In Art Of Coaching Podcast

It is my pleasure to be joined by Jen Widerstrom on episode 29 of The Art Of Coaching Podcast.  Jen Widerstrom is a trainer, author, TV star, and industry leader primarily known for her big hearted training on NBC’s The Biggest Loser as well as her no-nonsense approach to living a more active lifestyle. As the Fitness Director of SHAPE Magazine, the best-selling author of Diet Right for Your Personality Type, and the founder of the WiderSTRONG training tribe and method- her work has been featured on Dr. Oz, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan as well as The Doctors. Jen makes an impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people across the world, and was kind enough to share some tremendous insights on this eposide

Topics Covered:

– Why the concept of becoming an “overnight success” is bullsh*t

– How we can spread and scale information while also being ethical and practical.

– Her journey with The Biggest Loser

– Her secrets for continuing to evolve

-Why “letting go” can be the secret to getting ahead.

– How to break the mold without selling out.

– Competition amongst coaches and why it is so toxic

– Being in control of your own success

– How to diversify and not lean on one particular job

– Getting reps in to develop your coaching language

– Finding your audience

Reach out to Coach Jen:

Via Website:

Instagram: @jenwiderstrom

Twitter: @jenwiderstrom

You can receive $20 off your 1st order of Momentous by using code BRETT20 at checkout. (Minimum purchase amount of $50). This information is kept free by our partnership with Momentous. To learn more about Momentous and what they do to help our community go to


Brett Bartholomew  0:00  

Hey, thanks for tuning in today before we get started, I want to make sure I let you guys know that Bought in my online course is going to reopen August 27 2019. Again, that’s August 27 2019. This course applies whether you’re a personal trainer, whether you’re a strength coach, whether you’re a teacher, anything, if you deal with people, this course has something that is relevant to you. As I say, a lot of times, guys, I just use the term strength coach and athlete, because that’s my vocation. But you can replace those terms with anything meaning if you read a book by somebody that owns a company, or is created something in Silicon Valley, right, like you don’t have to be in that field, to be able to apply those concepts they’re universally applicable, as are all the resources we create. And so make sure you check out Bought in, we have payment plans available and see you if approved for those of you in the human performance field, and I put two years of my life behind it. I promise you guys will love it, you’ll find at least one takeaway. It includes tests it includes physical written up notes, if you’re someone that just wants to download the notes pages. If you’re more visual, you have 4k Video professionally produced video that you can watch over 10 hours of content. So again Bought in will reopen August 27 2019. Make sure you check it out.


Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior, and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


What’s going on everybody? Welcome to another episode of The Art of coaching Podcast. I’m here with Jen Widerstrom From Jen, welcome to the show.


Jen Widerstrom  2:10  

Hi, how are you? We’re already both laughing. 


Brett Bartholomew  2:13  

Yeah, so we’re catching up a little bit before the show, we always do that to test the internet connection. And Jen just hysterical, I’m really glad you could make it we’re gonna dive into a lot of stuff, business oriented, coaching oriented, perception oriented things that you deal with at a much heightened level than so many other people. And you know, just for anybody not familiar, would you mind going into your background a little bit so we can orient them to the rest of the conversation?


Jen Widerstrom  2:37  

Sure. You know, I mean, when I have two sentences to say it you know, I’m a kid out of Chicago, who believes in teamwork, my parents were both teachers and coaches, and fostered that, in me. And when I started out, it was being a personal trainer, which then evolved into me getting into American Gladiators. And then over time, connecting with more publications for men’s women’s health to Shape magazine to now then doing the Biggest Loser those these last few seasons. And it’s been this, you know, beautiful disaster of accidental kind of pivots and things kind of coming into frame. And I think it’s also been an experiment every single day of like, okay, you’re on a TV show, how do I utilize that to push a message? And then, gosh, what is my message, you know, because that’s evolving, too. So it’s been fun to use these opportunities to not only max out and see what I’m made of, but to write a book that’s done really well. I’m working on my next book, I’m creating a lot of online programming and coaching. Because you know, things are changing you rep you more than anybody knows that the way we coach are evolving because it has to because of technology and scaling everything. So it’s been an interesting journey. But, that’s basically it.


Brett Bartholomew  3:53  

I love it succinct and savvy. And there’s a couple things I want to pick on with what you said because it hit home one love the term beautiful disaster. Now maybe that’s because I’m from Omaha, Nebraska. And that’s a 311 song. And that’s, a classic, two, you know, you’re right, the field is evolving. And a big reason I started this podcast is because I just think that, you know, when we look at the people that kind of influenced thought processes out in the world and kind of popularized stuff, it seems like, it’s always been a lot of academics or the TED talk people or CEOs, or it’s Silicon Valley. And I’ve always been a big believer that the world of performance or the world of even health and fitness, like if they get their stuff together, like they have lessons to share to from the boardroom to the weight room to the classroom. And when you talk about scaling, that’s something you’ve done cuz you’re a Goliath, as you mentioned, in the end, you didn’t use that term, but I’m calling you that. But as you mentioned, all the publications and shows that you’ve been a part of talk to me a little bit about scaling, and specifically around people in our field that are skeptical that they even like have a some people just feel like oh, what do I have to share or that’s not my job? My job is to be in the trenches. Why should anybody worry about scaling what they do outside of their day to day,


Jen Widerstrom  5:02  

yeah, gosh, man, I thought of like 19 things as you were talking. 


Brett Bartholomew  5:05  

knock them all out 


Jen Widerstrom  5:06  

this is the thing. So and obviously, these are not my words, they’re borrowed. But when you do what you’ve done, you get what you’ve got. And we as I think in human nature, especially those that are driven that our coaches that are communicators, like getting great at what we do, and that’s important to be good communicators to be able to read, whether it’s your athlete or your audience is critical for your success, because doesn’t matter if I know what I’m saying, if they don’t receive the way I meant it, I have failed. And the critical nature of what I’m saying by scaling, it means digitally, in volume and people. And it’s critical for a few reasons. One, we have to evolve from the nature of which we’ve coached from because, again, we have to, if you want to continue to be read, it is kind of an exhausting process. Because right, it’s almost like strength training, right? When you’ve gotten really good in that work block. And those sets and reps start to feel good, your coach changes it on you, you’re like, I just got good at 10 reps, six now heavier, geez, you know. And so we must feel it must be the same one in the way we evolve in our coaching. And it’s the difficult I appreciate you saying Goliath, if but it’s been a difficult transition for me because a lot of the way I’m personally consumed as a student and as a someone that’s being coached, or just as a consumer, is not digitally, I do some TED talks, I’ll listen to that. A bit, a few podcasts, I kind of like, I do not sit on YouTube, I do not get online coaching or elearning. I don’t do any of that. I sit in person at seminars, I went to summer strong and sat in the front row and listen to you coach and teach us that is my vehicle of learning for Jen. But I am a small I miss percentage of people that learn that way. And so many people learn in other ways. And if I cannot, if I’m going to protect the way I’ve done things, till death do us part and be rigid, like I gotta be in these trenches, and I gotta fight here, I will be left behind. And there’s nothing worse than feeling irrelevant when you’re working so hard to provide messaging support and coaching to your community that you’ve built your life around. And so it’s been a trial and error. You know, when you say Goliath, I laugh because it’s like, Man, I think by a lot of people’s standards, I have hit pinnacle. Very few trainers can say only did they go and biggest loser, but they were successful at it, you know. I mean, Bob has made it on every single season. But every time Julian left, they brought in a new girl and she was gone that season. Nobody ever made it to a second season except me. And it feels good to be at that spot. But man when I got there, I mean, I saw what I was made of. But it’s one step. It’s a part of a journey. It isn’t a finish line. It’s a benchmark. And I think once I started to identify that this, you know, it’s kind of a sad reality when you work here, like I thought, I got it, I got there, this is the place and you get to the top and you realize you’re nowhere near Summit, and it was an important realization that that was a gift, and not something bad. You know what I mean? And I think that’s that’s a whole another like kind of rabbit hole I can go down with down the hole with but I realized more and more that Biggest Loser has come benchmark that I could not have built my life without to what I know right now. But the work isn’t over. I must continue to evolve challenge test things, trial things, and grow past what I’ve been doing. So I can get even bigger, greater results.


