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West Linn instructor has advanced far into magazine competition. Your vote can help her win.

COURTESY PHOTO: JENNIFER ALYSE ROGERS  - Jacquelyn Rodgers, who teaches classes at West Linn Adult Community Center, reached the fourth round of the Ms. Health and Fitness competition last week.

West Linn resident Jacquelyn Rodgers qualified for the Boston Marathon on her second try, teaches classes ranging from Pilates to boot camp, has modeled in fitness ads for Nike and Adidas and, in her spare time, practices jiu-jitsu, occasionally climbs Mount St. Helens and is a regular at Hood to Coast.

Clearly, fitness is a huge part of her life, which is why it might not come as a surprise that Rodgers was nominated for the Ms. Health and Fitness 2019 competition and had advanced to the fourth round when the Neighbors section went to press. The winner will be announced in August and subsequently be featured in a two-page spread in Muscle and Fitness Hers magazine. For more information about the competition, to see if Rodgers advanced to the next round or to vote for her, visit https://mshealthandfitness.com/.

"People should vote for me because I'm extremely passionate about health and fitness and I truly believe that nothing is more important than your health. And it's what I do for a living. It's my passion. I love helping other people," Rodgers said.

But Rodgers wasn't always so health-conscious.

In her twenties, she partied often, smoked cigarettes and exercised sporadically. In turn, Rodgers said she "felt like crap" and feared that her looks would deteriorate with age if she didn't change her lifestyle. That fear coupled with the fear that she could face a similar fate as her father, who died of a heart attack in his 40s, gave her ample reason to follow through.

"'Why am I doing this? I'm not taking care of myself.' It was a level of disrespect for myself, a self-esteem thing," Rodgers said.

When her friend asked her to go on a run with her, Rodgers accepted. And she never looked back.

"I ran with a friend for the first time and I took off and found out I was a great runner," Rodgers said. "I said I was going to exchange smoking cigarettes for running."

Rodgers began working out religiously and then started her own fitness camp in St. Thomas, attained a degree from the National Association of Sports Medicine and became a fitness instructor in West Linn after her husband got a job in Portland. Now, she teaches mat Pilates, strength and balance, boot camp and core strength and does personal training at West Linn Adult Community Center and will begin teaching strength and balance classes at Lake Oswego Adult Community Center this fall.

She says her bootcamp class has garnered an especially loyal following and that a few of her clients nominated her for the Ms. Health and Fitness contest.

"I have fun with it. I'm myself and I make the workouts fun and challenging," Rodgers said. "We laugh a lot and we switch it up. I do things that everyone can do but then I encourage people. Holding a plank for 10 seconds and then they can hold the plank for a minute. If they see the change it makes them feel good and they come back."

The Ms. Health and Fitness competition is based on online voting. And Rodgers, who was in fifth place in her 52-person group last week, was pleasantly surprised by how well she'd done in the competition to that point and said people she never would have expected have voted for her.

"Everybody has been amazingly supportive," Rodgers said.

Rodgers advises those who want to get in shape to workout in the morning before daily tasks drain your energy, to start with exercises that you enjoy and to take group classes where fellow attendees and an instructor can hold you accountable.

"It's one of those things that if I can do it anyone can do it. There's nothing special about me at all. I just have that drive, that passion for life and to feel my very best," Rodgers said. "I want everyone to feel that way. It's pretty incredible."

Rodgers said she harnessed the energy she once used for partying toward fitness. Now, she never stops moving. And she doesn't think you should either.

"The worst thing you can do is stop moving in life," Rodgers said. "The people that are in my class that are seniors that are 95 years old that can get up and off the floor; people in their 30s can't do that. They never stop moving."

COURTESY PHOTO: EMILY MERCER - Jacquelyn Rodgers thinks that taking care of your health is hugely important and tries to help local residents do just that.


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