Like A Boss: Jenny Schatzle’s Sheer Passion for Change
When we refer to this series from now on, we will forevermore hear its title – Like A Boss – cheerfully shouted out in the voice of go-getter mom to twin toddlers, Jenny Schatzle. Fitness expert and advocate for healthy living, she’s known for energetically motivating patrons of her Santa Barbara gym throughout crack-of-dawn, music-fuelled fitness classes. But she aims to do so much more than simply get people to work out. Jenny’s determined to live as authentically and enthusiastically as possible, spurring women on in their search for self-acceptance and fulfillment!
Believe us: this fierce female force not only talks the self-worth talk. Like a bold, boisterous boss, she diligently walks the walk. She does the work. She shows up every day.
mamabare.co loved chatting with Jenny! Through sharing the unique story of her abusive childhood, addiction, miscarriage, marriage, and motherhood, she’s lending us her courageous and contagious energy. Here, we share the first of 3 Like A Boss pieces to feature this mama.
Welcome, Jenny – we just love you to bits!
Jenny runs her rebranded fitness and nutrition program, Bond Fitness, while simultaneously inspiring thousands via Instagram and her TEDxTalks. She is not one to shy away from sharing her experience nor to downplay how grueling the path to self-love can be.
Originally from Minnesota, Jenny grew up with her mother, two older siblings, and an alcoholic father. Her dad was often too drunk to even properly parent. Once, when Jenny was only 6, he showed up to coach her tee-ball team so intoxicated he was sent home by fellow parents.
Jenny’s internalized story was quickly written in what she believed to be permanent marker: surely, she just wasn’t good enough for her dad to stay sober.
As for many of us, those early moments shaped her life and, as she describes it, she adopted the story of her parents, making it her own. This led to years of seeking constant attention from men, leaving her unfulfilled and secretly fueling her own addictions.
Desperate for her dad’s approval and acceptance, Jenny constantly fell short. Her dad was often awkward even around his own children, but the father-daughter pair eventually bonded over shared interests: food, sports, and alcoholism.
By the time Jenny turned 20, an unhealthy pattern of substance abuse had already emerged. On one occasion, she and her dad got drunk together and, emboldened by booze, she clearly told him what an awful father he had always been. Hopeful her words might finally hit home and provoke some sort of change, Jenny was devastated to simply be dismissed. Her dad bluntly told her he knew he was an awful father, to get over it and move on.
“You can’t get something from someone that they didn’t have themselves. Once I took a step back, I could see that my dad was suffering because of his own mother and his history of abuse. With this perspective, I was able to break free from my dad’s story.”
Jenny woke up one day after years of a toxic lifestyle and didn’t want to live that way anymore. With a well-established habit of using alcohol and food addictions to mask her feelings, she began a labor-intensive (and on-going) journey to self-acceptance.
“If everyone were in therapy, we would live in a better society. When you do your own work, you forgive the other person. You can turn your anger into empathy.”
Jenny had been bound by self-loathing for so long. “We say we’ll do differently from our parents but we’re not always willing to do the work to change the cycle.”
She realized the need to take responsibility for her own story, not simply relive her father’s. She says, “I finally set him, and myself, free through forgiveness.”
Jenny visited her father a few years ago. At 65, he had been ill and immobile for months by that point. She gently shared with him her most recent reality: she was finally sober and intent on changing the family dynamic for the next generation. Her father squeezed her hand and smiled. Not long afterward, he passed away, overcome by Parkinson’s, dementia & alcoholism.
“I never changed my life story; I just took my own back.”
Previously during her days of heavy drinking, Jenny had met Connor, a paramedic at the time determined to become a California firefighter. The duo’s dynamic back then was toxic.
Jenny had started the long, messy process of learning to know and love herself. She had diligently focused on gaining sobriety. When her life shifted, Connor again entered her life – this time to stay.
“Connor didn’t come in and save me. I got myself right and then the right person came into my life.”
Jenny was drawn to Connor’s drive, ability to communicate, and faithful partnership. In 2016, the pair wed in a 5-minute, perfectly imperfect, rainy, outdoor ceremony. Jenny is unwaveringly convinced that a perfect wedding does not translate to a perfect marriage. “Partnership is hard work!” The couple’s tips for making their relationship work for them, through trial and error:
- Talk about everything.
- Be explicit about your needs. (Jenny adds: “Don’t just walk around, not sharing your expectations of other people then complaining about it.”)
Connor keeps her accountable on her personal and professional journey to motivate others and cultivate self-worth. Following one of her recent TEDTalks which highlighted “I AM” statements of empowerment, Jenny was back home, complaining about how puffy she looked. After a beat, Connor challenged her: “Do you want attention? This is so unattractive to me. You’re disrespecting yourself and hating your body.” Jenny was humbled to realize she wasn’t practicing what she’d been preaching. This prompted a shift in perspective – “If a man walked around saying “I’m fat” or “I’m unattractive,” that would likely seem ridiculous. We would never put children on a scale and, dependent on their weight, tell them how smart they truly are or how much they’re worth. If we would never do that to our own child or our own parents, why would we do that to ourselves?”
Jenny’s approach to healthy living has shifted in the last few years, challenged by this new line of thinking. Over and above promoting fitness and physical health, she now conveys the powerful message that change has to happen from the inside out and it is an arduous, on-going, daily practice to love one’s self.
Stay tuned for our next Like A Boss feature with Jenny Schatzle, where we chat with this inspiring mom-boss about her devastating miscarriage, the traumatic birth of her twin daughters, and life after kids.