Brett Bartholomew  8:51  

Yeah, and this is gonna be the fun challenge of this episode between you and I, because I think there’s a lot of rabbit holes. In my job. My job is to guide it right. But it’s also to have kind of a no bullshit Coffee Table Talk. So I’m going to jump in on something you said. And then we’re going to continue to go down your piece about perception and scaling and what people think the big time is like now I’ll be frank, you know, for the vast majority of my career as a strength and conditioning coach, I used to get really livid at shows like The Biggest Loser or some of these other shows, because I felt like anytime I told somebody what I did, they’re like, Oh, well, you’re like Jillian Michaels or this person? I’m like, No, I’m not like, you know, like TV will pick like crazy elements. Like even if you guys don’t do something, or somebody will direct you, Hey, could you do a little this? Like they amplify it, right? And as a young strength coach, I’d get mad because I’m like, No, I don’t make people do XY and Z, strength and conditioning is more Science base. I get really defensive. And then I remember somebody said something at a conference one time this was a long time ago. And they said, Listen, you know, for all of you strength coaches who get really mad at like the fitness industry or other things and things you see on TV, here’s the thing, if there’s not a At least one or two things you can learn from these people that are scaling it on a broader stage into a broader audience than you’re the idiot, you know. And then I started looking at that, and I’m like, Oh, my God, there is a lot of stuff that I just I didn’t understand, especially like, you know, people would come in, and they’d film athletes training and stuff. And, of course, they would never get the meat and potatoes, they always want the shock factor. Or they’d want you to create a scenario and be like, now get, like, get out of here. But then you realize that like, you can’t help a wide, or enough people if you don’t scale in some format, and scaling isn’t always going to be perfect. And when you get to a pinnacle, and there’s a lot of strength coaches listening right now that they want to be in pro sport, and they want to do this, or there’s folks in the fitness side that want to be where you’re at, what don’t they really know about what it is like, once they get there, right? Like, what’s the perception of them thinking? They think big show you think shit show? Hey, like life gets a little bit more difficult at these levels, does it not?


Jen Widerstrom  10:59  

Well, difficult. And also, you know, I’m a movie buff, but with great power comes great responsibility. And that is where I for anyone that doesn’t know that it’s spider man. Tell me why version but you know, I will take it. it is not fair for people to look into what we’re doing on a show or what’s happening and poopoo it because they’re trying, they are fucking trying. And what was difficult for me in the initial transition is I would be you know, every episode, for instance, with loser  is a week long. You’re telling me that out of at least five days of filming, and plus all the off time where there’s no cameras rolling, where I go on Sunday mornings and take my team on hikes and bring them fresh strawberries from the roadside, or whatever it was. All of this that’s recorded and not recorded. Out of all of that 42 minutes is what we get to show on a week, 42 minutes. 


Brett Bartholomew  12:00  

That’s insane. 


Jen Widerstrom  12:01  

And I was like, Oh my God, this sucks, like, because you would see me saying half of a sentence that was at the end of a 10 minute conversation. All they could use because we’re limited, we are doing our best to take this experience and capsulate it and offer it to somebody or that’s listening that might affect their lives positively. Because this is so much less to do with weight loss and so much more to do with the human condition. And where people hold them selves back and where they hide from themselves, and how that is represented and reflected in their lives. Whether it’s their waistline, the plates, look at their way they drive, like maybe you’ve got road rage. I don’t know, you know, but you know, it does come out for everybody. And I think that the reality is it caught for me personally being like, how can this work? There’s so much that’s not seen. And I was protected from the other side. And like, people need to know what we’re doing. There’s got to be ways to see bonus footage or whatever. And it’s like, Jen, are you going to edit the hours of film doing people that are doing the best that I can. And honestly, I even last month I was in Rhode Island, and I got stopped by one, I was at a random health club in the middle of nowhere, one of the members and two of the trainers, none of which are on Instagram, by the way, or any kind of social media like oh my god, you Jen, when is loser coming back, I have to tell you, you’ve inspired me. And these are the reasons why. And that was off the 42 minutes a week. And that’s where I started to believe I’m like, Okay, for those that are the naysayer, there’s far more that goes behind the scenes and you will ever know. And, frankly, part of that is what’s special about the experience with me and my contestants. It’s ours. We own it, it was real. And I’m still in the lives of all of my contestants today. And then the reality is for the people that are watching, it’s like it really makes a difference even though it’s only 42 minutes. So the greater challenge though, I will say is it maybe it’s partly personality based for myself, but I’m a controlling person. I see every detail I see every moment I see the way people emotionally respond to things. And when people are on the line that are looking to me with trust. I want to control every facet. I’m telling you, it’s a really fast way to isolate your anybody you’re working with, like my team loved me, but like whether it’s production or other teams, it’s it’s very hard to work with somebody like me, because I was trying to control all these variables that I had to eventually learn to let go of, and be in flow and do it I could do in the moments that I had. And that’s where you know, because that’s where I could be efficient and most importantly effective. Because me bleeding out energy everywhere else is only going to create anxiety, not only for myself, but the people that are on my team, whether that is you know my contestants or just people on my team. It’s like my lawyer it’s like, right, you know what I mean? Like, everybody, everything’s gonna come from me and I have three You’re responsible for that.


Brett Bartholomew  15:01  

And everybody, I mean, to go along with what you’re saying, I think one quote that always stuck with me is there’s this great quote on perception, it says people follow the groove of their borrowed thoughts. And so when I go to a conference, and I hear some coach get on stage and talk about, we shouldn’t be doing social media, we shouldn’t be doing this. And then they’re impacting other coaches to do that. And it’s like, then they criticize other people. You’re right, they have no idea what goes on to it. I didn’t know I was ignorant, and I was a huge critic of it. And then I remember I wrote my book. And then people, you know, oh, why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t you do that? Like you said, Are you going to be the one editing all these? You know, hours, I’m like, listen, funny things happen. When you try to write a book over three years, when you get married, and you move, you realize you can’t please everybody, right? And then, I created courses to fill gaps that we couldn’t talk about in the book, and then live events to fill the, because no one resource is like the Holy Grail, right? You’re never going to have a resource that is so rich, thorough and complete, that it makes everybody happy. And that’s why you 


Jen Widerstrom  15:56  

Yeah, no, completely. And I’m like, and by the way, think about how much happens in three years Brett, what you have evolved through as a first as a man, like what you have understood about your own human behavior, okay, I’m going from this life to married life to people, like you, or just personal experience. In your own journey, it’s going to affect the curriculum that you are creating. And you’re like, Well, I did say that four years ago, but now two years later, I actually feel a little different. Like it’s gonna evolve, and people nitpick, because people want to maintain their perspectives of why their lives are the way it is. And in order to do the point the finger at a you at anything else to make an excuse of why they are the ones that don’t need to change, and that your change is the issue, when in fact, you are exactly the example they need to see. And that’s where it becomes. That’s why you have that rival free.


