Read our exclusive interview with Jill Charton! Jill, a certified personal trainer, physical therapist, and founder of the iFour.Life training method has a passion for helping people live healthier, happier lives. Her love for fitness started as a multi-sport athlete and has taken her on a journey that includes working in corporate, marrying her college sweetheart, and discovering physical therapy after her husband suffered a shoulder injury. She fell in love with the process of helping people recover physically and mentally, and began soaking in as much as she could from the field.
Jill merged her appreciation for athletics, her competitive nature, and her admiration for physical therapy to begin helping patients in physical therapy get back into the gym safely. After continuing to do so for several years, she decided to establish her own brand and online presence to reach as many people as possible, of all ages and dispositions. Thus, iFour.Life was born, with a focus on encouraging everyone to set aside just 4% of their day, 1 hour, to focus on their personal well-being.
As a mother herself, Jill understands the importance of balance and shows her clients what’s possible by setting aside just 4% of their entire day to focus on themselves and their wellness. She believes that any form of movement is better than nothing, and encourages her clients to find a time that works for them and stick to it, no matter how busy their schedules may be.
Jill’s approach to fitness is centered around functional rotation or functional fitness, which involves exercises that mimic real-life activities. Her goal for each patient is to be able to perform day-to-day activities easily and without pain or re-injuring themselves, recognizing that the human body was designed to move and that it is important for our muscles to work together.
With her extensive experience in the field, Jill has helped many different people in different places of their lives find a way to become happier, healthier versions of themselves. Her iFour.Life training method has gained a following both in person and through her online presence, where she provides workout routines and form tips via social media and her iFour Core app. She has even had the opportunity to work with Marvel and DC as a celebrity trainer on multiple occasions.
Q) How did you get into fitness? Where did you start?
A) My love for fitness started as a multi-sport athlete. I loved the process of training, attending camps, and especially the team-building aspect that comes with organized sports. Of course, I didn’t understand just how far that passion would take me. Though I remained committed to my personal health and fitness, throughout college and even after graduation I pursued different avenues, working in corporate and marrying my college sweetheart. It wasn’t until my husband suffered a shoulder injury to where I was introduced to the world of Physical Therapy, which was ultimately a catalyst for the career I have today. After falling in love with the process of helping people recover physically and mentally, I began soaking in as much as I could from the field.
Merging my strong appreciation of athletics, my competitive nature, and my admiration for physical therapy, I began helping patients in physical therapy get back into the gym safely. I became a certified personal trainer and often worked extremely close with my clients’ entire health team. I realized each person is different with unique vulnerabilities, needs, and desires. Helping people live healthier and happier lives was so fulfilling that I went on to continue doing it for 3 or 4 years before deciding that I need a brand and an online presence to reach as many people as possible, of all ages and dispositions.
After my husband and I had our second child, my husband asked me, “If you had 1 extra hour out of your day, what would you do?” He was the one who suggested a concept that 4% is just 1 hour out of your day. This is where iFour.Life originated: Imagine, Inform, Improve, and Inspire. Building upon my own experience trying to not only bounce back physically after being blessed with two wonderful children but also remodeling my routine to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, I knew what process to take clients through to accomplish their goals and become the best versions of themselves. My goal with iFour.Life is to encourage everyone to imagine what they could accomplish by setting aside just 4% of their day, 1 hour, to focus on their personal well-being.
Not only has my program worked for me, but I’m grateful to be able to have helped many others throughout the past 12 years of personal training. I have gotten tremendous support from family and friends that have played a key role in encouraging me in my development of the iFour.Life training method. Today, I help others enrich their lives through 1-on-1 personal training, group sessions, through my iFour Core app, and by giving workout routines and form tips through my social media channels. I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to work with Marvel and DC as a celebrity trainer on multiple occasions. I’m looking forward to continuing to help many different people in different places of their lives find a way to become happier, healthier versions of themselves.
