10 minute Interview with Jessica Schmidt - Mamafirst fitness- Personal trainer

9 September 2015

Jess has been working with me for about a year now on my fitness and she has fast become one of my closest friends.  This is a tall order considering I have had many personal trainers before and had developed quite a phobia towards PTs. 

As a result of years of ballerina training, I developed an anxiety about not running in public from years of peer bullying about how I ran like a fairy on my tippy toes.  Jess not only taught me how to run (like a normal person), she inspired me to make time for fitness.  She is a mum of young children too so she knows how hard it is to make time for yourself.  What I really love about Jess is that she is always encouraging and never judgemental.  She just makes you feel like you can do anything if you give it a go!


MDHi Jess. I know how busy you are running your business, running after kids and looking after your clients so I really appreciate your time today.  So, tell me, who is Mamafirst fitness?

Jess: Not a problem at all.  It’s great to be able to take time to talk about what my business stands for.  At the heart of Mamafirst fitness is the idea that it is essential to ‘make time for some you time’, which is something that mums are not always great at doing. 

MDThat is so true!  I know when I had my first baby, I just did everything for the baby and I wasn’t really thinking about me at all for a long time… My fitness really became WAY down in my priorities.  It didn’t make me happy cause I knew my health wasn’t where I want it to be but at the same time, I felt guilty doing anything for myself.  It wasn’t a good place to be.

Jess: Yes, I hear that a lot from mums! Mamafirst fitness is about being kind to yourself and nurturing yourself. I think you should focus on improving your fitness and smashing some goals because you deserve that kindness. I don’t believe exercise is a punishment but it’s not an indulgence or a luxury either. It’s definitely a necessity in my life.

MD: Haha… You’ve hit the nail on the head again!  As women, we do generally have a love/hate relationship with exercise don’t we, when it should be about health!  I’m learning that now as I’m getting older (chuckles) and it’s getting harder to keep up with the mini-me’s.

JessThis is what Mamafirst fitness is all about - finding the right fitness solution for mums with different needs. There’s no one size fits all. I make sure that I get to know my clients, their goals and their situation. So, maybe they are just starting their family, maybe they have three kids and have a career and are trying to find time to work out. I support my clients and make sure that their workout is targeted and makes the most effective use of their time. 

MDSo, when they meet Jessica Schmidt, who can they expect? Who is Jessica Schmidt?

JessWell, I’m a personal trainer and a mum to two boys, aged 4 and 6. I love travel and adventure.  We have just started taking the boys on overseas trips and we’re loving introducing them to new cultures. That was always really important to us.

MDOh, we love travelling too with our kids!  They just learn SO much that you can’t get from books…

JessYes, true… Although I also love reading, I have an English literature degree…  Books are great escapism from the daily grind of being a mum, a moment to yourself… Speaking of which, I also love yoga and running. I have a new obsession with swimming (took a while) and I plan to tackle a triathlon next year.

MD: Wow! That is such an inspiration!  I really believe that as mothers, we have to make time for ourselves, to look after our mental health so that we are fully available to our children emotionally.  It does get hard to find time though when we have to manage our careers as well as our home lives.  You’ve had several successful careers before becoming a personal trainer, what made you decide to get into the fitness industry?

JessOh yes, I have had a few jobs! I definitely see myself as having a skillset that I hope to keep adding to.  I think you can apply the skills you pick up along the way to many different jobs, rather than thinking I am an “xyz certain profession” and that’s what I will always be.

MDLove it!  It’s such a common thing that we become only defined by our professions…  We are a stay at home mum, a working mum…. Me, I’m a Mummy Dinosaur! Hahaha…

JessYou are too funny! So prior to having children I was an event manager and I organised and managed major sporting events. It was a great job and I loved the challenges it offered but it did require my attention 200% of the time! Once I had children I realised that I didn’t want to have to work at 4am and 11pm, sometimes in the same day. My priorities changed and I decided that my kids were going to come first because that is what felt right and that was how I wanted to parent.

MDAh yes, the common struggle for us mums…

Jess: While pregnant with my second child I had massive third trimester exercise cravings and I longed to be able to run along the beach (by myself) I did have to put this ambition on the back burner for a while but once bub made an appearance I did start running.  One thing led to another and I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. Did I mention I like a challenge? So I hired a PT, who also liked a challenge and in 6 weeks I trained to run a half marathon in a pretty respectable time.  The thing that made the difference was that my PT believed I could do it… that, and I had a really good, targeted training program.  I took a few things away from the experience, one was a love of running and the other was that it would be a pretty amazing thing to be able to change someone’s life. I wanted to be able to gift people self belief in the same way.  I decided that I wanted to be a personal trainer sometime around then. My PT and I have remained friends and I can honestly say that he did change my life.

