Ask An Expert with Jenn Zerling/JZ Fitness


Glitter recently sat down with Jenn Zerling to talk about fitness. We got the scoop for you about everything you need to know to lose weight and keep it off. Don’t worry, her tips are easy to follow and we promise you that you’ll have fun doing it.

GLITTER: What made you decide to get into the fitness industry?

JENN: Believe it or not, I was actually coerced to becoming a trainer during college on the day I joined Bally Total Fitness, as a member.  Chaz, the fitness manager, told me that he loved my energy and was in dire need of an energetic female trainer for his team.  After begging my mom for the money to earn my first trainer certification, I fell into fitness while finishing my undergraduate degree at the University of Albany.  After the first year, I fell in love with the industry since I was able to help so many individuals lose weight.  Since then, I have evolved into becoming a fitness expert through years of experience, additional credentialing and I even went back for my masters degree in kinesiology (exercise science).  I’m passionate about helping people so being in the fitness industry was certainly my calling.  Being an athlete my entire life has also played a role in making this calling a tangible reality.


GLITTER: Nowadays you see a lot of younger children and teens struggling with their weight. What advice do you have for them? How can they change their diet without it being too drastic that they won’t stick with it?

JENN: This is a great question because bullying is a tremendous problem in schools these days.  Therefore, when children are overweight, they suffer from peer scrutiny and judgment which complicates their journey more-so than the health risks that couple with overweight and obesity.   Therefore, this is a sore subject and must be handled intricately.  Some of the best tips for overweight children are as follows:

1) Join a sporting team or engage in an extracurricular activities that requires movement every day such as martial arts, dance, or a bowling league, to name a few.

2) Eliminate the high glycemic carbs after lunch.  That means eliminate the bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals, sweets, cakes, and juice after lunch so that the blood sugar levels remain level when going into the night.

3) Set goals that are measurable, but more importantly, attainable.  Children and/or teens can make the journey more exciting by using tools to help depict success each week/month.  For example, using canned foods, for every 5 lbs that are lost, the child/teenager can donate that amount of food to a food bank to help the hungry.  This is listed as a tool in Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools under tool #78.

4) Children and teens can become involved in after school programs that offer nutrition and exercise coaching. For example, I’m involved with Matthew McConaughey’s not-for-profit organization, JK LIVIN, which provides teens with cutting edge workouts and proper nutrition lessons.  Without this program, these teens wouldn’t have access to this type of wellness education.

5) Parental involvement is a must.  By creating healthy environments for the children and not owning junk food in the house, the parents can contribute to this goal and aid their child to weight loss.  Limiting time in front of the TV is another important hobby that should be closely monitored since it is a sedentary activity.

It’s always good to have group support with teens and children who wish to lose weight so that they never feel alone.

GLITTER: What exercises do you recommend for an all around toned body?

JENN: I’m a huge fan of yoga.  A power vinyasa yoga class teaches you how to engage every muscle from head to toe.  Weight lifting is also an important one, however, think compound exercises that train multiple muscles at once instead of simply hopping onto that bench press.  Think-static lunge with a one arm cable press.  That one exercise hits every muscle in the body even though the emphasis is on the chest.  Next, one must do interval training which is a sprint/recovery modality done through virtually any type of cardiovascular equipment or training.  Think-sprint run to a walk where you sprint for 20 seconds and walk for 20 seconds and then repeat several times.  Last, avoid seated postures for long periods of time.  A poor posture decreases your ability to “look” toned since you will most likely stand in a slouched position with no core engagement.

GLITTER: What are the best exercises to do to get a bikini body by summer and how many reps should they be doing? Is less more in terms of repetition?

JENN: I say, let’s create a whole revelation.  If people start taking care of themselves today, that is in October and onward, and eat a glow glycemic plan (consistently), replace alcohol and soda with water, and exercise for at least 150 minutes a week through a variety of strength training, yoga and cardiovascular, then anyone can be ready for bikini season any time of the year.  I’m talking about making “healthy living” your absolute lifestyle and giving yourself twice a month maximum to cheat by eating whatever you want.  The sooner people do this, the sooner this question will no longer make headlines in major magazines.  My book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools offers a self guided workbook experience so that individuals can make these lifestyle transitions more easily.

GLITTER: What are some tools that our readers can use to break the chain of obesity?

