How to Turn Your Health & Fitness Obsession into an Actual Career

How to Have a Career in Wellness
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If you have a passion for all things health and fitness, then you’ve likely fantasized at least once about ditching your corporate gig for a career in the booming wellness industry.

Whether you’ve looked into turning your passion for yoga into a full-time career, considered heading back to school to study nutrition or have wanted to launch a health-food startup, it turns out there’s more than one way to get your foot in the door.

Ahead, five accomplished industry pros dish on what their work entails on a daily basis, how they achieved success and how you can follow their lead to land that dream job.

MORE: 7 Female Fitness Experts the Stars Swear by for Staying in Tip-Top Shape

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, Dawn Jackson Blatner

Describe an average day at work.
I could be testing recipes for a new book, doing a presentation in front of hundreds of people, creating content in my home office, traveling to New York to do the Today Show or seeing clients in my downtown office.

What made you get into the business?
In college, I heard on TV that you should do for a career what you do in your spare time. I loved testing recipes, reading health magazines and hanging out at [health food stores].

What did you study?
I got my degree in nutrition and dietetics and finished a nine-month internship to take the RD exam. To keep my RD credentials, I need 75 hours of continuing education every five years.

What tips would you give anyone wanting to do what you do?
Go for it—but have patience and persistence. If there’s some aspect of nutrition you want to be involved in, don’t be afraid to do it on a small scale and intern to learn the skill. Over time, opportunities find people who are consistently doing work with honest passion and enthusiasm.

What’s the best part of your job?
There’s so much variety, so when you get tired of doing one thing, you can start trying another! There’s never a dull moment.

What’s the worst?
I got totally burned out about three years ago, and I started feeling that [in order] to stay relevant with so many others in the nutrition field, I had to just keep doing more, more, more.

I got a coach who helped me realize that it isn’t just about accomplishments and moving ahead, but rather it’s about enjoying my work every day and enjoying the process. Now, I slow down and enjoy my daily tasks, and the quality of my work has improved drastically with my new secret ingredient: joy.

If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?
Nothing. This is my dream job, and I was born to do it. There are so many paths to take a career in nutrition that I’ll never get bored.

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Activewear Designer and Lorna Jane Founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson

Describe an average day at work.
I rise early, stretch, exercise, body brush and shower. Then, I have a healthy breakfast and catch up on the news, emails and any other pressing business and personal matters. Once I am in the office, I usually spend the first few hours with my design team fitting our latest collections, selecting new fabrics and running through upcoming trends and inspiration (we develop 70-100 new styles every single month at Lorna Jane). I then usually have back-to-back meetings.  

I am very intentional about finding time to sit down and enjoy my lunch at some point in the middle of my day. I usually wrap up at the office around 6 p.m. and head home. Before settling in, I first love to unwind by going on a walk with my husband and my dog, Roger. I then make dinner and finish the day with some time spent reading a good book and sometimes maybe even a little dose of reality TV, which is admittedly my guilty pleasure.  

How did you come to be doing this job?
Lorna Jane was born out of the fitness boom in the ’80s. I, of course, was completely hooked and had decided to take a fitness leader course in order to become an aerobics instructor. I had started teaching classes in the evenings after work (at the time, I was a full-time dental therapist), and I found that I really struggled to find activewear that made me feel good and was a reflection of my personality.

Being a lover of fashion, I took matters into my own hands and started designing my own activewear—it was fashionable and functional. The ladies in my classes loved my designs and asked me to make some for them, which I was only too happy to do. The orders flooded in, and the rest is history! 

It’s been 26 years, and we now have over 200 stores in 54 countries.  

What tips would you give anyone wanting to do what you do for a living?
Life’s too short to spend time doing something that doesn’t matter to you. Find your purpose, your reason to exist, and point your life in that direction. Also, there is no such thing as perfect—there’s no perfect time or perfect business plan. If you wait for perfect, you may miss the opportunity. Simply put one foot in front of the other, throw away any excuses, and get started. 

What is the best thing about your job?
Hands down, the best part of my job is inspiring women across the globe to embrace active living to pursue healthier, happier lives. I am truly honored to be able to encourage women, support women and inspire women through Lorna Jane and our philosophy. 

What is the worst thing about your job?
Nothing! If I didn’t truly love what I was doing, I wouldn’t still be doing it after 26 years.

If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?
I will advocate active living for as long as I possibly can. It isn’t just a job for me and, frankly, there isn’t anything I would rather spend my time doing.

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Founder and Instructor of Xtend Barre, Andrea Rogers

Describe an average day at work.
My day begins with teaching a 9:30 a.m. signature Xtend Barre class at our corporate Boca Raton, Florida studio.

Following class, I spend time chatting with my clients, connecting with them on their goals and working to create strong relationships within our Xtend Barre community. I then head back to the corporate office to work with my team on the day-to-day operations of the Xtend Barre franchise business.

What made you get into the business?
As a professional dancer and choreographer, I was first introduced to Pilates for its therapeutic benefits and became a certified Pilates trainer. In an effort to offer clients variety, fun and increase the fitness benefits, I created a fusion of core dance and Pilates fundamentals, and Xtend Barre was born.

What qualifications did you need?
I’m a professional dancer and studied a Pilates certification.

