Photography by Paul Buceta
At just 10 years old, on stage, in front of a packed theater, Jen Gottlieb whole-heartedly belted out tunes during a performance of Annie. It was then and there, following the burst of audience applause, she was bitten by the acting bug and cemented the idea of her life’s purpose—to be a performer. Jen had no idea though, that ultimately, her dream of being in the spotlight would not be fulfilled by reading someone else’s scripts, or dancing someone else’s moves. Rather, she would find true success through a significant shift founded in fitness that taught her how to use her own words and stand confidently in the light she created.
As an aspiring actor, Jen followed a conventional path for performers for a while; she studied musical theatre and eventually moved to New York. A determined young talent, she even landed her dream job, performing in the Broadway National Tour of The Wedding Singer. “I really wanted to play that part and I worked my butt off to get it,” she says. “I truly believe I manifested it!”
“I have one thing that I do—no matter what. My gratitude list. I express gratitude every single day, for things I have and things I don’t have yet, but I know that I’m going to have. I do this because it’s impossible to feel anxious, scared, angry, and grateful at the same time. Gratitude conquers all. As long as you’re thinking about the things that you have you can’t be in lack and think about the things that you don’t. If I start my day with gratitude everything is up from there.”
Shortly after the tour, Jen secured a role on a hit VH1 TV series, which appeared to be a profitable position—on paper. Aside from the paycheck, it proved to be anything but.
“The show was all about heavy metal music, which I didn’t even like,” she shares. “But I played along because I thought that was who I needed to be to be accepted as a performer. So, I quickly became this metal girl to the world—this super blonde, tanned, sexy girl in the media. That was heavy metal Jen, and it couldn’t have been more out of alignment from who I truly was,” she admits.
Jen wasn’t only wearing a mask professionally. Her personal life didn’t feel right. “I was in a toxic relationship with a guy that was cheating on me. I knew it wasn’t right, but couldn’t find the strength to leave. I was stuck, had lost myself completely and spiraled into a deep depression”. Thankfully, when Jen didn’t have the strength to get out, the universe stepped in.
She “officially” learned about the infidelity and within a week’s time, Jen found herself kicked out and single. “I went from living in a luxury hi-rise with a rich boyfriend to sharing a tiny apartment (with a window that faced a brick wall) with six other actors,” she says. In that same week, her show got canceled.
“With no job, money, boyfriend, or connections, I had to start my life over. It was incredibly humbling,” she recalls “Now, I look back and think, it all makes sense. This all had to happen in order for me to get to where I am,” she says. And where she is, happens to be at the top of a multimillion-dollar communications company she built with the man of her dreams (now fiancé) Chris Winfield from the ground up, with a determination to help others succeed by applying the skills, strategies, and strength she discovered within herself during that pivotal time.
Jen realized that being an actress, she was reliant on other people picking her and that didn’t sit well with her. “I had to wait for someone else to say I was good enough, pretty enough, blonde enough, or skinny enough,” she says. “I read my journals now and they all say, ‘I can’t take this anymore, I can’t take getting rejected 10 times in one day!’ I decided that I wanted something new, where I could choose myself,” she says. So, Jen launched her own business, as a personal trainer—which was the life-altering role she had been aiming for all along.
“I loved helping people. I also loved working out. Since I was a dancer and an actress it was always top priority for me to exercise. Although I didn’t know a lot about marketing a business, I did know a lot about public relations and media, how to change the narrative from being “heavy metal girl” to “fitness girl.” So, I did that to create my own company and the pieces started falling into place,” Jen explains.
Becoming an entrepreneur and learning that she was responsible for everything about her experience—including the money she brought in and the future she created for herself—caused a seismic shift extending to every part of her life. Especially her approach to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. “It became really important that I felt amazing every day. I couldn’t sustain building a business and having employees and clients counting on me if I wasn’t feeling at the top of my game. Which meant eating enough calories to have energy, training to be strong, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water… all the behaviors that help you really feel healthy and perform well.” As her mindset shifted, Jen abandoned the detrimental practices she had relied on to stay skinny in the acting world, like under-eating calories (to the point of developing bulimia), and over training with long cardio sessions (obsessed with fitting Hollywood expectations).
“I think that the better you look, the more confident you are, and the more confident you are, the more impact you can make in the world. I’m all about looking good because looking good to feel good, and feeling good to look good—they work together for big things to happen. I am obsessed with all things beauty, skincare, and biohacking!"
Some things I like to do:
• Sauna blanket
• Infrared sauna
• Ice baths
• Full panel red light
• Peptide Injections
You do not have to do all of these things, skincare is my hobby!
“I don’t eat anything processed.