Brett Bartholomew  16:54  

Yeah. And you have it with yourself, right? Because there’s always thing I think that’s the thing that people don’t understand as well. And I’d be interested to get your thoughts on this. How when it comes to self criticism, right, you put out a tremendous amount of content again, prolific what, like, how happy are you, you know, in terms of the percentage of the time with, you know, when you see yourself speaking on camera, when you’re doing this, what do you tend to nitpick yourself most on? And how does that relate to the same things you nitpick on when you’re coaching?


Jen Widerstrom  17:21  



Brett Bartholomew  17:22  

In another rabbit hole, go


Jen Widerstrom  17:24  

From a good example here. I’m really hard on myself. 


Brett Bartholomew  17:28  

Yes, you are a good example. I think everybody, anybody that’s committed to our field and a true craftsman oriented fashion, like, I think you’re a great example talk about this is why we have you on the show and talk give the real shit here.


Jen Widerstrom  17:39  

I mean, like a million things. I mean, literally, from I mean, I barely can get through episodes of any TV lie to because I’m like, why are you blinking like that? When you’re blinking that it makes somebody thinks something’s in your eye? Or you’re nervous, you’re not listening, and I don’t even know I’m doing it. I’m like, why am I fidgeting? Why am I seeing that way? Why did I talk so fast? Like an I, my memory of the experience was very fluid and good. And like, this was awesome. And I review and I go, Well, I don’t feel like watching it, I came across the way it felt. And again, you know, so even though if I know what I’m saying, if I’m not communicating the way that’s expressed, and or you fail as a communicator, I look, I mean, everything even the way I will say, um, or like, even the way that I will mess up words, I would just speech class for a long time as a little kid, I couldn’t say my Ys and my AWS. So I was talking like, “I’m sowy”, like, so when I’ll talk fast. I screw up words. And I’m like, what were you in a rush for? But it’s a matter, of just literally delivery points, which I have found that the greatest solution to that is like, I mean, I just check myself now I’m like, slow down, you can slow down. If someone actually cares about what I’m saying. They will listen, you don’t need to rush, you don’t need to sprint. And if they want to check out they can go kick rocks, that’s fine. They can bye bye, I don’t care. So I’ve gotten better at that. But the other thing too, is going thinking so fast that I’m like, oh, I should have lingered longer there and talked about X or Y I’m like, Oh, I forgot to bring up that thing about the place. And you know, and I feel like I’ve missed my opportunities. Because I worry about getting so much in that I I’m not as present as I know, I could have been and therefore probably would have allowed me to bring up the stories that were the most relevant for that person or for that conversation. So I mean, that’s I mean, I think part of the issue and I think that I’m not alone in this, a lot of us as communicators. We edit as we go, we edit like try writing a book. I know you’ve done it like I can’t even get my fingers to move on the keyboard because I’m editing sentence in my head before it even can get typed down


Brett Bartholomew  20:07  

Such an awful feeling to. Because you’re almost right. I remember my editors like you write in a pretty defensive tone when I first started. And I think it was because I just started talking more and more about the communication element, you know, six years ago, and I was getting a lot of backlash from people saying, What are you saying trainings not important. And, you know, every since I wrote, I felt like I had to clarify and write to this invisible audience who is like, you know, trying to come up with some argument to discredit something and he’s like, Dude, you just got to write. And that is really difficult. Keep, going. Because I want to hear where this is going.


Speaker 2  20:40  

But you This is great, though. Think about it. You and I are editing ourselves for an invisible audience of potential judgment, versus just allowing ourselves to channel the thought to channel the feeling. And we can go back and get it out. But we’re not actually fully expressing what we feel like is there because there’s a constant edit of a somebody that, you know, a nameless, faceless somebody. And then I start to think, Okay. Well, who says that’s defensive? When you said you were writing defensively? Who says it’s defensive. And by the way, who has identified that defensive is bad, like I started looking for my own personality traits is like, a great example. You know, I really started looking at myself as a person. And I realized I was basically like baking a cake with half the recipe. I was only using half the information about myself, like, I was only looking at my good qualities, and any bad quality that I searched for. So I was like, No, I’m not, you know, like, I’m like, I was person. No, I’m not. I’m confident. I’m these things. And I’m like, Well, okay, well, no, you are just you said, being jealous is bad. Right? Jealousy for me, is not saying I’m not confident jealousy means I’m having an issue comparing myself whether whether it’s with another woman, or with a woman, I think my boyfriend’s talking to you, it’s a comparison issue. It’s not about the guy or the other person, this is about me, and my own fears about who I am. Right? So but society says, oh, to be jealous, oh, it means you’re these five things, you’re a nag, you’re insecure, you’re probably ugly, you’re probably all these things. And so therefore, you start assigning qualities based on again, a faceless, nameless society. And you’re like, wait, well, I am that way. And I am not those five terrible things. But I do need to work on why I’m comparing myself with everybody. And if we can actually look at the fact that you’re a defensive writer, Brett, perhaps it’s not that you’re defensive rider, perhaps you are a defensive person. And why are you defensive? Because you tirelessly work and believe in what you have cultivated over many decade of focus and commitment and loyalty to your field. And the people you work with? Yeah, I’d say you have a reason to be defensive. Like, I understand that. But it’s like, okay, how can I look at that defensive tone, and understand something about yourself, maybe you don’t need to defend what you’re doing. And you can just do it. Because that is what draws people to you, Brett. People love what you do. You’re not bossing them around, you’re not trying to convince them that this is the way you’re just talking. You’re saying, hey, we’d love to have you with love have one thing from today, you can cook during your coaching career. So that’s, you know, so it’s more like we get to use these primers, about what come up for us, which really are like judgments that we’re guessing are going to happen as information to like spotlight what we need to know about ourselves to let go of it, you know, so I mean, listen, like, there’s layers here.


Brett Bartholomew  23:52  

Here, we’ll dive into a deeper one. This is even one it’s more it’s related to what you’re talking about. You mentioned the word comparison. Now I’m a big believer. And I think we both seen this. You see it at conferences with posturing, you see it a lot of things. Coaches are very, very, very, you know, they’re competitive with one another, whether they want to admit it or not. There are a lot of coaches who are really insecure and they compare themselves with other Oh, this guy shouldn’t got that job, or this woman shouldn’t have got this or this person. Now, to me, that’s even a bigger reason why we should try to scale what we do as coaches. Because you know, when you are seeing yourself on screen going way back to what you said about ]you didn’t like the way you spoke on camera, you didn’t like the way that you blinked so much. I actually think that if more coaches, you know, put themselves out there, whether it’s a podcast, whether they videotape sessions, whether they opened what they do up to more interviews, and I get it sometimes people are part of organizations where they can’t but you know, those individuals, if they did open themselves up to these experiences more, I think they’d actually be better coaches, because they’d realize, oh, maybe I shouldn’t be nitpicking everybody else, because my shit needs work. You know what I mean? But I think So many of them stay out of the spotlight. So it’s very protective. And then, you know, the only offices they see is the ones that go to when they go to work. And then the conferences, so it’s very easy for them to bicker, and whine and complain, because they don’t, expose themselves to this scale the world, like people like you do, where it’s like, oh my gosh, like, you know, I’ve had coaches be like, I’m not going to do podcasts, I can’t stand this. I’m like, Listen, man, like, it’s good to see yourself on video, it’s good to hear yourself on audio, even though it is dramatically is so painful, you might actually pick up on some things that cause you the same problems when you’re on the coaching floor, and lead to a skewed perception. Would you agree with that?


