Fitness instructor and personal trainer Jessie Bickell has always enjoyed a challenge. Growing up playing hockey and often the only girl on the team, she learned early on about competitiveness and working hard to stay active. Now a mom, entrepreneur, and trainer, Jessie has taken her hard working and active nature and made it into a business: Jessie Bicks Fitness.
Why Stay Active?
Three years ago, Jessie found herself pregnant and a month into being on bed rest. With one more month to go before the birth of her son, Jessie saw a picture that made her decide to get into the best shape of her life. “(The picture) was of a fitness model. She had a look to her that instantly captivated me. She looked strong yet still feminine. I’ll never forget the day I saw that picture. It was that moment I decided that once this baby was born, I was going to get active and into the best shape of my life.”
After Jessie’s son was born, she made good on her promise by hitting the gym and trying to learn as much as she could about fitness and nutrition. She read, researched, watched videos, and observed others at the gym. “I learned how to add muscle, loose fat, get faster, and build my endurance all because I learned how to alter my body using exercise and nutrition.”
People began to notice. Jessie started sharing her knowledge with others and when they reported that her advice helped them reach their fitness goals, she knew she could use her passion to help others. She started out her career as a personal trainer for a commercial gym and it was there that she “…became acutely aware of the tremendous gap in knowledge in the general public with respect to how to use the tools of exercise to change their bodies. It was then that I decided to step out on my own to help close that gap in the way I thought I best could.”
So began Jessie Bicks Fitness. “I have experienced just how empowering that feeling of control over my body can be and I want to share that with other women. I want to help them to listen to and get in tune with their bodies.” Jessie runs sessions out of her private studio in the northwest end of London, Ontario. It’s here that she helps women to focus on the exercises they are doing and how their bodies feel. “I teach my clients how to properly lift, how to make their bodies look a certain way and most importantly, push them beyond their comfort zone.”
Jessie also works closely with her clients to develop a nutrition program that works well for their bodies and long term goals. “Eating right is one of the topics I continually discuss with my clients. I believe that nothing will impact your body quite like your nutritional intake.” Jessie’s typical meals are high in protein, vegetables, and heart healthy fats like mixed nuts.
Here’s a typical day of eating for Jessie:
But she’s not strict all the time. When asked about snacking, Jessie says “Heck yes I like to snack!” She believes that snacking helps her maintain a long term eating program. Sometimes she’ll even reward herself with a Reese Peanut Butter Cup or pizza after a period of keeping disciplined with her nutrition program. “I believe that indulgence is what makes restriction tolerable. I don’t think it’s realistic to stay strict at all times.”
Who are Jessie’s Clients?
So who are her clients? “My clients are a group of incredibly strong women with a variety of personality traits and wide diversity to their backgrounds. Their goals are as different as their abilities (but) …there is one key characteristic they all share: they have all decided to invest time and effort in themselves and fully commit to changing in some meaningful way.”
Jessie finds her clients to be a big source of motivation. “Here’s a group of women who have put their trust in me to help guide them through an incredibly difficult and challenging issue: body image. They work so hard and are so committed to making a change and staying active that I feel a tremendous sense of obligation to them to not only practice what I preach, but to get better at it every day.”
Family & Fitness
It’s not just her clients that keep her motivated, it’s also “…setting a good example for my children that will give me the strength to avoid that late night snack, begin my workout at 10 p.m. or get up at 5:30 a.m. the next morning for the first of two, sometimes three, exercise sessions.”
Jessie and her partner Pete use their skills and abilities to set a good example for their kids. “I work with my kids to help them learn the difference between tummy filling food and big and strong food.” They teach their children how different foods will impact their bodies in hopes that their kids will use that information to help them make more informed choices when they’re on their own. The same philosophy is applied to exercise and staying active. Jessie and Pete maintain an active lifestyle while spending time with their kids. “At their young age they are incredibly curious about the equipment and how we use it. It’s incredible to watch the look on their faces as they repeat what we are doing and learn how their muscles feel and gain control over their bodies.”
Jessie’s family is also a constant source of support for her. “Our lives together are a true team effort and we feel very much in sync with one another. Having that level of support has been instrumental in our success.” Jessie and Pete treat fitness and nutrition as a way of life and they tackle it together. “We meal prep together, train together, run the business together, and most importantly raise our family together.”
Quick Q & A
What’s your favourite exercise outfit?
What’s your favourite brand of active wear?
Jessie: It would be hard to specify a brand as my choices are driven by fit and economics. I’ve had great success with stores like Winners and Forever 21. (Both stores have) a great selection that is continually changing and the pricing is such that it allows me to frequently visit.
Where do you shop for your gear?
Jessie: I’ve purchased all of my exercise equipment from Mike Matous and his team at Fitness Depot here in London. Mike has been tremendously helpful with getting us set up and started and is always a pleasure to deal with.
What is your favourite piece of equipment in your gym?
Jessie: It would be hard to narrow it down to just one! There would be a tie for most useful piece of equipment between the air bike and the landmine.
The air bike is incredibly simple to use and very effective. It’s one of the few pieces of equipment that allows for a true maximal sprint type of effort. This has been effective for fat loss for my clients. They all hate it, so that confirms to me its effectiveness.
The landmine is versatile and what I would consider to be a staple (in my gym). It’s one of the very first pieces of equipment that anyone looking to establish a home training facility should consider. The number of exercises that can be done is limited only by your creativity.
What is your favourite exercise?
Jessie: Squats and deadlifts. Without question, they are the most transferable exercises to every day life. If you improve at those two lifts, everything in your life will become easier. They are both total body exercises and when done correctly, will take a lot out of you, but there isn’t an exercise that will give more back to you.
What songs are on your workout playlist?
Jessie: Everything from old school rap, to club music, to Top 40. I like anything that has a good beat and will get me moving!
What song pumps you up the most right now?
Jessie: Cool Girl by Tove Lo.
How Busy People Stay Active
If you’re reading this article because you’re wondering how to fit exercise and nutrition into your busy schedule, Jessie has some helpful tips. “First, focus on doing something, anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just make doing something a part of your daily routine. It doesn’t matter how good something is if you don’t do it. Once doing something is regularly part of your day, then consider how to make that ‘thing’ more effective. Many people, when they first start out, they want to do the right program, eat the right food, do everything right, and be perfect from the start. The problem is they haven’t mastered the ability to do something new and quite often, they end up back where they started.”
The Future of Jessie Bicks Fitness
“My focus right now is to share what I’ve learned with as many women as possible. I’ve been where many are. Struggling with their bodies and feeling as though they are no longer in control. I’ve spent years of trial and error learning how to regain control and direct my body to change in the way I want it to. I want to help as many women as possible avoid many of the mistakes I made. I want to help them feel empowered and regain their sense of self and remember who they are and all they have to offer.”
Don’t forget to check out the next post in my photo series, How to Make Friends at the Gym, featuring Lindsay Hamilton, a firefighter, busy mom, and CrossFit athlete that shares her tips on living an active lifestyle and being social at the gym.
If you lead an active lifestyle and would like to be photographed by Julie Whelan Photography, contact us to book your photo session now.
Click here if you’d like more information on the services of Jessie Bicks Fitness.