What made you decide to become a personal trainer?
Throughout my stressful, demanding 25-year career in the San Francisco restaurant industry, I was able to keep my equanimity (and sanity!) by going to the gym everyday. There I left all my problems behind and focussed on getting stronger and pushing myself beyond my comfort level. I had very talented instructors who knew I was open to trying the latest exercise trends and put me to the test. Through the years, I had been encouraged to become a personal trainer since, according to my trainers, I had already established my “residency!” After some consideration, I decided to leave the hospitality world and embarked on my next adventure: the fitness industry.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Marin County?
I was born in Manila, Philippines and came to San Francisco when I was 5 years old. I was raised mostly in the Peninsula—Millbrae— until I went off to college at UC Berkeley. I lived in San Francisco up until the pandemic hit and my husband I decided Marin, in Marinwood, was a better for us as “empty-nesters.”
How long have you been training and where did you get started?
For my personal fitness training, I had been training consistently for the past 28 years. I assisted my instructors in Bootcamp, HIIT, group classes as well as Beginner Level boxing classes. As of August 2021, I earned my certification from NASM, and began personal training 1-1 shortly thereafter.
What fitness certifications have you acquired?
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialization, CPR and AED certified.
What would we be surprised to know about you?
My real first name is Jaena—pronounced “Hi-na.” I was named after a revolutionary literary hero of the Philippines: Graciano Lopez Jaena. But in the Philippines, your name is your baptized name so they added Maria. I was called Jaena up until college. So, often old friends (from childhood through high school) will be surprised when others call me Maria.
What exercises do you enjoy the most (for yourself)?
I tend to thrive in dynamic, fast paced exercises, particularly HIIT and especially the sport of boxing. I learned to box after I had bored with the Tae Bo videos I did at home. Because boxing is a skill and a sport, the training is varied and challenging. Push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, sit ups, burpees—these are all staples of a good boxing workout. Of course, there’s punching the bag!
What do you like most about working at Fit Club For Women?
The Fit Club community is truly inspiring and uplifting. The members are very dedicated and are always up for a challenge. The support and encouragement shared between them are remarkable.
It is an honor to be able to train such wonderful people.