Q&A Series: Meet Jennifer Phelan

Jenn is a talented pilates instructor teaching classes at Equinox, North End Yoga and right here at the Bunker Hill Monument! She has been teaching classes for over 9 years now and we wanted to hear more about how she made the leap into teaching, balances her schedule and family, and still manages to find time to win our annual scavenger hunt!

What do you love about living in Charlestown? What's not to love about the best neighborhood ever? I love walking down the streets and seeing friends, clients and my children's classmates around every corner. Charlestown has the strongest and most supportive community around. There's no shortage of small business love, dog friendly people and places, and the comfort of seeing strollers trekking up and down the hills beside me. I feel so lucky to call Charlestown home.

You have become well known as a fitness instructor throughout Charlestown, can you tell us more about how you created such a following and especially with moms? Nine years ago I left my marketing position at a law firm to start teaching full time. To this day I've never once looked back. I've worked long hours, taught 40+ clients and classes a week (that was crazy!) and led countless community events all over the city. I kept with it, refining my practice and the students kept coming, my classes kept growing and my passion for teaching never dulled. I think that's the secret to success. When you love what you do it shows.

The funny thing is I never I dreamed I'd be teaching Mom and Baby classes or that I'd create my own stroller workout class. But after becoming a Mom I saw a huge lack in fitness classes where Moms could workout with their babies. This is how my JPPilates Stroller Bootcamp was born. When my son Grayson was just a few months old I'd walk around and around the Monument, exhausted from lack of sleep and a little lonely from all the new changes in my life. I started turning those walks into little workouts while he napped in the stroller and I always felt better afterwards. There's just something about fresh air and movement. Then I had an idea. What if I organized this for other Moms and led a class right here in Charlestown? Now five years later I teach this class twice a week and it regularly sells out. My goal has always been to host a warm, fun and friendly space where fellow Moms can join me to workout, chat and just be themselves, no matter how little or big their children are.

You are constantly on the go! How do you create balance with an active lifestyle and family? Ha! Balance and I have a strained relationship. I've recently started to wonder if it's even possible to "balance" being a mostly stay at home mom with a sometimes working always hustling, busy teaching career. It seems that something always has to give. So my version of balance ebbs and flows with each season of motherhood. I'm lucky and grateful that I have the flexibility in my career to step back when my family needs me most and then jump jump back in when I'm ready. I've learned that it's okay to make changes at different stages of life and with each phase comes a new chapter.

Who is the most interesting person you've ever trained? Well technically I'm not allowed to put her name in writing, but let's just say for several months I was taking Katniss Everdeen through my own Pilates version of the Hunger Games.

For any readers who are new to your classes, where should they begin?! There's no right way to begin, you just have to start! And honestly, that's the hardest part. Once you sign up for a class try to invite a friend to join you. It's always a lot less intimidating to walk into a new situation with a friend. Before class starts, let your teacher know that you are new. I love when students do this so that I can offer them more help and make sure that they feel comfortable. And remember to stick with it! Sometimes it takes a few classes to understand the movements and for your body to adjust. I welcome all levels of students to my classes! In addition to my JPP Stroller Bootcamp classes I also teach an all level mat Pilates Flow at the Bunker Hill Monument on Thursdays at 6am and Sundays at 9am. For more info visit my website and follow me on Instagram @JPPilates1 for info on more upcoming events and classes.

Photos by Janelle Carmela Photography