Punching through peaks and valleys with Monica Jones
Monica Jones is an Under Armour Women athlete as well as a boxing coach at NUBOXX in Washington, DC. Prior to this she was a coach at Orangethory Fitness where she focused on high interval intense training (HIIT) and group exercise. Monica is also a part of the team at Bash Boxing in Virginia.
MAKE A DONATION
Listen: Without access to role models and professional development, the youth in our community risk not going to college, remaining underemployed, and completely unaware of empowering entrepreneurial opportunities. Our programs provide platforms for today's leaders to educate and inspire the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in Washington D.C. and beyond.
Written by: (Brandon Alexander)
tell us about your childhood and what growing up was like for you?
Monica: I was born in Baltimore, grew up in Anne Arundel County, and spent the early years of my life in East Rock. I have three older siblings. My parents worked hard their entire lives and they're still working. I've always watched them do that and thought to myself, “I would like to be a little bit more flexible, have more time to make it to my kids soccer games, and take them to practices and stuff like that.” This is a luxury that myself and my siblings didn't have. It was a very raw environment for learning and experiencing new things.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Monica: I wanted to be an actress more than anything. I still appreciate the arts, film, and modeling. It seemed like a glamorous lifestyle but also one where you could get paid to be somebody else.
What College Did You Go To?
Monica: I originally went to Anne Arundel Community College. I would show up to class and not really be mentally stimulated. Then I said, “Oh I love cooking and I love food I'll go to culinary school.” I applied to Johnson and Wales in Charlotte. I got in, went to class and still felt very lost. It wasn’t until we began learning anatomy and physiology that I got into creating nutrition programs catered to special demographics. We went over to the YMCA in Charlotte and I started creating workout programs for special demographics.
What’s it like being a fitness coach?
Monica: Social media plays a huge role in the exposure that I've gotten. I was discovered by the general manager of Nuboxx and asked to be a coach there. This was based on content that myself and my coach had made. Being consistent of course got me seen too. As far as Orangetheory, I love the aspect of being able to be an athlete outside of sports. A lot of us get out of college, and if it's not in the cards for us to play professionally, then we kind of lose our talent. Orangetheory allows us to get a really good workout in, challenge ourselves and be competitive. I used to go two or three times a week. I was addicted to the feeling and of course I was approached to be a coach there as well.
Tell us about Bash and what's your role in that company?
Monica: Alex, who is one of the co-founders, is one of my good friends. It's all about how you treat people. When I used to work at Gold's Gym I would see quite a few of the people who are involved with Bash now. They were members of the gym and I would always smile and speak to them regularly. Years down the line I became the head coach at Orangetheory with Alex. She is a co-founder of Bash and she always had a big dream to have her own place.
I always wanted to be my own brand. I watched her try to find what concept she wanted to start as I was making my way through my own personal boxing journey. I introduced her to boxing and she fell in love with it. She started to see how empowering it was, especially for women. And then she decided that that's what she wanted to do. As she grew into that role of not just management, but now ownership and building a brand from the ground up, she wanted me to be her right-hand woman.
What have the darkest times you’ve faced taught you?
Monica: College was a huge piece of that and I paid for it on my own. I waited tables from age 17 up until 25 and in that industry it’s very easy to continue keep going. You make cash, you make friends, you drink for free. That kind of stuff makes you complacent.
One of the darkest times for me was being in college knowing that I was paying a lot of money for something that wasn't exactly what I wanted to do when I got out. I didn't have the money to continue paying for it. I was really just down on myself and it was the people around me who thought the most of me that picked me up. It's about no matter what you're going through still treating the people around you with love and still sharing what you're going through with them. Because if you don't they don't know and no one can help you.
I've already moved this mountain, I can move the next one and there's definitely going to be another one to move. The bigger your dream, the higher you have to climb.
Who’s your mentor?
Monica: Her name is Tasha Cooper. She was, at the time, a fitness manager for Gold's Gym corporate. She said, “If you want to be a personal trainer, you should work for me.” It was faith – when you’re in the darkest part of your life and then that person shows up and they're just turned up completely! You say to yourself, “I kind of want to be like that.” In corporate gyms you are training for them. You're wearing their logo, you are their employee and they take a portion of your session. That was the beginning of my training, but then it became “Monica” as a brand. Clients kept saying, “You need your own brand and it needs to be you, but you need your own place.” Social media gave me a platform to put up videos and photos to share my journey.
Who would be on your Mount Rushmore of inspiration?
Monica: I like ET the Hip-Hop Preacher. His work gets me hyped.
It's the grind, it's literally the grind. It's gritty and it's not pretty, but it's what you need to hear and it's the way you need to hear it. Even in corporate offices, he'll go in there and yell at them. He’s advocating that you should be yourself.
I'm pretty big on Misty Copeland. Misty Copeland is the black ballerina. She’s facing a lot of judgment based on not being exactly what ballet wants her to be yet she still comes out on top. She can’t be overworked and continues to grind. I love that about her and also that ballet seems graceful but it's something so painful. She returns time and time again.
My last one Seniesa Estrada. She is a now professional boxer but she started boxing around the age of six. She's based out in California. Her father is super motivational and their love and the family atmosphere they give on social media is great.
What would you say is your passion?
Monica: My passion is definitely defying the odds and pushing past anything that makes you nervous or doubt yourself. It could honestly be physical activity or a general confidence boost doing things that you love and then having good relationships with people around you. All of those things tie in to finding exactly what it is that is sustainable for you to continue to do over and over again. Sometimes passion is not what you make a career out of, but what keeps you going in that career. For me, it could just be landing a great combination in boxing or cueing somebody down for a sprint and doing it at the correct timing with music. Seeing their energy or hearing them after class say that the class made their day better or that the last six months of their class has made their life better. Those are the things that I’m passionate about.
Are there any books that have changed your life?
Monica: As an entrepreneur, I read “The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman. It was about interaction and interpretation which is huge. Everybody receives and gives love differently and so to understand that about a person really kills your expectations and allows for you to see things for what they are. Someone may not care about you saying that they look nice today or giving them a compliment but they might care that you clean up after yourself.
What advice would you give the next generation?
Monica: The more you know about yourself the more you can do with your brand. Whatever it is that you want to develop make sure that it is something that that there is a demand for. Make sure that there's a demand for it so it continues to grow.
Interested in learning more or connecting with Monica?