We had the good fortune of connecting with Janine Sluder and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Janine, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Simply put… people.

I set out on this journey with the intention to help others feel empowered with their health goals and be able to enjoy a high quality of life for decades to come. The human body is so fascinating to me, in that it holds an incredible innate intelligence to self-heal and grow with the proper support. The best part about my job is that I get to marry my interests with my love of helping people feel stronger, tap into their potential and overcome their challenges. Bearing witness to the joy this brings to their lives and sharing in these personal victories is what drives me out of bed every morning and I LOVE IT.

I also believe my network has been an incredibly influential part of my success. I once heard someone say, “If you seek personal and professional growth and success, surround yourself with people who have already achieved those things in their own lives.” I have found so much truth in this statement. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible to achieve success without inspiring and accomplished individuals within your circle, but I would argue that it greatly enriches your own personal and professional fulfillment. I’ve chosen to surround myself with people who embody a growth mindset, are continuously pushing themselves to be better, and hold their friends and colleagues to the same. These relationships, both personally and in my career, have most certainly had a positive impact on my growth.

Furthermore, I attribute much of my success to the support of this incredible community to which I belong. The people here in Mancos Valley are truly so special and I couldn’t have experienced any progress without the encouragement and love they have warmly welcomed me with. Typically we don’t see the struggles entrepreneurs, artists, and other creators face in the process of building their craft. It’s only once the finished product has been realized that we observe “success” and as I’ve learned this past year, sometimes that feels overwhelming and isolating. Having such loving friends and neighbors here has had such a positive impact on staying focused and keeping my heart in the game. I’m incredibly honored to get to do what I love in a community I love.

Lastly, I believe there’s a level a resiliency, determination, and healthy detachment that is required of any entrepreneur to achieve success. I take pride in possessing (or at the very least, continuously developing) these traits within myself. As with many things in life, one must learn to remain fluid and keep persisting. Essentially, I’m trying to build something within a world of uncontrollable variables and so many times I’ve had to mold and shift my plans to make progress. I’ve had to learn to be flexible in my ideas and not hold too tightly to certain expectations. Some things just don’t go to plan. Nonetheless, embracing a mentality to be open to change is an important attribute that I believe anyone can practice in accomplishing their own success.

What should our readers know about your business?
Interestingly enough, my origin story into personal training actually saw its inception through chiropractic. In 2011, I began working as a chiropractic assistant in NW Colorado and it was there that I found a love for patient care and assisting others in leading more healthy lifestyles. I gained an understanding of how each of the body’s systems are integrated with one another and how vital the effective functioning of each of these impacts our overall well being. As much as I found joy in my work, I eventually felt pulled to learn more and expand my scope of practice in helping people feel their best. From there my journey endured a switchback or two as I earned my BA in Fitness & Health Promotion, attained an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist credential, and further explored where I felt my heart’s calling. Ultimately I found my place in personal training, but with all of the experience and knowledge acquired along the way, I settled into a fun little niche that allowed me the ability to blend attributes of strength training with the corrective principles of chiropractic.

Even before I began my journey as a fitness professional, I repeatedly saw problems within the industry where we were failing to hit the mark in ensuring the success of client’s health goals. Especially within the “big box gyms”. To avoid a soapbox moment bone picking over my trade, I’ll summarize the recurring theme I have seen people struggle with—little to no guidance paired with an overwhelm of information. While accessibility to gyms and equipment have become increasingly more prevalent, there still remains a common disconnect that is happening for a large cohort of people. Certainly there is a level of personal responsibility in achieving one’s goals, however as professionals, we must always be asking ourselves how we can work within our circles of influence to make these goals more attainable for our clients.

