WASSAP! I’m Jera

April 20, 2016

Oh hello, little chickens! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Jera! I figured that it made sense to kick off this brand spankin’ new blog with a lil About Me post to give you some background on who I am and quick-ish rundown on how I’ve gotten to where I am today.

It all began when my mom was pregnant with me in the good ol’ year on 1989, and she had dream which told her: “name her Jera”. So, she did. Several years later, we found out about rune stones. Rune stones, similar in a way to tarot cards, are used as tools of divination – a way to predict one’s future. There are twenty-four stones, and the twelfth is called Jera, which is symbolic of success, an abundant year and the cycles of nature and life. Not a bad start, if I do say so myself.

My interests growing up ranged from dogs, to pokemon cards, to spice girls, to Josh Harnett (swoon) and extremely baggy pants (yes, I wore pants so huge and baggy that tourists in NYC would literally stop me and take photos of me, le sigh). From middle school through high school, I attended a Quaker school in the east village, which may sound strange to those unfamiliar with Quaker schools, but I can assure you it was very normal and pretty awesome. And no- it had nothing to do with Quaker oatmeal man. I was on several sports team, but Basketball was my true love. I played for seven years and was the starting center for most of them. I loved the adrenaline rush of the game. There was something addictive about the competition that I haven’t been able to replicate in my life since then.

When I graduated, I moved out to Los Angeles to attend USC, the University of Southern California. It was a tough adjustment at first, but I ended up falling in love with the school and LA. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to major in when I first got there- the options floating around in my head included film, international relations, French, and creative writing, but I chose Fine Art on a whim and I’m so glad that I did. At the time, that was absolutely my calling. My emphasis was in graphic design, though I also spent a lot of time in ceramics, drawing, and sculpture classes.

I graduated a semester early and began working right away as a graphic designer, and that’s the only type of job I’ve had ever since. After living for five years in Los Angeles, I moved to Boston, where I lived for three years working at a variety of places. And now I’m back in my hometown, and my most favorite place ever, New York City.

So, I know what you’re all thinking. Where does fitness fall into all of this?

Everything changed for me in April of 2015, almost a year ago. The previous year had been a tough one and I had gone through several challenges and big changes. Looking back on this time now, I realize that I needed an outlet of some sort to get back on track physically, emotionally, and mentally. I found that release through Australian personal trainer Kayla Itsines’s twelve-week workout program called the Bikini Body Guide. I had discovered Kayla Itsines on Instagram sometime over the past year and constantly followed her account. I was fascinated by the transformation photos of girls she posted. I think what drew me in the most was that I realized these were real girls. I would click on the accounts, scroll through their feeds, and concluded that this wasn’t some scam. These girls were working hard, putting in the time, and changing their bodies and lives.

I began working out, and that same week, I created a fitness instagram to keep myself accountable, @workoutbean. Several things happened very quickly over the next few weeks. First, I fell in love with exercising. I loved the way it made me feel, both inside and out. And second, I fell in love with the community aspect of instagram. Though it was absolutely a tool to keep me on track, I realized early on that it was much more than that. It was a medium through which I could connect with other likeminded women, a space where we could cheer each other on, share our struggles, and hip-hip-hooray our achievements. Never in my life had I come across a female dominated space that was so empowering and encouraging. For someone who had been lacking in girlfriends, this was a huge opportunity to make friends. It’s crazy in the best way possible for me to think that a year ago, I had barely any friends. Now, just a year later, instagram has led me to so many beautiful friendships. This virtual world of social media has significantly impacted my real world in a profound way.

Over the past year, I’ve explored Kayla’s BBG guide, Molly’s Curve Guide, yoga, and lots of Soul Cycle. Regardless of the type of exercise, I’ve come to the realization that health and fitness is my passion. Though I always thought that I’d be a graphic designer my whole life, the last twelve months have opened up my eyes to what actually makes me feel passionate and excited. So in September of 2015, I took a leap of faith and quit my job, and I decided to go freelance so that I could spend extra time exploring this new direction. I’m still working at a freelance graphic designer, but definitely transitioning into the fitness world. I got certified as a personal trainer through NASM in early March, and I’m currently training to become a Soul Cycle instructor. Do I know what the end goal is yet? Nope! But what I do know is that I finally feel excited about life again, so I know I’m on the right path to figuring it all out.

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  • Reply Louise May 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Love your words! I’m not able to remember how nor when I discovered your instagram account but I loved it instantly, and I’m so glad you decided to open a blog as I like to read blog posts with my morning coffee 🙂
    I love to read that kind of open-heart posts, just like you said it’s incredible how social media can bring so much positivity in our lives – we just need to know where to find it!
    I started with BBG but got a hard time doing this “alone” as I’ve always been a hug fan of gym classes with a great instructor! I’ve been living in Mexico City for almost two years now, and the beginning was quite a struggle: I’m French, I was far away from my family and friends, I didn’t speak a word of spanish… I was going out a lot, I was eating unhealthy food, and I was not exercising. And I was not happy. Discovering BBG helped me get back on track, especially because of IG account like yours! Right now I’m doing for the second time a program called 8W which I love: for eight weeks you’re going to your gym class with your coach and with your team, monday to saturday at the same hour. Which means that on a week you get a complete workout (monday would be full boday, tuesday legs, wednesday arms, thursday abs…) with the same people and the same coach. And we even get to send to the gym the musics we want to hear during our workout! They provide nutritional support, they made us set goals (mine is to do 30 burpees in a minute!) and they’re very encouraging. I’m in a group of girls, there’s no competition at all, we’re all supporting each other and it feels SO good.
    Well this story is getting way too long but I’m always so excited to share about fitness journeys – they’re all so different!
    Tomorrow I’m leaving for a NYC vacation for a few days, and I’ve read so much about SouldCycle through you (congrats again!) that I might try a class!
    Keep going with this blog, can’t wait to read your stories.

  • Reply Tessa Goodman May 6, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I totally agree I love the supportive aspect of the instagram community. I dont reach out to anyone directly, but I have become a total sucker for inspiring quotes. I’m also having a u-turn career wise and I want to study nutrition so I’m all over health blogs at the moment!
    You rock I look forward to reading your future posts.

  • Reply Briana Telford May 9, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I just want to say I’m so stoked for you becoming a Soul trainer, wish I could take your classes but I’m on the other coast, womp womp.

    Also I’m stoked for all of us that you are going to be dedicating more time to the fitness world because you are insanely inspirational!

  • Reply Alice Rochi June 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Jera, you are one in a mill! You’re inspirational, and also share such poetic parts of your life on IG (like your father’s battle 💛). I love how modest you are and continue to be even though you have gained a huge following on Instagram. The community built around BBG is incredible, and I have found solace in it, too. My entire life has revolved around fashion and creativity, and I am now in the process of studying for the NASM certification too. Any advice before I take the exam in Sept/Oct?? Thank you for your inspiration and for staying true to you.


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