Team Burgoon Q & A with Jen Eck

Today we have a chance to hear from one of our Team Burgoon members, Jen Eck. I've been lucky enough to know Jen for a really long time, years before we ever entered the red door to exchange our street shoes for gym shoes.

Jen Eck

When Dawn asked me to write about this determined woman and friend, I had an obvious yes! (Forgive me if I gush for 3 seconds longer than I possibly should!) Jen and I have been through quite a few versions of ourselves together and her input in my life and story has changed me forever. Her ability to imagine a bigger picture for me at my lowest points and to see her doing the same for herself is inspiring. This girl does not give up!

Thank you, Jen. Even though I've had the upfront seat to the beautiful story of you over the years, I'm so grateful for your openness here to share about where you've been and what you are currently looking at and hoping for.

Meet Jen Eck, here is what she has to say! 

Q: Where have you found your strong at Bodies by Burgoon and Torque Cycling, and how is it changing you?

A: I have found it in the heart of this place. In the people who show that they care. In the acceptance I know and see for being right where I am. In the safety of a place where there are no comparisons, no judgements and no reminders of failures past but only encouragement, determination, strong support and solid instruction.

Jen dead lifting

It is only in this place that I have been able to integrate the strengths I’ve already found in myself–emotionally, relationally and professionally–into my wellbeing physically. I think I always believed success in the physical aspect of my wellbeing was never available to me because I would try to do what others did or what other’s advised and it just never fit for me. I was looking to sources outside myself as a point of reference and in the end it didn’t make me strong, it made me weaker because I was trying to live up to someone else’s approach, passion, goals and definition of success. I didn’t even really know what success looked like for me. I knew I didn’t want it to be to just “lose weight” because that never worked and when it did, it didn’t last for long. It is in this place, where I felt safe enough to allow myself to change and actually ask the questions, “What is success for me? What energizes me? What motivates me? What strengths do I already know that I can build on? And what challenges do I have that I need help with?” AND be brave enough to listen to the answer and reinvent how I approach everything.

Jason and Jen

For me, I know that I am most energized by several things:

  • Safety – this is an atmosphere where I don’t have to expend energy trying to fit in…that would be too distracting and exhausting for me.
  • Community – I feel comfortable asking questions and asking for help. People also know who I am and check in with me. I can be as connected or independent as I want.
  • Instruction – I have tried for years to like being active by myself and I have finally come to accept the part of me that really engages with exercise that is guided by others (personal training and spin classes). I’ve given up on trying to change myself into someone else…it’s freeing. I can invest my time and resources into what makes me stronger rather than shaming myself for not pursuing what doesn't work for me anyway.
  • Support – One of the things I find most challenging about myself is my need to process things externally. I’m most strong when I don’t keep things inside emotionally or intellectually so I can keep moving forward (don’t get stuck). It’s vulnerable because it requires other people’s time to listen to me. I’m not always willing to subject everyone to that. Jason, Aldon, Dawn, Tom, Lisa, Leah, Jen and Brianna have all taken time to listen to me process things…some little, some big. Tom took the time to help me set individual goals for myself since I wasn’t able to keep up with spin classes. He gave me something to focus on and work toward so I could redefine success for myself. Each class is TRULY my own ride. Without all of these amazing people, I would have given up a long time ago (after my first spin class). I’m so grateful!

Jen Eck at Tom's Cycling Class

All in all, success for me is about being myself in whatever goal I am choosing to pursue. Of all the “B” statements we see and hear among the Burgoon team, the one I resonate with the most is “B Yourself.”

Jen at Torque Cycling

Q: What are you eating these days?

A: Restrictions and control work for some people but it never lasted long for me. I am applying the same approach to what I am eating as I do with getting more active. What works for me and what strengths can I build on? For me, I focus on what I can add rather than what I need to restrict or control.

I have changed my morning routine to make space for breakfast that usually involves sautéed vegetables and eggs or other protein. I have some blood sugar challenges that I have to pay attention to so doing this makes it easy for me to manage that without thinking about it. I pack snacks of fruit, nuts and Tiffany’s energy bites, as well as salads with protein for lunch. If I want to prep for my week, it only takes me about an hour to get set up for breakfasts, snacks and lunches. After breakfast, I grab what I need for the day and take it with me wherever I go. If I have a 6:30 a.m. spin class, I make 2 breakfasts the day before and bring one with me to enjoy after class when I get to the office. Fortunately for me, I love fresh vegetables and salads, so I play on that!

Cucumber salsa

Dinners have slowly changed for us over time too. I never made any announcements to my husband and teenagers (almost 13 and 14). I just stopped serving bread, started introducing them to grains like quinoa and brown rice, and added more tasty veggies as a side. We often will have 2 veggies instead of a grain all together. I also love to plan and find new recipes so when time allows, I will at least plan out the week and get as many groceries as I can at the beginning of the week for the whole week. I’m naturally motivated to do things ahead so I can pick away at prep for several nights or just one day at a time. Since cooking is energizing to me, it’s easy for me to fill little moments of available time with some prep for the next night’s dinner.

