We caught up with Jackie to find out what inspired her to create JFit Athletic wear. Jackie has created beautiful athletic wear that fits all bodies, is comfy, looks amazing and is affordably priced. Jackie designs all of her own leggings and sends her designs to manufacturer to have them made in bulk. We love how Jackie designs for all body types. So whether you are a fuller figure girl, or a fitness model, you will find something for you. Here is our conversation with Jackie:
Tell us something about yourself…
My name is Jackie Jackson. I was born in Liberia, West Africa and moved to New England with my family when I was 15.
Tell us what inspired you to create your own line of athletic wear.
I’m a fitness model, and love helping friends workout at the gym. I was looking for the perfect leggings to show off this booty, and Lululemons were so expensive! So I decided to create the perfect workout leggings that won’t break the bank. And with that JFit was born.
What challenges or obstacles do you face as a small business owner?
I meet customers by setting up trunk sales of my new clothing lines at gyms and fitness studios. Probably my biggest challenge is lining up new locations, and balancing that with the studios that want me back for other events. There’s only one of me!
Who has inspired you in your life?
My mom inspired me to pursue my dreams and never give up. She and God gave me this beautiful body, and I’m determined to use their gift to help others live their best life-one pair of leggings at a time!
As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I am struck by the devastation of the diagnosis and the few resources made available to women post treatment. If you are like me and watched someone you love go through very grueling breast cancer treatment, or have undone breast cancer treatment yourself, you are probably very aware that the effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy drugs wreak havoc on the body. Although my mother had excellent life-saving care, she was provided very little information about what to do moving forward. Common side-effects following cancer treatment are emotional changes and memory issues; swelling/lymphedema; fatigue; decrease in arm/shoulder mobility; neuropathy; and postural imbalance.
However, according to the Nation Center for Biotechnology Information, several studies have shown the tremendous benefits of Pilates Post Breast Cancer Surgery. A literature research and review through March 2017 of five studies showed that Pilates or home-based exercises are better than no exercise in each individual study. Also found was that significant improvements were evident in the Pilates groups as compared to home-based exercises. Improvements were observed in range of motion, pain and fatigue. The conclusion was that the evidence showed that Pilates or home-based exercise should be encouraged to women with breast cancer.
A regular Pilates practice can promote circulation in the arms, ankles and feet, reduce swelling and increase range of motion in the arms following surgery. Deep breathing through-out a series of intentional movement helps reduce stress which helps the mind and body heal. Eve Gentry, a modern dancer and protégé of Joseph Pilates underwent a radical mastectomy in 1955. Chronic joint and back issues led her to Joseph Pilates’ studio where she worked as a teacher with Joseph Pilates from 1938 until 1968. Following breast cancer surgery in 1955, she returned to Joseph Pilates for help. The surgery had removed so much muscle she wasn’t able to lift her arms. With Joe’s training method she was able to return to dance within 12-months. Even eventually went on to co-found The Institute for Pilates Method in 1991. She lived to be 84 years old.
If you or some you know needs help following breast cancer treatment, give us a call. We are a supportive and private space and are happy to answer questions about how we can help.
We wanted to speak to Paula about her commitment to Pilates…she’s been coming to WellBarre Pilates for over a year and we are incredibly proud of her progress.
We asked Paula how she got started with Pilates…here’s what she had to say:
“I’m been coming to WellBarre Pilates for just over a year. Other than a couple of Pilates DVDs, I never did Pilates or barre. I wish I had started sooner! I’ve done cardio at fitness centers (treadmills, elliptical, ARC Trainer, etc.), but usually get bored. I really enjoy using the Reformer and Leslie’s classes are a mix of Reformer, Jumpboard, tower, barre and mat so you never get bored!
What do you like about the studio:
“The classes are small so you get individualized attention. It’s not intimidating and you can always modify the routine if you have an injury.”
How has regular Pilates practice helped you personally?
“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 20 years ago. I’ve had two surgeries and was recently diagnosed with osteoporosis (common with Crohn’s). Exercises on the Reformer help to maintain bone density as well as increase muscle tone. My balance has also gotten much better! There are many days when I’ve had a bad day at work and don’t feel like going to class, but I’m so glad when I finish the session. It helps my mind as well as my body. I’m so happy that I found Leslie’s studio!”
I am often asked about what to eat before a Pilates Class. More often than not people come in either on a too full stomach or haven’t eaten for many hours and don’t have the calorie reserves to fuel their workout.
Here are a few helpful tips on Pre-Pilates meals and snacks:
You definitely do not want to eat a large meal right before a Pilates Session. It is difficult to both digest and workout at the same time as your body must attempt to divert energy away from digestion in order to fuel your muscles. This is why you feel cramping, bloating etc. and sometimes may even feel slight nausea. Pulling your abdominal muscles “in and up” as we often say in class is particularly hard on a too-full stomach.
