Meet Jesper: nutritionist & PT
We at Body&Fit are on a mission to inspire the world to live a fitter and healthier life. Whatever people are into, for all their personal fitness journeys, we're here with the products, expert nutrition and inspiring community they need. ‘Fit’ is not a one size fits all, which is what our recently launched #FINDYOURFIT campaign is all about. So, who better to inspire you than real people who are part of our community, and their own stories of finding their fit. This is Jesper Rietmeijer; a 25-year-old successful nutrition and fitness coach from the Netherlands. He’s also part of the Body&Fit team as one of our expert nutritionists. This is how he overcame challenges as an overweight teenager to get to where is today — at his peak fitness. #FINDYOURPERFECTIONFIT.
Health and fitness are my absolute passion – they’re my career and life
“I’d say that health and fitness are my absolute passion. I love working out and eating good, healthy food. It’s what makes me feel alive. I find it incredibly interesting how food and training can impact us, which is why I studied a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, and made fitness, nutrition and health my career. I went on to become a BIG-registered dietician and gain an NSCA Personal Trainer certificate after the first degree. I’m currently finishing my Master’s degree at Wageningen University in Health and Nutrition, and I work every day in this topic too. I also have over 10 year’s strength training experience, both for myself and training other people.
“I work out almost every day. I do around 6 days of strength training a week. On the 7th day, I like to have an active rest day where I either go for a steady jog, walk, or do some easy kickboxing. I also spend a lot of time baking and cooking, and food prepping — mostly to keep up with my huge appetite. I still love relaxing and going out with friends. Finding that balance between my social life, health and fitness is really important to me.”
How it all began — as an overweight child
“I was always a bit overweight when I was younger. I loved food, especially the wrong kinds of food. My 2 brothers and I always ate a lot but unfortunately for me, I was the only one who seemed to put on weight. I wasn’t bullied or anything at school about it. I was actually quite popular and also very into sports. I played lots of football, baseball and hockey, which kept my weight in check until I was a teenager and I stopped playing so much. I put on quite a lot of weight. By the age of 15, I was around 100kg and felt very uncomfortable in myself. I used to call myself ‘the funny fat kid’ and joke around with my friends about it. But even though I was joking, it still hurt. Most of all, I just didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror and I guess in the end that’s what sparked me to change.”
“I should also mention I moved to Spain with my family at the age of 8 as my parents started a B&B there. The shift to a new culture, new language, new school etc. was hard and the food really good. Still, I think it gave me the motivated spirit I have today and made me appreciate different cultures and people.”
The beginning of my health and fitness transformation
“When I was 15, I began to watch body transformation videos on YouTube. At first, I was just watching out of interest, but I soon realised that if I wanted to change I totally could. These were overweight people just like me who started eating properly and working out to become fit and strong. I wanted to do the same thing. It was quite intimidating at first to go into a gym, also at age 15, with all these experienced people lifting weights and working out everywhere. I focused on myself and used the transformation videos as motivation for around a year. As I started to see my own transformation take place, I began to use that instead. I went from 100kg to around 80kg with a load less fat and more muscle in 1.5 years. A lot of people around me noticed the difference. They asked questions about how I did it and gave me a lot of compliments which felt great and kept me going strong.”
Disordered eating and wanting to over train can still be a struggle
“One thing that’s been a struggle for me up until now is disordered eating. I wouldn’t say that I had a definite eating disorder, but I have shown some obsessive behaviours around healthy eating and nutrition. I used to be very strict with my diet during the week, eating very little calories and restricting lots of foods. When the weekend came around, I would uncontrollably eat lots of unhealthy food. The following Monday, I’d restrict myself again to make up for it, or do crazy amounts of cardio to burn off the calories. Over time, I learned that you need to be flexible with your diet, not always restricting everything. Every now and then I still overeat, but a real binge where I eat whatever and feel guilty about it afterwards is very rare.”
The one thing everyone should know about their health and fitness
“I think everyone should be working on becoming the best version of themselves and I often think that people are capable of way more than they think. I saw this in my teenage self. I thought I would never be able to have a muscular physique. At a certain point I did become too obsessive with the way I looked and my approach to reaching my muscle building goals. I managed to overcome this and I’m currently very happy with the way I look and feel. Everyone can get there, with the right help and approach! This is what I love about my nutrition and fitness coach business – it’s really a mixture of different people from those who really strength train, to a construction worker, to new mums. I like to work with people and their own goals, and much of it is about self-development. How to be productive, focus, manage stress and live a happy life in general.”
A day in the life of a health & fitness expert
“As I said before, I spend a lot of time working out and cooking meals. During weekdays, I’m quite busy, so I like to train early in the morning. When I get up, I have a cold shower and do some stretching and guided meditation. I walk and feed my dog then head out to the gym. I’m usually there at 7am and work out for around 1.5 hours. After that, I come home for a nice big breakfast and go to work or study. I often take some walking breaks or do a short mediation during the day (I have an average step count of 15,000 steps a day, which I want to keep up!). When I get home, I have another big meal, which is usually prepped and includes a protein source like meat and a variety of vegetables with either rice, potatoes or pasta. I’ll work on my online coaching practices until around 8pm. After a last 20-minute walk with my dog, I’ll watch a good Netflix series and have some snacks to fill up my calorie goal (quark with fruit, protein bars, protein chips, low calorie ice cream, rice cakes etc.). On the weekends, it’s time to relax and spend time with friends and family.”
The Body&Fit PERFECTION SERIES and other products Jesper likes to use
“I love to use Body&Fit Whey Perfection and Body&Fit Isolate Perfection to make sure I hit my daily protein intake. Body&Fit Micellar Casein Perfection also helps me reach my protein targets daily. I’m a really big fan of protein bars. To me, they taste just as good as regular chocolate bars while still delivering around 15-20 grams of protein. I alternate between all the Body&Fit bars especially the Perfection Bar Deluxe. I use Body&Fit Creapure® Creatine to help with muscular strength output and muscular hypertrophy. Pre workout is good for my 7am in the morning workout. I like Body&Fit Crazy PWO. Body&Fit Citrulline Malate I take when I’m training my upper body muscles. I take Body&Fit Mass Perfection when bulking, and Body& Fit BCAA Amino for extra aminos if I think I need it. Finally, I take Body&Fit Omega 3 Fish Oil to make sure I get my essential fatty acids in (EPA and DHA fatty acids) as I don’t eat fish.”
You can follow Jesper’s nutrition and fitness coaching, and his personal training journey, on Instagram at @Jesperr96 and link up on Facebook for informative health coach and training posts where he shares tips, advice and personal progress in relation to fitness, nutrition and health.