My name is Jenny Grothe, and I have a story.
September 2007 I was 170 pounds — my heaviest ever.
I'd always been slim. I ate what I wanted, as much as I wanted, when I wanted. I was active throughout my teens and 20's, but after we adopted our first child, that all slowly began to change.
My activity level decreased, but my eating habits didn't. It caught up to me. Long gone were the days of being able to drink as much Dr. Pepper and Coke as I wanted, put away a dozen delicious glazed Krisy Kremes with my hubby, devour a bag of chips with a huge tub of Guacamole, and not see the "consequences" on my body. Over the years I put more and more weight on and by summer of 2007 I no longer liked the person I saw when I looked in the mirror.
I don't think there was any one "a–ha" moment. There were several. At the time I was 37. 40 wasn't that far off. I wanted to be a "FAB 40", not a "FAT 40". I thought back to my mom during her 40's and how incredible she looked. She was a lightweight bodybuilder in her 40's. She rocked the stage. Her bodyfat was in the low 6's. "A-ha" moment #1.
"A–ha" moment #2. My girlfriends and I were spending a week down in St. George by the pool with the kids. We decided to hit up Old Navy for some new swimsuits. I was a size 14 — trying to squeeze into a size 12. I gave up. I ended up settling for a mens' pair of size medium board shorts and a tankini top while all my size 0, 4, and size 6 friends bought their cute little "girlie" swimsuits.
"A–ha" moment #3. I was tired of all the concessions being made because of me. Would JENNY be able to fit through the narrows canyon in St. George? Would JENNY be able to handle the hike up the mountain? Would JENNY be the first to tire out while playing tag with the kiddos in the back yard? There were many.
I was happy with my life, but I wasn't happy with ME — the most important person of all. Something snapped.
Without my husband's permission, I signed up (once again) at Gold's Gym. I'd signed up before only to watch my money drain out of my account. Same with training sessions. Greg, my husband, had no reason to think that this time would be any different. But, I knew. This time it would be. I dropped my little guy off on his first day of school and headed straight to the gym.
I waffled around on the machines — I mostly focused on cardio. I didn't have a clue. I just stuck with what I felt comfortable with. Comfortable meaning not looking too dumb on the equipment.
I biked, I walked, I kind–of jogged, and I stepped. Two months later I'd shed 20 pounds, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I was finally a size 10 — a size I hadn't seen in so long, and I felt invigorated! I rocked my new body, and I stopped shying away from the camera.
In February I decided to try and "sculpt" my now leaner but completely jello–like body. I didn't want just any trainer though. I didn't want to get "stuck" with who Gold's assigned to me. There was one trainer, a girl with incredibly built arms. I wanted HER to train me. I approached her, and told her she needed to train me because I wanted her arms. She sized me up and agreed. She worked me hard, but that's exactly what I wanted. She told me too many times she'd agreed to help people but they wouldn't follow–through. I was eager. I was like a sponge. I wanted to do it all. You didn't have to ask me twice.
By the end of March I started to see a big change. So did she. At that point she asked me if I'd considered competing in Figure. I didn't even know what "Figure" was. She explained that it was a softer form of bodybuilding — still amazing healthy muscle but with more femininity. She'd already done several shows, and the way my body was responding to the weight training, she thought I might be a good candidate. By this time I was 38 — one year closer to 40. I told her "yes". Why not? What did I have to lose? I figured I could give it my best shot and the worst thing that could happen was I'd be in better shape than when I'd begun—a win&ndsah;win in my opinion. However, at the time, I was totally going out on faith. My body was still NOWHERE near where it needed to be.
So, I set my eyes on the NGA show in September and the NPC show in October 2008. I paid my dues; I registered for my first NPC and NGA cards. I kind–of felt like a poser. Really? Me?
I started working with my posing Coach. She put me in touch with a GREAT suit designer. I ordered my suits (when they still required you to wear both a one–piece AND a two‐piece) — still half believing that my body would be ready.
