Beauty Philosophies: Jillian from Train With Jillian

I'm excited to introduce a new series today!  The Beauty Philosophies series merges my love for beauty, food, and wellness. I want to get practical and demystify how some of my favorite women think about beauty and health -- and how it all meshes together into one whole, raw, beautiful life.

I'm so excited to be chattin' it up with Jillian (an Aquarius, cat mother, and pizza connoisseur) today! We are both from Kentucky, went to the same performing arts program growing up, as well as the same college in Nashville, TN -- and now she is my personal trainer! I've followed her journey for a while now and am just astounded by her resilience and ability to uplift and inspire in the face of some big challenges. Her story is incredible!

Jillian is a bomb personal trainer and professional musical theatre actress in NYC. She is a certified through NASM and also specializes in Flexibility and Core Training. I also love how she incorporates mindfulness into her training, which is probably 90% of the battle for me. So without further ado, here's my <3 Jillian:

Jillian! Introduce yourself and give us some deets on what you’re up to these days :)

Hey dear Laura and Laura Lovers! I have been running my Online Training business, Train with Jillian (@trainwithjillian), for the last two and a half years and am loving it. It brings me so much joy to connect with clients and help enhance their lives, fitness and otherwise. I am currently working on opening up Train with Jillian to small groups and workshops so that more than just private clients can benefit from the fitness and mindfulness training that I do.

You’re the most fit. How do you stay in such good shape?

Thank you so much! I adore the buzzing, energetic feeling I have when I’m working out regularly and listening to my body when I eat. I believe strongly that our health has a TON to do with mindfulness and listening to ourselves, which for me includes treats and alcohol when I want them. On a great week, I work out four times and on a regular week, I fit three weight training sessions in amidst my already active job of training. I am not into cardio but I am a huge fan of incorporating plyometric and high intensity intervals into my weight training sessions. I eat when I’m hungry, which is typically three substantial meals a day with a snack in between each. I meal prep so that I have healthy foods on hand for those meals but, as previously stated, I absolutely allow myself a dessert if it’s in front of me or a big brunch if that’s the occasion. We’re creating a lifestyle here, not trying to deprive ourselves until we go insane. I cannot stress the importance of listening to our bodies (Questions like “When am I full?” “Do I really want this or can I substitute?”) enough.

Tell me about your beauty routine (skincare, makeup, etc)?

Oo, I love this one! I am so into skincare and makeup. Simplicity is key. Cancer is on the rise and even though makeup and lotions aren’t declared carcinogens yet (it takes a ton of money and time to certify something as a carcinogen) I do think we’re going to find that a lot of the toxins we’re being sold to put on our skin can cause health issues.  I don’t mean to get dark so quickly but what we put in and on our bodies is so important. I buy from It Cosmetics, which notably uses natural, chemical-free ingredients. My favorite product from them is my FIFTY (yes, 50!) SPF CC cream that I use as a foundation. At night, I use coconut oil on my face and neck. I also shave my face with a small facial razor for exfoliation (the expensive term you may have heard is “dermaplaning”). I shave once a week, using Witch Hazel before and after, and coconut oil after the shave and the final Witch Hazel rub-down. Coconut Oil and Shaving my face has been so beneficial for my oily, pimple-prone skin.

Who are your role models in the health and fitness world?

Tosca Reno, creator of the Eat Clean revolution and several books about eating clean comes to mind. Tosca is a fitness enthusiast in her sixties who didn’t get into health until she was 40 after a terrible divorce. Her story of resilience is just amazing and inspires me so much.

Okay, let’s go a little deeper, because I know you believe in “outer strength AND inner beauty”--

What advice do you have for people who want to start their own business and make a living off of their passion?

Start now. Make a to-do list of three things you can do TODAY to start and give yourself zero excuses. The way that I started this business was clumsy and riddled with mistakes but I committed myself to trying it with some willing Facebook friends and fell into it. The greatest successes of my life have been the ones I’ve had no real qualifications for, but that I’ve just said, “Let’s try this.” Don’t wait. Start today.

How do you stay spiritually focused and balanced living in a place like NYC, as an artist and entrepreneur?

Meditating when I can, practicing compassion, and conserving my energy. We have to keep a playful sense of adventure when doing these three things. I ask myself with no commitment, “What’s the most chaotic place I can still come to a place of meditation in?” The answers have been subways, bars, and coffee shops. I curiously wonder, “How much can I practice compassion today?” The answer varies from, “Not a lot, people are assholes” to “Quite a lot! You have a lot of love to give!” I play with how much energy I have to give versus conserve and that’s always dependent on the day. So with those three concepts, I let myself off the hook while still playing and seeing with my inner child where my limits are. I never judge myself if I have less or more of myself to expend on a given day. Just play with those three ideas and see where your spiritual journey takes you.

You have such a beautiful and uplifting spirit.. If you could give one piece of advice for people trying to pull themselves out of a negative or traumatic season into a more forward-moving and positive existence, what would it be?

I’m between two polar opposite pieces of advice: Honor yourself and focus outward. I feel very emotional thinking about this. We can’t understand trauma until we’ve been through it. Therefore, if you feel like what you’re going through isn’t the socially correct way of doing it, honor yourself. Do not let people tell you when you’re ready for the next step. You move as fast or as slow through your process as you want. With that piece of advice at the base of your heart, next focus outwards. I know it seems like the last thing you want to do but nothing will bring you more joy than bringing joy to others. Even if you feel like you have nothing to give, you can give your time, your smile, your story. You can bring joy to others and I promise that that will help you work through your process. This doesn’t mean being fake or putting on a mask but it does mean sharing yourself with others and watching that purpose create healing in yourself.

Is there an unhealthy food or unproductive habit you find difficult to resist, and if so how do you work to resist it?

Ugh, checking my social media. In order to not do it so obsessively, I ask myself, “Where do you want to be when you’re 80 years old and is this helping you get there?” Scrolling through social media and comparing my looks and life to others is certainly not going to get me there so it usually helps me put down my phone sooner or not look up people that I know are going to be triggers to send me into low-self-esteem-land.

What does it mean to you to live in the moment and how do you do that day to day?

A thought that is comforting, terrifying, and truthful all at the same time is that all we have is the present moment. When I am worrying about my career when I’m with a dear friend, I ask myself, “Can I change that in this moment?” No. Now is the time to be present with who I’m with. I grieve for losses and ask myself, “Can I change that in this moment?” No. Now is the time to keep living my life fully to honor the people and things I’ve lost. So I think that question has helped me a lot to appreciate who I’m with or what I’m doing in the moment. Life is heart-breaking in the sense that we can’t keep moments but the truth that all we have is this moment makes life all the more beautiful.  

What does happiness look like for you?

Happiness for me is being able to be fully present in the moment (see above) and to enjoy and be grateful for this beautiful life. Happiness towards old age, if I’m lucky enough to make it there, would mean to look back on my life and know that I was fully present, enjoying, and grateful for every great memory that I had had.

And last, but not least, what is your beauty philosophy?

We are all broken and that is what makes us beautiful.

Where can people find you on social and the internet?

@trainwithjillian on Instagram, trainwithjillian on Youtube, and! Thank you so much for these wonderful questions, Laura, and thank YOU for reading, readers! I hope to continue to help in any way that I can on your health journey.