Today on Behind the Chair, I'm so happy to have Jenny Thomson here sharing about her amazing fitness and wellness company, Small but Mighty. I met Jenny back in 2014 when I decided to try an NTC (Nike Training Class) class that was offered here in Toronto. She was also training for the Nike Women's 15k that was happening the following summer. It was great to get advice from her, when I was learning to adding strength training days to my fitness routine. Jenny is SO strong, and such an amazing teacher/trainer, and I'm so happy to have her on Behind the Chair today!
Tell us about yourself:
My 'full' name is Jennifer, but I usually only get called that when I'm in trouble. I love to sprint, jump, and lift heavy things, and I always dance like no one is watching lol. My absolute favourite movie of all time is Dirty Dancing, but I also love to watch superhero movies, with any of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight series being my favourite! I love hazelnut gelato, and consider myself a nacho and butter tart connoisseur. My husband is a giant (6 foot 7) and I think my dog Kimora is the cutest in the whole world. She's a pug boston terrier cross but acts like she's the biggest dog in the park. I love to see my clients build strength and skills, and I love to help people reach their health and fitness potential. I'm currently completing my last year at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College as a Chiropractic Intern while also running my own Training and wellness business 'Small But Mighty Fitness.'
What is the inspiration behind Small But Mighty?
I started working with barbells when I tried CrossFit for the first time back in 2010; it was unbelievably empowering. As I continued to build a more intense and regimented training program, I met a number of super inspiring, strong AF women who were not afraid of defying social norms of 'female' fitness and I finally felt like I had found my 'home' in the world of gyms and training. Small But Mighty was founded in hopes of inspiring other women on their fitness journey, to empower them through knowledge and evidence-based training to set their own health and fitness goals, unrestricted by social norms of 'female' training or random 'fitness' trends. Our mission statement was formulated to embody all of these goals:
"To empower through movement, strengthen through knowledge and inspire through community "
Who are some influential people in your life that led you to be a personal trainer/athlete?!
The first and most influential figure in my fitness/trainer journey was my mum. When my brother and I were little, she not only signed us up for EVERY sport/activity, she walked the walked. She would take us on bike rides, play sports with us, and come to every hockey game, karate class and tournament.
Another person who was very influential in my development as a trainer and coach was Dhani Oks, one of the original founders of Academy of Lions CrossFit Gym and Athletic Club. Dhani is unbelievably gifted at building community, inspiring mindful training, and distilling important concepts into simple, easy to implement tips. As a young coach, he encouraged me to be myself, develop my own style of teaching/coaching and to be confident in leading my classes in an assertive manner and in demonstrating my level of knowledge. He also introduced me to social media, and taught me how to clap really loud :)
You've trained and have run a few races in the past, what advice would you give to someone who will run their first race this year?
The two biggest pieces of advice I have for someone training for their first race are to work on their technique first, and to avoid overtraining. When I trained for my first 15 km race, I had one of my close friends Freyja Spence, who also happens to be an amazing trainer and running coach assess my technique and design my program. Though I was already running upwards of 8 km at that time, Freyja took me back to basics and programmed 'minute-on-minute-off' technique work for the first several weeks of my program. My program included three runs per week, with a different focus each day. Freya's program was the reason I was able to continue weight lifting throughout my race training, to maintain my muscle mass and to avoid injury.
When it comes to running, injuries often happen due to repetition, especially when a suboptimal technique pattern is repeated for hundreds of kilometers per week. In my own experience training athletes who are getting ready for their first race, I've found many of them feel like they need to run EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is simply not true. The best thing you can do is invest in a coach that gets to know you personally, works on your specific technique geared towards your own biomechanics, and plans your weekly training schedule based on the distance of your race, the layout of the the course and your goals.
What is your favortie quote that you keep in mind when you have those days when you don't feel like training for yourself?
"The only workout you'll regret is the one you didn't do"
I always ask this question, What is your favorite way to wear your hair? ;)
Because I'm not great at doing my own hair, my basic answer for this one is 'anything that gets my hair out of my face'. I'm a frequent top-knotter, the higher the better so my ponytail doesn't get stuck under the barbell when I'm back squatting. When I happen to have the luxury of someone awesome like Aylin or my friend Katie around, I like cornrows for Muay Thai Kick Boxing (because they make me feel like a badass) and dutch braids for weightlifting and functional training.
Like I've mentioned before Jenny is amazing, and a realllllly great trainer, soon to be chiropractor! If you'd like to get in touch with her or learn more about her fitness programs, classes--such as Build and Burn, 5wk Pull-up series, and women's only barbell class! Head over to her site here. Get in contact with her here. And follow her on social media here and here.
Also don't forget to sign up for her newsletter to stay in touch, and updated with all things Small but Mighty!
Don't be afraid to try something new!
Have a great hair day! xo