Meet a Mom: Raneka and Jessica from State of Fitness | Greater Lansing Area Moms

Greater Lansing Area Moms Meet a Mom this week is quite a treat!  Meet some MOMS!

And we are honored to introduce the Powerhouse duo from State of Fitness.   Jessica and Raneka – both moms, both trainers at State of Fitness and both have amazing stories they have shared today!  

Welcome Jessica and Raneka – we are SO glad you are here!

Please introduce yourself!

Jessica: My name is Jessica and I have been with State of Fitness (SOF) for over 12 years. I started as an intern and worked my way up. 

I grew up in Dryden, a super small country town. I currently live in Haslett and love it! I went to MSU and studied Kinesiology. 

I met my husband when I was at MSU and we have two beautiful daughters. I enjoy strength training and conditioning, running and yoga, and hiking through trails. I love to crochet, bake, read books and be outside. I love all things Harry Potter related.

Raneka:  I am a 32 year old wife and mother of 2 amazing boys. I am originally from the Downriver and Pontiac, MI area but we came to Lansing in 2015 for a job opportunity. We moved to Portage, IN for a brief time and then made our way back to the mitten. 

I have my Associates degree in Business Administration from Baker College, but have spent the last few years growing my knowledge/experience in physical fitness. 

I am a certified Women’s Coaching Specialist, Functional Strength and Conditioning Coach, as well as Precision Nutrition, Nutrition Coach. When I am not training others, I train and compete in powerlifting.

How old are your children? 

Jessica:  Luna is soon to be 5 years old and Stella is 2.5 years old. 

Raneka: My boys are 6 and 12 years old.

What do you think is one of the best parts about being a mom? 

Jessica: You get to know yourself on a completely different level. The worst parts of you and the best. I’m grateful I have two littles who forgive me easily and cheer me on like the best of them. 

Raneka:  The best part of being a mom for me is watching my boys grow into these amazing humans. They inspire me with their confidence and humor. They irritate me with their immaturity (sometimes). They’re at the age now where they can give me advice, encouragement, and childlike wisdom – which is crazy because I remember times when they both couldn’t wipe their own butts. 

Raising them is similar to what I do with my clients. Teaching them the skills and knowledge that I have and then watching them take it and make it work for them. They are my lifelong best-friends and my blessing.

What is a piece of advice for new moms you wish you would have known when you were a new mom?

Jessica: Find a therapist before you have a baby. 

Raneka: YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE. Having children, being a wife, having a career, those are just extensions of you. You are still a living, evolving woman who has every right to enjoy her life! Even Jesus took some alone time every now and then. So, take the hour to workout, take yourself to lunch and don’t bring home leftovers, go on the girls trip. Keep pouring into yourself so that you can joyfully pour into others. 

Please tell us more about being a fitness trainer at State of Fitness! How did you become interested in this type of work?

Jessica: I love my profession! I first started as an intern because as a Kinesiology (Exercise Science) major, it is required to do a semester-long internship dealing with movement. I had no desire to do anything with personal training but I stumbled upon the newly opened SOF and applied. I was one of four people and in the third intern batch at SOF. 

Soon after I started interning, I realized, wow, you can do a lot in this profession. You can be with people 3-6x per week, get to know them on a deep level, help them with movement, mindset, habits, and so much more than if I were a doctor or other medical professional (what I wanted to do). I was smitten and started working towards my certification. I’ve been with SOF ever since. I’ve worked the service desk, been the internship manager, and head trainer.

Raneka: Everyone at SOF is genuinely committed to the culture and you can feel it when you walk in the door. I started as a volunteer intern in 2019 and it was one of the greatest opportunities I’ve had. From intern, I moved to working the service desk, and then in 2021 I became a full-time trainer. I got into personal training as a career change after spending 10 years in hotel management where I just became mentally burned out. Being a part of the State of Fitness family has helped me grow both personally and professionally in ways I don’t think I could have at any other training facility. 

How do you balance being a mom and a fitness trainer? 

Jessica: Oof. It’s hard, I will say. Trainers work when most people don’t work- early morning and in the evening. So to balance being a mom and a trainer is challenging. My husband is a shift worker so it complicates things even more. We are grateful for amazing babysitters. 

I have an easier schedule now after many years of early wake ups and late evenings. 

I usually wake by 5/5:30 am. Get in a quick 15-20 minute workout, my kids are getting up at this time. I hop in the shower while they watch tv. Then it’s a rush of getting ready, dropping them at daycare and preschool, getting to work. I work for a bit then head to school pick up. Sometimes I have to go back to work in the evening so if my husband isn’t home, we have a babysitter. 

