Recommendations for Getting Started, Being a Female in the Fitness World; a Q&A session with Helene one of my Basecamp Instructors

Q&AJacqueline and helene

Q&AJacqueline and helene

I met Helene about a year ago.  It was right when I joined Basecamp Fitness and I felt like I had an instant connection with her.  She has only shown me love and support.  We met at a time where I was recovering from my first skin removal surgeries and then taking time off to have more surgeries.  It was a lot of coming and going and me making a lot more modifications and taking things easy but none of this changed how Helene treated me.

Never did she ever make me feel weak, that I should not be there or make me feel bad about all of my modifications.  I feel like it would have been so easy for me to take the time off from surgery, and come back and feel insecure and out of place.  Helene is great with helping me, pushing me and supporting me and for that, I am so grateful!!!

Q&A Helene & Jacqueline Back Squat

Helene is not only serious body goals, but she is strong, loving and a great instructor.  She has her own fitness goals and pushes herself to the max to be the best she can be, but she also does the same for everyone in her classes.  She only wants the best for you, and for that, I am so thankful.

Basecamp has quickly become my home away from home, and the perfect place for me to continue on with my own fitness goals.  I feel like I am there for a while, then away for surgery, and the amount of love and support everyone has shown me is just amazing.  They checked in on me and were so excited when I was able and ready to come back.

I know in the fitness industry, or even going to the gym, it can be hard not to compare ourselves to others, and to feel out of place.  It would have been so easy for me to be completely uncomfortable around Helene, being she is so fit.   Instead, it is the complete opposite.  She encourages you to go in and do your best because she knows what you are capable of.  She knows what it is like to work hard and reach goals.  She knows how much hard work goes into achieving goals.  I really wanted to share Helene with you guys and have her answer some questions about her own fitness journey, being an instructor,  as well as being a female in the fitness industry.  You can read all of the questions and Helene’s answers down below.  I also did another fitness-related Q&A with my personal trainer Bo, you can check out that blog here.

Jacqueline – What got you into fitness?  Why did you decide that you wanted to become a trainer/instructor?

Helene – There are two major events that got me into fitness. First one is I am not a competitive person, so sports were not my thing, but I still loved being active.  My freshman year of high school I joined a gym and fell in love with lifting.  The second is when I was in college I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  I was working out and eating what I thought was “healthy” and was still gaining weight.  That sparked my interest in nutrition as well as helping others with fitness goals no matter how big or small. Shortly after that I because group exercise certified, personal training certified, studied nutrition and just recently Sports Nutrition certified. 
Q&A Helene planking on med balls

J – Do you find it harder to be a female in the fitness industry?

H – I personally do not.  I think I am very fortunate that the area I live in, I have never felt that.  In some ways I almost feel like its a benefit, I have built relationships with some pretty awesome women because I believe it’s easier for them to speak about fitness goals with another female.

J –  What is the best part of being an instructor?  What is the most difficult thing about being an instructor?

H – The best part of being an instructor is seeing your members get stronger, get more confident and do things they did not think they could it.  

The most difficult thing about being an instructor is subbing another instructors class.  I am sure most instructors would say they have the people they have built relationships with and who come to their classes every week.  When you walk in to teach other instructors class, their people who show every week are going to expect something amazing as they are used to getting an instructor they LOVE. 

Q&A Helene & Jacqueline planking

J –  How do deal with comparing yourself to others?  Is it different now that when you first started?

H – I think no matter what field of work you are in it is almost impossible not to compare yourself to others.  I have personally worked really hard to get as strong as I am, I have challenged my body to do things I didn’t think I was capable of and I have a healthy body image.  In my field, I have come to learn that I am my biggest competition and out of anyone in the world I talk to myself the most.  I challenge myself to get stronger, to try new things and also tell myself how grateful I am for how far I have come, how much I have already transformed and continue to strive to be the best version of me.

When I first got into the fitness industry about 10 years ago, I was battling with my own weight, and I was concerned that a client would not take me seriously because I didn’t “look the part”.  Now I do not have that feeling, I am healthy and happy and my goal is to help others get healthy and happy. 

J – What would be your advice to someone who is scared to join a gym or a group fitness class?