Jen Widerstrom  25:36  

So well said I mean, listen, life happens when you leave the house, right? So when people aren’t trying, and they’re nitpicking others, is 100% victim mentality, it means someone or something is responsible for the way my life is right? Instead of these coaches, or individuals, you don’t have to be a coach to feel this way. This is a human thing. You need to be responsible for the experience of yourself. And you look at this comparison of people doing things, it’s probably because they think that them getting the job, it’s limiting their ability to do theirs. And then it’s not the case, when you put the power of the way the direction of your life, in the people around you, you have given away your power, and you will be waiting forever for that page to turn. And I will throw myself under the bus right now. And but the reason I can speak on this so confidently is because this is in me too I’m not on this pedestal. I’m not above this, I’m working through this every single day, noticing when I start to feel sorry for myself. And it started, like two years ago, when it’s like, you’ll look at people’s social media accounts growing. I’m like, you know, I can’t grow my account. Because of all these women putting pictures of their bodies out all these pictures, all this whatever. They’re the reason that I can’t grow, because I’m not willing to do that. Yeah. And then it was like, everyone’s like, doing all these programs. I’m like, I’m not gonna do these terrible online programs have these programs aren’t legit. It’s falsely leading people. Yeah, they have deluded the field. And it’s why I can’t be successful. I mean, the but I haven’t said these words out loud anywhere publicly. And it was like, you know, oh, my god, religion, you can’t be successful because 10 Other women are trying even if their shits, you know, trash they’re trying least there’s leaving the house. Least they’re taking a risk on themselves. Regardless, it’s hard to put content out there. And now here I am, face the fact you know, couple months ago, we find out Biggest Losers coming back. We’re filming this fall, it’s in full flow. And I’m like, I’m assuming I’ll be on it. And I’m not in my initial like gut reaction. Brett was That’s my job. What do you mean, they’re casting other trainers? And I don’t know if I’m locked. And I don’t know if I’m out. But I started to be like, well, that’s my job. And no one’s gonna do it better than me because I know how to do it. And I care more. And I’m all these things. By the way, Brett all those things are true. But it’s not my job. That show is going is not mine. It’s not the Jen Widerstrom Biggest Loser show. It’s the biggest loser. And I would hope anybody that they’re looking at would get the same opportunity I did, to try to stretch my legs and put myself in a situation I didn’t know if I would swim or sink in. And I did it. If they asked me back, I would be honored and lucky to be a part of the show. And if they didn’t, my life is not over because of it. I can’t because like the old Jen would have said, well, that was because Biggest Loser didn’t take me my career. It’s Oh, it’s their fault that my career is stunted. Now, it’s like, Absolutely not. Because I’m in control of the experience of Jen, I’m going to continue to try to build my curriculum and do things that I’m interested in. And by the way, I might put up programs that flop, and I might put out others that true great, but until you start to try, you have no place to point the finger and blame people for why you’re not succeeding. Because if you’re not trying that’s on you.


Brett Bartholomew  29:03  

Yeah, and I love your piece about life happens when you leave the house because I think too many times people get isolated in their own perspective of they forget that this is just like being a musician, right? Like the whoever, if you’re listening, whether you like rock, whether you like hip hop, whether you like classical, whatever, you know, your favorite artists has not put out always just hit after hit after hit. There’s some albums you don’t like, there’s some things you know, and that may be because maybe something you know, they missed the mark or maybe it just didn’t resonate with you and you weren’t the intended audience. But I think this is where people kind of get in this disfluency in our field too. And and how they manage their career is like you said, they think that everything’s got to be perfect. And this has to be like on my Instagram. You know, all show reps that are not perfect. And people will be like, Well, why would you post that? And I’m like, because that’s coaching. Not every there is a very like name five coaches who go out day after day after day after day and only see perfect reps. That’s not our reality. And so if I manicure my page to only show quote unquote, perfect reps. What are you learning? You know, and so I think like, you know, when you’re honest with yourself for the first time, you’re not worried about putting something out that you know, somebody else is going to tear down. And you know, it’s all part of the process, just like an ice sculptor has to work on something, just as we went, visited this cemetery in Savannah back in the Fourth of July. And they were talking about the man who chiseled out these gravestones, who are just absolute works of art, and the guy got paid every time the chisel hit the stone. Now think about the stress and think about a family has trusted you with this endowment and this huge responsibility. And think about all that you, like the littlest chip, and I’m working like they’re carbon angels, they’re carbon things that were meaningful in that person’s life, you know, and it’s now we’re in this field, where it’s like, Oh, if you’re getting paid for doing this, you know, that’s not a good thing. You’re a sellout. Now, one more thing to what you said, yeah. You don’t have to worry about if you didn’t get you know, you’re not on this season, or whatever. Because another thing you’ve done really well, Jen is You protected your backside by you own your own content. And I think this is kind of where I want to go next on the business side, if you’re comfortable with it, if you are solely dependent on that show for Jen Widerstrom from being successful, and being able to pay the bills and all that, right, like you didn’t diversify anything. And we would never do that in our training, we would never have a program that solely focuses on one thing that the entire program has to be about that thing. How can other people learn from you in terms of doing that creating kind of this safety net or this platform where they’re not relying on the magic job or the magic opportunity?


Jen Widerstrom  31:32  

Okay, that’s a great question. So great quote by Howard Fine. If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. And I realized I was really fighting for an arguing for I need blank in order to do blank, right, I need biggest for I need a bigger following, or I need a bigger deal in order to be blank being relevant, successful at the top of my field. And that equation, is like a slow death. Like I said, You’ll be waiting forever. And when I finally had the courage to do and, it does take courage. Like I’m not saying this frivolously for anyone listening, it’s hard to put your words out there. It’s mean, people don’t even write thank you cards alone, let alone put up programming because you’re all worried about criticism, or, you know, I think it’s because nomadically we all want to belong, we all want to be accepted. And that’s an okay feeling. But the greatest thing we can know is that when you actually start to expose the differences in you is actually what brings you closer to where you’re trying to go. And I finally was like, Okay, I need to know if I still got it. And this was only like six months ago. And I was like, because I hadn’t been on air coaching in a couple years, I haven’t been private training and my travels crazy. So I’m not doing group classes. And frankly, I just lost confidence in myself, like, okay, maybe I’m just not a good coach anymore, maybe I don’t have it. And so what I would recommend to people is you’ve got to start taking reps, it’s like, you know, we don’t start squatting with 225 on our back, we start with an empty barbell. And just because I’ve squat 225, before in my career doesn’t mean I can’t start with an empty barbell, you know, six months ago, and that’s what I started, I started programming again, I started putting some online workouts going, you know, up a couple online pieces. And I was like, I just need to see what I got, I got to see where I’m at as imperfect as it was, or my programming was off, or if I messed up the time or whatever it was to teach. And I saw the reaction people was in a very positive and I go, okay, I can do this. And it wasn’t even about, oh, people like me, I can do it. I had to see that I had it. And then I’m like, Okay, what’s the next step? How can I start procure more content? I believe in what I’m coaching, I do want to write a book, I started building out a book, I started sending some pages to my literary agent, another good friend of the writing business, so it well, you are on to something that sounds like okay, but they have nothing to respond to if I don’t try, right. And now how have you been tried this carb cycling challenge because essentially, as I said, as we begin this call, I need to understand what people need and how to nurture the relationships that I care about. And audiences are wildly digital now. And I’m like, I’m gonna throw this challenge out there. I’m gonna see how it goes. If 50 people sign up, I am going to be thrilled. I put the time and I did it all I had almost 500 people sign up the first time out of the gates. And I’m like, Oh, holy cow.


