Interview conducted by editor and publisher Linda Warwick and written by Katherine DiPastena
Some of us find our calling early in life. Others live and learn and follow our passions wherever they may lead. Personal trainer and nutrition coach Jenn Kloberdanz might have taken an unusual path, but her captivating story is easy to relate to for many women.
Kloberdanz was born in Kimberley, British Columbia, and moved a short time later to Fox Creek, Alberta, where she grew up. Life was simple in the rural town, located halfway between Grande Prairie and Edmonton. Like many other kids there, she attended Fox Creek School from kindergarten all the way through grade 12. Road trips back to Kimberley, where she spent time with her extended family and maintained a tight-knit group of friends, were the highlight of her summers.
Kloberdanz recalls a pleasant childhood. A bit of an introvert by nature, she channelled her energy into academics. Her approach to learning was one of personal enjoyment—an attitude she continues to maintain as an adult. After high school, Kloberdanz attended Mount Royal University in Calgary with the plan of becoming a teacher. But homesickness kicked in after the first semester and she returned to Fox Creek, where she continued her studies at MacEwan University and achieved her goal of becoming an early childhood educator.
Although she struggled to find her direction as a young adult, Kloberdanz was always certain of one thing—she wanted to be a mom. That dream came true shortly after she turned 20, when she gave birth to her daughter, Tyra. Today Tyra is 15 years old and, like her mother, has a natural aptitude for sports and takes pride in being a strong student.
Some aspects of Kloberdanz’s life were on the right track, but others were not, and in 2005 she found herself at a breaking point. She was struggling in an unhealthy relationship, weighed down by low self-esteem and distracting herself to avoid the pain. Something had to give. Kloberdanz packed up and moved to Grande Prairie with her daughter, gave up alcohol and made the life-changing decision to sign up for a bodybuilding program.
Bodybuilding opened her eyes to a whole new world. What drew her in was the possibility of a physical transformation—one that she hoped would melt away her insecurities. Discipline replaced indulgence and gave her something bigger than herself to focus on. Her life became regimented and the gym became her second home. Kloberdanz participated in her first competition in 2005, placing in the middle of the pack.
A busy mom, Kloberdanz shifted her career to massage therapy. Ironically, she enrolled in school without ever having had a massage herself. She knew little about the profession except that she could set her own hours, work from home and have more time for her daughter. Her natural aptitude for helping others made massage therapy a perfect fit for her.
While bodybuilding continued to fill a void, it was beginning to take a considerable toll. A fierce competitor by nature, Kloberdanz found herself eating less and less and working out more and more to combat feelings of inadequacy. Although her primary focus was her physical appearance, the competitive aspect became an internal struggle, one in which “good enough” was never quite within reach, and it began to have serious effects on her body. She suffered fractures in both her feet as well as adrenal fatigue, which led to secondary infertility.
Recently, Kloberdanz has reflected on her bodybuilding experience with a mix of emotions. “The good lies in the discipline I learned, the dedication and the commitment it took to get to that place,” she shares in a deeply personal post on social media. “I can do anything I put my mind to.”
“The bad lies in everything else,” she continues, “from the reasons I ever started doing it to the damage it has caused me. I started competing because I was extremely insecure. I attracted bad relationships that fed into that belief.”
Multiple shoulder surgeries forced Kloberdanz to take a step back from both her work as a massage therapist and her intense fitness routine. Although her body healed, she was unable to continue healing her clients because of the intensely physical nature of massage therapy. But that didn’t stop her from finding ways to help others become healthier and stronger. Kloberdanz simply switched gears, turning her attention to personal training and nutrition.
After spending years trying to achieve perfection from the outside in, Kloberdanz was reaching a breakthrough. She had battled anxiety and depression on and off for most of her life and was now coping with asthma and serious digestive issues from her overly regimented diet. It was time for a change, and Kloberdanz knew she had to get to the root of the problem and restore balance in her life.
She detached herself from the world of bodybuilding and zeroed in on healing herself from the inside out. This time, it wasn’t just about losing weight or dropping a dress size. It was about feeling whole again.
Her passion for nutrition and healthy living drew the attention of her peers who were looking for answers to their own issues. She researched natural remedies for friends whose family members were coping with conditions such as autism, ALS and cancer. Each time, the answer was similar. By removing processed foods and eliminating sugar and dairy, amazing things were happening. Visible changes were taking place and Kloberdanz was discovering her ability to help others in a whole new way.
The last four years have been a whirlwind of positive growth for Kloberdanz. She has traded intense workouts for quiet meditation. She has participated in several Choices seminars, asking herself tough questions and ridding herself of the negative attitudes that had plagued her past.
So many people have inspired her on her journey of self-discovery, but Kloberdanz has a particularly special place in her heart for her paternal grandmother, Grandma Mackinnon. Mackinnon has lived an abundant life while practising simplicity in every possible way, growing her own garden, volunteering in her community and going to church. What’s most remarkable is that this year she will be turning 101.
The experience of making peace with herself and feeling “enough” has opened up new doors in Kloberdanz’s personal life as well as her professional one. Three years ago, she met her soul mate. The timing couldn’t have been better, as she was finally in a place where she believed she deserved to be happy, loved and accepted for who she was, not for a glossy image of someone she aspired to be. Today, Kloberdanz is happy married and lives with her daughter and stepdaughter. Although she had always imaged herself having a large family, if you asked her now, she would tell you that her life is whole.
Kloberdanz’s primary focus now lies in functional diagnostic nutrition (FDN). It sounds complicated, but it’s quite the opposite. There are no quick fixes or magic pills. FDN seeks to identify the underlying causes of disease instead of treating symptoms. Using functional lab work, she identifies healing opportunities and gives her clients the tools they need to make real, sustainable changes. It’s a simple philosophy that incorporates diet, rest, exercise, supplements and stress reduction.
Kloberdanz draws inspiration daily from the people she helps, and she enjoys her enlightened perspective after years of struggling to find peace. It’s not only her knowledge that allows her to educate others; the story of what brought her to where she is today truly enables her to connect with the challenges that other people face.
Taking care of oneself is all about priorities. As Kloberdanz explains, “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not important to you, you’ll find an excuse.”by