Name: Jacqueline Kasen
Age: 30 years old
Location: Miami Beach, FL
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Girls Gone Strong means to me that you can be physically fit, have physical and mental strength, while being part of a community of like-minded women who are supportive of your healthy lifestyle.
How long have you been training?
I have been training with weights since eighth grade, when I knew I would be competing in sports and wanted to excel.
How did you get introduced to strength training?
I was lucky there was a gym in my home growing up! Coloring and drawing were fun, but they weren’t for me. I started picking dumbbells, pressing them over my head, and doing bicep curls long before I even knew what I was doing. Once I started playing sports, I just became more interested. I got serious about lifting in high school and was just infatuated with the power of transforming your body and feeling great. I was always an athlete and strength training really pushed me to the next level.
What does a sample workout look like for you?
A sample workout for me consists of foam rolling, dynamic warm-up, some light running for about five minutes, and then some heavy lifting. My body can lose muscle pretty quickly, so I am constantly trying to maintain and add muscle. I have usually trained muscle groups separately, hitting a particular muscle group twice a week, but now I am exploring push/pull days.
My favorite lift is the pull-up. I love not only the way my back looks while doing them, but how strong I feel! Not a lot of women are able to do strict pull-ups, and I am happy to achieve this level of strength and to have the opportunity to help others achieve it as well. It is very rewarding!
Most memorable PR?
My most memorable PR was actually not related to weight lifting. It was when I ran the 400-meter anchor leg at the Penn Relays at UPenn. I finally hit 57 seconds. We were first place, and we were so excited to beat Jamaica. As a team we did a lap around the track waving our jerseys in the air and people held up the USA flag. To top it off, it was the last track meet I ever ran. I’ll never forget it!
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
- Nasa- Hide (tropkillaz remix)
- Keys N Krates- Treat Me Right
- Diplo- Get Low
- Bro Safari- The Drop
- Muscle Prodigy- It’s All on You
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag
- My Beats headphones
- BPI Sports BCAA’s
- A shaker for protein afterwards
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I really enjoy training by myself. This way, I am able to concentrate and get everything into one hour. Also, as a trainer, I’m in the gym with other people all day long, so I really appreciate my little chunk of alone time.
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
A man came up to me and asked, if I knew how much a polar bear weighed. I told him that I didn’t have any idea. He quickly responded with “enough to break the ice! Hi, I’m Kevin!” I thought it was hilarious and I told him it was a good effort, but that I was seeing someone.
Most embarrassing gym moment:
Haha! This gets me every time! When I was training my client, I usually walk completely around them to watch their form and technique. As I was backing away from them, I didn’t notice that there was a bench behind me. I tripped over it, fell backwards and landed flat on my back in the center of the gym. Several members walked right over asking if I was alright. I just kept laughing. I was so proud of my client who was so focused on doing a plank and didn’t even notice what had happened!
Favorite way to treat yourself:
It doesn’t take much, just eat pizza!
“If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
— Tom Hanks, A League Of Their Own
My favorite book is The Secret. It’s all about the law of attraction. It can apply to anyone.
What inspires and motivates you?
There really isn’t a “what” that inspires me; it’s more “who.” My father means everything to me. My goal in my life is to create a legacy built after him. He has and will always inspire every day. My dear friend and mentor Marc Megna has also motivated me every since the day I met him. That’s why they are the two most important men in my life. They are both beyond generous and selfless. I want to make them both proud.
What does a typical day look like for you? (From waking up to bedtime)
A typical day for myself starts at about 4:45/5am depending on the day. I shower, get dressed, take some liquid vitamins at home, and head right to the gym.
I eat my first meal at the gym which consists of high protein, vegetables, carbs, and fats. I then have about five clients straight, head to a few clients’ homes, return to the gym for my own workout. After my workout, I teach my class called Get JacQd, and train some more clients until 8pm.
I’ll squeeze in some meals between clients or in the car. Depending on the day, I may have a meeting or two in between as well.
Once I leave the gym, I’ll head to the grocery store and cook dinner at home. While dinner is cooking, I’ll check my email. Once dinner is finished, I’ll relax for about 30 minutes to take a break from the day, catching up with clients and scheduling.
I’ll then do the dishes, shower, and read in bed for about 20 minutes on either fitness-related or personal growth materials. I fall asleep as soon as the light goes out.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
The coolest side effect from lifting heavy is when I feel the changes in an everyday life situation. When I go grocery shopping, and I can carry several bags myself. When I fly, and I am able to help place people’s luggage in the overhead compartment. And, if I go for a run or skiing, I feel great!
Next training goal:
This October I am going with two clients to climb the Inca Trail to Machu Piccu. My training goal is for the three of us to climb that mountain with strong legs, feeling well, prepared for the high altitude.
What are you most grateful for you in your life?
I am most grateful for my health. Without health, I have nothing. I know that poor nutrition habits and lack of exercise decreases my longevity and promote illness. I’m so grateful that I am able to provide myself with wholesome food and train at a facility that has everything I could wish for and more.
If you had to choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Generous, outgoing, understanding.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
Lifting weights has completely changed my life. I feel confident because my body looks — and is — strong. I used to be very skinny, almost unhealthy-looking because I didn’t eat enough and didn’t know how hard I could actually work in the gym. Now I not only feel better and stronger, I like that I look athletic, yet feminine. I love that I am physically independent and able to take care of myself. Plus, with the release of endorphins, I feel happy. I’m always in a good mood. And when I’m able to push a certain amount of weight, I feel great!
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
Usually women are skeptical about lifting heavy because they are scared they are going to get “big.” I try to explain to as best as I can that you cannot get big, especially if you don’t eat to get big. Trust me, I’m actively trying to put on size, and it’s really hard consuming that much food throughout the day.
If your goal is to lose body fat, you have to lift heavy. If your goal is to be stronger, you have to lift heavy. If your goal is to put on lean muscle mass, you have to lift heavy. It’s all about the program design, rep ranges, sets, and most importantly your food.
If you’re not consuming the right amount of food, you physically can’t get bigger. You may see some minor changes in the beginning, but that’s because your body is adjusting. You’re introducing a new regimen into your lifestyle that your body is not used to doing, and at some point you’ll reach a plateau.
You have to be able to push weight hard. If you’re performing a set of 12 reps and you just brush through the set as if the weight was nothing, you will not see change. Obviously form and technique are first and foremost, but push weight hard. Then, you’re burning fat and sculpting some muscle. You won’t “get bulky.”