• Allison Vernon-Thompson

Jess Riffs On Finding Joy In Working Out



What made you first pursue personal training as a career? I was a dancer and very athletic in middle and high school so movement has always been an important part of my life.  I took my first kinesiology class in the 11th grade and loved it.  While I moved to New York to pursue theatre and dance, it didn't take long before I traded that in to focus on building a career in personal training and wellness. Who do you love to work with? Why? I have enjoyed working with so many people over the years.  I love sport specific training.  It's really fun to design workouts that can enhance and compliment an athletic endeavor.  I've worked with marathon runners, tennis players, golfers and volleyball players and I've learned so much.  I also love working with the 50+  population and pre/post natal women.

What do you do for your own workouts? I'm a certified Schwinn cycling instructor so I love a good cycling class.  I strive to keep my workouts balanced.  A good week will include a 5k run, an indoor cycling class, a yoga class, a couple of circuit-style strength training days and an extra long walk with my dog, Lucy.  How has your own health impacted your training method? After a back injury, I was left with chronic pain for a couple of years.  Exploring my own imbalances and going through months of physical therapy had a tremendous impact on my training style.  I became more confident working with clients who had injuries or chronic pain.  It also instilled a new level of patience and gratitude for the human body.  It's capable of amazing things but we also have to take the time to listen to what feels right and what doesn't.  Workouts are not one-size-fits-all. What’s your training style?

I gravitate toward circuit style strength and cardio training with my clients.  I always do full body workouts (unless there are specific limitations) and I keep people moving for the whole session.  We'll likely use resistance bands, the TRX, a jump rope, kettlebells, and weights all in one workout.  Hopefully, we also have a laugh or two while we do this! What is the toughest workout you’ve ever done? Probably 20 minutes of Tabata training.  Dr. Tabata created this style of high intensity interval training for the Japanese speed skating team and it is no joke!   How do you think your own lifestyle habits effect your training style? I used to really beat myself up when I'd miss workouts.  I would overtrain and I had trouble sleeping at night.  Once I focused on easing up on that, I was able to maintain a healthy weight and state of mind.  My workouts became much more enjoyable and weren't such a chore.  Exercise is a vital health behavior but it's just one piece of the puzzle.  Nutrition, mindfulness, stress management, sleep, joy and laughter, all of those behaviors enhance our physical training so I try to encourage my clients to loo

k at the whole picture. The technical stuff: list certifications and degrees 

  • Certified Personal Trainer (NFPT, NASM)

  • Schwinn Certified Cycling Instructor

  • Pre/Post Natal Certification

  • BA in Psychosocial Health Studies from

  • CUNY's individualized study program ICF Accredited Certified Professional Coach (Coaching for Transformation, by Leadership That Works

  • Reiki Level 1


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