Brett Bartholomew  34:33  

That’s, incredible. I mean, for anybody that just listening, that you never know how these things are gonna go and I don’t mean to interrupt, Jen. I just want to bring context to it because I had no idea even when I did my online courses, I’m like, this is gonna fail. And when I did my book, I had no newsletter, no mailing list, because this is something where you’re like the fitness role is way ahead of s&c. I mean I was just brought up that you don’t do this shit like you don’t have it. And so when my book went out, I was so naive. Somebody goes, you didn’t have a mailing list like, 


What’s a mailing list


Yeah like maybe 3000 People like even caring about what I had to say on any social media platform. But you know, I sat there and then one time I went and spoke at more of a fitness oriented conference, and I heard all these other people being like, yeah, we have this and a mailing list. I’m like, Why would I need that and they’re like, you don’t think people want to hear from you. And so, like, you don’t know how those launches are gonna go to have 500 people out of the gate. 


Hey, everybody, we’re gonna get right back into this episode. I don’t want you to miss any of this. But I did want to remind you that as part of the art of coaching audience, if you use the code Brett 20, again, that’s my first name, b, r e, t, t, two, zero, Brett 20. At checkout at Anything they have there, you’re gonna get $20 off your first order. If you’re not familiar with Momentus just a reminder, Momentus is the premier sponsor of The Art of coaching podcast. In short, there the reason I’m able to bring this information to you guys for free, they helped me cover the cost of the podcast and all the other content that I’m able to get to guys. So you know, their support is huge. Now, if you’re not familiar with the products, they have a wide range everything from their absolute zero grass fed whey. And again, guys, this is all whey isolate, the purest form of whey ArtFire grass fed whey, not only that they have a 100% plant protein, for those of you that can’t do whey, they have strength recovery, and they’re always coming out with us new and unique products. Now, one of the reasons I partnered with momentous is I am a minimalist when it comes to any of this stuff. I’m a big believer that consistency in your training, sleep, hydration, and just good nutrition are the most powerful supplements. But there are certain staples that we can’t get around. And we have to be able to source in the most responsible way possible. And that we also have to just be able to add in through supplementary form whether that’s because we’re busy lifestyles, because we have digestion issues, any number of factors. And so, you know, protein and fish oil is really the only thing that I take every now and then I might experiment with some other stuff that’s all natural, but I’m not really I’m from the Midwest. So there’s a running joke that we kind of grew up on steak and milk. But Momentus is absolutely something I am buying 100%. And again, if you just use the code, Brett 20, at anything on or you can check out The Art of coaching Momentus link on the show notes. You’re going to be hooked up. Thanks, again for your support. And now back to the episode. 


That’s incredible.


Jen Widerstrom  37:34  

But by the way, you know, if zero people signed up, that’s great information, too.


Brett Bartholomew  37:39  

Yeah it’s gone. It’s all.


Jen Widerstrom  37:42  

It’s all feedback. And I think that’s I mean, it’s a long winded answer for everybody listening, but if you don’t try, you don’t know, you’ve got to start taking reps in the space to understand what’s working, what’s not what interests you, what doesn’t, you don’t know anything until you take reps. And that’s why I everything really comes down to a workout equation and parallel. And perhaps that’s why I like using movement as a teaching tool so much anyways, the more you do, the more you’ll understand about how to go about things and refine your attempts and refine your programming and your dialogue in your coaching language. But when you sit and you don’t have any reps in it, you have no intel on where to go. And so what will tend to happen as well is, at least for me, before I kind of made this leap about six months, is I would have somebody else do it for me. I would be like, Hey, Brett, what do you think I should do with x and y? You’re like, oh, Jen, this is great. These are the things that we do. So by the way, if it failed, I can be like, kind of point the finger at Brett. I’m like, you know, he tried it was a nice idea. But I don’t know if he really knows what he’s talking about. Right? And by the way, if it worked out, it’s like, oh, that’s a genius. So that’s it wasn’t my idea. I can’t feel the pride of its success, nor do I pay attention to the intel that I use because it wasn’t mine. It was all yours. And I think there’s something about really accepting where you are and trying, I’m not saying don’t ask for help, you know, but I am saying that you’ve got to source these decisions. And you have got to walk through that fire a little bit because that’s how you start to like grit create texture. And like I said, you know, it is a feeling of pride. I mean, I love this example I use it when I actually give talks but at the end of rocky one. I will ask people that I’m talking to him like how does the movie end? And I think arguably a Rocky is top five most motivational movie of all time. And until Rocky’s wins the match. And then like they’re you know, they’re hugging and it’s a good ending and like, did he win? And then someone’s like, no, Apollo won like, yeah, so here’s all entire movie. That’s that’s Based on like, fun and right and he lost, he lost the fucking boxing match. And yet, I never have felt more motivated to go after something. Because the pride of his attempt the pride of his follow through the pride of the relationships he created, not only with Adrian, or Mickey or whatever, or even the kind of quiet friendship and respect he created with Apollo was the relationship Rocky created with himself. He saw himself as a dumb, like muscle, like, you know, loanshark mostly, you know, beat up guy. And he actually believed that he was worth more than that by the end of the movie, and that is the victory. It’s not him winning in the ring. And I feel like if you can use that template, I know it’s so corny. Watch Rocky, you don’t need I didn’t need to sell 500 to feel good about myself. 50 would have made me feel like Wonder Woman. That’s the big secret. You have to change the way you’re measuring your success. You have to because for me, if I kept it, I’ve got to be on TV in front of millions of people every week. Everything I do is gotta be a full success. I’ve got to have more followers than any other female fitness person out there. I will have by those terms been unsuccessful 


