Austin’s healthy girl-about-town, Jess Clark, knows a thing or two about making change happen. A few years ago, this fearless Cycologist chose to leave her role as Marketing Director for a large firm to start her own health and wellness business. What she has learned can’t be taught behind a desk. It took a ton of work and even more courage to get to where Jess is today: founder of Pump & Shred, and one of Austin’s hottest Cycologists! We talked with Jess about how she made her dreams a reality:
Cyc Fitness: What does being a Cycologist mean to you?
Jess Clark: Teaching classes at Cyc gives me an outlet for coaching that is just as much about having fun as it is about getting a great workout. I love that Cyc encourages balance and places a great deal of importance on the social aspect of fitness. Cyc is a place where we can come as we are, and dance, sing, sweat, and leave feeling like the best version of ourselves. No judgement, no competition, just good vibes.
CF: What are you hoping to get out of the Spring into Change Challenge?
JC: I am hoping to get to know more of our riders and help them achieve their health and fitness goals throughout the challenge. I want to provide more support to our tribe in Austin and guide them through change and overcoming obstacles. In return, I hope to gain a new group of fit friends to help me reach my personal fitness goals. By going at it together we can increase our chance for success exponentially. Accountability is what this challenge is all about.
CF: One of your biggest life changes was to leave a safe corporate job to pursue your dream career in health and wellness. How was this challenging for you?
JC: The decision to pursue my dream career in health and wellness was super challenging. First of all, it was tough explaining my feelings to family and friends who were more traditional in their beliefs about career and life. I got the vibe that everyone thought I was crazy but deep down I trusted my gut and decided to take the plunge with or without their support. I think the hardest part was learning not to second guess myself. Learning how to trust my instincts and not rely too much on what other people think has been transformative. And best of all is that I wake up every day knowing that I’m doing what I love and helping others improve their health and wellness!
CF: You said that once you started teaching group fitness your outlook on life improved, as if you were happy for the first time; your physical and emotional self was in harmony. Can you explain that a bit?
JC: When I started coaching group fitness I didn’t know if I’d be any good at it. But I learned that mentoring and coaching come naturally to me, and I really get so much out of it. I love seeing my clients get the results they’re looking for. Whether it’s a big or small change, I’m helping transform people’s lives for the better. Once I started helping my clients I noticed that I developed a greater appreciation of others. Seeing vulnerability in my clients revealed to me my own weaknesses and the more I help other’s the more accepting and kind I become to myself.
CF: Starting over professionally couldn’t have been easy. What were some of the most difficult things starting out?
JC: I think the most difficult part of starting anything new is the fear of failure. Risk is scary because you’re afraid of what will happen to you if it doesn’t work out. And most of the time settling for ‘good enough’ is easy, comforting and familiar, but there’s nothing exciting or great about it! I also feared being judged by my peers; I used to think that people would think less of me if my business didn’t work out. There are setbacks, for sure, but you learn so much from these experiences. What I’ve learned is to keep believing in myself, to continue working hard and to never give up on the things that matter to me. Be fearless.
-Compiled by Leslie Steinberg