates instructor. What prompted the change?
I loved the thrill of a great day in banking, but it was a high stress job with little non-financial reward – and ultimately the thrilling days were few and far between. I have practiced Pilates for my own enjoyment for nearly 20 years and when I was having a bad day I often found myself thinking, “I wish I could just be a Pilates instructor”. I always had chronic lower back and neck pain and then suffered an acute injury, which put me out of work for three months with total loss of use of my right hand. This made me really question my longevity in the industry and the value of a dollar compared to my health and happiness. After being treated poorly by my workplace for six months, I left and booked the course the next day. I’ve never looked back.

What has been most rewarding about making this change?
The amount of positive energy and appreciation I receive from so many people on a daily basis. It’s truly inspiring, empowering and gratifying to see how people change over the length of a class, but also over months and years of practice – and to see the positive effects that exercise has on the body and mind.

What aspects of your personality and philosophy do you bring to your classes?
Fun, a sense of humour, and a love of food and drink! But also a personal and professional awareness of the importance of technique. Knowing that the most miniscule difference in alignment when executing an exercise can make a massive difference in how your body feels during, and even more so, after, in everyday life.

What do you love most about your job?
The smiles, the thanks, but also the balance, the ability to walk my dog by the ocean in the middle of the day or take an hour to read a book at the beach and enjoy life. I literally cry with joy about how much I love my life now.

What energises you in your day to day life?
Exercising and instructing others.

What are your favourite energy-boosting foods?
Coffee and bananas, both of which I hated until after 30.

What advice would you give to someone looking to make a similar life change?
If it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a while, if you think the grass is greener elsewhere, do it! As my flatmate from New York said to me when I had the opportunity to move to Australia 14 years ago, if it doesn’t work you can always go back.

What’s a habit you’d like to break in 2018?
Maybe eating so many cookies – but then again, I love cookies, and life’s too short to deny yourself the small pleasures.

And a habit you’d like to form in 2018?
Not form so much as reinforce – reminding myself that we only live each day once, and to find at least one thing every day that makes me happy.