Jennifer Johnstone – Flying Towards Stardom!

It’s common to assume when we see someone onstage looking fit and confident that their journey to reach this point was not too difficult.  The more natural they appear, the easier it is to believe that this was simply something they were destined to do.  Quite often in fitness, the desired end was inspired by a less than ideal beginning.  For Jennifer Johnstone, being up onstage is no small accomplishment.  To date, she has competed in two fitness-bikini competitions, scoring 1st runner up in both.  When she walks out onstage she has the look of a future fitness star.  But Jennifer hasn’t always been so fit and confident.  “In my late teens I noticed I was starting to put on weight…a lot of weight!!” she says.  “At my heaviest, I tipped the scales at 178 lbs!!!  That’s when I realized I needed to make a change.  I started eating healthy and joined a gym. I have been lifting ever since!”  Jennifer also had a problem with self confidence and to this day still deals with being shy by nature.  “When I am on stage or in front of a camera, I really excel.  Somehow, they both take the shyness out of me.  Yes, I am definitely on the shy side.  I was painfully shy all throughout school.”

Jennifer has been able to overcome her shyness, not only on the stage but also as a model.  “My first competition was this May in Orlando with the WBFF!  I placed 1st runner-up in the Bikini Tall Class!  I had such an unbelievable time, so much so, I competed again in July at their Sacramento show where I again placed first runner-up!” she says.  And as to her modeling?  “A few years back, I did a couple of shoots for fun.  It wasn’t until earlier this year that I found myself in front of the camera again, shooting with professional fitness and commercial photographers!”

But when the Brentwood, California native thinks of traveling down the runway, it is not a fitness stage or a modeling opportunity that’s on her mind.  Jennifer is a professional pilot by trade and flying is her first love.  For her, the sky is where she feels most at home.  “Since, childhood I have had a fascination with airplanes.  Every time a plane flew by my eyes would stay fixated on it until it was no longer in view.  I knew at a very young age that one day I would become a Pilot!  It was my amazing grandpa who gave me the aviation bug growing up. I remember him sitting at the kitchen table, drinking his instant coffee while building model airplanes or reading WWII aircraft books, one after the other.  He was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy and worked on WWII Bombers. He even worked for Howard Hughes and helped build the H-4 Hercules, a famous cargo plane better known as the Spruce Goose.  Both my dad and I are pilots.  My first flight was on July 10, 2010 and I became an FAA Certified Private Pilot in February of 2012!”

Jennifer definitely enjoys her new fitness life but her passion for flying is too deep rooted to take a back seat to anything else.  “There is absolutely nothing like it!” she says.  “It’s so freeing!  It’s breathtaking!  The perspective of the world from up there is just jaw-droppingly beautiful.  Aside from my family, it’s my biggest passion in life! Once you experience flight, you can’t live without it!  One of my favorite aviation quotes: A mile of highway takes you one mile.  A mile of runway takes you anywhere! ”

Although she may be shy on the ground, Jen is more than adventurous when she’s up in the air. She has a special interest in aerobatics.  “Aerobatics is flying the aircraft in all different, unusual attitudes.  Pretty much every attitude but straight and level.  The performances you see at air-shows, that’s aerobatics!  I’m a bit of a daredevil and as a kid looked up to the Blue Angels (still do), dreaming one day I could be an air show pilot! Melissa Pemberton is one of my idols.  I’m also a huge fan of Kirby Chambliss.  Check out some of their aviation videos online! Now THAT’S what I call flying!”

As much as she enjoys what she does, Jennifer understands that life isn’t meant to be lived just to benefit yourself.  She volunteers her time and ability to an organization she believes is providing a valuable service to others.  “After I passed my Private Pilot check-ride, I wanted to see if there was anything out there that would allow me to use my piloting skills and help others at the same time.  I was thrilled to find Angel Flight West (AFW) in my search and contacted them immediately. AFW is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs.  It’s an amazing and rewarding organization.  Anyone can volunteer, not just pilots!”

With so much on her plate Jen takes great care not to forget the one thing that has helped become successful, hard work!  Her approach to her fitness program is an example of this.  “I typically do a 5-day training split, aiming to hit each muscle group twice a week.  I am not a huge fan of cardio, so I recently started implementing 2-5 minutes of high-intensity cardio in between weight circuits.  This will keep your heart rate elevated, burning more calories throughout your workout.  I’ll add another 20 minutes of cardio after weights, three times a week. My cardio of choice would be the Stepmill or most recently Jacob’s Ladder.  This machine is awesome and will kick your butt in 5 minutes or less!  I don’t have regular access to one so I am looking into purchasing one for my home. I love it THAT much!”

Though Jennifer may seem new on the fitness scene to many, she is definitely not an overnight success.  And she also understands that having the right people in her corner for support has been a major factor in her life and knew exactly who to thank.  “My family, first and foremost.  We are extremely close and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today!”  It is easy to picture Jennifer flying above the clouds, looking off into the future.  “I see myself combining my two biggest passions of fitness and flying and turning them into a career!” she says.  “I also would like to see where my fitness modeling takes me.  It’s been amazing so far and I am thrilled to be featured in Bella Fit Magazine!”

We are equally thrilled to feature Jennifer Johnstone!

Photo: Mike Byerly courtesy of Jennifer Johnstone


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