Brett Bartholomew  41:12  

But that’s not where it’s at. Right? You know, that’s, you don’t get into I told a friend this the other day when they’re like, I’m getting off social media like nothing. I say attraction, I go, dude, like, quit worrying about the followers. Like, that doesn’t matter, right? Like, it’s just, you got to find your audience. That’s what, again  if your audience is 1000 people, it’s way better than 400,000 people that just want to see somebody’s butt. You know what I mean? Like, because those people don’t add, there’s no currency to that, you know, and I think the key thing you said there is you have to have a relationship with yourself. And I would tag this on the back end, pun intended, I guess, since we just talked about it, butt is to bet on yourself. If you don’t have that relationship, you can’t win and a big inspiration for me on this and I liked that you brought the Rocky piece for me. And , you know, his music. I wasn’t not the biggest convert of his music. But the moves I respect, I look at Jay Z, the guy owned his own masters, he had a point where he could go for more money. Now, the guy loves Hip Hop dedicated to his craft, no matter what any purists out there says like, the guy can rhyme he can put together song, you know, and definitely not like today’s hip hop. But he had a choice, like take more money or own your masters prince did the same thing. Prince owned his masters. And most train coaches don’t realize they don’t own the metaphorical equivalent of their own masters. Like they’re not in charge of their career at all. Like, if they lose this job, and they don’t have the requisite business sense, or they don’t have the requisite marketing sense, or they don’t have the requisite anything. And this was something that woke me up. I just, I had made some job moves. And I realized no matter where I went, I kind of felt like I was controlled. People could always choose where me and my family were going. And then I’ll never forget, when I started getting a little bit of a following. A pro sports organization said listen, we’re interested in you. But you’d have to end all this stuff. Because we want to coach we don’t want to personality. And it was like it was a bad thing that I had written a book. And I thought about that. And I’m like, if I was a neurosurgeon, and I wrote a book or a lawyer, and I wrote a book, I actually think I’d probably get a better deal. But in essence, see, you get punished for having a personality but and I said, You know what, I don’t care, I’m not going to quit all this stuff. Because this is a legacy things for me and my family. This is something we actually own. I wouldn’t own the title with X, Y, and Z sports team, they may fire me in three years if we don’t win a World Series or whatever. So it’s funny, I used to laugh at these people who quote unquote, sold out and do all this stuff. Now I almost kind of like chuckle and not in a way like making fun of but chuckle at the irony of people that don’t pay attention to any of that you don’t realize, like when you if anybody listens to anything I say here is when you scale, you’re not selling out, other people are buying in, right? Like you don’t sell out unless your ethics are gone with everything that what you do, but there is a difference between selling out and other people buying in if you’re providing value, and people buy into that and you’re helping them you’re doing your responsibility as a human Jen is any of that. You have way bigger. I’ll just say you have an empire I have a farm is like so you have great, you have way more perspective, what is off about that, feel free to tear it down?


Jen Widerstrom  44:15  

No, I mean, I have chills listening to you. I mean, you’re you’re literally one of my favorite speakers, because I think you’re really you are dialed on that. There is, you know, we worked so hard to build these lives, and we’re not really living any of them. And I am grateful for the upbringing from my parents who both worked full time jobs and were very present in our pillars of like, work hard, tell the truth. Keep your word. You know, be kind. This is the legacy of my family. And I really believe that it’s very easy to be influenced by what you see others doing or what feels good. I mean, guys, attention feels But I get it. I am the middle child and I’m Through and Through love that it’s not a great quality of mine. And I realized that my legacy wasn’t about me, it was about the, what I kind of have coined as, like ancestral mentorship. You know, my parents have agreed to


Brett Bartholomew  45:18  

You need to trademark that term. 


Jen Widerstrom  45:20  

Well I don’t know. It’s for everybody. Like, yeah, but like, like, I had my parents as they’re a part of my life. But like, I think about the my mother’s most influence or teacher was a ballet teacher, and my dad had, I believe it was his sixth grade teacher, there were huge influences. They’re in their lives, and they’ve greatly affect me, but like, my seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Rushy, I was, I remember being a student in the back a C student. And by the end, I was sitting in the front with an A, and he taught me how to do a really good handshake. You know, I had a diving coach, Steve Mazorela. Like that helped me with self acceptance and courage and confidence. And these men are not related to me yet. They are a part of the mentorship and my lineage that I will pass on to whoever I get to work with, whether they’re the coaches or just people that go back into the communities. It’s become so much less about me, which is what’s nurtured. And frankly, not just the fitness industry now. But like, anytime you’re on TV, you really get to decide where your life gets to go. I want to help people, but man, I want to life too. I literally did the math on what it cost me to pay my mortgage, feed my Bulldog, Hank, and like put my cell phone on and like my you know, and I literally accepted one deal this year. And I’m making less money this year than I ever have in like, probably a decade. And I feel great about it. And I’m taking trips with my mother trips with my dad, and yet I’m doing better work than ever, because what I’m nurturing is my life and the relationship with myself that I’m really fighting for. It’s got to be internal, and then the all the stuff on the outside will start to make sense. And you’ll zero in just like you were offered that job that I really like, it looks cool. It’s a great thing to tell your friends. Oh, yeah, I’m working for this protein. But instead you chose you, you chose your family. And you chose to go further into the universe that you’re creating. And Brett, you’re not on a farm. And I’m certainly not like, I am certainly not at an empire. But I am willing to show up every day and be a part of what I’m trying to build, knowing that it’s going to look different than I assumed it would. And I think I had to kind of let go of those expectations. And I really think the real clients out there are not the people that you see at a pinnacle place that are you know, that coach and the biggest, that the people that continue to show up every single day even Jay Z talked about he calls it sparklers is like those sparkling all those people that spike quick and go away. It’s the people like Jay Z like you like The Rock for goodness sakes, that has shown up year after year. That started with day after day that started with hour after hour showing up and that’s why it feels better for other people now because like they’ve been doing it but people forget to look back. I mean, I’ll even tell you a funny like embarrassing story. But it was like my first year Biggest Loser second year and biggest loser and it was a January and my finale was about to launch and I was on air. And I wasn’t on a January cover. And I was pissed. I was like, why would I Jen Widerstrom not be on a cover. I’m like Jillian’s on a cover. She’s not even on the show anymore. And I was like, Really, I was like having a hissy fit. I was like, you know, picking up booze for the for New Year’s Eve during the day. And I remember walking to my car, I left the Ralph’s and I asked Siri I go, how old was Jillian Michaels when she got on Biggest Loser. And it was like 10 year it was like I think she was 31 or 32. And I was like, Oh my God. I’m like, how funny Do you think you are? Jenny? That is great. I’m like you’ve been doing this show. For five seconds you haven’t had even a second season. And this woman gave 10 years of her life, not just to a show, but to culture. Regardless if you agree with Julian’s methods or not or her the way she goes about her coaching? She gave 10 years of her life to doing this. Yeah, she deserves a January cover, far ahead. 100% So when I started to play the game, I’m like how old was the rack in WWE? How old was Sandra Bullock and speed? I was like every buddy Sandra Bullock is Sandra Bullock now, but for no reason. She did speed and she was like 30 years old and she’d been working 10 years before that. There are no accidents. Look at The Rock. It’s so funny to look at his career and when he started and like how he started trying. It was not overnight. It takes time and the people that are on top of The people that stayed in the game, no matter, the highs and lows, they believed in themselves. And they bet on themselves, just like you said, so I’m yelling at you now. So I’m sorry


Brett Bartholomew  50:10  

I want that to be convicting for again, because I just see it every day. Now I see coaches who get really mad about somebody that got this job or got this pay raise and got this. And, you know, again, I was relatively young, when my book came out, I think it went on Amazon when I was 30. And then I had a bunch of coaches saying, Oh, who’s this guy? Why should a 30 year old be writing a book and that was when we everything you just said, that conviction hit me, I’m like, You think I just wrote this book. And then like, you know, people start getting into the debate of well, you should be at least this many years. And I go, Listen, like you can be however many years in the game you want. If you don’t open yourself to different in dense and diverse experiences like that, like you just being a certain age does not cultivate expertise, right? Like the amount of time you put into something, and then the reflection, subsequent reflection, inspection orientation, this kind of cyclical process of putting yourself through these different scenarios that builds expertise. And that’s where I think, again, when we look at coaching, development, and to me, a coach is a leader, it’s a teacher, it’s a CEO, it’s a manager, it’s a trainer, it’s a strength, coach, whatever. When you look at leadership development, people just don’t understand. And we see it, we know, there’s a reason most people don’t have enough in their account for retirement. It’s not because they’re not making enough money. It’s because consistency and compound interest, which feed exactly into what you talked about, right? Whether it’s The Rock, or Jillian or yourself or anybody. That’s all compound interest and consistency and highs and lows, you know, and the reason I use a lot of these just if you’re a new listener, my father was a stockbroker, I never thought we had anything in common. I was totally ignorant to almost everything that went into that field. And now I can’t help but laugh at everything in life. It really reflects the market highs, lows, consistency, do you invest? Do you take out what’s your attitude? You know? And so I think what you said is super convicting. And to the point, is there anything else you wanted to add to that? Because I know I probably cut you off.


