Jess Mills was a member of the Bluewater Blades, a competitive synchronized skating team, for ten years, but when she headed off to the University of Guelph, Mills hung up her skates and opted for a gym membership. “At my gym consultation, I was told that I was level two obese. Instead of feeling excited about the journey I was about to begin, I was made to feel bad about myself. I didn’t go back for a year.” Her roommate convinced her to try again and hire someone to help her reach her goal. “My personal trainer was amazing. I fell in love with fitness and the control it brought to my life.”

Mills continued to study criminal justice and public policy, but took her electives in nutrition, kinesiology and sports psychology. When she graduated from university, she worked for a corporate fitness company as a management trainee and then as a personal trainer. “Simply selling memberships wasn’t my thing as I didn’t get to actually work with the clients, so I switched to personal training, which led to teaching classes.” Mills is also a Stand Up Paddleboard Instructor, TRX Coach, YogaFit Instructor, and has taken many continuing education courses, including nutrition for special populations, nutrition for sport and exercise, holistic health, and program design.

In December 2018, Mills opened JessicaLynn Fitness in downtown Sarnia. “I wanted to create a space that didn’t feel like a typical gym. I didn’t want people to feel intimidated coming in here, so a lot of the classes are designed using body weight instead of machines or pieces of equipment.” Mills uses TRX straps, foam rollers, medicine and stability balls, tension bands, and free weights to activate muscles and teaches clients to put their body in the right position without relying on a machine. “We intentionally left a lot of mirrors out of the space. I want clients to feel as if their body is in the correct position rather than check in a mirror.”

JessicaLynn Fitness offers a variety of classes including strengthening, full-body workouts, barre, and yoga. “I always start each class at the lowest intensity and impact levels. Clients can then choose if they want to increase the difficulty by, for example, adding a weight or a jump. Sometimes we do circuits or work with a partner. I switch things up to keep it fun and interesting.” Mills keeps class sizes small to ensure each client gets individual attention. JessicaLynn Fitness offers drop in, 3-day, and unlimited memberships. “I encourage people to drop in for a couple of classes to dip their toes in. I want this to be a nurturing place where people experience different ways of being active.”

Mills also provides wellness planning, nutrition consulting, and an accountability program to help clients reach their wellness goals. “In 2020, I’m going to be providing meal plans that are individually developed by doctors and dieticians based on a client’s blood test. It’s another way I can help people build a healthy lifestyle.”