I worked my butt off day after day — on my own. I didn't have a workout partner. There was no one at the gym waiting for me. I'd started out with a workout partner in the very beginning, but her plans changed only two weeks into it. At that point I was at a crossroad to either continue on or give up. There was no giving up this time.
By September I'd put on a small amount of muscle, and I leaned out to a size 2–4. I was thinner than I'd ever been. I wasn't even that thin in highschool. As a matter of fact, I distinctively remember my doctor telling me I had great CHILD BEARING HIPS as a teenager — not something you want to hear when you are 17.
I placed at both shows. This old lady who was once 170 pounds and a size 14 less than a year beforehand placed 2nd in the Short Class in the NGA 2008 Northern States show and 4th in the Medium Class in the NPC Utah Gold's Classic. I was hooked.
Next spring I competed again, this time taking 3rd in the Medium Class in the NPC Utah Open and 7th in the Masters at the Emerald Cup in Washington. Most recently I competed in the 2010 Topform Classic where I placed 4th in the Medium Class and 5th in the Masters.
Figure isn't my only accomplishment though. Since that first day when I decided to hit the gym and change my body, my focus, and my direction, I've:
Completed 2 Sprint Triathlons
Ran 4 Half Marathons
Lead a team of 12 in last year's Wasatch Back
Ran the Vegas Ragnar Relay (with the flu)
And most recently ran the 2009 St. George Marathon (within 5 minutes of qualifying for Boston) with one of my closest friends
I recognize I may not have the "best" body, the "widest" lats, the "fullest" glutes, or the "tiniest" waist, but every day I know that I am a better "me" than I was the day before. I am full of energy, excitement, and commitment to this sport. I fully embrace every aspect of it, from training, to supplementation, to cardio, to dieting. It's a part of ME now.
I am happy. I am strong. I am confident. I feel energized. I am meeting amazing women from all over the world who are as committed to this process as I am — who share the same goals, dreams, and aspirations.
I am meeting women who WANT to be healthy, who want to be strong, who want to change their lives for the better.
That's the main reason I started this little FB page. Women love to eat. I love to eat. But so many foods and recipes so readily available are full of fat and unhealthy. Food should always be yummy, and we women need our options.
If I can in any way help, motivate, or inspire another woman even if it's just by sharing a recipe, helping with a meal plan, or providing a structure to your currently dull workout routine, then that's what I'll do. I want you to feel what I now feel.
Hope you all enjoy your journey as much as I have mine.
xo ♥~ Jenny Grothe a.ka. "Jen-Fit"
Weight: 170 lbs
Bodyfat: too scared to ask
Dress Size: 12-14
Weight: 113-117 lbs. at competition; 120-123 lbs. off-season
Bodyfat: 9-10% competition; 13-15% off-season
Dress Size: 2-4
My Story featured in:
Oxygen magazine March 2009 | Bodybuilding.com Weekly Transformation 2010 | Rocky Mountain Running magazine Summer 2010 | Max Muscle Online
Featured Articles written for:
Muscle & Fitness HERS magazine July/August 2011, September/October 2011, November/December 2011, & January/February 2012 | Oxygen Magazine May 2012 | Mentioned in Oxygen Magazine October 2011
recipes for gals | jen-fit's favorites
2009 St. George Marathon: 3:49:58 | 2010 Top of Utah Marathon 3:42:41 | 2011 Boston Marathon: 3:47:27 | 2012 Boston Marathon: TBD
2008 NGA Northern States – 2nd Place, Short Class | 2008 NPC Utah Golds Classic – 4th Place, Medium Class | 2009 NPC Utah Open – 3rd Place, Medium Class | 2009 Emerald Cup - 7th Place, Masters Class | 2010 NPC Utah TopForm Nutrition Classic - 5th Place, Masters Class | 2010 NPC Utah TopForm Nutrition Classic - 4th Place, Medium Class