Jen Widerstrom  52:03  

No, no, you’re great. It’s, just important because a lot of this took me in I had to negotiate with my own ego. You know, how far had I really come? And by the way, when I got Biggest Loser, I’ve been in the business 10 years already. It’s not like I haven’t done my time. There’s a process to this and the only way you will go forward, is really being humbled by, you know, confident, yes. You know, but be humbled at each and opportunity in every relationship and being in that space because like, you know, even with your book, you you wanted something that you had to say right, and you had the courage to say it. Anybody that says something negative, and I’m speaking as someone that has said some negative things, like I just said it, I was like, What the fuck, why not me, is because we’re upset with ourselves. We’re upset that we’re not in that case to me. I wasn’t as far as I thought I was. I thought I was like, I’m the one it’s like, no, you’re not the one. You’re still Jenny Widerstrom from from Lisle, Illinois. Right? You get to build over time once the time is. Right. But those tips aren’t there yet. And I don’t just get them. Right. I have to earn them like everybody else. And but once you like, the point is when people like had something to say about you saying something? Well, then what do you have to say? That’s the difference.


Brett Bartholomew  53:19  

And then there’s right then they don’t have anything to say? Because you’re like, oh, yeah, like, right, like I can’t. Oh, Jen, Miss Jen. Matt. Cool. What have you built? Oh, I gotta


Jen Widerstrom  53:29  

I gotta tell you, one of the greatest people I’ve come in contact with last few years was Cal Dietz. And he, for anybody that doesn’t know him, please look him up. He’s like a mad scientist. And he’s, you know, head strength coach, or one of the head strength coaches at University of Minnesota. But what I love about him and what he’s inspired me since I met him was just, he’s not afraid to be wrong. He has hypothesis, he thinks things are gonna go a certain way. So he tests every possible way to prove himself wrong. He’s like, I just want to make sure I’m on track here. And I’m okay, if I’m wrong. He’s wrong about something. He adjusts. He’s not, like, I’m an idiot, or ah, or if he sees that he’s wrong, that He just tries to cover his tracks. He’s like, Oh, I was wrong about that. Yeah, I’m going to shift this over here. You know what I mean? Like, I realize, hmm, it’s cool to be wrong. It’s cool to acknowledge when you’ve grown from something or you’ve gained more information, and you can apply that to what you saw was the reality and that’s actually changed now. It actually shows more strength and more honor than it does then trying to fight for former beliefs or former solutions, you know, so, it’s not the easiest path, but I’ll tell you, it’s by far the most rewarding and if you are willing to just have really an open palm two. And that’s the best analogy I can think is my hands open and open palm two. Oh, you know, seeing and learning and yes coaching but being a student as much you are as a coach, and I don’t know, just kind of fun way, it has to take reps, you have to kind of be willing to extend and try. But man, it’s been my life has changed in the last six months. Like I don’t even who I was a year ago.


Brett Bartholomew  55:18  

I was gonna say, in what way particular or are you talking about in reference to everything, we’ve been speaking about the growth that you found,


Jen Widerstrom  55:24  

I mean, from the relationships to my family, to the men, I thought I wanted to date to, where my career has gone, the moment I took responsibility for myself, and stop waiting for the world to point me in the right direction or take care of it. I mean, everything changed. Because, you know, when you the hardest realization is that you guys are all going to realize that if you’re stuck somewhere, it’s because of you. You are the reason, right. And so it’s difficult to accept that you are the problem. But the beauty in that is that you are the solution. You are 100% in control of manifesting a new direction. And not just by thinking about it by actually doing it like I let you know, the book is a secret. You think about it. Thoughts are things Yeah, maybe I don’t know, I fucking think you should do. I think that we are tactile we are you know, humans are, you know, we’ve seen it, believe it if we see it. And I think that that’s the difference. And the moment I started, like stopped awakened waiting on phone calls and other people’s validations or external validations and just realized, Hey, I got it. I’m good. And I took responsibility for all the things I was trying to hide from my own personality traits. Everything just change.


Brett Bartholomew  56:39  

Yeah, it’s okay to have your head in the clouds, but your hands have to be on the grindstone. You know, you have to have those things. So, talking about people who were influential and you mentioned Steve Mazurella. Did I mention that correctly? That is okay, so And within that, what, makes what do you think makes a great coach, we’ve talked about some things that I think probably tie into that if I heard you correctly, you know, just obviously, the self reflection and you being a critical, you know, a responsible self critic and all these things and having your hands in the grindstone as we just talked about. But when you think of Steve Mazurella, when you think of all these influential people that you mentioned earlier, when you think of the volleyball, everything, what make what are the dimensional categories to you? And take your time, because I’m totally putting you on the spot. But what are some categories of what do you think makes a great coach?


Jen Widerstrom  57:28  

You know, it’s funny, like, I actually start crying because it is an emotional experience that is created by great coaches, I think you’re lucky if you’re a coach, or a teacher that has a student or athlete, you know, there’s very self motivated. Those are one in a million and they’re great to have, like they, you know, you’re lucky. But I think so many coaches worry about, I’ve got to have the best programming, I’ve got to be the best cure. I’ve got to have all this information and all these tools and the best equipment, and I don’t disagree with that, but none of that shit matters. If you can’t get your person to show up. Like excited to be there feeling motivated and feeling fully supported. And the best coaches in my life are the ones that did that. People want to be seen and heard. I knew I was important to my diving coach, even though I was one of the worst divers. Even when I got to track I was a walk on rower that was garbage that was in the gym lifting and the throwing coach Doug Reynolds said, Wow, is this like a new recruit? Because I was like a better lifter than I wasn’t anything else. And the growing coaches. Oh, she’s no, she’s terrible. No. And Doug was like, I want to make her a hammer thrower. It was Doug’s belief in me. And it wasn’t like, Hey, I think you could do good. He was there. He showed up for me. He believed when I didn’t. And you know, I was a nobody walk in never recruited and earned a scholarship became a team captain almost one big 12 and went to Nationals. None of Doug’s knowledge of hammer throw or learning programming or even the equipment I had to Kayo would have made a difference if he didn’t allow me to start to believe in that possibility that I could do this. And I think when you look at interpersonally that is the hallmark of all of my successes. There are far better trainers out there than me that know far better stuff. But why am I undefeated? Why do I tend to be the best in my circles is because I get my the people I’m working with to believe in themselves too. They start to take over they start to take the reins. My coaching is not about me. It is about them. And when you equip your people when you teach them to fish, I’ve done my job because they will carry on they will start to have the drive they will start to be the ones that come early and stay late. Not because I told them to and not out of fear Are because they want to be there because they believe in that happy ending, because you have been indomitable in the way you’ve presented it to them. That’s the thing. We are such fragile, sensitive human beings, and people need that interpersonal support. And I think that the mark of a great coach to really tackle to get around that is you have to know that in a room, people, everybody learns differently. I will have people that do better and learn more when I work out with them. I have people that do better when I’m coaching above them, when I write out a program that they do it themselves and they tell it back to me, you have to really know your people that you’re coaching, and they’re in the way that they need. Because I mean, it’s like, you know, there’s that book, The Five Love Languages I brought you should make like the coaching languages, like knowing what your athletes need. People need different stuff. And I’ve had coaches tried to bulldoze me the way they bulldoze other athletes. I was like, that’s fine. I’ll, quit. I don’t give a shit. And I win, and I’m like, it doesn’t work for me


