Say hi to Jen Bacon, Associate Vice President of Fitness for Premise Health. She has been working in the fitness industry her entire career, primarily in corporate fitness but did some work in commercial and community fitness as well. Jen has been at Premise Health for four years.
Jen has a BS in Math and Natural Science from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and a MS in Applied Anatomy and Physiology from Boston University in Boston, MA.
If Jen looks familiar, you may have heard her presentations. She has been a speaker at several MFA Regional Conferences and the Annual Conference. She has also served on the MFA Conference Committee in the past (thank you, Jen!!).
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Premise Health is an amazing place to work. I get to be among talented, passionate people who have a true desire to help our members get, stay and be well. I love that I can work with medical and fitness professionals each and every day and continue the challenging work of figuring out ever better ways to integrate fitness and medical services. The mission of our company and the people I work with make the work rewarding and worthwhile.
What one piece of advice would you give to those just coming into this field of medical fitness?
Most fitness pros coming into the field have a personal history of being very active and lifelong exercise enthusiasts. This passion and enthusiasm for exercise can be a positive but it can also cause a huge gap between your experiences with and attitudes toward exercise (positive experiences, good vibes) and those of your clients and participants (highly negative experiences and comparing themselves to unattainable ideals). Not everyone will learn to love exercise and not everyone will aspire to be an athlete.
It takes a tremendous effort on the part of the fitness pro to immerse yourself in what it feels like to be inactive and not enjoy exercise and to understand the true struggles around making time to be active that many of your participants will face. If you don’t take time to really dig in an understand their perspective, you will come across as insincere and dismissive of their very real struggles.
I recommend that you do a lot of listening and seek to understand your participants. An idyllic exercise prescription is rarely what is needed, rather its the desire to understand the uniqueness of each of our participants and to support them how they need supported that will get them to a healthier state.
Why did you become a member of the Medical Fitness Association?
I became a member of and began to be active in the Medical Fitness Association a few years ago because I believe that the way to get more people physically active is to align with the medical community. This partnership and alignment will ultimately help to position fitness and physical activity as a means to better health not just a means to a slim, athletic body.
We have a long way to go to break the stigma that fit people go to fitness centers and I believe that the connection to clinical services and overall wellness is one potential pathway to get there. This is truly why I came to work for Premise Health where we offer a wide variety medical, fitness and wellness services to employers to help their employees get, stay and be well. We use our fitness and medical services in combination to reach more of our client’s inactive or chronically ill employees with physical activity.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy being active with my family and instilling a love of exercise in my kids. In addition to the sports that my kids are involved in, I just started bringing my oldest daughter (willingly) with me to workout at the fitness center and my youngest has started mountain biking with her dad. Hoping to set them up for a lifetime of physical activity.
I love sharing my passion for yoga with anyone who join a class with me. I am a voracious reader and like to travel with family and friends. In the photos: Yoga pose in San Antonio on a family trip and playing foot golf on Paradise Island, FL with my husband and two girls.
Thank you, Jen and thank you for all you do for MFA!