Those who sweat under the direction of fitness trainer Jenn Linck or see her on stage for a bodybuilding competition might not be able to place the lighthouse in the tattoo prominent on her upper left arm and shoulder. Those who know LBI, though, will likely identify Ol’ Barney – for Linck, a symbol of her Barnegat Light roots, first envisioned when she was across the world, on a combat tour with the U.S. Army.
“I was sitting in Iraq in 2009, missing home. I decided when I got back that I would start planning a tattoo that told my life story,” Linck explained. “The mermaid looking at the lighthouse doesn’t show her face, but you can see a yellow ribbon in her hair in remembrance of service members who have defended this great nation. She is holding a Norwegian flag and there is a fishing boat in the background, for my maternal family heritage.”
The LBI native has four other nautical pieces inked on her body: “rowing oars with school colors, an anchor, a crashing wave and mermaid scales. … I love the beach with my whole heart, no matter the season. Any chance I have, that’s where you can find me with my family.”
Linck, 35, currently resides in Hainesport, N.J., with her husband, Rob, son John and daughter Henley.
Her connection to the beach began, naturally, with her Island childhood. Linck attended Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School, in Surf City, and LBI Grade School, in Ship Bottom, before moving to Absecon midway through seventh grade. She enrolled in Holy Spirit High School, and joined the rowing team.
She excelled on the water, and received a scholarship to row at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “My team won the Women’s Varsity Eight Race at the 2006 Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia,” she noted. “We were invited to compete at the Queen’s Royal Henley Regatta on the Thames River in Henley, England, that same year. We didn’t win, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and inspiration for my daughter’s name, Henley Summer.”
Linck graduated from SJU in 2006 with a degree in international relations and enlisted the Army in August of that year. She has served two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is stationed at Fort Dix, where she holds the rank of chief warrant officer 2.
In addition to the Army and her family, fitness continues to be an important component of Linck’s life. In 2017 – the same year she placed third in her age group in the 18 Mile Run – she “studied through the National Academy of Sports Medicine to become a personal trainer. This spring, I attended and graduated the Army’s Master Fitness Trainer program, which allows me to help commanders build workouts for their soldiers to prepare for physical fitness tests.”
Now she runs LinckFIT, which offers fitness coaching, including online; customized workouts; meal planning; and more. “LinckFIT has been 20-plus years in the making, since the first time my father took me to a gym and taught me how to use every piece of equipment,” said Linck. Her dad, John Linck, was a competitive bodybuilder in the 1980s, and helped her strength train for rowing.
After that day in the gym, she stated, “Positive experiences kept showing up in my life through fitness. A Dad Vail win after so many losses, 5Ks with fellow soldiers while I was deployed, a marathon after my first baby, a bodybuilding competition after the loss of my father,” whose ashes were spread at the lighthouse.
“It seemed like with every hard time, sweating through the emotions helped,” Linck added. “And every time I showed up for myself on the journey to the above events, there was growth. I figured if it worked for me, it could work for others: anyone interested in using exercise as a form of self-help, self-awareness and self-wellness.”
She pointed out, “I am not a therapist, so this is more of a tool for inward work: using motions and sweat as a stress reliever, with the added benefits of weight loss and muscle tone!”
As her website states, “LinckFIT is a winning system of healthy eating, strength, endurance and agility combined with mental toughness and dedication.”
Linck also competes in the bikini category of bodybuilding competitions, including, recently, the Lehigh Valley 70th Anniversary Championships. “I didn’t place,” she remarked. “However, getting on stage was truly a win this time around, as I prepared for this contest while attending military training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.”
The takeaway, as always, was growth and strength and wellness. And as Linck's Facebook page, facebook.com/Jenn-Linckfit, points out, she will continue to flex her “#militarymuscle.”
from The Sandpaper
- Juliet Kaszas-Hoch
United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Two Master Fitness Trainer
National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified
National Physique Committee Bikini Competitor
NCAA Division I Collegiate Rowing Champion
2 x Marathon Finisher
8 x Half Marathon Finisher
Long Beach Island, NJ 18 Miler Age Group Medalist
Multi-time 5K Medalist