Brett Bartholomew  1:01:02  

Yeah, there was no attunement. They weren’t I like it to you know, if people remember anybody even uses FM am radios, right? Like you got to tune into the right frequency, a radio station in one city turns to static and another. And I haven’t find that trying to get people. So we tried doing something like that, because the book obviously talks about archetypes. And then I have an online course called Bought in that then kind of has these influence tactics. And that’s just the word given to him by the literature. But it kind of speaks to these categorical methods of communication. And so that, but I find the irony is lost upon me when people reach out and they’re like, Hey, what are different ways I can do this? And that and I’m like, Oh, well, like, Have you taken the course. And they’re like, what course and I’m like, Oh, I can’t even communicate with people well enough to let them know about the course it’s about communication. And that’s the funny thing. Like you go back and I this is why I relate to you so much. It’s it’s just as you’re never this finished product. And I remember one time, you know, when I just found out about you and I’d become intrigued about who you were what you stood for. I found this article and it was in Shape magazine, I found it online. And I love this, it was kind of like most of us tackle life by fighting for the things that we want. I think that what separates us so much and kind of encompasses this whole conversation so far, is you don’t tackle life by fighting, like for things that you want. But more so who you are at the deepest core of everything that means to you like finding out who Jen is what she stands for, what that looks like how that’s done, how it can be broken down, built up, which makes sense, because we’re in a field that’s all about adaptation, it would only make sense that somebody is skilled as you is focused on constantly adapting. But that’s really, really hard. And I don’t think people can go through that until they’ve gone through some real shit. And that’s what makes your story really fascinating to me, too.


Jen Widerstrom  1:02:50  

Thank you, you know, but I think that I continue, I’m still on the journey. Like I realized, I’m adaptable. I’m doing all these things. And thank you for saying that and acknowledging it. But then I’m realizing that adaptation process, I’m going to have to keep doing because I, continued to change. And so now I’m like 37 in a few months. And I’m like, I need to normalize that this discomfort will keep coming. But the good news is that because I’ve taken the reps, I know I can do it. You know, when you start to go through that exercise, you’re like, Oh, I remember this, it’s gonna be a little uncomfortable. I know what I need now, because I know who I am. And that’s the biggest thing, especially as coaches, we tend to do so much for others or identify, I know what this person needs. I know what my kid needs. I know what my wife needs. But look at what you need. And you are going to always be your greatest resource. Always, always, always. But we just tend to avoid our own stuff. Because, frankly, it’s not easy to look at it, you know? Yeah. I think we feel the pressure of doing being imperfect as well. And that’s a whole another thing.


Brett Bartholomew  1:03:53  

Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s tricky, because there’s a quote that I agree with, and I also vehemently disagree with. And it depends on the context, but it’s like, you know, perfect, done sometimes is the new perfect now sometimes that is absolute shit, right? Like I had somebody, some co workers and I were talking about in the past, this was a mantra that we had heard one time in an organization we’re like, Yeah, but not really. But when it comes to your own kind of self reflection expert like and being able to put yourself out there, there’s a degree of that you just have to be okay with and it’s no different than when I go watch an athlete perform reps, let’s say I got 12 year old Susie, Sally, Tommy, Jimmy Edgar and, whatever. And I’m teaching them how to do a simple bodyweight squat or a goblet squat. If I go into that situation inherently not thinking there’s going to be some shit reps during the learning process. I obviously don’t know anything as a coach, right? Like, you’ve got to kind of flush these reps out of the motor system for people to learn. It is no different than in terms of your own professional and personal career and management, advancement progression, whatever term you want to use, does that make sense?


Jen Widerstrom  1:04:53  

I mean, completely. I think it’s actually fascinating that you went there with that because it’s exactly what I think I’m like, how interesting that we allow ourselves, reps and that flush out period in a physical space, but not an emotional one. Right? Like, Ilet’s say, I’m going for a jog, and I roll my ankle. And I’m like, man, what happened there? I look back. I’m curious, I think what could have caused this? I maybe I start to walk it out a little bit. I kind of feel it out. I’m being gentle with myself. At home, I text you I go, Oh, my God, Brett, I have such a klutz. I like rolled my ankle trying to run and I don’t that’s crazy. So I’m talking about it. Maybe even committed already, like, Oh, I did that a month ago, I hear you, hey, I suggest these three things. So maybe you offer help man even call a doctor called acupunctures, get some more support. Right? When it comes to our physical bodies. We’re curious, we’re gentle, we are solution oriented, we ask for help. But when it’s something that we’re interpersonally learning, it’s like, we just clam up, we don’t talk about it. I’m gonna let you know. And I’m struggling with, I want to have that together. And I just I’m so curious about that. I want to think twice about asking for help and a gym, and how to, like, cause you watch my training and jerk songs off. Right. But I would like be have a very difficult time asking for help. And in my own learning process of self. And so it just it’s an interesting thing. And I think that’s part of what I’m trying to identify in my own in the next book that I’m writing is like, what is that thing? What is that thing that holds us back? That gets us stuck that we don’t want to talk about? And it’s really not people’s perception of us? It’s the way we perceive it ourselves. And there’s something to that there really is.


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:45  

Yeah, I agree perceptions and individual experience, right? Not everybody likes the same pizza joint you’re coming from Chicago or Illinois. You know that right? Like you visit Chicago, you get an argument about deep dish. No, this is Jen, this is gold. And I really appreciate you coming on and I probably share we could go for another 20 minutes, which means there’s going to be a part two. Before I let you go, is there anything that you whether it’s any resources that people want to check out? And of course, guys, we always have this in the show notes. But right now direct if somebody is in front of their phone and their computer and obviously they’re listening to something where can they go to learn more about everything you’re doing?


Jen Widerstrom  1:07:22  

Yeah, guys. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s just my name. Jen Widerstrom all socials Is my site. But just  know that like, I agreed to this podcast, not just because I really look up to Brett but because I really care about being a resource and a peer with everybody listening. It’s really important that we continue to you know, do things together rising tides lifts, raise all ships, right? And so just know that it we’re Brett and I are here for everybody. And it’s real. And if you need me, there’s ways to reach me emails probably best which is on my website. I never do DMS because you know there’s dick pics there. So we don’t we don’t. But But I would love to connect and meet anybody that I can possibly help elevate or even learn from


Brett Bartholomew  1:08:12  

Jen full of class, grace and practical application. Thank you so much again for coming on.


Jen Widerstrom  1:08:18  

Thank you, buddy. I appreciate it.

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