By Jennifer Kotila
“Growing up, I used to Rollerblade for hours on weekends, and daydream of the big city,” said 1995 Dassel-Cokato graduate Jenny Skoog.
“At 18 years old, while sweating it out on the elliptical watching a personal trainer work his magic on some poor soul, I had my first ‘aha’ moment I could actually make money doing something that I was already good at, being bossy and sharing my passion for fitness.”
Although it took years before Skoog actually acted on that “aha” moment, she is now a successful personal fitness trainer to women “from bride-to-baby,” and will be starring in her own reality TV show “Pushing It,” which will air on the cable network Cozi TV.
Cozi TV does not air in Minnesota, but each episode will be available online at www.cozitv.com after they air, Skoog said.
The idea for the show came in January 2012, when Skoog was sharing a glass of wine and a few laughs with her neighbor and friend who is a writer and TV producer, after a particularly long workweek.
“We had discussed writing a book together, but knew we had more than a storybook to tell,” Skoog said. “To truly tell the whole story, we felt a reality show was a great way to shed light on some heavy topics that women have a hard time discussing.”
Some of those heavy topics included infertility, body image, motherhood, and childbirth.
“I hired the best PR agent on the East Coast, Jen Daly, and the rest, as they say, is history,” Skoog said.
Filming for Skoog’s show, which features her unique brand of bride-to-baby fitness, began in October 2012, and wrapped up in January.
Working with a population-set experiencing some of the highest points in their life, Skoog is with them every step of the way.
“[It] goes well beyond personal training,” Skoog said. “From trimming down to look aisle-hot, strengthening the body for the sport of motherhood, and getting in the mental game for labor and delivery, my unique blend of certifications sets me apart from everyone.”
Skoog is certified as a nutritionist, corrective exercise specialist, childbirth educator, birth coach, and master trainer in pre- and postnatal fitness. “You won’t find another trainer who does what I do, and does it well,” she added. “I love my job; my clients’ goals become my mission.”
Making her dreams come true
After attending North Hennepin Community College during her senior year of high school, and dabbling in random classes there and at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, she dropped out without a clue where her life was headed, she said.
“Luckily, I landed a really great job at a small law firm as an executive assistant. It paid well and bought me some time to take a step back and figure out what it was that I really wanted to do with my life,” she said.
Having always dreamed of the big city, she exhausted the nightlife in Minneapolis, then decided to make a bold move.
“In 2003, at age 26, I packed my bags and whatever little money I had and bought a one-way ticket to New York City,” she said. She landed her second and final desk job within a few weeks.
After a few years, Skoog reached a crossroads when she was feeling really disconnected with herself, and knew serious changes had to be made.
“My desk job was making me fat and miserable,” she said. “Luckily, I had nothing to lose by making the switch, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Skoog lives in New York with her husband, Stanley, who is also a personal trainer.
Being fitness enthusiasts, they work out together, hike in upstate New York, and walk their dog, Annie, in Central Park.
“My husband and I are news and political junkies, so we read and catch up on all current local and national events, including what the pundits are saying,” Skoog noted.
Thanks to her mom’s influence, Skoog also loves to cook, and spends several hours each week preparing nutritious meals from food she receives through a community-supported agriculture group.
“Eating out for us is a big treat, so we choose restaurants that are worth it with organic farm-to-table cuisine,” Skoog noted. “We also love going to see dance performances, art, and theater.”
Skoog returns to the local area four to five times each year to visit her parents, Roy and Mary Skoog of Cokato. When asked who has influenced her life, she said, “I think the biggest influence has been my mom. The older I get, the more I realize I’m just like her happily. She’s really great.”