Social media influencer and NUTRISHOP®-sponsored athlete Jen Heward, known on Instagram as @HunnyBunsFit, has been helping people get fit, healthy, and happy as a nutrition and personal training/life coach for over seven years. Currently, Jen, who is 35 and lives in Montana, has 729K+ followers on IG and 439K+ followers on YouTube where she shares workouts, transformations stories, nutrition tips, and more.
Jen's passion for nutrition ignited years ago after going through some serious life challenges. Now, she’s on a mission to help others develop a healthy relationship with food, particularly during these hard times in 2020 when so many people are feeling anxious and turning to food for comfort.
From her top training tips to her favorite cheat meal and beyond, keep reading to discover so much more about Jen!
How did you become a social media influencer with such a huge following and how long have you been doing it?
I am going on 9 years as a social media influencer! It all started by creating a personal Instagram account when Instagram was just in its infancy! I just shared my progress and methods I used that were successful. At the time (in 2012!), you could only post photos with captions. What I shared was relatable and ideal, like recipes and exercises that were simple but effective.
As Instagram grew, so did I! Those who followed me shared what I did with others, so I quickly became recognized! After only being on Instagram for a year, I started a YouTube channel. There I could share longer, more detailed videos like workouts, how-tos, nutrition, and day-in-the-life vlogs! That grew even quicker!
My goal was to always connect and be relatable with my viewers with what I shared. I didn't just post "cool" pictures or videos, but I posted content that would educate them and guide them to be successful in their own fitness journeys!
What are the pros of being an influencer? Cons?
The pros of being an influencer are the reach you have and how easy it is to connect with others and share content to help educate and guide those looking to change their minds and bodies! It's so fun to create, film, edit, and post content and then see how excited everyone gets about what I share! My favorite part is when viewers (or clients) share their progress with me or share feedback on how much my videos have helped them!
But with every good, there is bad. The cons of being an influencer are it can interfere with relationships, responsibilities, and even your own self-care. It's so easy just to grab your phone and be connected and working all the time. You need to learn how to shut off every once in a while for self-care. If you can find a balance and treat it like any other job you clock in and out, it won't have to interfere with relationships and personal life!
Why did you become a nutrition and fitness coach and what is the best part of what you do?
I became certified in 2014, but didn't stop my education there. I continue to grow, learn, and add to my knowledge every day! I use my book to refresh my memory because some things that don't get used get forgotten. I even have to refer to my books when faced with something new, which I love! I always love learning! Because if you are learning and growing, you are getting better and better!
My favorite part of what I do is nutrition because that is where everyone struggles the most. Society nowadays lives in the fast lane. When it comes to food, what's fast and easy is the first thing we grab. But fast and easy isn't always the healthiest. Or, we simply don't eat! Society is also afraid of food because of all the misinformation out there. We starve ourselves to fit the "image" or avoid foods because so-and-so said, "That's bad," which in most cases, it's lack of knowledge. I love being able to help guide others in developing a healthy relationship with food.
What has been one of the most significant challenges you've faced in life and how did you overcome it?
One of my most significant challenges was when my 10-year relationship ended. It was a huge part of my life. It was all I knew and I didn't want it to end. My own fitness journey revolved around it, so when I lost the relationship, I lost myself! But if there is anything that health and fitness have taught me, it's when you are trying to meet a goal, you can't give up when it gets tough because otherwise, you would never move forward towards the progress you want.
Even though my break up was one of the hardest things I had to face, I had to face it. There was no going back, only forward. I wiped my tears, stood up, took that deep breath, and pushed forward! Just like anything, you have good days and bad days. You learn to rest and not give up! And with every step forward, it gets more comfortable, and you get better!
Also, exercise releases those happy endorphins! It's the best drug you could take. It sure helped me get through my dark days.
You help people transform their bodies and their lives, but you have your own transformation story. Can you share it?
We all know life has its ups and downs. Sometimes we hit our lowest and we stop caring for ourselves. Sometimes we attach to things that may numb us temporarily.
My fitness journey started after experiencing two huge losses in my life. My very first boyfriend of 5 years and I broke up, and my dad passed away without warning.
I turned to partying/drinking. I didn't eat much and became malnourished. I also overexercised (mostly cardio). I was depressed, and my weight fluctuated up and down to extremes!
But something hit me one day. I looked at myself and didn't like what I saw. I didn't like how I felt, I was unhappy, I couldn't sleep, and I felt exhausted all the time. Physically, I wasn't recovering from anything. And my hair was falling out from lack of nutrients!
I ended up seeing a counselor who prescribed "working out" and "eating healthy" as my drug! So that's when my fitness journey began! This where I started digging deep into what being healthy and fit truly means. And I knew the only way I would feel good and look good again is if I worked hard and practiced healthy habits mentally and physically! And the rest is history!!!
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in life about being fit and healthy or about body image or self-worth?
The biggest lesson I have learned is not to fit the "standard." When you are constantly changing who you are (mind and body) to "fit in," you lose your confidence. You lose yourself. No matter what you do, it seems you're damned if you do or damned if you don't. So I said, "Screw the standard; I am creating my own."