In the past (the last 12 years) I would normally be at the gym very early, so wake up was about 3:30/4 am. I’m grateful to have an employer who is able to work with me. 

Raneka: Balance is just non-existent when you have kids, but life is more manageable with a good support system. Typically I have clients as early as 6am and coach sessions as late as 8pm with breaks in between, so my husband is the one who takes the youngest to school/daycare and I do pickups. My oldest son is pretty responsible and able to help out a lot with things around the house and managing his own schedule. Occasionally I have to bring my youngest to the gym, but I’m fortunate that Justin is also a working parent who completely understands the hustle. 

There is a lot of driving from school to home to work to practice, blah blah 🙂. Sometimes my kids don’t like my late nights and early mornings, but as long as I’m there to cook dinner and read stories then they don’t hold it against me long. 

I found the most important thing is to listen to their concerns and have a real conversation. I’ve tried to make changes in my work life to make sure they don’t feel alone or forgotten.   

What are some of your favorite tips/tricks to help busy moms incorporate fitness into their day?

Jessica: I think it’s perceived that home workouts aren’t nearly as great as gym workouts. And usually there is more equipment and help at gyms but home workouts are GREAT! Do not discount movement. 

Most of my workouts are about 15-35 minutes. Seriously. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep It Stupid Simple. The wheel does not need to be reinvented. I post quite a bit of my home workouts on my instagram story/page. 

I know it’s not ideal to work out with your kids around because hello, distractions, but I do not want them to deter me from getting in movement. So I have made it a point to workout with my kids around since they were born. It is part of our normal. They see that exercise is an important part of my physical and mental well-being. 

Workout snacks are also great- getting movement throughout the day. Some squats here, lunges there, push ups, etc. It doesn’t all have to be done at once. A little movement snack can help!!

Raneka: 1) Get in those steps! Park in the back! Put the cart back! The movement you do outside of the gym is more important than what you do in the gym. 

2) Start small. You have to build the habit before you see change and it’s not always going to be possible to get to the gym for 1 hour. But you can start by doing 5 squats, 5 sit-ups, 5 jumping jacks, 5 lunges for 5 minutes. Do that consistently every day for 1 month and then start adding more time/exercise/etc.

3) MINI BANDS! Mini band work is great for strengthening our hips, glutes, back, shoulders, etc and can be done anywhere and taken anywhere. If you’re traveling or standing in the kitchen making dinner, grab some bands and get to work. 

What are some of the benefits of working with a personal trainer? 

Jessica: You are taught proper movement form. Most of us think, “I know how to move, I was an athlete, I played sports”, but yet few of us were actually taught proper movement and form. Being with a trainer opens your eyes to what you need to work on, which is humbling.

Plus, we tend to choose the path of least resistance. So motivation can wane, discipline can wane. Having a trainer or group that you can stay accountable to is so important. 

Raneka: People have access to all the information and all the exercises via google/social media so you aren’t going to a trainer for a workout. You’re going for experienced guidance. A quality trainer knows which exercises are best for your unique fitness level, body type and goals. Having a trainer reduces your risk of injury, which once we pass 30 is a big concern if we’re performing physical activities. 

There is also the compassionate accountability factor. We care like you care about health,and want to see you succeed. 

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Jessica: Having my kids at ages that may (hopefully) be easier to do more things out and about. My youngest is quite wild to say the least. We love walking trails and bike riding to Lake Lansing. 

Raneka: Being 1% better every-day! SOF is doing great things in our new Stadium District location. I currently host a small group women’s strength training session on Sunday’s open to women who want to improve their lifting technique and gain strength. I am expanding this into a 6-week program including a custom 3-day work-out plan, small group training, and nutritional guidance. More information is coming soon!  

Are you an early riser? Night Owl? How does sleep fit into your life?

Jessica: Early riser for sure! I always have been. Being up late at night is painful to me. My kids also wake up before the crack of dawn so I really can’t stay up late. I try to have lights out by 9:30 pm. I also value a quick nap when the kids nap. 

Raneka: After turning 30, I am an early riser and bed by 9pm..or I get angry.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Jessica: I really don’t enjoy spectating sports. I hated gym class growing up. 