What tips would you give anyone wanting to do what you do?
Determine what speciality you’re most passionate about and devote time to learning as much as you can about that method from the leaders in the industry.

What’s the best part of your job?
The incredible people I get to work with around the world, making an impact on people’s lives daily, creating new techniques to help people achieve physical success and having flexibility in my schedule, so I can be a mom and an entrepreneur.

The worst?
Never being off the clock.

If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?
Hosting a talk show!

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People pleasing was in my way for YEARS.My ideas would run through a self imposed filter in my head. Will they like this? Will they be offended? Will they like me? What if they hate me? What if they have an opinion I don't like? What if they JUDGE ME?! 🤨 - Who the heck was "THEY" and are "they" happy? Successful? Someone whose vision I would want to follow? And why did I care? - Oh my the time I wasted... SO MUCH TIME. - It took failures and rebuilding and doing so much hard emotional intelligence work but it was worth it. I finally leveled the heck up! - I am so clear now that when we focus on OUR passions and not on trying to be what we "think" others want us to be the world opens up for us. - We get clear on our vision. We get clear on the HOW. Others get enrolled in our vision and even support us getting there. Passion and energy goes through the roof. RESULTS always follow. We can create everything from nothing. - Focus on living YOUR passion and not on trying to be who others WANT you to be. - "They" have an opinion but unless "their" opinions are changing the world or atleast paying your bills choose not to listen 😉Turn your back on all the rest. ✌️ —————————— I’ve blocked out a weekend in September (9/28) to spend with a handful of you ready to go deep with me in this space and get radical results. You’ll get both me and my husband as your coaches that weekend and when we both focus on YOU Watch out! - This is way less pricey than working with me one on one as I’m doing this with a small group of you over three days! Just a few spots left. DM me if you want to join me!

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Sports Nutritionist and Trainer, Natalie Jill

Describe an average day at work.
A typical day involves a 6 a.m. wakeup, and then I post my workout video of the day, review my Instagram and Facebook, listen to a podcast and then review my work and prioritize for the day. I then get my daughter ready, and after that, I usually workout and then it’s focus work time.

I have blocks of time each week on various days scheduled for content writing, shooting content, meeting with my mentors and our consultants, as well as reviewing products, blogs and new website pages.

How did you get into the business?
When I was younger, I didn’t really pay much attention to health and fitness. I was active, but I didn’t really start to focus on it until I was 22 and my dad died abruptly of a heart attack when he was 49. That was when I really started taking an interest in things, as I didn’t want myself or others I cared about to suffer the same fate.

I learned more and more over the years, especially when I was diagnosed as having celiac sprue and had to eliminate gluten from my diet. This was before gluten-free was popular and you really had to read ingredients and know which foods and ingredients contained gluten so you wouldn’t consume it.

What tips would you give anyone wanting to do what you do?
I recommend you do a little research and then take action, but information overload can be so discouraging, so can comparing yourself to others that are established. Instead of trying to figure everything out and do it all at once, look at just a few things you can do each day to move in the right direction.

What’s the best part about your job?
I give people the tools they need to change their lives. When I read transformation stories from people I have inspired, it literally makes me so happy.

The worst?
I think the worst part of my job is reading comments from all the judgers out there. If someone shares their transformation, people will write hurtful things like, “that is not her” or “that picture was air brushed” or “why doesn’t she show her face?” or “that has to be photo shopped.” The list goes on.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t in this job, I would probably be doing the same thing in corporate America. I was with the same company for over 14 years, so I would probably have stayed there.

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Entrepreneur and Bulletproof Founder, Dave Asprey

Describe an average day at work.
When you’re running a company like Bulletproof, there’s no such thing as an “average day.” Typically though, I check my sleep statistics when I wake up, and my alarm wakes me at the top of a sleep cycle, so I’m never startled awake. I start the day with a cup of Bulletproof coffee, then some child wrangling until they’re off to school for the day, and I head over to my biohacking lab and office where I work on projects, take calls and run meetings until around 5 p.m.

I schedule time with the kids and my wife, and then I’m up most nights until one or two in the morning, finishing up work. The best “focus work” happens late at night, so it’s nice to have the flexibility to do so.

How did you get your start?
I was fat, exhausted and struggling to succeed throughout my teens and 20s. At my heaviest, I weighed 300 pounds and reached a point where I thought, “I’ve got to find a way to feel better. It shouldn’t be this hard.” I’ve since spent 15 years and $300,000 upgrading every system of my body, from diet and focus to sleep and sex, and sharing this research with the public.

I just started blogging [about my findings] as a hobby to help others avoid the expensive, laborious process I went through. Following the success of the Bulletproof Diet, finally I had to quit my day job to make Bulletproof a reality. The rest is history!

What experience or qualifications do you have?
I have an MBA from a big school, and I have run strategic planning for two different companies with $1 billion in revenue. I’ve learned from hundreds of people how to do what I do and practiced it extensively.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to help others by sharing the research and data I’ve found. I’ve met and connected with so many interesting people in the biohacking and wellness industries. The information out there is endless and empowering people to find it and use it to change their lives is an incredible process.

The worst?
The [amount of] international travel can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?
Biomedical engineering would be fun. Either that, or a space ranger!

A version of this article was originally published in August 2015.

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