Jen Cassetty is a former fitness model turned personal trainer and wellness consultant living and working in New York City. She is constantly on the move trying anything and everything related to health and fitness. To learn more about Jen, visit her profile in our Expert Network.

How did you become interested in health and fitness, and how did it become part of your career?

I have always been that girl who can’t sit still. I was a gymnast and dancer through high school and was lucky enough to go to college for Physical Therapy. I fell in love with the strength and conditioning program, which got me involved in that aspect of exercise physiology and prescription— where I have been ever since.

What are your weekly workouts like? What do you do and why? How do you make fitness and health a priority in your schedule?

I began my personal fitness career— as always— the hardest route. I became a fitness competitor and worked my way into the IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) pro fitness ranks. I competed for 12 years all over the nation and loved every second of it. Now that I no longer compete, I realize the value of a clean diet and consistent workouts. I choose to exercise 6 days a week because I’m used to it, and I love to move. I lift weights 5 days a week (and no, ladies, this does not make you “big”), and I do some form of cardio 6 days a week. As a trainer, I’m lucky— fitness literally is my life. It’s not a choice of priority— it just is a part of my daily routine.

What did you eat today specifically for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Is that typical for you? Why?

I like consistency— Oatmeal and egg whites (and a grapefruit, when in season) in the AM; lunch is some sort of veggie and protein; and almost every day, I eat steak for dinner. I love meat and I’m not afraid to talk about it ;). I work as a trainer between 6 AM and 9 PM, so I eat a couple more snacks in there than most professionals, but I’m okay with that.

Yes, this is fairly typical. I like to eat basically the same thing everyday because it’s easy and I don’t have to “think that hard” about what’s good for me or how my body will process or function after each meal.

What do you have the most trouble with in terms of health, fitness, and happiness?

The trouble I have is with down time. I was a girl that worked and worked out 18 hours a day for 7 years. When I “retired” from competition I gained a full day and half on the weekends “off.” Now, I’m learning the true meaning of life’s balance— and I love it. I still prefer walks in the park to sitting for a cup of coffee, but I am becoming more flexible with age. As far as happiness goes, I haven’t stopped smiling since I moved to NYC almost 5 years ago, so I think I’ve found a place that has as much energy as I do to keep me happy and motivated for at least the next few years.

Where do you find happiness on a daily basis?

Through people. I have been involved with some of the top corporations in this fine nation we live in. I moved here to work with people and that’s exactly what I was born to do. So for me, waking up every day and seeing that first friendly face is my happiness.