Teacher Spotlight : Jenna Stevens

 

Jenna Stevens is a force to be reckoned with: she runs, she does yoga, she CrossFits, she tumbles, she dives… and did we mention she’s the founder of Project Drop alongside her fiancé Ryan?

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The passion for fitness and sports runs deep. Starting at a very young age she was a competitive gymnast before discovering a love for diving and cheerleading, the latter of which she continued through college at the University of Arizona for the Division 1 Wildcats.

Sweating aside, read on to find out the food she actually really likes and the television character she most closely relates to. Jenna isn’t above an embarrassing moment either – and hers happened in public!

Tell us about your background in fitness. Were you always an athlete?

I have been involved with some form of athletics since I was four years old. I grew up as a gymnast until age thirteen. I was practicing three to four hours a day and the gym I attended wanted me to start homeschooling so I could train for the Olympics, but I was just a kid and wanted to have a life. So I quit and naturally transitioned into diving when I started high school (you just land on your hands instead of your feet, right!?).

Did you play a sport in college?

During my sophomore year of high school, one of my friends begged me to try out for the cheerleading team since they needed someone who could “tumble.” I ended up making the JV squad and then went on to cheer for all four years I spent at the University of Arizona. I was the captain of the cheerleading squad my senior year of college.

After graduation, I was looking for something similar to the sports I was a part of my whole life – something that had camaraderie, competition, and community. I found my way into CrossFit, running, yoga, pilates, spin classes, and barre classes. I was an avid CrossFitter for a few years, have run six half marathons, and became a certified yoga instructor last year. I have always found fitness to be an important outlet for me and I love how I feel when I am in a good routine of being active.

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Who inspires you?

My mom has always taught me that if I am stressed or worried, a good workout will clear my head so I can focus on what really matters. My Aunt Jane is also a huge inspiration to me. She has instilled a confidence in me that reminds me I have the power to do whatever it is I want to do.

How did you get into teaching?

My fiancé Ryan and I had our first date running the Lyon Street stairs. Eventually we started dragging our friends with us and we had everyone doing bodyweight movements in between stairs (burpees at the top, obviously).

We decided to start our own boot camp and see where we could take it. We both believe in helping others and share a passion for fitness and movement.

How did you come up with the idea for Project Drop?

We both were doing CrossFit for three or so years and we loved the community aspect as well as the killer workouts we got from it. But to continue increasing our weights on the Olympic weightlifting exercises that are a big part of CrossFit, you really need to know what you’re doing and have excellent form so you don’t injure yourself. So Project Drop is more or less a bodyweight version of CrossFit.

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You and your fiancé run Project Drop. What’s it like running a business together?

It’s actually funny how different our styles are.

Ryan is the big picture guy; he has tons of ideas of where he wants to take Project Drop. I am more detailed and executional, constantly asking, “How exactly are we going to do that?” but somehow our styles mesh really well.

It’s all about balance. At times it can be difficult to agree on business decisions, but at the end of the day we are both proud of what we have started and believe in the message we are promoting – that’s our guiding force.

What do you love most about teaching?

I love hearing people say they are excited to come to Project Drop. It makes me happy to know we have built something people enjoy and look forward to. Our athletes know they can expect a great workout as well as get some fresh air while enjoying the beautiful city we live in. Taking time to appreciate that is so important. We’ve met a lot of great people and made new friends through Project Drop, too, which is something I am very grateful for.

What’s your favorite part about Project Drop?

Core work! Everyone who knows me knows I love me some flutter kicks.

What is your MoveWith word?

I move with a smile because working out should make you feel happy.

You’re also a yoga instructor (hashtag #GOALS). What was your path into that?

I actually did not like yoga when I first started taking classes. I was doing CrossFit at the time and I thought yoga was not a hard enough workout. Eventually I realized that all it took was the right type of yoga and the right teacher who I could connect with and suddenly I started to find the power of my yoga practice. The feeling I have after a good yoga class is euphoric and empowering. I realized it was unlike any other sport or practice I had been a part of, and I could transfer that practice to life off my yoga mat.

The connection between my mind and body was something I hadn’t put together before. Taking an hour out of my day to check out from the racing, ‘go go go’, ‘get there as fast as possible’ mindset to gratitude, being in the moment, and self love was so important for me. I decided on a whim to sign up for a yoga teacher training program at Yoga Flow SF and it was an incredible experience I am very proud of. I am not currently teaching regularly, but I still keep my yoga practice going and am leaving it up to the universe to see where I take it next.

With all that moving, it’s also got to  be about the fuel. What’s the food you can’t live without?

I really love kale.

So on brand. C’mon, what’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I do have a big sweet tooth! I love pretty much any dessert; one of my favorites being Loving Cup frozen yogurt. Chile Pie shakes are also insane. Yeah, yeah, sugar is the devil, but it’s okay every once in awhile.

While we’re at it, how do you unwind?

Yoga, meditation, or doing something kind for someone else. I’m an ambassador for the Movemeant Foundation and Ben’s Bells, and just thinking about the mission of each of those organizations puts everything in perspective for me.

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What’s the most random Netflix marathon you’ve ever had?

Probably Portlandia. The humor in that show kills me.

Tell me about the best place you’ve ever traveled to.

Turkey was incredible. It was so different from anywhere I have been before, and I highly recommend doing a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Florence, Italy is a close second. The importance of family and food in their culture really resonates with me.

What would movers be surprised to know about you?

I pole vaulted for a season in high school.

If you could workout with anyone who would it be?

Camille Leblanc. She’s strong, powerful, and her muscle ups are insane.

What TV character have you always associated with?

I’ve always loved Rachel from Friends, but I aspire to be like Claire Underwood. I love strong female lead characters who don’t settle for anything or anyone.

So tell us – what’s your most embarrassing moment?

I was at a yoga studio a few months ago and I had just put down my mat before the start of class. The guy next to me leaned over in what I thought was an effort to introduce himself, since the instructor had asked us to meet someone new. He then proceeded to tell me I had a pair of underwear clung to the leg of my yoga pants that must have been there since I pulled them out of the dryer. What a great way to start the day!  

Follow Jenna for a killer workout with a smile (and get your core ready!). Project Drop bodyweight workouts will get your heart pumping every Wednesday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 9:00am.

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