MDWell, I can certainly tell you that as your client, you have totally changed MY life and my self belief!! I feel so much stronger now but more importantly, I’m not embarrassed to say that I exercise cause I’m just working on my fitness so I can be a better mum!  So, I know this first hand but tell my readers what you do differently to other trainers? 

JessI think coming to personal training relatively later in life means that I have a strong idea of my own identity and I always knew that I wanted the business to reflect me. I have avoided marketing decisions that seem to be the typical PT thing to do because I am very specific about who I want to target. I am not trying to be everyone’s PT. The Mamafirst client is more specific.

MDSo, you know I LOVE the name! How did you come up with the name, Mamafirst fitness?

Jess: It was fairly easy, I literally found that putting myself first when it came to my fitness made me a better mum. I am way nicer after I’ve been running!

MDYou are nice ALL the time!  But I know what you mean though… needing “me time” to recharge. So, is there anything you would do differently now knowing what you know?

JessI don’t think I regret anything I’ve done. I’ve learned lots of things and I always want to keep learning. In terms of the business I have deliberately grown things slowly which has allowed things to grow with my family. I just do what feels right for us all as a family but it’s always a juggling act.

MD: It is so important to be authentic and do what is right for your family which I think is why we do what we do as businesswomen.  I notice there is choice when it comes to choosing a PT.  How do you set yourself apart?

JessI just make sure that I’m doing my thing. There are lots of PT’s out there and what is right for one person is not right for someone else. I always encourage my clients to meet with me and we chat about their goals and experiences. I’m always honest. I don’t make 12 week promises or tell people how much weight they will lose. I can’t predict the future.

MDHahaha… So, you can’t promise me THAT 6 pack? Okay, okay… I know… I’ve been planking at home when I don’t have a session… Oh well, I can only ever get closer to my goal if I keep going… Anyway, back to you…  How is working exclusively with mothers different to other clients? 

JessWell, mums are generally time poor and tired and have many different things competing for their attention. This is just standard though! So I have to make sure they know I get this, but I won’t let them use this as an excuse.

MD: Yep. A bit of tender loving tough love…

JessSome have had bad experiences with other areas of the fitness industry and come to me expecting something akin to torture. I work hard to turn around their expectations and deliver the results they are looking for without killing them. Above all, I respect my clients and I get that I am just a very small part of their day but I try to make sure that is it’s an enjoyable part of their day.

MDYes, this was ME!  I’ve had some horrid experiences… I was told I had “weird” measurements after my second child… That wasn’t very inspiring.  You obviously love inspiring other mums cause I have loved every minute of my sessions… That is not an invitation to make me run further, by the way…

JessYes, I love empowering women who think that exercise is not ‘their thing’. I love it when they see themselves getting stronger and having more energy. I love it when they happily tell me that they are going out and they have nothing to wear because everything is too big. I love it when they proudly text me their run times after a race (funny I have never got one of those from you!)… I love the gym selfies… I love being part of the change in their lives. It’s such a privilege.

MDYeah, I enjoy the running I do with you in our session but that’s as far as it goes… I’m more a ballet girl, and selfies… yeah, plenty of those…. Hahaha… Seriously though, I do feel so much stronger and I think as women, we underestimate how much strength and just having certainty in your physical body translates to mental strength.  It’s so important to stay focus as a mother, as a business owner… So, tell me, what is your vision for your brand going forward?

JessWorld domination! Eventually there will be a Mamafirst fitness studio, maybe two and there will be a timetable of regular fitness classes covering both pregnancy and post natal exercise. Ultimately though, the brand won’t change, it’ll always be about mums putting themselves first and being fit and strong.

MDI love it! The one advice you would give to other mumpreneurs?

JessStart small, do lots of research and know what you want and why you want it. It makes making decisions a lot easier.

MD: And, the one advice you would give to a mum who may be thinking about improving their fitness?

JessThis one is easy! Just do it! Seriously, time invested in your fitness and wellbeing is truly the best. Decide what is stopping you whether it be time, money, lack of confidence… whatever it is just find a way around it.  Start by increasing the amount of activity in your life, walk more, take the stairs, run around with the kids at the playground. You don’t have to dedicate hours per day but be consistent, do something everyday and find something you enjoy doing. Oh and give me a call…

MDI’ll second that! How has running your own business changed you as a mother?

JessI don’t think running my business has changed me as a mother but being a mother has definitely shaped the business and has taught me many valuable lessons, like patience and patience and more patience. Being a mum has made me decide what is important to me and that has also flowed into the business.

MDAs always our 10 minute conversations have blown totally out of proportion.  Thank you again for your time and I can’t wait to see your vision for Mamafirst fitness come to life.

JessIt’s been a pleasure.  Good luck with your new blog!

Heidi Modrovich

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