Model Jailyn Matthews is Passionate About How and Why She Incorporates Fitness in Her Daily Life
And now she’s stronger than ever.
- Written byAmber Klinck
- Photographed byLauren Pressey
What are your fitness goals? Are you working toward increasing your strength, improving your posture, minimizing pain or increasing your mobility? No judgment if your motivation falls more in the summer-is-almost-here category (you’re not alone).
Health and wellness have always been a way of life for model and Pilates-based holistic fitness instructor Jailyn Matthews. But while training as an athlete, a model and now a fitness instructor, her goals have varied over the years. Today her focus is less on changing the shape of her body and more on improving its functionality.
As a young athlete playing volleyball, basketball, softball and running track in high school, Jailyn’s initial fitness focus was centered around building strength. “I was doing a lot of weight training with heavy weights, cardio and sprinting. [Improving] my vertical jump was my main goal. I ran the bleachers, focused on jump-training exercises and jump rope.”
When Jailyn began modeling in college, her fitness goals shifted from strength training to minimizing her size. “It made me change my whole routine,” she notes. “It became less about weight training and more about not training and not eating and just doing everything I could to get my body down.”
It wasn’t until Jailyn was introduced to Pilates that she discovered there was more to gain from fitness than improving her athletic performance or changing the shape of her body. After being certified as a group fitness instructor, a friend suggested Jailyn take a Pilates training.
“I had never heard of Pilates,” Jailyn says. “I loved it. Halfway through the training, my lower back pain went away, my posture improved … it became the basis of the rest of my fitness journey.”
For Jailyn, who also battles with rheumatoid arthritis, utilizing fitness to improve day-to-day functionality has become a way of life. “For my body, activity is very helpful. Lack of activity tends to let things stagnate, and you get stiff. If I’m not active or watching what I’m eating for too long, it all starts crumbling. Diet, fitness … it all goes together.”
Jailyn is still modeling, but she’s less focused on whittling down her body and more on embracing its natural shape. “If you want to get stronger, love yourself and be positive. A lot of that just comes down to being able to wake up feeling good—without aches and pains,” she says. “Especially as we get older, fitness can and should be used to help you move through daily life activities with ease.”
She’s mindful of what she eats—avoiding sugar, bread and pasta—but she also allows for indulgences. “Anything too fanatical, and you’re going to have some problems,” she says. “Just balance and allow yourself the good stuff sometimes so you don’t go crazy.”
As an instructor Jailyn likes to keep it light. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. “I’m serious when it comes to form, but there are times when you need to just let loose a little bit. Have some fun; let go.”
She does private training sessions as well as group classes at Love Your Core in Torrance, Palos Verdes Yoga and Fitness, and ROC Steady Pilates in Redondo. She’s certified in TRX, but at the base of her training she uses Pilates principals. “Even though Pilates is easier on my body, it has made me stronger than I’ve ever been—especially through my core and smaller structural muscles that support my joints and keep me upright.”
It’s easy to take your health and mobility for granted when you have it … or to learn to live with subtle pains or limitations when they slowly creep up. But when you begin to look at fitness as an investment in your future quality of life—the ease at which you get out of bed and move throughout the day—it begins to take priority over looking good on the beach.
JAILYN’S YEAR IN HEALTH
I do admit, I like my coffee in the morning. When I’m good, I start the day with warm water and lemon. Then I’ll have a smoothie, or I’ve been really into hardboiled eggs because they are super-easy and quick to make. During the day I’m a nosher. I’ll have a handful of walnuts or a banana with peanut butter, an apple or an orange, a piece of cheese, etc. In the evenings I try and eat a sensible dinner: a protein with vegetables.
At the base of my training I utilize Pilates principals, but I love incorporating TRX, Bosu and a foam roller for workouts. I also play beach volleyball. I’m not a big runner, but I will walk, do stairs, hills and hiking. And I love roller-skating!
Ice cream. I’m a really big fan of Talenti. And potato chips—especially the olive oil or avocado oil ones.
Fitness & health inspiration:
In the modeling realm—she’s also an athlete—it’s Bo Stanley. Again, she’s about body image and being healthy. She talks about her [start] in modeling, starving herself to be a size 2 or 4 when her body is naturally a size 10 or 12. So now she still works a ton in her own natural body shape, and she’s an insane surfer. She rips, and she’s super-strong. She’s a yogi, an athlete, gorgeous, funny and healthy, and she puts out a positive and supportive image.