You do not want to have gone more than 3 hours with no food. If your class is first thing in the morning, have a banana an hour prior to class. Even a few bites on the way to class will help and will not make you so full that you cannot workout. Not enough calories means that you will become exhausted quickly and may feel weak or even dizziness as your body expends a great deal of energy on little to no fuel
Taking Pilates Class After Dinner?
Have a full meal 2 hours before your session to have time to digest. A full meal with some protein, fat, and lots of veggies gives you just the right amount of pick-me-up to stay focused and power through your workout. Protein and fat are slow burning energy that give you the stamina and energy. They take a bit more work for your body to digest, so don’t dig into a steak 30 minutes before you walk in.
Unless you are doing an intermediate-advanced Pilates Class, Jumpboard or HIIT, you do not need carbs to burn in the same way that you do for more aerobic exercise. Pilates Cardio may not exactly equate to the same cardio expenditure of running for example, however depending on the class Pilates can be aerobic and increase calorie burn in which case carbs may be helpful.
Stick with What Works for YOU
Plan ahead and eat at least an hour before your session (2 hours if it’s a big meal) so you’re energized, not lethargic, going into your Pilates class.
• Green salad with grilled chicken, avocado, nuts and seeds
• Wrap with grilled chicken, ground beef, fish, or healthy protein and greens
• Broiled salmon, broccoli, greens with sauce of your choosing if it is relatively low in sugar and sodium
• Slow-cooker pulled pork or chicken with veggies
What about a small snack less than 1-hour before Pilates Class?
Small snack are appropriate and encouraged before class, particularly if you have not head a healthy meal within 2-3 hours before class.
• Apple and almond butter or peanut butter
• Hard-boiled egg
• Small handful of nuts
• Hummus with veggies
Avoid: Dairy and coffee less than one hour prior as this often causes Acid Reflux something very unpleasant during Pilates Session!
Laura is a true inspiration when it comes to regular Pilates practice. Her dedication can be seen in her almost daily discipline, her amazing strength and flexibility. Laura is in phenomenal physical condition and never quits on herself.
Here is what she had to say about her love of Pilates:
“So I started doing Pilates long before anyone knew what it was!!! As a former dancer, I was introduced to it as they kind of went together. In the beginning, I was drawn to it for how it made me feel. After class I would have a relaxed, peaceful, inner serenity that I had never felt. It was months later I started to really enjoy the changes in my body..:greater flexibility, defined muscle tone, stronger body and strong abs. I was hooked! For me it was the best exercise I had ever done and still to this day is. I love how it makes me feel. I will do it forever! It really is good for the mind, body and soul!!!
I practiced with the same trainer for many years and then she moved out of state .
I needed a new Pilates home and have found it ….love Leslie and Wellbarre! The studio is quaint, full of passion, commitment, knowledge and challenging classes….hashtag #you’restuckwithme …”
If you are struggling with getting started with Pilates because you think it’s only for the ultra-slim ballerina body-types, you may want to rethink this myth. Although Pilates is known for creating dancer-like physiques by sculpting long and lean muscle, Pilates is design
ed for all body-types. In fact, Pilates is the perfect exercise for someone struggling with weight issues, due to the lack of stress placed on the lower back and joints.
I am overweight…should I do Pilates?
YES!! Pilates can offer a gentle, core building program designed to be modified as needed. Reformer equipment (in-studio), is sturdy, safe and can be adjusted as needed. The health benefits gained from regular Pilates practice are numerous. When your core is strong it helps to support the spine and organs. Alignment and posture are improved by lifting the ribcage. Correct alignment doesn’t just improve posture and overall appearance, but it helps relieve back and joint pain.
I am concerned that the Pilates Reformer will not support my body-type.
Pilates can be done on the mat or on the Reformer and Tower. Supine positions and kneeling make Pilates a great choice for someone with a larger physique. Modifications will allow clients to get full-range of motion without stress to the joints. Pilates is a progressive workout, designed to continually challenge the core. The Reformer is an excellent way to progress your fitness level incrementally. Clients who are significantly overweight can benefit from private training to address individual needs and concerns, become knowledgeable about appropriate modifications, and feel comfortable with Pilates.
Selecting a Studio that’s a Good Fit for your Needs
Probably the single most important thing you can do for yourself is select a studio in which you are comfortable! Every environment is different and all studio have their own atmosphere. You need to have a place to explore your fitness and address your goals in a warm environment in which you do not feel judged. A good way to address these concerns is to try-out an introductory private session. Some questions to ask yourself: Does your instructor respond to your needs? Do you feel comfortable? What is the overall vibe at the studio? At WellBarre Pilates, we actively promote positive self-esteem and positive body-image. We want all of our clients to feel safe and supported whatever their view of their own body.
I want to lose weight. Is Pilates a good method for weight loss?
At WellBarre we believe in Pilates for all bodies regardless of fitness level, age, or physical size. We understand that an ultra-slim body-type and thinness is not the goal for everyone. If you are interested in weight loss, contact the studio for packages to include health coaching with Pilates fitness. We can tailor any program to suit your needs.
