By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
In high school and college Monique “Mo” Jefferson was always considered a “gym rat” and nothing has changed in her professional career.
In high school she played basketball at Ramsay High School and in college she was a member of the Columbus State University (GA) team.
Now she is a professional sports and fitness trainer and founder of Champion Status Training, which specializes in individual and group training, boot camps with organizations, churches, etc., nutrition planning, maintenance programs, “for people who are already consistently working out, but get bored with what they are doing.” The program was founded in 2013.
“It gives them a variety of what they can do in their workouts,” she said.
She also offers online training where a client would do everything they would do in person with Jefferson, but instead via video.
“A lot of trainers don’t know how to combine the two and make it work,” said Jefferson. “I interact with people in a way where they don’t feel like I’m just after their money. Most trainers don’t know how to do both. It’s not all about that for me.”
Jefferson, 29, whose slogan is “I’m professional yet personal” wants her work to also be a ministry. She shares Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the Heaven” with clients to apply “to their everyday lives and goals they may have set out for themselves,” she said.
Jefferson, who studied exercise science at Columbus State University (CSU), has always been involved in athletics and fitness but didn’t want to pursue it. However, a come-to-Jesus meeting to “find my true purpose” led her to fitness training, she said.
A personal trainer is different and more beneficial than working out alone, Jefferson said.
“I have a lot of clients tell me it’s not only helping them physically, it’s helping them mentally and emotionally,” she said. “I have a lot of people I become friends with through training them. It helps them in life in general.”
“Most people need that one-on-one interaction, that push, and that variety,” she said. “Most people get bored trying to work out by themselves and just going on their own. To have someone guide them, make it fun and diverse, giving them a variety, makes them keep going.”
Jefferson is looking to open a gym by summer 2018. It’s a competitive field, she said.
“It’s kind of a fight. Most gym owners are males. I wouldn’t say the industry is male-dominated, but it’s a competition for a woman to enter into it; training too. You don’t see many females training guys; some don’t feel comfortable doing it. But you see it in the NFL, or NBA. You’re starting to see more females coach and be trainers to guys.”
Jefferson graduated from Ramsay High School in 2006, and from CSU in 2011. However, she remains active with Jefferson County area schools, helping train basketball teams. She oversees strength and conditioning programs for boys and girls in a number of programs including Bessemer City.
She coaches third and fourth graders in Mountain Brook in the Over The Mountain community league.
When she’s not training others, Jefferson said she is usually training herself. In fact, it’s how she began thinking about fitness training.
“While playing basketball people would see me working out and want to join me. It would spark something . . . me being a gym rat. I’ve always been the person on the team living in the gym. Being in that arena, and combining basketball with it, it became the only thing I wanted to eat, sleep and breathe.”
During weekends, if she is not coaching, Jefferson is either reading or listening to music. Speaking of music, she also plays the piano, trumpet and violin.
“A lot of people don’t know that I am musically gifted,” she said. “I’ve been playing the piano and violin since I was 7, and the trumpet since middle school. I love jazz.”
Jefferson plays the piano at different churches in the area.