H – My advice would be, find a gym that you vibe with.  I am so blessed to have landed my dream job at Basecamp Fitness in Burlingame.  Basecamp creates a sense of community and is a go at your own pace work out, allowing you to get stronger at your level.  Joining a gym can be super intimidating, but if you can find a place that builds you up, challenges you and you actually have fun there it will be so much easier.  Exercising should never be a chore, it should be something you love to do! If you are doing something you love, you will get stronger, you will be successful, you will be healthier and you will be more confident in everything you do! 

Q&A Helene & Jacqueline deadlift

J – What would be your best recommendations to someone who wants to start losing weight/start a fitness journey?

H – The hardest part of any journey is getting started, I would always suggest a short-term, measurable goal that you set for yourself.  For example, hit the gym 3 times a week for a month, or run 15 miles a week for a month.  When we put goals in writing we are more likely to hold ourselves accountable, and we have to want to do things for ourselves.  Once you see yourself accomplishing small goals, you can start to set larger ones!

J – What would you tell someone who is afraid to lift weights because doing that will make you look “manly”?

H – I would say I was in the exact same boat about 12 years ago.  The fact of the matter is when I was battling with my weight, the only way I was able to get it off was by lifting heavy, heavier than most women lift.  I was able to put on muscle mass quickly and in turn burn more fat and rev up my metabolism.  As women, we don’t “bulk” like men do, unless we eat a certain way.  One thing that stuck with me was a trainer saying, “You can work out for several hours and lift really heavy, but if you overeat or eat crap food, yes you will get big”.  Nutrition is about 80% of the way we look.  If we can put good things into our body and work out hard, lift heavy the results will follow.

Q&A Helene ab work

J – For someone who has no idea with where to start with changing their diet (especially to lose weight) where is the best place to start?

H – I tell all clients I work with to start a food log or journal.  Again, writing things down will hold us accountable.  There are some great apps out now that can be super helpful, one of my personal favorites is “My Fitness Pal”.  You can set goals on there, they will give you a recommended caloric intake and you can see how much of each nutrient you are consuming.  Remember unless you have health conditions or you are on a restricted or specific diet you should be consuming about 55% carbohydrates, about  30-35% Protein and about 15% from fats.  Of course, depending on personal goals and any health issues these percentages may be different, but it is a good baseline.

J – If someone is just starting with working out and they need to modify many movements/ or feel overwhelmed with working out, what advice would you give that person in regards to sticking with it and to not give up?

H – Any time I teach a class I always tell my participants that it is their work out, I am here to help, and if there is something they can not do, do not feel comfortable doing or do not know how to do, just do something they CAN do.  Moving, in general, is one of the best things we can do for our bodies.  Also, speak with your instructor before or after class, we are in this industry because we want to build people up and make people strong, so anything we can do as trainers to help you get confident in movements or teach you proper form we would love to!  If you can build up confidence in yourself because of exercise or any of your fitness goals it will be so much easier to stick with it. Try out a Basecamp Fitness class on me!! I promise you will love the workout and I am happy to get you started.  Email me at to get you started on your fitness journey!

 Q&A Helene Jumping for Joy

J – What is the best way you feel that women can support one and other so that they don’t feel that there is judgment and a constant competition with each other.

H – We all show up at the gym for the same reasons, to feel better, get healthy and to look better.  If we keep that in mind there should be no need to judge or compare yourself to someone else.  The most important thing is telling yourself you showed for you and you are there to make yourself better!


Remember, no matter where you are in your health and fitness journey, it is so much more important to help raise each other up, support one another and spread love.  You never know what someone else is going through or has been through.  We are all beginners at one time or another and we can all use more love and support.  This journey is hard, but with people like Helene on my side, it makes it so much easier to keep going!!!  I am so happy to have met Helene and have her as a part of my life!!!  I hope that my questions and Helene’s answers help everyone remember that it is important to build each other up instead of comparing ourselves to others or tearing others down.

If you would like to try out a free class with me at Basecamp, just email me and let me know.  I know myself, Helene, as well as everyone else in the Basecamp family, would love to have you join us!!!!!




1 Comment

  • Great insight and a great blog. Thanks for doing it!

    Emma 02.05.2018

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