Fitness is serious business to bicoastal entrepreneur
Subject: Jodi Lenhardt
Residence: Apex, N.C./Poway
Lenhardt is a veterinarian, a business owner (times two), a workout warrior, a mom and a woman stockpiling a ton of airline miles.
For the past few months, Lenhardt has gone bicoastal. She and her husband opened up a fitness business in Poway in May while still owning and operating a veterinary hospital in North Carolina. So, Lenhardt has been crisscrossing the U.S. this year, spending weeks at a time in San Diego getting the business started, then returning home to her veterinary practice and three children.
All the while, she continues to get in high-intensity, early-morning workouts at least four times a week. It might seem hectic, but it’s the way she likes it.
“Yeah, I’m pretty high energy,” she says. “My brain doesn’t shut off very often, and that’s another reason why I exercise the way I do. I need to be exhausted by the end of the night so that I can actually sleep.”
About two years ago, Lenhardt was invited by a friend to attend a Burn Boot Camp workout. She was searching for a way to get back in shape two years after the birth of her third daughter, and gave it a try. She not only got hooked by the workouts and what they did for her, but she and her husband, Jason — who also did the workouts — decided to buy into the franchise (based on the East Coast) and open a location in Poway, where her husband once worked and where one of her best friends lives.
Now she’s spending weeks at a time in Poway (sometimes accompanied by her girls), helping launch the business. The fact that she owns a fitness operation and works out regularly is surprising, considering she had “no athletic background whatsoever” growing up in Florida.
“My stepbrothers were always encouraged to do sports and athletics, and I was always encouraged to do books,” she says. “I was encouraged to study and to become whatever I wanted to become with my brain.”
Lenhardt’s first dive into serious fitness came just after her second daughter was born 10 years ago when she trained for a triathlon. A friend coaxed her to enter a sprint (short-distance) race tailored to beginners. After about three months of preparing she was happy to survive — and then continued to do them, not only for the exercise and competition, but the camaraderie.
“It was something I did with my friends,” she says. She stopped training/competing about five years ago.
Now, her workouts are much different. No session is like the last. Each consists of 45 minutes of multiple exercises, usually focused on a specific theme such as strength, cardio, core or metabolic conditioning. If she can’t do one, an instructor will show her a modified version. When she’s done, she’s tired but energized. She can do more pushups and pullups than she ever imagined. She feels stronger, has dropped weight and is happy to be an example for her girls.
“It’s a cool thing when you have three girls who look at you and say, ‘My mom’s strong.’”
She pays attention to her calories and nutrition, preparing meals mindful of the protein, carbs and fats she eats. She preps meals and snacks in advance about half the week; a meal-prep service provides food the rest of the week. Breakfast often includes hard-boiled eggs or oatmeal with toast and avocado. Other meals can be combinations of salads and chicken or ground turkey. But she’s not locked in. Sometimes, she and her family go out for ice cream.
She’s a general practitioner who, with her husband (the practice manager), has operated their hospital for nine years. She loves the relationships she’s formed with clients, helping animals and growing her skills, especially in surgery and dentistry.
Says Lenhardt: “Veterinary medicine is my career and my first passion and love, but Burn Boot Camp just fulfilled a totally different need I had.”
Williams is a San Diego freelance writer.