Granted, we are all on the same path to wanting to look good and feel good, but you don't have to go to extremes. You just evolve who you are to the best version of yourself. I look at fitness now for health and longevity. And, obviously, when you eat right and exercise, the physical attributes come with it. But "image" isn't what drives me to be better!
You have to ask yourself, are you truly doing this for yourself or for others? When I stopped living by people judging me or comparing myself to others, I felt more self-love and freedom than I ever have in my life. I can be who I am without fear of, Will they like me?" When you know who you are, you are your happiest! And when you are happy, you are confident!
What NUTRISHOP supplements are you currently taking?
Karbolyn, Stance BCAA, Glycovex, Rejuvix Joint, Fiber4, CrossOver, Fiburn, Collagen, EFA, and Vitasport Pro7ein
How have NUTRISHOP supplements helped you with your fitness and health goals?
When I started taking supplements (before becoming a coach), I just took them because of the hype! I never truly took the time to understand how they benefit you. As I progressed in my fitness journey as a coach and influencer, I started digging deeper into how nutrients (vitamins and minerals) can help people in their fitness goals and how any form of deficiencies can negatively impact their results.
Understanding what each supplement does and how it can benefit you will take your progress to the next level when taken correctly! The knowledge I have now on the products I take has only helped me be more successful with my performance, muscle, weight loss, and overall health!
What is your favorite supplement or supplement stack so far and why?
I have love FIBURN and CROSSOVER mixed together because I like a little pick-me-up before training! Combining the two, you get the best of both worlds! I only take 1/2 scoop of FIBURN with one scoop CROSSOVER (which ends up only being about 100mg caffeine). It offers a gradual increase of stable energy that helps me go longer as the combo helps prevent a decline in performance. My workout sessions can be intense for about an hour. And when I finish training, I still feel great! No high and low like some pre-workouts can do!! I get excited for every workout because I just always feel AMAZING!
What does being a part of Team NUTRISHOP mean to you?
I have been a part of the NUTRISHOP Team for almost nine years now! I have made so many friendships and the best part is the commitment everyone has to being on the team! We grow together and work together! Everyone is always looking out for one another, too! It's not just a team, it's FAMILY! That's how it feels to be a part of NUTRISHOP! Nutrishop truly cares for people's health and well being! Education has always been NUTRISHOP's #1 thing when it comes to their products and anything they provide!
When times get tough, how do you stay motivated?
When time's get tough, I usually assess the situation. And that comes down to self-care, which means I need to take a step back and breathe. I will also journal to release those overwhelming thoughts in my head. And, I will maybe go hike or do some yoga.
We need to have periods of enjoyment where we take breaks from responsibilities. When you are burnt out, mentally you will lose motivation. You won't want to go back and do it, whatever it is. Stepping away and doing something that lifts you up will help rejuvenate your mind and body! When you enjoy what you are doing, when you are progressing in what you are doing, motivation naturally flows!
You're a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would be bright light blue! Because blue is calming and happy! And if I can share calm and happiness with those around me, it makes me happy! We need more of that in the world.
Who inspires you, and why?
Those closest to me and my followers! We all have our own stories about struggles and what we did to overcome them. I'm inspired by people who try to make a difference for themselves and those around them; seeing their small victories and their excitement is wonderful! Also, when my story or my methods for achieving success have helped someone, that is INSPIRING! It makes me want to keep going and keep getting better!
What are your top five training tips for your sport?
- Eat as much healthy, whole foods as you can (raw fruits, veggies, complex carbs, lean proteins, fats) because they provide essential nutrients to help things to function normally!
- Have a treat meal 1-2x a week and eat whole foods the rest of the time.
- Don't overtrain! If you do between 45-60 minutes four to five days a week, you can still get results!
- You don't need more than 20-30 minutes of cardio five days a week! Focus on burning calories through HITT-style training or lifting weights!
- Enjoy what you do. Don't force it because everyone else is doing it. If you don't enjoy it, you most likely won't keep up with it!
What is the most important piece of advice you would offer to someone who wants to be like you?
Use me as inspiration, but create your own version! Always be yourself! Don't let fear prevent you from ever truly experiencing life and what you are capable of!
Favorite quote or mantra?
"If you live by people's acceptance, you will die by their rejection."
Favorite cheat meal?
Pizza and chocolate!!
Favorite healthy snack?
Avocado Toast with a slice of cucumber, garlic, and salt.
What is your training routine like each week?
My training changes often. When you have been doing it for 17 years, you have to become creative! It is usually three days of resistance training or bodyweight training, either full-body or a split. I throw in plyometrics, Olympic rings, or TRXm or train with the Bosu/Stability ball; the list goes on! I focus on maintaining muscle but also improving muscle endurance and different forms of strength, stability, and balance!
Two days a week, I will do some sort of HIIT cardio on the treadmill, row machine, Stairmaster, or I will do Muay Thai on the heavy bag! After my cardio, I focus on 30-45 minutes of stretching and mobility work. The last two days of the week (usually the weekend), I take active rest days. You can find me paddle boarding, hiking, riding dirt bikes, or doing something outdoors!
I want to open my own NUTRISHOP store! And, I want to become a mom! This way I can continue to help others and pass on my knowledge and success!