Adding low-impact cardio interval training, such as Jumpboard is a wonderful way to burn extra-calories.
WellBarre Pilates is featuring Crystal this month because we are so incredibly proud of her and she exemplifies just what can happen when Pilates becomes part of your routine.
Crystal started doing private training due to a common hip injury, creating an imbalance in the pelvis, impacting her leg alignment, and causing lower back and hip pain. She came to the studio frustrated because she believed that her injury would limit her activity and fitness level. As an avid exerciser and kickboxer, she believed that her limitations would mean that she would never return to an optimal level of fitness, or the level of conditioning that she had enjoyed for many years. Crystal embraced Pilates, but almost as a last resort. She was not sure that Pilates would resonate and she had been of the mindset of “no pain no gain” that has been promoted for many years in the fitness industry. Here is what Crystal had to say about her new love of Pilates:“Like most people, I have tried almost every type of exercise under the sun and was really into kickboxing. A hip injury put me out of commission for almost a year and needless to say my kickboxing days were over. Once I was able to exercise again, My doctors and physical therapists suggested I try something that focused on overall strengthening & conditioning with low impact to the body. Of course this sounded awfully boring to me but I decided to give it a go and chose Pilates because my PT sang its praises and stated that I would not find it boring and might be shocked by the results.”
Her biggest obstacle was her mindset
“At first, I think my own preconceived notions about exercise was one of the biggest challenges to overcome because I had been trained for so many years to believe that unless I was out of breathe, dripping with sweat, sore and physically exhausted after a workout, it was a waste of time. Once I met Leslie and was introduced to the world of Pilates, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong! Leslie and her team not only made me feel welcome but introduced Pilates in a way that I felt I was not only strengthening and nourishing my body but my mind as well. In the weeks that I worked with her I became stronger and more flexible, mind, body & soul. I not only shed my ill conceived notions on exercise but also came to a new understanding of what it means to be strong & healthy inside and out. I was glad that I set aside my own ill conceived ideas on Pilates and walked through those doors and said hi to Leslie and the reformer. Not only do I get a great, fun workout in (the reformer is like an adult jungle gym) but I have also learned techniques for mind-body focus such as better breathing, focusing on valuing & using my core as my powerhouse and I am seeing muscle tone in places I did not before but most importantly I have an overall better relationship & appreciation for not only my body but the human body and all it can do!”
And the results..
Crystal was in pain the first day she came in for a session and was deconditioned from chronic pain. Within the first 3 weeks, muscle memory kicked in and she has rapidly regained strength. She works hard on her form and learning all that she can about each exercise and it shows! Currently she has done about 7 weeks of private training and she has regained flexibility and looks and feels amazing…it doesn’t get any better than this! Crystal loves the results and reports a sharp decrease in the hip pain that used to plague her on a daily basis.
Cyrstal summed up her experience with Pilates with the following:
“So thankful and yes…Well Barre Pilates is my new best friend!:)
As the studio reaches it’s one-year anniversary, I want to take the time tor reach out to our members. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have landed, quite “accidentally” in the Stoneham Community. Many of you know that we opened only briefly in Melrose. Moving-out of our newly built studio space abruptly, following significant obstacles when the building was sold within our first 4-months…quite trying to say the least! But now that we have made it to the one-year mark, I feel that it was a lucky accident that brought us to the community.
I love our small corner of the universe, filled with radiant, determined and strong women who come through our doors each day. I can’t begin to express to you what a privilege it is to get to know all of you and be part of not just your journey into Pilates fitness, but sometimes into intangible emotional and psychological shifts that happen when you commit to your health through a regular mind-body practice. I am awed by your passion and commitment to make important changes, even when they aren’t easy. It’s inspiring to see clients find new joy through movement and through reconnecting with the body. I often have the privilege of seeing our membership and class community learning to let go of the judgments they carry about their bodies, shifting toward a kinder and more sparkling view of themselves to embrace exactly where they are in that moment. As a teacher, I often think that’s where the magic happens and transformation begins.
And just so you know, I have journeyed with you in my personal challenges…and physical ones too…but what fuels my own determination to keep going is the energy that you bring each and every day. It’s through that very energy th
at we continue to reinvent ourselves, writing and re-writing our own personal stories.
With gratitude we enter our second-year in the Stoneham Community. Our commitment, as always, will be to support, celebrate and continue challenge you. Your potential is truly limitless. “The Body Achieves What the Mind Believes” ~ Annonymous
As a thank you to our members and to celebrate our One-Year Anniversary we will offer Free Teaser Tuesday Classes on the following Tuesdays:
Tuesday, June 12th
9 am Reformer; 5 pm Reformer for Absolute Beginners
Tuesday, June 19th – refreshments will be available after all classes and evening cocktail after pm classes
6:30 am Reformer
7 pm Jumpboard – light snacks will be offered and glass of bubbly following Tuesday evening classes