With these challenges in mind, I set out to better understand what elements in fitness work well and those that could be better reformed to create a dynamic that would eliminate many of these barriers for clients. After asking questions, observing trends and learning from other like minded colleagues, what I have learned is that there are three major facets that greatly influence success within a fitness program: social connectedness, affordability, and personalization. There certainly is no shortage of fitness options that can provide an element or two of these, however, it’s a challenge for many to find something that can achieve all of these markers. Group training and fitness classes can provide great community and affordability, but can lose the personalization aspect. Similarly, one-on-one training offers great individualization in program design, but oftentimes becomes too costly and doesn’t offer the benefit of socializing. While at first glance these may not seem like dealbreakers, far too often “it’s just too expensive” or “I don’t want to do the same workout as everyone else” become the justifiable reasons to give up altogether. In addition to seeking resolve with these challenges, the chiropractic-loving side of me wanted to incorporate another element to my training that could add greater benefit to clients. So much of our lifestyles today involve long hours sitting, looking down at computer screens, and other poor behaviors which contribute to musculoskeletal imbalances within the body. Consequently we then begin to see issues of chronic pain, limited mobility and increased risk of injury.

Leading the trajectory of my business planning with these considerations, I adopted an approach to personal training that I believe offers more value for clients. Training sessions are structured in a small group dynamic which cultivates a fun, social atmosphere and builds long lasting friendships within the community. Unlike many other fitness classes however, instead of doing a workout of the day, clients get the individualized program design that best suits their goals, exercise & health history, and special considerations. One client may be focusing on building muscle mass as another focuses on maintaining a specific weight as they rehab an injury. Each workout is their very own. An additional benefit to opening sessions to train multiple clients is that it allows me to keep my rates affordable. There are no binding contracts, club fees or outrageous inflated hourly rates to accommodate earnings cut towards a corporation or large overhead. To further expand on the personalization in program design, before a client even begins their training journey, we always start with a fitness and spinal assessment. During this assessment, insightful data is collected to evaluate and ensure I am creating workouts that not only focus on achieving client fitness goals, but also work to correct posture, musculoskeletal imbalances and improve range of motion. In my opinion, this is one of the most important considerations in my training design that has such a positive impact on client success and overall quality of living.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We don’t say the “Westslope is the BEST slope” for no reason. In our neck of the woods, you can find just about anything to satisfy the interests and needs of the whole family. Our rural towns in the southwest are tiny, but mighty! Between small town charm and the recreational euphoria, it’s impossible to have a bad time around these parts. If exploring the great outdoors is your vibe, you can’t go wrong starting your day with a breathtaking sunrise hike on top of Mesa Verde. If it’s a summer cool down you’re after, Dolores Outfitters are just a short drive north and they’ll hook you up with some great SUP rentals to take out and play on the refreshing waters of McPhee Reservoir. They’re a great one-stop-shop for fun gifts to take home for your loved ones, too! For those who love to take things slower and enjoy a little R&R, a hop and a skip over to Durango will reward you with peaceful scenery as you soak away your troubles in the Durango Hot Springs.

Before you start any adventure, however, it’s a must to swing by Fahrenheit Coffee Roasters in the heart of Mancos for fresh, in-house roasted coffee and friendly faces. But if you find yourself rolling through the beautiful Mancos Valley after a full day of exploring and are need of a tasty beverage and a bite to eat, you would be sorry to miss out on Fenceline Cidery. There is always something fun going on whether it’s bingo night, live music or just fun, locals sharing laughs over a delicious meal from one of the many food trucks that frequent the cidery (Kelly’s Kitchen & Sweetwater Gypsies are a couple of my faves!)

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My closest and most dearest friends. I am rich enough in life to be able to say there are far too many to name them all, but they know who they are. My Mancos soul tribe who has embraced me from day one, has always believed in me and my work, and never hesitates to roll up their sleeves and jump in the trenches with me to get the job done. I will be endlessly grateful for the many pep talks, creative input, thoughtful gifts and belly laughs that have been such a driving force in my growth. I love you all so much and from the bottom of my heart… THANK YOU for believing in me!

Most importantly I owe my endless gratitude ad inspiration to my two daughters, McKena and Kailyn. Thank you for being so understanding, loving and helpful as our lives have shifted to put more focus into this endeavor of mine. You two have been my biggest cheerleaders and keep me driving forward each day. I love you to the moon and back.

Instagram: @vagabondpersonaltraining

Image Credits
Patrick Mason (1st and 4th images)

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