Team is nothing new to Jihad Watt. From taking multiple leaps into unknown territory career-wise, Jihad understands the intimidation factor that many face as a new Athlete. The growth he found with each move allows him to support others to show up for themselves on a daily basis.
What you may not come to know from first meeting Jihad is that he grew up in a small-town Irvington, New Jersey – playing every sport he could (maybe that part is obvious, you tell us!). From basketball, football, track and field, to competitive cheerleading – Jihad was always part of a team.
FROM COLLEGIATE ATHLETE TO CORPORATE GIG – HOW DID FITNESS BECOME A GOAL?
After running D1 track in college, I went right to working as a UPS supervisor for a few years, but I knew this couldn’t be “it” and craved a change. I got a unique opportunity – a week unpaid internship in Oakland, CA under a fitness trainer that coached everyone from average exerciser to football players. Before I knew it, a week became a month and then a year. This was my first introduction to boutique fitness and personal training.
YOUR NICHE IS GROUP FITNESS (dare we say team?) – what keeps yOU loving this format of fitness?
The energy and camaraderie are unmatched – I get that same hype, that same adrenaline, that same push as when I was on a team. I’m also lucky to see the confidence that starts in a gym setting make an even bigger impact for people in their everyday life. An hour spent in a group fitness class can give so much more than one hour just working out on their own.
HOW HAS THIS IMPACTED HOW YOU COACH?
My first group experience, I had close-to professional athletes on one hand and first-time exercisers on the other – It made me realize how important it is to actually know who you are coaching. Somehow, I had to meet the needs of both audiences and still give them an experience where they could push to their best. The coach is sometimes that first ‘friend’ or interaction in this new environment. If I can help them take down their guard and open up to me, I can learn how to best support and push them.
ON THAT NOTE, WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT WHEN THEY HIT THE TURF WITH COACH JIHAD?
I still remember my first Cut class. Heart. Do not recommend full Heart for your first class (HA!) BUT I walked away so motivated by the Athletes around me. Knowing no one, I still felt supported and challenged. I want people to feel that individual push that comes from knowing who they are as an Athlete and how they want to feel walking off the turf.
Two claps for Coach Jihad, catch him on the schedule soon!
5 facts about jihad
- Competitive high school cheerleader – Backflips is still in his game!
- Dog Dad! He has the cutest, most energetic dog named Emi
- Oldest of 6 children
- Watched Big Bang Theory more times than he can count
- Fractured his face and the bone below his eye pocket cracked in HS basketball