Only the lucky have been handed the ‘perfect body gene’ on a silver platter. The majority of us must put great effort into achieving a toned, sculpted silhouette. And that goal is only attained through a regimen of fat-burning exercise, a balanced diet and strong determination.
Enter Jennifer Gray, founder and owner of metro Detroit’s Body by Jenn and Body Beautiful Boot Camps. Through her example, scores of women (and men) of all body types and sizes have altered, enhanced and re-shaped their bodies and mindsets.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio to Nancy and Jack Gray, Jennifer (also known as Jenn) was raised with her three siblings in the Pinckney area of Michigan. Her family eventually moved to Troy, where she attended Troy Athens High School. She went on to earn a degree from Oakland University in exercise science. She notes:
“It was a hard adjustment moving from a small town to the big city.” But she got through it. Michelle Fournier, her older sister by just 16 months, admires Jenn’s tenacity, and notes, “I’m incredibly proud of Jenn. At age 16, she discovered the world of health and exercise, and has followed her passion. She’s a role model, and is so rewarded by helping others fulfill their dreams. And she always finds the right way around any business obstacles. In fact, I look to her for advice. She‘s a visionary!”
About her own personal style, Jenn says, “I’m totally casual, and I love the ease and comfort of tank tops!” She enjoys shopping at Lululemon Athletica at Somerset Collection, and Be Free Apparel in West Bloomfield.
She dresses up well, too! In 2010, she and her husband Dan Jett, a fitness and boxing trainer, married in Antigua. She reminisces, “I wore a simple, beautiful beach-inspired dress from Roma Sposa in Birmingham, and my bridesmaids wore flowing dresses in an apricot shade – gorgeous against the blue Caribbean backdrop!”
NATURE AND ANIMAL LOVER
Jenn keeps very busy formulating special fitness programs and conducting classes for her many clients. In her free time, though, the beautiful shapely nature lover enjoys a long meditative walk, kayaking, taking a quick-paced hike, or romping with her adorable Australian shepherd Duke, a cancer survivor. She shares:
“I rescued Duke when he was four years old. When he became ill, I tried holistic remedies at first, but when I found out he had cancer, he needed his paw amputated. He’s now 15, and with three legs, he runs and plays!”
Two Siamese cats, Suki and Toby, and a Cairn terrier, Stevie, round out the animal menagerie Jenn shares with Dan. In fact, her company donates generously to her pet charity, the Michigan Humane Society. Jennifer also has the honor of being the only single business owner and women to become a flagship for the Michigan Humane society. Along side of the Red Wings, Taco Bell, Comerica Bank, and Pet Smart, she is committed to raising $5000 every year for the Mega March. Additionally she has warmed up the 8000+ marchers at the Mega March on stage at Hart Plaza for the past two years.
She likes involving her members in this particular charity because animals are pure souls. She says pets are our angels who comfort us and help us relax. They help us remember that the real gift is to give not to receive.
EVOLUTION TO ENTREPRENEUR
Jenn admits that, in her teen years, she experienced eating disorders and had no concept of nutrition. She recalls:
“Because of weight issues in my family, I was afraid of becoming heavy. So, I’d only eat a frozen yogurt and a cookie all day, or after running, I’d eat just bread and soup , no protein, fruit or vegetables.”
Early on, a career in Nursing interested Jenn, but after working in the hospital she found she would rather work with people to prevent illness. Because of her personal struggles with weight, she decided that becoming a personal trainer was her calling.
Now a frontrunner in the fitness arena, she does her homework and aligns herself with the most reputable fitness, nutrition, and health experts. Because she lost her maternal grandmother at age 50 to breast cancer, Jenn is all about disease prevention through diet and exercise.
HER OWN BRAND
Located in West Bloomfield, with a branch in Rochester, Jenn’s seven-year-old business started out as Body Beautiful Boot Camp for Brides. It has since expanded into boot camps for all types, sizes and ages – petite to large, teens to brides, new moms to seniors, and there are co-ed classes, too. The programs run for either 6 or 12 weeks, and include kickboxing, Pilates, circuit training and more. Jenn says, “It’s important to change up routines and work the body differently.” Fun Zumba classes are also offered.
In order to shape new bodies, Jenn’s programs require time, effort, and proper eating. She creates unique challenges, incentives, and prizes to keep people on track. Success is achieved through a client’s personal investment, accountability, and preparation. She notes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Commitment, positive energy, and group support are necessary.”
The color pink is a company trademark. Jenn notes, “A woman’s body should be strong and toned, but also feminine and curvy.” She adds, “My clients go through so much psychologically, and some have lost more than 100 pounds. It’s extremely gratifying to see their self-images change. They no longer have “just” pretty faces, but beautiful bodies, too!”
by Elaine Perlin Crossley, MY Magazine