Raneka: My family and I LOVE wrestling entertainment (WWE, ROH, AEW, NJPW, etc). We have seen live wrestling shows in 4 states and the Bahamas! It’s my personal goal to see them in all 50 states. We used to have a YOUTUBE channel where we made skits and reviewed episodes of WWE. It was so much fun. I think we may start up again 

Here are a couple questions to get to know you better 🙂  

What is one food you can not live without? 

Jessica: Peanut butter

Raneka: Whole Milk Greek Yogurt 

Favorite food to indulge in?

Jessica:  Spagnuolo’s Pizza (meat lover) or Five Guys burger and fries. Mmm.

Raneka: Tortilla Chips and Guac

Favorite exercise to do? Least favorite? 

Jessica: Single leg deadlifts – works the whole body! Least favorite – push ups, I have always struggled even when I could do up to 10 chin ups.

Raneka: As a powerlifter, it would be wrong if I didn’t say Squat, Bench, Deadlift. But bench press is my favorite right now. Burpees are my least favorite exercise. 

Iced or hot coffee? 

Jessica: Hot! Black!

Raneka: Iced when it’s hot out. Hot when it’s cold out. 

Last book you read?

Jessica: I love to read! It is such an escape. Last book was “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore”, recommended by the Head librarian at Capital Area District Library in Haslett. 

Raneka: “Be Water My Friend, The teachings of Bruce Lee” by Shannon Lee

If you watch television, what is your favorite show? 

Jessica: Schitt’s Creek, I could watch it (and have watched it) over and over.

Raneka: I like cartoons from my childhood and anime. Currently watching Static Shock, One Punch Man, Naruto, and Gargoyles. Abbott Elementary also is my JAM!

Strangest item carry on, purse, glove box or trunk right now? 

Jessica: Disposable urinals

Raneka: Nothing now, but I miss finding baby socks in my purse at work. 

When you travel, what is your go-to on the road workout?

Jessica: 10 rounds | 5 air squat | 5 jump squats | 5 jumping jacks | 5 each mountain climbers | 5  flying Spider-Man’s | 5 burpees | 5 sit ups

Raneka: I don’t travel for work anymore, but when I did I would bring mini bands with me and do mostly in-room bodyweight stuff. 15 min AMRAP, 15 Squats, 15 Lunges, 15 each leg mountain climber, 15 Sit ups. That way if I’m on the top floor it’s not a bother. 

The children’s book you most enjoy reading:

Jessica: Jan Brett books- they are so beautifully illustrated by her and I love her stories. 

Raneka: My son and I love the Piggy and Gerald books by Mo Willems

Where are some of your favorite places locally to spend time with your family?

Jessica: We spend a lot of time on the beach at Lake Lansing. Live outdoor music in Meridian was a hit last summer! MSU Children’s garden. Every playground in the county, haha! Trails at Harris Nature Center and Lake Lansing are always a good time, too!

Restaurants have been avoided at all costs because it ends with everyone upset. 😆 I think this year could be a turning point though!

Raneka: Horrocks. We walk there all the time for pizza and ice cream! Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecake is my favorite local food! Find it in Meijer.  So creamy. 

Would you mind  sharing a mom trick another mom will be happy to learn? 

Jessica: Always have a bag in the car with extra clothes, diapers and wipes – The Just In Case bag. 

Raneka: Keep vinegar in your house. Removes grass stains from clothes, sanitizes raw meat before cooking, good for gut health/digestion when added to water or poured over salad. It’s a wonder food. 

Well this has been quite a treat!  Thank you for joining Greater Lansing Area Moms and sharing your stories!   If you would like to learn more about Jessica and Raneka, see below.  🙂

Also check out the State of Fitness and their brand new training facility now located in the Stadium District.  

Learn more and follow Raneka here:

And more about Jessica here:

State of Fitness is a leading mid-Michigan training facility that specializes in results-based fitness programs, sports performance, and healthy lifestyle guidance; empowering the lives of all who walk through their doors. 

State of Fitness has a brand new facility!  And their new location involved a lot of changes to help improve its ability to serve its members at a higher level. They will focus on offering private personal training and small group personal training.  Also available is sports performance training for any and all fitness levels and geared for young athletes ages 12 – 19.

All members will have keyless entry privileges between the hours of 4:00am and 12:00am for those seeking to work out on their own time.

State of Fitness is located in the Lansing Stadium District: 154 South Larch Street, Lansing

Raneka – all images provided by Raneka Buggs, photo credits: Tiffany Backmeier Photography, KEH Sports, Chloe Amanda Photography 

Jessica – all images provided by Jessica Casten, photo credits: Georgine Brewer Photography

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