Jenn Lockwood coaches all ages to good health
Story and photos by Drew Myron
Eat better, drink less, exercise more? If your New Year’s resolutions are fading fast, Jennifer Lockwood has a solution you will want to hear: Get outside and have fun.
“Let’s get out from behind our screens and walls,” says Jenn, a fitness coach, and elite ski instructor. “I want people to get outside and experience life.”
In this farm-rich region, you won’t find traditional gyms or fancy athletic clubs. With a focus on outdoor training, Jenn fills a niche as Hood River Valley’s leading fitness coach. She turns exercise inside out with a personal and practical approach that makes getting fit fun.
Jenn owns Peak Fitness NW. The boutique studio specializies in individual and small group fitness, as well as ski conditioning.
Jenn lives and works in Mount Hood and coaches from her barn studio—or barnio, she jokingly calls it—on 4 grassy acres bordering lush forest and idyllic pasture.
A lifelong athlete, Jenn was raised in Eastern Washington’s Tri-Cities, where she excelled in softball, basketball, and soccer. At Oregon State University, she added rowing and skiing to her roster. She graduated with a degree in exercise and sports science.
Jenn has worked 30 years as a professional trainer, with certifications in physiology, nutrition, and outdoor action fitness. She also serves as instructor to many of the region’s top skiers.
Jenn trains the ski instructors at Mount Hood Meadows. She travels throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon to train ski pros for Professional Ski Instructors of America - Northwest.
Nordica—maker of skis and boots— recently partnered with Jenn to provide specialized ski and fitness programs for women.
In 2015, Jenn and her husband, Dan, and their two sons, Kegan and Kellan, moved from Portland to Mount Hood. Although they were new residents, they were not strangers to the mountain.
While living in Portland, Dan served as a Mount Hood Ski Patrol volunteer and a ski race coach at Copper Spur Mountain Resort. Jenn worked at Mount Hood Meadows, and their boys were into snow sports. Between work and play, the couple spent many hours in the car commuting and apart.
“I love winter. It’s my favorite season,” says Jenn, 51. “I wanted to marry my passion for skiing with my passion for fitness. Now I live two turns, 17 miles and 25 minutes from the mountain. This is my dream life.”
Jenn wants to help others achieve their dreams, too.
“I want people to have the strength and stamina to do things they want to do,” she says. “I don’t want people to miss out.”
Fun and variety are key elements of Jenn’s exercise programs. She and Dan built an outdoor exercise circuit
using rocks as props for stretches and strengthening.
Eschewing the old exercise standbys, such as treadmills and ellipticals, Jenn prefers handheld props, such as mats, balls, straps, and modified fire hoses.
For holidays, she creates fun outdoor activities, such as Burn the Bird Workout with a Turkey Toss contest that involves throwin the frozen fowl.
For Mary Zenorini, 69, scrubbing the tub is a measure of her good health. For more than a year, the pain of a herniated disc left her nearly unable to walk. While surgery provided some relief, the fix was minimal. Her doctor suggested a remedy: exercise.
“Jenn has given me my life back,” says Mary, who lives in Mount Hood and works with Jenn two days a week.
After four visits, Mary felt better. Within three months, she experienced dramatic results.
“I cannot begin to describe how incredible it is,” Mary says. “I can now walk up and down the stairs. I can carry things I couldn’t carry. I can walk 2 miles. And I can actually bend over to clean the bathtub.”
Jim and Sue Donnelly share the enthusiasm. The couple, both 75, were two of Jenn’s first clients in the Hood River Valley and remain dedicated to her can-do approach. They join a small group—via Zoom due to COVID-19 concerns—three times a week for one-hour sessions.
“It’s total body,” Jim says. “Every workout is different. She’s very professional and she knows all the muscles. If there is something we can’t do, she’ll show us how to modify it. We have more energy and more get-up-and-go than other people our age. She’s been an important part of our lives. We’re always glad that hour is over, but always glad we did it.”
It’s a familiar refrain. Jenn offers expert knowledge with genuine encouragement.
It’s a talk she walks. Every day at 5 a.m., Jenn is up and moving. She hikes, bikes, paddles, skis, climbs stairs, walks the canal and leads the way to strength, balance, mobility and power.
What can one do as their resolve fades into the new year?
“Everyone should be doing strength training,” Jenn says. “Cardio is good, and it’s great to have a good strong heart, but if your muscles aren’t strong enough to get you up and out of the chair, cardio won’t be enough. Strength training helps with daily activities.”
From coaching pro athletes to helpingget bodies back to their best, Jenn’s mission is clear: “I want to help people with their health and fitness, not just to live life, but to love life.”