The Legal Department

Bonus Episode: Optimal Health In The Legal Department With Jenn Zerling Of JZ Fitness

The Legal Department | Jenn Zerling | Optimal Health


Optimal performance in The Legal Department requires optimal health and wellness. In this bonus episode, health and wellness expert Jenn Zerling shares the five anchors for optimal health. Known as the “JZ High Five,” these five steps will help you level up at work and in life. You should have a strong foundation of optimal health and avoid gambling with the disease. Nutrition, Hydration, Fitness, Sleep, and Management are the five areas you need to look at for optimal health. Be sure to listen to the bonus episode for a deeper dive into each anchor of the JZ High Five. Jenn’s insights could provide valuable tools and strategies to elevate your health and well-being at work and in all aspects of your life.

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Bonus Episode: Optimal Health In The Legal Department With Jenn Zerling Of JZ Fitness

I’m JZ which is short for Jennifer Zerling. I am a fitness and age management expert. A fun fact about me, I sang the national anthem at Madison Square Garden.

For this episode, we’re taking a little bit of a right turn and we’re going to explore health and wellness with someone very close and very important to me, Jenn Zerling of JZ Fitness. She is a fitness and age management expert. I give her a lot of credit for where I am personally and professionally. I’m so excited to have her. JZ, I’m so glad to have you here. I want to start by giving some context about this is a show for legal professionals but why are we going to talk about health and wellness?

As I shared with you, I got into health and wellness as a way to cope with a stressful situation at work. I realized that my mental wellness and physical wellness were being adversely affected by all the stress that I had at work. We worked out at the same gym and ended up working together to help get me on the right track. That’s the framing for this conversation and I know you’re going to dig more into it. It is that health and wellness is a key ingredient for success professionally.

You couldn’t have said it better. How cool would that have been if we had been doing this journey together when you were undergoing that stressful experience? A lot of times, people turn to faith when they’re in a crisis. A lot of people turn to changing their lifestyle when they have a disease. If there’s something very extreme in their life that’s causing them to make the change, that’s when the change is attempted.

For me, everybody should have a very strong foundation all the time so that when tragedy comes and things are really tough in life because as long as we’re alive, we’re going to have tough incidences no matter what, we have a strong foundation to work from. Not only do we get through it with integrity and strength but also on the other side, we’re okay and we’re stronger.

Be ready before you need it. I want to get into your background a little bit and learn how you got into health and wellness. It’s everything you do and I feel like your leadership is grounded in all things health. You sign all your emails, “Yours in good health.” It’s great. How did that kick off for you in your life?

My father was an athlete his whole life and my father was really tough. We had this whole thing where every single weekend, we had no choice but to work out with him through sports. He would take us on the tennis courts and baseball with my siblings. I have a brother and a sister. When they were at bat, I had to field all the balls. My brother is hitting in the outfield. I had to run for it, but not only that. I had Dad yelling at me like, “Come on. Hustle. Let’s go. Don’t hold back.”

It was very stressful because Dad is this big brawny guy from New York City. He was always on my nervous system. It forced me to show up because if you didn’t show up, you didn’t hear the end of it, but then I went to college. I did end up playing collegiate sports. I did a lot of intramural sports instead because academics wasn’t my thing in high school. I was more into cheerleading and tennis on the side but also being popular.

I had a little bit of a pocket of time in college where I didn’t work out and I gained 25 pounds. That wasn’t fun. It wasn’t the freshman 15. It was freshman 25. It was very stressful. I had to learn how to be academic because the State University of New York Albany let me into their doors and it was one of the top three schools. It was very challenging. A lot of the people that I befriended ended up getting expelled academically. It was no joke.

Too much party?

I’m not going to lie. When people are like, “You don’t get it. You’re all into fitness,” I get it because partying is a lot of fun. What’s not fun is being 25 pounds heavier, having joint pain, being tired all the time, and being miserable. I had a very bad patch of misery in college. I couldn’t wait to get out. I attribute that to not having a strong foundation of optimal health. I ended up joining Bally Total Fitness in my junior year.

I was at my free training session and a gentleman by the name of Chaz was like, “We need a female trainer. Are you interested?” I said to him, “I don’t think my parents want me to work while I’m in school because I’m not focused as it is.” At that point, I was getting good grades but I needed to stay focused. He recruited me for his team. I had to learn how to put the McDonald’s flurries down and stick to protein shakes. That was a big transition for me.

You’re a personal trainer and a nutrition coach, but I feel like you do so much more than that. I view you as a problem solver. There are so many ways that you can stand in your own way with health. I was trying to think back at how I got into a workout routine and it comes down to friction. How hard is it to get you into a gym program?

When we moved to LA, because we moved from one part of town to another, and left the gym that I had been part of for a long time, getting restarted was super hard. Now the program we have is very low friction. We’re in the garage working out. It’s very convenient, but maybe you could talk a little bit about what are those barriers that folks put in their way or ways to help clear barriers, which is what is one of your unique talents.

I appreciate that. The first thing is in the mind. The barrier in the mind needs to go. It’s not always easy to get up. Especially if you guys wake up at 6:00 in the morning. We meet at 6:15 sharp and you are always on time with your husband. People who go to the gym sometimes get in the car and set enough time, then decide, “I need to wake up at this time so I can eat and I got to drink my water.” There are all these rules and you got to be at a class at a certain time. Otherwise, you’re not let into the class because they have their rules or the gym is all the way down the street and you have a meeting. I don’t want to be late for the meeting.

We put up all these mental blocks. We can get rid of that and put the work out on your schedule just like you do your meetings, trials, or anything in life. It’s on the calendar. It’s in your day, non-negotiable. That’s first, get rid of the mental block. Once you get rid of the mental block, we go to how you feel. My whole thing is if you’re doing what I call, I don’t want to plug myself, but it’s the JZ Fitness high five. It’s all lifestyle stuff. It’s nothing fancy. I didn’t make it up.

If you do those five anchors, you roll out of bed a little easier. You get into the car easier and your intention to go to the gym and be present when you’re at the gym is easier. Is it always an easy workout? No. Are you always excited to be there? No, but you have to do it because it’s part of aging well. It’s part of contributing to productivity at work and winning at work. You don’t want to just go to work and be there. You want to win.

Let’s talk about that before we jump into the high five, which I want to do. Many colleagues, friends, or peers, especially as I’ve made a big pivot health-wise, are like, “I can’t believe you do this.” I am so much more effective. I have much better clarity of mind. My mood is much better. I know you work with a lot of professionals and high performers. Can you talk about some of the benefits of prioritizing health and wellness in terms of its impact on careers?

For some people who once had an athletic background, it’s like bringing back what they once knew. Those folks are easy to work with because they understand being fit always feels good. If they fell out of it for a few years, once they get back in, they always reflect on, “I miss this.” For people who have never in their lives been fit, getting them on the other side of what they’re already experiencing is the toughest part.

In our industry or my industry, we have to prove to folks every single day that we see them that it’s worth the grinds. I call it a grind because that’s what the client experiences. The grind of waking up and getting there. The biggest thing is you have to know and believe. Once you believe that this is going to be the absolute answer to your true success, not only in being the best at your job and being the best at your partnership. How about the person you’re in love with, the children in your life, or your friends?

It’s also going to allow you to feel very connected to you. Your self-esteem goes up. You feel like a superhero. You’re unstoppable. Nothing could get in the way of your success. When I say nothing, take me for example. If there’s anybody whose health I want, as a female, it’s myself. I’m not being arrogant but my labs are perfect. My scans and my hormones at the age of 45 are perfect.

If I didn’t have this strong foundation, I would have still been deaf. I went deaf in March. To this day, these doctors have no idea what caused my deafness. It’s called sudden sensorineural hearing loss. It’s unfortunately more common than a lot of other things, but because I had a strong foundation of optimal health, not good health but optimal health, I not only have the barometer of saying to myself, “This is not normal. Let me tackle this,” then I went to the doctor within a week, but I also healed.

I healed 100% when I was told by four different professionals that I was not going to get at most 50% of my hearing back. You have to have that strong foundation of optimal health because if, God forbid, you’re in the doctor’s hands, it is now a gamble. One thing to note is it’s easier to optimize your health than to gamble with disease.

It's easier to optimize your health than to gamble with disease. Share on X

Isn’t that the truth? That’s the worst thing especially as I’m getting into the north of 40. I noticed friends or family members have health problems. I had a good friend who had a cardiac and had open heart surgery at 47. I was surprised and it’s very sobering. Let’s talk about getting more tactical into the five anchors. I do believe, in my experience, it is hard to start and it can be overwhelming but you’ve broken these down into five areas that are approachable for folks. Let’s talk about the JZ Fitness high five.

In the JZ Fitness high five, let’s optimize your nutrition, hydration, fitness, sleep, and me-management. If you do all five anchors, you’re going to get a high five every day of your life for yourself and the world. You’re going to experience a high vibration of vitality. Anecdotally, when everybody follows those high five, everybody thrives. If somebody has some little issue going on, they bounce back very quickly. I call it anecdotal evidence because there’s a lot of scientific research out there on everything I teach, but with my particular clients, I don’t have enrolled in any study if you will.

Optimize your nutrition, hydration, fitness, sleep, and management. Share on X

Let’s start with the high five. This is what I call the lowest effort for the biggest return on the high five, which is drinking water. I’m a hydration evangelist. It is amazing how drinking water has such a high impact. All you have to do is sip on it all day. Can you talk a little bit about why hydration is so important? Are we chronically dehydrated?

That work gets a little tricky because a lot of people are being told, which is what we tell our patients, “You’re supposed to drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day.”

If I’m 150 pounds, I should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day.

You’re not 150 pounds. At that point, a lot of people shouldn’t even drink half their body weight if they’re not moving. That’s where it gets a little tricky. For example, I’m coaching this woman. She’s 74 and she doesn’t move at all. She’s 165. If I told her to drink 80-something ounces of water a day, she’d be peeing in her pants. I’m not even joking. You take the average person who’s super sedentary, you ask them to drink a lot of water. They’re not getting enough movement through their day. Maybe they exercise that day and they’re in the bathroom all day. If they have a high-power job, they’re constantly getting up and it’s distracting. It’s a catch-22 that requires them to get up and move.

The Legal Department | Jenn Zerling | Optimal Health
Optimal Health: When everybody follows the five anchors, everybody thrives.


I was going to say it’s a double benefit.

The thing is you want water to fuel every cellular process because your cells require water. Even your joints require water. If you look at your beautiful skin, you’re drinking more water and it’s evident in your skin. That’s the canvas of your internal organs. Your internal vitality is what we see on the skin. We see people breaking out, that’s inflammation. Water is going to help with inflammation. Think about it this way. Water is the conduit for everything that happens in the blood.

If you could visualize someone who’s well hydrated and has nice flowing blood in their stream versus someone who’s dehydrated is thick and viscous. How are nutrients supposed to get to the cells? How are you supposed to get mobility in the joints? It’s impossible. On top of that, it causes a lot of exhaustion because your cells are not thriving, therefore, the brain is not as well.

Drink water. That’s an easy thing for folks to do. As I said, I feel like high impact and low effort. My favorite of the high five is sleep. My friends tease me because I go to bed early or the best is if my husband’s out of town and I go to bed with the kids at 8:30. You sent us some materials about how sleeping adequately helps regenerate your body and produce human growth hormone. Talk about my favorite of the high five, sleep.

I’m disappointed your favorite is not fitness. Sleep is very important. A lot of sleep experts will say 7 to 8 hours is the preference but I have people who sleep as much as 10 hours a day.

I try to.

That’s why you look great because you’re fit, you’re sleeping, and you’re hydrated. It’s very important because all recovery happens in your sleep. Growth hormone is one of those hormones you hear a lot about but it circulates in the blood at high levels while you’re sleeping. It’s the same thing with other hormones. When you’re gastrointestinal tract is not moving or being utilized because you’re sleeping, that’s considered an intermittent fast.

There are even some dynamic processes that happen in the gut while you’re sleeping. If you don’t get enough sleep, everything suffers. Every single system in the body suffers. It slows it down. It shortens your lifespan significantly. It also leads to heavy amounts of dementia. We are seeing so much dementia these days in people as early as their 40s or late 30s.

It’s more so over the last ten years. We’ve seen a huge jump in dementia cases. You’re seeing a lot of celebrities. People are asking, “How is that happening?” It’s happening because it’s high levels of stress. It’s a lack of good sleep or optimal sleep. You could go to sleep, but if you go to sleep with a full mind and you don’t have good sleep hygiene, that’s going to be a problem.

Maybe we should dig into important sleep hygiene. I noticed myself, toward the end of the day, I get crankier and my fuses much shortened, especially with my kids. I find that I can’t handle stressors as much toward the end of the day when I’m more tired than in the morning. I feel like a superhero in the morning after sleep. What do we need to do to make sleep optimal for our health?

You need to have a sleep routine, first off. What is a sleep routine? Every single night, go to sleep at the same time, but the events leading up to that time frame need to be the same. I don’t know if you slept-train your children, but I sleep-trained mine. It’s a game-changer. Every single night, they go in a bath. Once the bath comes, they’re like, “Mommy, can I watch TV?” “Bath time. No more TV.” We go bath then we go brush our teeth. We read a book and we go to bed.

If the kid is sick, then I put a nebulizer on them. Sometimes, I’ll give them a little treat so they can watch something educational but in general, it’s the same sequence every single night. The brain is being triggered, “By the way, we’re preparing for bedtime.” They are kids. If you take an adult, it’s not that easy because we bring our day into our night. It gives us a chance to almost debrief and reflect.

A lot of times, we find conversations with our spouse. Sometimes, we’ll get on a phone call. What I challenge each person tuning in is to first set up a very specific sleep schedule. What does that look like? If it doesn’t fall within that, then everything needs to be before that. If there’s something that needs to be resolved, never go to bed in a bad mood.

What brings you in a good mood? Is it turning on a candle? Is it listening to good music? Is it having a positive conversation? If it’s with a spouse and you guys have a little bit of a disagreement, you can say to each other, “It’s very important that we go to bed peacefully. Let’s resolve this peacefully together.” It’s going to be a little bit of a shift for some people because they’re probably thinking, “It’s not that easy,” that’s another episode, but we have to make it our due diligence to have that sleep schedule in place and stick to it.

I love the sleep. Fitness, it’s not my favorite but the way we’ve done it with our lifestyle, it is an essential part. When I travel, which is not infrequently for work, I will usually go to the gym. I’m a member of Orangetheory and most cities have at least one studio. People are always surprised that I’m able to do that, but I honestly don’t feel as effective. I don’t think as clearly. I don’t sleep as well without the workout. Talk about fitness. This is a softball for you.

Home run for me is more I like it. Fitness turns into an aesthetic journey in our industry and we do a tremendous disservice as fitness professionals to drive home six-pack abs and looking good. Now that I’m in the age management circuit, I’ve doing that for now since 2010, and I see what being unfit looks like. People who are unfit lose their libido very quickly.

I’ll tell people, “If you want your libido essentially for life, you better be fit.” That’s number one. There’s oxygen that’s brought to the cells throughout the body from head to toe. If you don’t have oxygen, how are things supposed to happen? Do you see where that goes? Also, circulation is important. There are two pumps in the body that I teach. One is the heart. Do you know what the second pump is?

I don’t. I’m going to say brain.

It’s not the brain. It is the legs. Your legs are manual pumps. Can you stand up or do you need to sit? Start marching in place and if you’re tuning in, do the same. What you’re doing is you’re pumping blood back through the extremities. Even though it has to go against the gravitational pull, that’s a pump. It goes against gravity. If you sit and you don’t pump, then blood rather pulls. We have claudication like there’s no tomorrow. We have circulatory issues. People have lack of muscle tone. We have diagnosed over a dozen patients with sarcopenia.

What’s that?

That’s a disease of the muscle. We’re not talking about they have no muscle. We’re talking about they have no muscle function and they have low muscle mass. That’s a disease. Red blood cells are affected. Physiologically, it is a disaster. These are people who are at high risk of osteoporosis. They can fall more easily. I can get into the whole bone physiology but again, that’s another episode. We’re just talking about vitality. If you want to live a healthy optimal life, you have to be fit.

What does that mean for folks on a concrete basis? I know we’ve talked about a certain number of minutes per week of cardio exercise. Can you be specific about what’s a baseline expectation for fitness?

Depending on the person. I don’t like giving broad statements like that but I don’t want to give one statement that doesn’t apply to all. For weight loss, generally speaking, we ask for 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. The cool thing is it doesn’t have to be an hour at a time.

For lawyers in particular, if you don’t have time, even the Tabata method has proven huge improvements in what’s called your VO2 max. That’s the volume of oxygen in milliliters per kilogram per minute. That’s going to be how many miles per gallon your engine gets. We’re talking about oxygen. Four minutes a day might be enough. If you do four minutes here and four minutes in the afternoon, that’s going to be now eight minutes. That adds up, then you get maybe a bigger bout when you have more time.

Some of my clients travel a lot for work. We’ll try to get in the gym. I’ll write hotel programs for them but things that are tangible for them. If they’re a starter in exercise, I can’t expect them to do an hour every single day vigorously. If they’ve never exercised a day in their life, I baby-step them into what’s considered optimal. That might take 6 months, 3 months, or a year. The fact of the matter is when you look at the time frame of your life, as long as you’re moving forward, you’re progressing and you’re getting fitter. If people can tangibly understand that, doing something is much better than doing nothing.

What does 300 minutes break down to, like five workouts?

That’s my point. You could break it down into as many workout as you want because there’s no proof.

I’m under that. I’m below. I’m probably four workouts.

Which is much better than what you were doing. Why do you think I nag you to get on the beach every week? An hour’s walk. It doesn’t have to always be a class setting that’s vigorous. It could be a hike or sports. People are playing more pickleball. You play pickleball. That all counts.

It all adds up.

You have strength training and I got to drive that home because if it’s all cardio. You lose muscle and that could be problematic.

In my old way, I did a lot of spinning which is a great cardio workout, but did not do any weight training. I was intimidated by it. I think that the water and the weight training are probably the biggest game changers. People always say that. I feel like I have greater endurance. I don’t get tired and I attribute that to the weights.

You look younger too.

I sure do. Go on.

You look hot.

My least favorite of the anchors is diet. I remember when we first started working together, I got addicted to Orangetheory. I was going probably four-plus days a week and I was better. Before I started working out, I was probably 25 pounds heavier than I am now. The weight was not the reason at all for my motivation to start working out. It was a stress management.

I was fitter doing the workout but I’ve always carried weight in my abdomen. I’ve always had a little belly and I’m a pretty thin person, regardless. I remember as we started working together, you were asking me what I was eating. I was surprised. I was like, “I always worked out. I can have pretzels and cheese. I can drink a lot of diet soda and I can do all these things.” Let’s talk about the hardest anchor for me, diet.

It’s the hardest thing for everyone. Nobody wants to be told, “I can’t eat this and I can’t eat that. I cheated on my diet. I drank alcohol. I’m off my program.” The narrative needs to change. It’s like the narrative as it relates to working out that we discussed earlier. You have to decide what I put in my body is the gas that I put in my fuel tank. It’s what I fuel myself.

I always tell people, “Don’t get rid of things.” If I’d start telling people, “Don’t eat this and don’t eat that,” now it’s restriction. I coach a lot of high-end people. I even coach athletes. Let’s take an athlete for example, because some of your audience might be athletes. If I have a baseball player and they’re at bat, I don’t tell them, “Don’t drop your elbow.” I say, “Raise your elbow.” You focus on what you want versus what you don’t want. Whatever you focus on becomes your reality. That’s a science, by the way.

I know. That’s the truth.

It’s the same thing with nutrition. Let’s say you’re going to a party and you know they’re serving pizza and you haven’t had pizza for a month. You’re on this diet with this nutritionist and she told you, “Don’t eat pizza because it’s junk food.” What you should do is look at including the foods you’re supposed to eat for optimal health and have a slice on the periphery.

It’s when that slice of pizza replaces vegetables and lean proteins. Now your body is deficient in those areas. If you could live by that standard, that’s when you won’t struggle with weight. Is that true for every person? It depends on the person. I have every single one of my clients keep a log every single day. I’m looking at their trajectory every day over the course of months.

I’m able to guide them based on that. That’s easy for me because it takes me 30 days to identify what’s their understanding of nutrition, what they are struggling with, what they need more help with, and what narrative we need to debunk and move in the direction of success. I want people to feel like they’re succeeding even when they’re in the mood for something that’s not optimal. We should be able to eat whatever we want without any restriction, but we need to include the foods that our body needs to thrive.

I know you’ve coached us around a low glycemic index diet and eating foods that are low in inflammatory. When I stick with it, it makes a big difference. I notice clearer thoughts. I don’t feel bloated and sluggish. What are some high-level parameters for eating that way?

Low glycemic nutrition is also that we can keep blood sugars regulated. Back in the day, we used to put people who had diabetes on these types of programs. We’re learning now that a lot of people are pre-diabetic. They’ve lowered the parameters for prediabetes. It used to be in the 6. Now it’s like 5.7, which is unheard of.

For what measurement?

Your hemoglobin a1C. Hemoglobin a1C is an indication of how well and how effective your cells are at mobilizing glucose into the cell to utilize energy. When that level is high, it’s a percentage of which the glucose molecules are almost on the outside of the cells due to insulin sensitivity or even resistance for some folks.

If that’s the case, we have to get people’s physiology optimal. No high spikes that are going to cause huge drops in blood sugar or insulin because insulin hangs out in the bloodstream for hours. When we do that chronically throughout our lives, it catches up and we start to fatigue various different organs in the body.

That leads to a whole plethora of issues. One is glycation, where sugar molecules start to bind to nerve cells, muscle cells, and cells in the body that they shouldn’t bind to. It starts intercepting with proteins that the body should be binding to. That’s why there’s inflammation there. There’s inflammation in the gut because of too much sugar, especially gluten. Gluten is not a sugar. It’s a protein, but gluten is very abrasive. Gluten is in everything that we eat. We eat bread and pasta. Virtually, every sauce has wheat in there. If you look at ingredients in a bag, it’s everywhere.

It’s hard to eat this way, by the way.

It is and it isn’t. It’s very easy when you know how to do it. I’ll be very honest with you. I fell into a good career because what I thrive off of is getting people to have those a-ha moments. It’s not that hard if somebody locks arms with you. It does require people to pay for it and it can get a little bit costly but at the end of the day, once you know this stuff, it doesn’t change. As long as you understand the foundation of optimal physiology, you don’t want to go back because you always feel good when you’re doing it and you’re splashing in the nachos that you like.

The Legal Department | Jenn Zerling | Optimal Health
Optimal Health: As long as you understand the foundation of optimal physiology, you don’t want to go back because you always feel good when you’re doing it.


Although, I don’t like that type of food as much anymore. I have been on a bad tear, but I go by how my body feels. My body feels better when I’m following the anchors and eating better. I like what you said about adding in. I’m going to go on record that one of my goals for 2024 is to eat more vegetables and make that their anchor of the diet as opposed to just sprinkling it in.

That sounds like a great plan. In fact, plant it in your backyard. Do it with your girls. Have a whole garden back there then you pick your own plants.

That would be great. The last anchor that I also struggle with is me-management. Tell us about what that is.

Managing yourself. We’re having a little bit of a get-together with my son’s class. My husband calls me up saying, “We have so much to do.” He was on this cloud of, “How we’re going to get it all done in two days?” Managing your nervous system starts with you identifying what’s causing you stress. First, identify it. Once you identify it, don’t ask yourself, “What do I do?” Say, “What do I need to do to have action away from the stressor?”

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Focus on action. Don’t focus on the stressor itself because the stressor itself is going to waste your energy. If we think of the Tasmanian Devil, he’s spinning around and he’s wasting so much energy on that instead of producing results. If you could put all the energy into producing results and less on the stressor, it’s a game changer. The problem is a lot of people don’t know how to manage their nervous system throughout the day.

When you talk about those 4:00 lows, it could be a lot of things. It could be your diet. It could be from the way you’re managing your posture because if we’re forward all the time, we get tired just from that. It could be that you’re very stressed out and you have deadlines. It is your responsibility to focus on pausing your day. Breathing or maybe turning on meditational music while you’re working on contracts. Taking a walk, getting outside, and getting vitamin D, which tends to be very low in most people. Managing your nervous system is something that needs to happen all day long.

Let’s talk about what it means to manage your nervous system. You notice the stressor. We’ve also talked about being ahead of it. I work with an executive coach also. For me, setting boundaries around both work and home and demands. You and I have talked about making sure you’re doing things for you that aren’t all of what I call the must-does. All your to-do’s. You’re doing things that you enjoy doing. Maybe more tactically, how do you get ahead of those stressors?

First things first, let’s take it to the next level and set up fake boundaries. You have your true boundaries where it’s you’re breaking point. Your bottom line, and then you have your fake boundaries. The fake boundaries are almost like, “I’m going to pretend this is my boundary for my kids or to whoever. Once I hit that fake boundary, that’s my boundary,” because I’m never going to get to my real boundary because that bound to me is for me.

Nobody will ever know that boundary. That is a big space between my fake boundary and my real boundary. That space is where the magic happens because you grow as a person when you’re able to manage how you feel at all times. A lot of times what I do, I have people bring up what is stressing them. While I’m not a therapist and that’s in my contract that they sign, “I’m not a mental health therapist.” We do a lot of strategy sessions.

A person brings up something very stressful for them and I walk them through that stressor. Through it and beyond it, then I check in with them. If I feel it’s deep-rooted that’s far beyond my expertise, I do refer them out. The thing to note is some people don’t believe in therapy because “they don’t have problems.” You have an executive coach. There are executive coaches just training your subconscious brain.

I have a mentor. He works with me on leveling up. What does that even look like? Sometimes I call them up and we have a conversation. It has nothing to do with anything. I leave the call and I’m in the best mood. He does little inductions. Sometimes on a Thursday at 10:00 at night, he’s like, “Are you in bed?” I said, “Yes.” “I’m going to walk you through an induction.” It’s almost like hypnotherapy but a little better. It’s specific to my journey.

Let’s say I have a big pocket of lots going on. For me, it’s taking on a lot of things. It’s not so much, “I’m stressed.” Thankfully, I’ve learned how to manage my nervous system. It’s always a work in progress, but he will literally bring me through inductions. I wake up and the call is over. I’m like, “It’s over. I’ll hang up.” I fall asleep. We have to train that subconscious brain and get out of the conscious brain because the conscious brain is what keeps us connected to our ego. That’s where the problem lies.

The Legal Department | Jenn Zerling | Optimal Health
Optimal Health: We have to train that subconscious brain and get out of the conscious brain because the conscious brain keeps us connected to our ego, and that’s where the problem lies.


As I said, one of the hardest ones for me is setting those boundaries and being cognizant of the emotional side of things and how I’m reacting to stress. Pre-planning is good.

What you can say to yourself is, “What do I need to be in my joy?” Close your eyes and say, “What do I need right now?” I want you to take the camera inward when you’re feeling that stress. In the camera inward, you’re looking back at that little girl or if you’re a guy, that little boy. We all have that little person within us. We answer this big world of expectations from all areas of our lives, but then we stop being heard.

We start giving and we deplete our little storage tank. When we talk about boundaries, I don’t think we should think of boundaries as stopping points because personally, I love giving. It makes me feel so good when at 6:30 at night to walk over a meal to my neighbor. We went to an event and they gave me this whole thing of food. I said, “Do you want this.” I should have been bathing my kids by 6:30 and getting myself together. I had a lot of notes to do with my patients. I had so much to do but that extra little inch wasn’t me stepping over a boundary. It was giving me joy. I asked myself at that moment, “Should I give it to her now or should I wait until tomorrow?” It’s little things of recognition. What’s going to work for me?

Is it awareness?

It’s being authentic to your personal needs at all times and it’s not selfish. If you have your crap together, you don’t feel off-kilter. You feel anchored.

It’s that statement that people say like putting on your own oxygen mask, being aware of your emotional and physical needs, and taking care of your nutrition, your water, and your sleep does set you up. It certainly set me up for being super effective and unstoppable in all parts of my life. I can’t thank you enough. If I think back to where I was in 2018 to 2019 and where I am now, it’s 180 degrees different. I feel like I am set up for the next however long I need to be alive.

That’s amazing. We’re going to live as long as we are supposed to live, but you want to live optimally. You don’t want to be in a hospital bed.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise with the audience. This is a detour, but I firmly believe prioritizing health and wellness is essential for success, for feeling good and enjoying your life.

It’s my pleasure. To add to that, it is the foundation of who we are. As anyone in the Legal Department, a strong healthy life. I always say to maximize your potential by optimizing your health. The only way to maximize your potential is to be optimal with your health.

Maximize your potential by optimizing your health. Share on X

Thank you so much for sharing all this information with our audience. It’s a lot. I’ve taken a lot of notes that I know I’ll refer back to that and I know where to find you to ask you questions. If the audience wants to learn more, where can they find you?

They can go to On my website, I have the JZ Fitness lifestyle course, which has 27 short videos where they can dive in if they want a nice short little demo of some exercises when they can’t make it to the gym. I’m on YouTube under JZ Fitness and @JZFitnessNutrition on Instagram.

The last question, I know everyone gets a lot of stress about this. You probably have so much music since you coach Orangetheory and train others. What is your pump-up song?

The Legal Department | Jenn Zerling | Optimal Health
Optimal Health: Part of the management is being grateful and practicing gratitude.


I knew you were going to ask that question and I was thinking about that. Quite honestly, because I have so much music, it depends on the day. I love music. If you ever come to my classes, you know that my whole playlist is amazing, but now, because tomorrow it might be different, the song that pumps me up and my kids is Thank You Hashem.

That song is thanking our higher power because of the fact that we have the ability to wake up, open our eyes, live in Southern California, be in a good school district, and have beautiful friends, beautiful friends, and yourself. I love having you in my life too. The fact that we have what we have, we’re so grateful. Part of the me-management is being grateful and practicing gratitude. When I blast that song, my kids are singing at the top of their lungs. I want my kids to be grateful for everything they get as well.

Thank you.


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