Q) How do you juggle your schedule and keep being a mom? Does anything lose out?
A) Balance in life is everything! The idea of “balance” is actually a huge part of iFour.Life’s name, value, and model. I show clients what’s possible by setting aside just 4% of their entire day to focus on themselves and their wellness. That’s just one hour a day in order to transform into a healthier, happier, more efficient version of yourself.
Of course, throughout different stages of life, the busyness and the chaos, there are learning curves and battles to get back to a balanced state. The important part is creating a schedule around when you’re most likely to be willing and able to take time for yourself consistently. Make sure this plan is realistic and specific to your unique needs.
I know that if I don’t get my workout in before my kids get up, I will be too tired to do any sort of workout before bed, so I make sure to set my personal time aside in the mornings. If you’re not a morning person or work late night shifts, waking up early would be hard to do and make it nearly impossible to establish this routine as a habit, so you might want to set your time for midday or in the evenings. Maybe you need to break up your 1 hour into manageable pieces, like taking half an hour when you wake up and another half an hour during lunch or before bed. That’s okay! We’re all busy with varying schedules and needs. Just try to find a time that works for you and stick to it. With consistency, I promise you will feel better and more grounded in every aspect of your life.
Q) Sometimes as a mom, I barely have the time. You’re focused on time. Is a 5-minute workout enough? Like, if I literally have a few minutes between calls, is it better to do five even?
A) If you have five minutes to get a mini workout in, any form of movement is better than nothing. By changing our mindset to “acting on” vs “thinking about” sets us up for a healthy and active lifestyle. Mothers regularly give so much of themselves to their families and obligations that they have a hard time finding the time it takes to nurture their own needs. When we set aside time to check in with ourselves, connect, and be present, this really does help us focus on our priorities and balance our lives for the better! So…take those 5 minutes every chance you can!
Q) What is functional rotation in layman terms?
A) Think about how your body moves on a daily basis. Functional Rotation or Functional Fitness are exercises that mimic real-life activities. When I worked in Physical Therapy, the goal for each patient was to be able to perform day-to-day activities easily and without pain or re-injuring themselves. The human body was designed to move so it is important for our muscles to work together to perform a certain rotation or movement. This in return makes us become more efficient with our day-to-day.
Q) Do you work out while traveling? What’s the longest you’ve gone without working out?
If I am traveling for work yes, I work out first thing in the morning. Depending on where I am staying (hotel, Airbnb, etc), I usually bring a few pieces of equipment with me like a jump rope and a Theraband/resistance band so I know if a gym doesn’t have a lot of options with their equipment, I can always get in a full body workout with minimum equipment.
If I am traveling with my family, I focus on staying active with my family, then focus on eating clean while on vacation. I personally believe that having a lean body is 80% nutrition and 20% working out…and sleep is also key to our mental and physical state.
The longest I have gone without working out was after I had foot surgery. I didn’t work out for one week as I had to keep my foot elevated in bed. What I did focus on was low-impact exercises for my upper body. Working out doesn’t have to always entail a high-impact workout for 1 hour. Listening to your body, especially when in the recovery state is so important. When we push our body safely and set short-term goals, it keeps our mind focused on the end goal.
Touching on the topic of post-delivery for moms: As our hormones and ligaments take time to get back to their natural state, it is important to move your body but switch up the environment, get fresh air, and have time for yourself. I delivered my kids naturally and once I was discharged from the hospital three days after delivering, I would get outside as much as I could to go on slower walks and just move.
Maria Spanadoris an experienced online writer with a passion for general entertainment stories. As a Greek mom, Maria brings her unique perspective to her writing, infusing her work with warmth and humor. She has been writing online for over 20 years, starting her career at thecelebritycafe.com. Since then, Maria has honed her skills as a writer, developing a talent for crafting engaging and informative content that keeps her readers coming back for more. Whether she's covering the latest celebrity gossip or writing about her own experiences as a mom, Maria's writing is always relatable and engaging.