Jenna Langhans ’13 majored in Spanish and Hispanic studies at Union College before becoming an NASM-certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and on-camera fitness coach for various virtual workout platforms. For the past 5 years, she has lived and worked in New York City, transitioning a passion for dance (her minor at Union) to a full-time career in the fitness industry. Jenna has programmed and taught group fitness classes at some of the top ranking studios in New York, ranging from classes in HIIT, strength, kettlebell and endurance to TRX, rowing, dance cardio and treadmill. In 2017, she was recruited as a founding instructor for ClasspassLive, an online workout platform offering on-demand and live classes nationally and internationally. In 2019, Jenna joined DailyBurn, another online workout platform offering on-demand classes, as their resident dance cardio instructor. She also trains clients one-on-one, both virtually and in person.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
The most challenging aspect for me is the early hours of a trainer and fitness coach. I am not a morning person, and some classes require me to be up before 5 a.m. I am such a night owl, and love being awake late, so finding a good sleeping schedule for me has always been a challenge. At the same time though, the flexible schedule is a luxury and something I love about the job. It’s early hours and late nights, and at least one weekend day, but I don’t know if I would do well sitting all day or with a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule. The most rewarding part about this job is seeing clients’ progress as they hit their fitness goals. That is what we coaches are here for: to teach and encourage our clients to make health and wellness a part of their lifestyle and to become better and stronger. I am constantly growing and learning alongside them as well, which is rewarding.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
Lots of people within the fitness industry have inspired me and continue to do so. I have learned so much from many people over the years and I’m grateful for all of it. I’m constantly inspired and motivated by fellow trainers, physical therapists I work with, coaches whom I learned under as I was coming up through the industry. I am constantly learning, and really admire the coaches who truly care about their clients, their wellbeing, their form, their safety and their progress.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
Oh man, that’s a tough one! I think my one piece of advice would be to travel. I spent a year living in Spain teaching English right after I graduated Union, and it was the best year of my life. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. I got placed in a small town in Cordoba called Palma de Río, and I met some of the most wonderful people, and had some of the most formative and incredible experiences of my life. If you have the opportunity and the desire, travel first, because once you start working, and excelling in your career, it becomes very hard to take a break like that. Working for a teaching program overseas doesn’t pay much, but you don’t need much when you’re 22 and living abroad. Experiences like that will enrich you in ways you did not know possible, and will open your eyes to things that may influence your decisions and work at home.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
This kind of ties in to my last answer, but studying abroad in Spain my junior year was definitely one of the best decisions and most formative experiences I had while at Union. It was what started my love of Spain, the people, the culture, the music, the dance, the food – and ultimately led to my choice to move there after college. To this day, I go back every two years to visit my friends in Palma.