We had the good fortune of connecting with Jahkeen Washington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jahkeen, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind our success revolves around our brands mission and brand consistency, JTW FIT offers quality and affordable fitness solutions to Harlem and beyond. We have created a fitness community that is unique, diverse, and welcoming, all while ensuring people of color are afforded a space to train comfortably and confidently. When you combine this with our well rounded service offerings, you get a special place and cool vibe that is unmatched.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
While I was working in finance, I started training as a way to support some of my friends who were looking to get in shape. After they started seeing some quality results, they pushed me to start doing more. It went from one on one sessions, to small group classes, to large boot camps in the park. The “fit fam” continued to grow by word of mouth and more people started supporting the mission.
I think what sets me apart from others is my personality. While I do take my craft seriously, I am an easy going coach who will motivate and challenge everyone to reach their potential. I love for sessions to be challenging, results driven, and most importantly, fun. I don’t like the “drill sergeant” approach since everyone isn’t receptive to that. I prefer to create a space that is welcoming and allows everyone to be themselves. We will laugh, joke, and put in the work all at once.
I’ve gotten where I am today due to hard work (and smart work), consistency, and patience. I’ve also stayed true to who I am as a coach and professional. I chose to become a coach because I genuinely want to support people in reaching their goals. I believe that continues to shine through in every situation I’ve been presented with.
Overall, the journey has been amazing, but there have certainly been some struggles. I’ve simply learned that adversity is normal and should be expected. How we manage it is a huge indicator of how much growth we’ll see. I don’t skip over the hard work and I’ve started to embrace pitfalls because they teach me valuable lessons.
I just want the world to know that I will always have everyone’s best interest at heart. People who are starting their fitness journeys are already dealing with self confidence issues and lack of motivation. As fitness professionals, we need to ensure we create an environment that is safe, inviting, and produces results. JTW FIT continues to hit the mark in those areas.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a friend visiting NYC, we would spend most of our time in Harlem. I love showing my friends where I grew up and enjoy talking to them about all the changes the neighborhood has gone through.
For food we would hit up BLVD, Lido, or Ponty Bistro. For a quick bite and some drinks we would stop by Harlem Hops. The Cecil, Angel of Harlem, and Corner Social are also cool and provide more of a “brunch party” scene.
For “touristy” stuff we would visit Strivers Row and Sugar Hill, Apollo Theater, Riverbank State Park, and Central Park.
Outside of that, I think just walking through Harlem is an experience in itself. So much culture and diversity no matter what block you’re on.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
1) My mom Caroline for showing me what it means to work work hard, make sacrifices, and fight through adversity.
2) My sister Aisha for being a great role model. I learned about goal setting and going after what you want in life.
3) My brother Caheim for always being there to support. I also watch how calm/patient he is and it lets me know things will be just fine along the journey.
4) My girlfriend Stephany for pushing me to follow my dreams of starting a business. She saw my passion and made sure to give me that extra nudge I needed to take the leap.
5) Coach Pat Mangan for teaching me about structure, commitment, and consistency. A lot of the skills I learned through sports are still relevant in my business and everyday life.
Instagram: @jtwfit and @jah_holla