Fitness and Nutrition
By Edita McQuary
Jennifer Hardwick’s mantra is to always focus on the positive and it has worked well for her. Perfect Union, her Scotts Valley fitness and nutrition studio, is in its fourth year and strives to help clients attain their individual fitness and nutrition goals.
A graduate of Bethany College with a degree in psychology, seven years ago Jennifer found herself bed-ridden with a painful joint disorder. She was employed as a medical billing specialist at a large family practice. Prior to that she had worked for a rheumatologist and she also had a family member with the illness so she knew quite a bit about the condition. Realizing she needed to change her life – her diet and her mindset in order to get well, she quit binge eating, cut out sugar, and began preparing meals instead of eating fast foods.
It was not easy. She said she suffered from migraines, fatigue and felt like she was withdrawing from drugs. But just seven weeks later she had lost 20 lbs., her joint pain was gone, and she felt better overall. Her fellow workmates welcomed the “new” Jennifer back to work and asked how she did it. She inspired several of them to change their diet and lifestyle and decided she wanted to be an exercise and lifestyle coach.
Husband Chris Hardwick, in membership sales at the Bay Club Courtside, encouraged her to become fitness certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s training program. She took the online course and passed the proctored NASM certification examination. Since Jennifer also wanted to be a Holistic Nutritionist, her next step was to enroll in the three-year Bauman College program, where she graduated with honors. She likes to say, “Food is medicine.”
Jennifer sees each client as a unique individual and customizes each person’s program to suit his or her one-of-a-kind situation. She loves teaching and loves nutrition consulting. There are no mirrors at her large open space studio. Classes are limited to eight to 10 people, most are women, however, some men, mostly husbands of clients, are now also participating.
There are now Kids’ Classes too which Scotts Valley high school senior, Jennifer’s daughter Caitlyn Verduzco, and Tyler Stow, also a Scotts Valley High School senior, both age 18, lead. The kid clients are mostly from nearby Scotts Valley Middle School. Caitlyn, who wants to become an elementary school teacher, was thrilled when one of her girl students who was very shy when she started training, gained self-confidence and joined the school wrestling team. The kids know Tyler, who plans on becoming a personal trainer, from his being on the Scotts Valley High School football team.
Perfect Union’s informational and well-organized website, lists the Fitness and Nutrition classes and their cost. “There is no ‘lifetime membership,’ says Jennifer, “we do not automatically charge a client’s credit card each month.” Instead she consults with each person at the end of their course to see if they want to continue.
Each of the ten instructors is nationally certified in a particular specialty, whether it is yoga, spin instruction, or boot camp (a circuit type of training). There is a variety of fitness classes for everyone interested in improving her or his health
Perfect Union does something unusual in that they provide an opportunity for members to join in various races – some local and some out of the area. They have participated in the Santa Cruz Triathlon, Disneyland’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon and even went to Mexico for a Bikini Bootcamp. Another interesting event is the Thanksgiving to New Year Mile-A- Day Challenge. It’s an optional challenge to keep people motivated through the holidays in which people are to walk a minimum of one mile every day from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Day. To celebrate their success, the participants went Carmel’s Refuge Spa.
If it is fitness or nutrition services, or both, you are looking for, you are sure to find it as well as a lot of fun and new friends at Perfect Union