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Name: Jarenn Stewart
Job Title: Personal Trainer/Group Exercise Instructor
Asphalt Green Department: Fitness
Asphalt Green Campus: Battery Park City
Q: How long have you been working at Asphalt Green?
A: Since the Battery Park City campus opened in June 2013
Q: What do you do at Asphalt Green?
A: I'm a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. In addition to providing private training for individual clients and small groups, I provide fitness evaluations and monitor the fitness center. I make myself present for any members with fitness-related questions. I also participate in community outreach programs.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of working at Asphalt Green?
A: I love that we do so much. Whether it be fitness, aquatics, sports or circus arts, there's something for everyone from 2 years old to 80 years old. I can shoot some hoops on my lunch break or just head to the pool and swim.
Q: What is one of your fondest memories of working at Asphalt Green so far?
A: I love the events when the different departments come together. I had so much fun during the Battery Park City street fair, hanging and working with people from other departments. Our Thanksgiving potlucks are always amazing too.
Q: How did you get into the fitness industry?
A: I was obese as a child and constantly made fun of, but I was always active in different sports. In fifth grade, I was diagnosed with appendicitis and lost about 30 pounds. When I got the OK to play sports after the surgery, I fell in love with sports even more.
I played on travel baseball, basketball and bowling teams throughout elementary and high school. I was recruited to the track team in my sophomore year of high school and ended up being ranked No. 1 in New York State in long jump and No. 2 in the 100-meter dash by my senior year. With those accolades, I attended the University of Maryland on a full scholarship for track and field. Knowing that I wanted to stay in the sports industry, I majored in kinesiology and fell in love with the field.
After graduating, the original plan was to attend physical therapy school. After getting into a couple of schools, I decided I wanted to be more hands on in the performance aspect of sport versus the rehabilitation aspect. Therefore, I decided to study exercise physiology with a strength and conditioning concentration in graduate school at Long Island University. With a more lenient schedule, I was able to continue competing in graduate school and perform research in the field under my mentors.
Q: What is your favorite exercise?
A: Power cleans and anything involving a medicine slam ball.
Q: What is your advice for new gym-goers?
A: I have three tips:
- Find a reason to work out. Starting is hardest part, and it only gets easier from there. It can be anything from having more energy to play with your kids to losing weight for an upcoming event such as a wedding. Once you start to see progress, you won't want to stop.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. Over the years, I've seen so many people get hurt because they simply don't know proper technique.
- Find something fun for you. Exercise doesn't need to be hours on a treadmill. My goal for all of my clients is to not only find that modality that works, but to find a way to make it fun. You're much more likely to stick with something that you enjoy doing.
Q: Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
A: I have two:
- I was born with six fingers on my left hand (extra finger hanging off of my pinky).
- I HATE vegetables. In the ideal world, I'd have grilled chicken with a Haagen Dazs milkshake at every meal. But, for performance and health purposes, I get veggies into my diet and lay off the shakes.