I am on the second day of helping entrepreneurs spread their influence around, and today, I am featuring Jessica Li, The Supercharged Fitness Chef and personal trainer. She has the opportunity now to tell her story and you will see how she can be a great influence for you.
In Jessica’s words –
During my school years, I was never a jock or an athlete or anything remotely close. I was THAT kid who was never chosen or who was chosen last to join the school sports teams. But in grade seven and eight, I was assigned the strictest P.E. teacher ever (or so it seemed back then). The lady was old, never smiled, constantly yelled at us and made us walk the perimeter of the school yard for the entire gym period if we didn’t have the proper attire. (I just learned she was recently fired after too many parents complained about how strict she was with students. Just sayin.’).
But one thing she said stood out and has since stuck with me: “The worst thing I see is kids your age being active now but stopping after high school. You bump into them on the street and they’re 20 pounds heavier and not exercising at all”. So as much as I despised her in junior high when I was about 13 years-old, I kept those words as motivation to not be the former student she’d otherwise expect.
The first time I stepped back into a gym was in 2001, when I was 19 years old. I had such terrifying memories of childhood Phys Ed classes that I was sick to my stomach with nervousness and low self-confidence. ME in a gym?! I’d be the last person you would expect in such a place. How do you even work the machines without looking stupid? But I was pregnant with my first child and I wanted to ensure the best pregnancy and smoothest childbirth possible. I had read several times over about how exercise would help me greatly in returning to pre-baby shape.
Well, I haven’t stopped exercising since – minus a few months of recovering from my pregnancies. I keep active by weight-training, rock-climbing, scuba diving, pole dancing and practicing karate katas with my kids! Health and fitness has since become a huge passion of mine.
I never had issues with weight (except in grade 10 when I became friends with a girl who brought me chocolate bars and tins of candy to school almost daily), and I bounced back into shape quickly after my deliveries. But I made sure I listened to my body, ate healthy food and researched on both old and new fitness tips. I’d grab all the latest editions of free magazines like Tonic, Vitality and Alive at the local health food stores. My collection literally grew into huge, disorganized piles at home, but I wanted to be able to reference the useful info at a later date.
Throughout my training, I was constantly advised to get lean protein from chicken breasts, tuna, egg whites, shrimp and whey protein shakes. Until a friend, who was a professional dancer, told me that he had been a vegetarian his entire career. I saw the photos of him from years back; he had a body to envy. So I gave it a try. I never thought I could stop eating chicken, since I was consuming up to four whole breasts a day. But I did. And then I cut out seafood a few months later. Next came dairy. And then wheat. And then canola oil. Then I discovered raw vegan foods as part of a regular diet. Whole, unprocessed foods never heated past 118 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve the oxygen and nutrient rich enzymes naturally found in the food. In exactly two years, I went from 145 pounds down to 125 pounds.
I quickly found myself training under one of NYC’s top raw chefs, and loved it so much that I wanted to share my new joy with others. I opened Chica Momma Health and Juice Bar in the Toronto, Canada area, providing raw meals and classes. But I soon found that many of my customers were also interested in other things healthy.
People ask how I manage to raise three kids and still have time to work out. I tell them I have to take care of me first, because I have to be strong in order to take care of others. No mater how full of appointments and errands my day is, I have to get my workout in. It’s my ME time and a chance to clear my mind. I believe a healthy mind is equally as important as a healthy body. I also have to seek out the best quality food for maximum benefit.
To augment my new beginnings, I became a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. My blazing passion for health, fitness and guiding others along has been one of the most rewarding things ever in my life. I’m proud to say this journey has transformed me immensely and has kept me in a world of good health!
I will share an intimate story with you. I was in an abusive marriage for almost 10 years before my husband tried to kill me. I suffered through verbal and emotional abuse for the entire relationship, with the fifth incident in May 2010 being the worst (and last). During a night shift at work as a personal support worker, I rushed home to a fabricated emergency that one of our daughters was bleeding. After I frantically rushed through the front door upon arriving home, my husband quickly stopped me and said that all the children were fine, and then demanded I have a seat. I glanced over and saw an empty 40oz liquor bottle on the table. I knew things were terribly misaligned because he drank maybe four times a year, tops, and in social settings only. He was upset about the time I spent away from home and was extremely jealous (and had been since the start of our relationship in 1999.)