Jen Eck's Teriyaki Salmon with Cucumber Salsa

This salmon recipe is a family favorite that we serve every year to our guests for opening fishing weekend and just for our family all throughout the summer. 

I like to serve it with an Asian flared salad including any combination of spinach, edamame or soy beans, avocado, red bell pepper, shredded carrot, cilantro, cashews, green onions and a salad dressing like the one that Christine uses for her Asian Chicken and Quinoa Salad or Heather’s Orange Balsamic Salad Dressing.

Teriyaki Salmon with Cucumber Salsa
Author: Jen Eck
[i]Inpsired and adapted from Lunds & Byerly's Sesame Crusted Teriyaki Salmon Recipe [/i]
Ingredients
  • 4 (4 oz.) salmon fillets or 1 lb fillet cut into 4 oz. pieces (no skin if possible)
  • Cucumber Salsa:
  • 1 cup diced, seeded English cucumber
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon seeded diced jalapeño
  • Marinade/Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, coconut aminos or tamarind
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • ½ small garlic clove minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger root or ground ginger (dry)
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch mixed in 2 tsp water
  • Garnish:
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons slice green onions
Instructions
Cucumber Salsa:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate, covered for several hours to incorporate flavors.
  3. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Marinade/Sauce:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 2 minutes, reducing heat if it bubbles up too high.
  3. Let cool at room temperature.
Salmon:
  1. arrange salmon fillets on a plate or shallow dish and brush ½ tablespoon of marinade onto each fillet (both sides if no skin).
  2. Set remaining sauce aside.
  3. Let marinate refrigerated for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Heat a grill to medium high and grill the salmon (if skin, grill with the skin side down first) approximately 8 minutes on the first side. Turn it over and continue to grill it about 6 more minutes or until cooked through and just flakes easily. If the salmon has skin, peel the skin off while it is still hot. If you prefer, remove the gray flesh that was closest to the skin, sometimes it can taste a little bit fishy.
  5. The salmon can also be baked or pan fried, see directions below.*
Serving Instructions:
  1. Place the pieces of salmon on individual plates, the side that had the skin facing down.
  2. Spoon salsa over the top.
  3. Then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of sauce for each fillet.
  4. Finish by sprinkling ½ tablespoon green onion slices and 1/8 teaspoon sesame seeds.
*Alternative directions to baking salmon:
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Place the salmon skin side down on a foil lined baking pan or sheet.
  3. Bake uncovered for 4-6 minutes per ½ inch thickness.
  4. The salmon is done when it is opaque and it begins to flake when a fork is inserted into it and gently twisted.
*Alternative directions to pan frying salmon:
  1. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium-heat.
  2. Add fillets and cook, turning once, until browned and they just flake easily with a fork (3-4 minutes per side).
Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information for Teriyaki Salmon with Cucumber Salsa

EDwhiteplate1

Q: In order to take care of yourself, is there anything in life you have had to let go of in order to be healthy, strong, and your best self?

A: I have had to let go of the messages I have believed for myself:

  • I don’t have will power
  • I am not committed
  • I must not want this badly enough
  • I am not physically strong enough
  • Success related to my physical well-being is out of my reach
  • It’s too hard
  • It would be less painful not to try than to fail and experience the exhaustion involved in starting over again
  • Every external expectation of what success looks like

I have also had to give up the notion that the scale is my gage for success. So many positive things have changed that are more important to me. I am stronger, I have better mobility, I am not tired or sore going up stairs, my resting heart rate is lower, my blood sugar is easier to control, I am committed to being active (It’s been over 2 1/2 years now), I am perpetually in the process of ‘cleaning up’ what I eat, and I have new energy I never had before. Think of how many salads have replaced whatever I could order for lunch from a local restaurant in the last 6 months alone? All of these other changes have given me the courage to take the time and energy to find a new doctor that I can trust to explore my overall health and what underlying issues may be contributing to whether or not I am getting the full benefit of all of this change. We've identified 3 health challenges that may be working against me. In the past, I would have seen this as a dead end. I would have said, "see - it just isn't going to work for me." Now, I see it as the next step in the journey and is all a part of my overall wellbeing and success. I'm just taking it one step at a time.

Jen Eck doing a #sundaysetup

I keep remembering a post by someone who is part of Team Burgoon that said "If you're tired of starting over, stop quitting." It's so encouraging to me because none of my challenges change the fact that I feel most energized when I’ve finished a 45 minute spin with Tom, Lisa, Leah or Jen and that, in turn, infects the rest of my life. I’m not quitting and I know I have a team of people who stand with me. Besides, why would I quit something that makes me feel better than just about anything else I do all week?

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We are all super lucky to be on this journey towards our health with you, Jen, and for your gift in connecting what we do here at the gym to our whole self.  

Jen's favorite cycle times are Monday and Wednesday at 6:30 am and Tuesday and Thursday at 9:15 am. If you've never tried our cycling studio, join Jen and ride for free. If you already ride and see Jen in class, give her a high five and introduce yourself. We are stronger together! #teamburgoon

~Heather