I don’t eat any sugar. I only eat clean, real, whole foods—but I eat all kinds of clean, real, whole foods. My meals always revolve around protein, so you’ll see lots of eggs, chicken, or shrimp in my fridge, and always lots of vegetables.”
“I think the biggest thing that holds people back from doing anything they want to do is fear of what other people think of them. Guaranteed, many people have something they want to do but aren’t doing it because they’re afraid of what they will think – whoever they are?! Like, “What will they think of me if I post that?” Or, “What will they
think if I quit my job and start that business?” Who the heck are they?! I promise you, they
are not worried about you!
They are only thinking about themselves.”
“To me, being strong is the ability to consistently stick with your commitments. Whether they are with yourself or with others. Whether it’s hitting your pr at the gym, running the marathon you said you were going to do, or starting a business and actually pressing go-live on your new website. Whatever your goal is, setting it and sticking with it. Not just once, but again and again.”
“I was noticing the better I took care of myself, the more money I was making, the more successful I became, the more in-flow I felt, and the more inspired I was,” says Jen. “My brain—and my body, and bank account!—started to really enjoy me taking care of myself! Getting stronger physically was making me stronger mentally,” she says. “You need that to run a business, or succeed at any goal, because you’re not going to get “yes” all the time! You’re going to hear “no” and you’re going to mess up, if you’re growing and doing things outside of your comfort zone. It’s going to be hard sometimes and you need to know that you stick with your commitments and can push through discomfort. Working out builds that character.”
Once Jen mastered the symbiotic relationship between fitness and finances, things started to explode for her. With newfound momentum, she hustled and grew her company from a very profitable fitness business into an online one and then a mindset coaching business. It didn’t stop there. “When I began, my regimen was super structured. For example, I had to be in bed by 8pm, and there was no deviating from my plan. But once I transformed my habits, those strict practices felt like too much. Eating exactly the right macros, being perfectly on plan. I had gone to the other end of the spectrum, being so obsessed with health, that there was no room for flexibility. That was keeping me stuck; I wasn’t allowing things into my life, like dating!”
Jen decided to see how being a little more fluid could affect her. By shaking things up a little, her world evolved, a lot. “I allowed myself to be more intuitive with my food and workouts, even my lifestyle. I stayed out a bit later than I normally would, I took a different route walking…small things that eventually proved to me that I could make room for life, while maintaining the feeling of great health I had fallen in love with and not compromising the financial gains I was making.”
One of my favorite upper body workouts is this one. It incorporates a lot of different movements, which keeps it challenging and interesting for me.
A1: Incline DB Press 4 x 10 reps
A2: Lat Pulldown 4 x 10 reps
Superset A1 & A2
Rest 5-10 seconds between exercises
* Rest 60 seconds after superset
* Repeat 4 sets
B1: Standing DB Press 3 x 10 reps
B2: Alt. Biceps Curl 3 x 10 reps
B3: Triceps Pressdown 3 x 10 reps
Triset exercises B1, B2 & B3
Rest 5-10 seconds between each exercise
* Rest 60 seconds after triset
* Repeat 3 sets
C1: Isometric Squat Hold with DB Side Lateral Raise x 30 seconds
C2: Ball Slams x 30 seconds
* Rest 30 seconds
* Repeat for 5 Rounds
Once Jen had found that balanced groove and opened herself up to possibilities with a new vibe, she began to attract a new tribe. Which included meeting Chris, and igniting their powerful union that not only blossomed romantically, but professionally.
Jen and Chris discovered they were stronger together in every way and teamed up to create Super Connector Media. to teach others to do what they both did with their businesses—master the media, create a brand, and message yourself authentically. “We help businesses and personal brands learn how to attract an audience that genuinely loves them and, as a result, the products/services they’re sharing,” Jen explains. “I had an audience of heavy metal fans and it felt like a lie. But now, I just show up exactly how I am, and the people that watch me, follow me, sign up to our events and our programs, they are people I get, and they’re attracted to who I really am. With Super Connector Media, we teach people how to focus on real relationships, and it feels so good to be making an impact that transforms lives.”
With her first book launch scheduled for next fall, and speaking engagements booked year-round, Jen knows she’s landed the role of a lifetime, because she committed to strong habits. Sometimes, when she remembers where it all began, she thinks about how poignant that epic line, “I love ya tomorrow,” from Annie really is. “It’s certainly been a process,” she says, “it was not an overnight shift, going from who I was to who I am. But I am so grateful for every rejection. That forced me to choose myself. And I’m especially grateful for the way fitness literally shaped my life. The mindset of working out, learning how to push past discomfort, is exactly why I train every day. That resilience overflows to everything.”