JENN: All 107 Tools in Breaking the Chains of Obesity can be used by your readers.  This is the first workbook of its kind to provide non-technical, evidence based tools for success in weight loss and age management.  I always tell my clients to start with the tools that are nutrition focused because once the nutrition is mastered, the weight and inches pour off.  Those tools include: #58 (Drink water), # 59 (eat protein based on lean body weight), #60 (eat five vegetables and two fruits a day), #68 (ditch the high glycemic carbs).  While all other tools are quite valuable for the individual’s journey, by starting with these tools, one will be able to undergo immediate changes in his/her physique and energy levels.

GLITTER: Do you have any fun, yummy holiday recipes that our readers can indulge in during the holidays that isn’t high in calories, but lots of flavor?

JENN: Oh yeah!  On under nutrition, I post a lot of great recipes for the holidays and for day-to-day nutrition, all of which are low glycemic, time saving and absolutely delicious.  Check out these for example:



GLITTER: What’s your favorite outdoor exercise and what is one you recommend our readers do on a regular basis?

JENN: Everyone should get in the habit of being outdoors at least a few times a week when they take personal “me” time.  Nature and natural light lift your mood and your feeling of calmness.  If your “me” time is used to exercise, then a walk/hike up a big hill each week is essential in getting the heart rate up and conquering a challenging climb.  Once you make it to the top of a hill or up a series of hills, you feel a strong sense of accomplishment. It’s best to tie that feeling of accomplishment into other areas of your life you struggle with by realizing that if you can climb a physical hill and succeed, then you can climb any metaphoric hill and succeed.  All you have to do is push, be persistent, and never quit.  You will get to the top- at some point.

GLITTER: Do you believe in calorie counting or is it all about eating whole and nutritious foods?

JENN: I’m strongly against calorie counting.  In all the years of working in weight loss and age management, it all boils down to what is going on inside of the cells when we put food in our mouths.  While some diets count calories and allow “dieters” to eat a slice of pizza, that slice of pizza can realistically drive the blood sugars up causing fat gain, fatigue, inflammation and lack of satiety (fullness).  In addition, most people are clueless as to how many calories they burn a day, so most calorie counters undereat-which starves the body, while others underreport their intake and overeat on the calorie front.  Either way, when one sticks to the guidelines that are clearly outlined in Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools, they lose the weight and ultimately feel better too.  Think about managing your macronutrients (carbs-fats-proteins) wisely vs. counting calories for long term success.

GLITTER: Do you believe a gluten free diet will help or hurt our readers?

JENN: The whole gluten-free movement has surfaced from the rise of type 2 diabetes and other inflammatory diseases in this country.  In essence, my book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools is a gluten free plan as well as a no sugar spiking food plan all of which fall into the low glycemic or Paleo plan.  All that people must do is know how to eliminate the bad carbs, understand which are the good carbs, and consume enough protein and healthy fat to create  a fine balance in blood sugar levels throughout the course of each day. The sooner people practice this, the sooner they alleviate themselves of many of the symptoms caused by the processed wheat that we’ve been exposed to for so many years, causing the gluten intolerances.

GLITTER: What advice do you have for someone who wants to give up and has a hard time losing weight?

JENN: Just like any goal in life, whether it’s related to your career, your relationships or your personal goals, weight loss must be treated as just another goal. For some people, having a lot of weight to lose can be very frustrating.  However, if you read my book and take your journey one day at a time, and most importantly-give yourself at LEAST a year to experience some good solid changes, then you will be in a much better place in a year from now compared to today.  Just like anything else in the world of success-patience, persistence and perseverance are key.  Always believe that you can, and remove all poisonous doubt out of your conscious mind-because negative thinking NEVER works!

GLITTER: What new year’s resolution do you have?

JENN: My New Year’s Resolution is to rock those 2014 goals I set forth for myself both personally and professionally.  I go into every single year with a dynamic goal sheet which keeps me focused, excited and driven to grow as an individual so that by the end of the year, I feel more accomplished and proud of all the hard work I put in.  I say that once people reach their weight goals, they will no longer waste their resolutions on weight loss.  Rather, more people will join me in living the way that we should all be living-truthful to ourselves and happy in our own skin.


Want to follow along with Jenn to lose weight? See a preview video here: