Celebrity trainer Jolene Matthews, who is shaping up New Jersey Real Housewives Teresa Guidance and Jacqueline Laurita, has a special motivation and message for her clients; she is an alcoholic, fortunately in recovery.
In the constellation of celebrity trainers, Matthews ranks near the Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels and Gunnar Peterson, who trains Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Lopez.
But unlike them, she is based in New York City, rather than Los Angeles.
In addition to teaching classes at various spots in New York, including Sony and 30 Rock, she recently began working with Bravo’s New Jersey housewives.
Check out Jolene’s photos; click to enlarge.
In an exclusive interview with TheImproper, Matthews speaks openly about her battle with alcoholism, from which she has recovered, she says.
“It has given me added clarity, which has energized my work and beliefs,” she says.
She spoke to TheImproper between classes:
IM: When did you first start being a celebrity trainer? Had you been a trainer previously?
Matthews: I have been training for about five years. I have worked with athletes, their wives and now, two of the cast from Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
IM: Were you reluctant to speak about your disease at first? What brought you to the point where you did?
Matthews: This disease has been in my family for generations. I used to judge them because it bothered me how they let their lives get taken over by the bottle. Now, I realize nobody asks for that miserable existence. They are sick; their brains have shut down in the prefrontal cortex, and they need help to see their self-destruction.
IM: We saw for instance with the Fox-news-broadcaster Laurie Dhue, as being one of the first media people to publicly speak about it. What was your reaction to that?
Matthews: I applaud it. About 100 years ago, they would jail people with diabetes until they became aware of the disease. We need to break the stigma behind addiction and understand it is FATAL. How can we not act on that??
IM: Obviously, it was a cathartic experience for you and you probably felt great to get that out in the open … right?
Matthews: Is it a widespread problem out there; more than most people know? The statistics are one in 12 people battle addiction…food, alcohol, pain killers, gambling. I am not ashamed to stand up for who I am and the struggles my family have faced. I was born with this gene. I can’t separate it from myself anymore than I can separate the color of my skin or eyes.
IM: Are the celebrities more specific as to what they want; or, want they want to get rid of?
Matthews: Not anymore than the average client. But, it cracks me up that they think it should happen right away! Their time lines are always a little tighter!
IM: How often do most people have to train on a weekly basis?
Matthews: I say 90 minutes, five to six days a week. A combination of cardio, stretching and weights. It sounds like a lot but we need to carve that time out for ourselves and stick to it – like we would with a doctor’s appointment.
IM: Any secret tips for our readers?
Matthews: I believe in meditation every morning. Centering ourselves can balance our stress levels which leads you to rely less on overeating and/or skipping meals. Reconnect with your higher being and power.
IM: What has been you most special moment so far in your career? What stands out?
Matthews: I am working on another fitness DVD and a book. There are so many whirlwind moments! But, I can say when people tell me that they once hated working out and now love it….that’s when I feel like I made a positive change in their fitness and wellness.
IM: Who would you like to train?
Matthews: Kathy Griffin. I love working with clients who can make me laugh and be real.