He convinced me to talk things over with him and get anything off our chests. I believed him. I let my guard down and in 2 seconds was met with a hit to the face which broke my glasses in two. Next thing I knew, I was on the sofa on my back with him on top, choking me repeatedly, telling me, “I’ll kill you. I kill people like you.” I was choked unconscious twice. When I came to, he broke a chair over me and kept blocking the front door so I couldn’t escape. As I wondered in fear what was going to happen next, he came around the corner and ever so calmly raised a large stainless steel kitchen knife about 9-inches long, and slowly walked towards me with it. All I could do was apologize and assure him things would “be okay” and say, “Let’s talk.” I was essentially begging for my life.
The feeling of knowing that knife is meant for you is one of the most frightening things ever. As we met, chest to chest, I quickly wondered what it would feel like to be stabbed, and I shut my eyes really tight to brace for the first stab. I felt the knife go in and out of my scalp. The next moments after were a slight blur, but things were ended as quickly as they started. He later told me that he stopped attacking me because the rosary that he was wearing broke, and that is what snapped him out of his rage. I don’t consider myself a spiritual person but I can confidently say that moment was Divine intervention. I keep that broken piece with me to this day.
I share this story because it was the start of my new journey that I am now on. One of my last thoughts during what I thought were my last breaths was, “This isn’t fair. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do.” That moment was the catalyst in propelling me to where I am today. I really understood the sayings, “Life is short,” and, “Take nothing for granted.” Thanks to a good friend, I had a place to stay while I picked up the pieces and started to begin a new life for myself and my children.
I sat down and drew out a vision board and wrote everything I wanted to do and see in this lifetime. Then I made a plan and executed it. I aimed high. I searched out the top coaches and teachers around the world to help me. I set high standards for myself to play big and dream big and live big. And I’m still growing. I am in the middle of some of those plans while mapping out more every week, growing and amending around them as life happens. I don’t take things too seriously. I’ve allowed myself to let go of so much resentment over what happened to me and this has allowed me to see more good in people and to become more transparent in my everyday life. I feel comforted in a much more positive space right now. I’m at the point where I feel compelled to share my experience and knowledge with others.
As a kid I had minimal exposure to entrepreneurship. Out of dozens and dozens of relatives, I know of an aunt and uncle who had a candy shop, which they later sold. That was it. Everyone else was working for someone else, doing the 9-5 thing. Business is new to me but I made the decision to get into it and learn the ropes. So here I am. I’m growing from here on in.
I have gone through deep personal struggles that have allowed me to gain such insight on not only how people can lead healthier lives, but how to dig deeper into someone’s life so that they can really optimize their results. I offer the both of best worlds being a raw chef and personal trainer. I also use my own struggles to help strengthen my clients so that they don’t make the same mistakes I did. I love seeing a client’s “aha” moment go off for them because once they get to that point a whole new mind set comes into play and they have even more motivation and drive to maintain their newfound health. And they spread the word of health to others around them, whether verbally or by simply being walking proof. I am dedicated to spreading knowledge of health to others. I love when clients achieve their goals or learn something new and share it with the people around them because it inspires even more people to look at their own health and figure out how they too can improve.
I think back to the domestic attack and that I now have three children on my own to look after. My children give me reason to push forward everyday. If I feel like crying, they are my reminder for me to mop up my tears and keep going. I count my blessings and am grateful for them all. They humble me. I am in a good position and have no right to complain. People from all walks of life motivate me, whether it be a fellow fitness professional that keeps me on my toes, a person who doubts me, or my inspiring clients–that keeps me focused on the finish line even more!
Featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Jessica Li, The Supercharged Fitness Chef, is both a raw food chef and a certified personal trainer based in Toronto. Working in health care over the last 12 years has given Jessica a unique perspective on the effects of processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle on the aging body. She is the founder of Women with Integrity, a company that offers holistic lifestyle consulting to busy women entrepreneurs, with a focus on vegan cuisine and fitness. Jessica is also the visionary behind Chica Momma Health and Juice Bar, which offers raw food classes and meal delivery. She is the author of “High Powered Food and Fitness for the Busy Professional Woman” and is a frequent contributor to various publications. A portion of all proceeds goes to supporting organizations that provide resources for victims of domestic violence. Are you ready for your best YOU yet?! Grab your free gifts at www.SuperFitGift.com
Connect with Jessica on her social media here-