As CEO/co-owner of Fit Bottomed World, co-author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet and Editor-in-Chief at Fit Bottomed Girls, Fit Bottomed Mamas and Fit Bottomed Zen, Jennipher Walters has several fitness credentials under her belt: She is an ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach, and was named as one of the top 100 influencers in health and fitness by Greatist in 2016 and 2017. Jenn has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and an MA in health journalism from the University of Minnesota. She has also written for numerous online publications including Shape magazine, The Huffington Post and SparkPeople. In her free time, Jenn can be found doing HIIT workouts with her husband, making a mean green smoothie, running laps around the neighborhood with her daughter, standing on her soapbox to advocate body positivity and snuggling with her pup.
How did you get into the industry?
I started teaching group exercise in 2000 after falling IN LOVE with taking classes at the University of Missouri Rec Center. It was so fun and high energy that I just had to be an instructor. After teaching for a few months, I decided to get even more education and became certified as a personal trainer. That’s really when my love for fitness started – but it wasn’t until 2007, before I got married that a lot of my own personal body image issues really came up and I learned more about body positivity, intuitive eating and mindful living. In 2008, I looked around at the magazines on the shelf and the sites on the internet for women’s health and saw a huge need for a message that wasn’t just “lose 10 pounds and get a perfect life.” I started FitBottomedGirls.com in 2008 to get a more powerful and meaningful message to women that they are more than the number on the scale and that the first step of being healthy is loving yourself.
Any emerging industry trends?
It used to be that traffic was SO important to our actual websites/blogs, but as social media platforms have grown, evolved and become more varied with more features, we’ve started viewing those platforms as actual hubs of content and opportunities for getting our message/mission out in new ways. It’s a different way of thinking, but it’s been really fun to not just write a post about why diets suck, but to then share an inspiring meme about it on Facebook and Twitter and then talk about in an Instagram story, too.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
There’s so much clutter and noise online these days – and we’re actively telling readers to unplug more to not only avoid the comparison trap but to also reduce stress. Which is kind of ironic, right, since everything we do is virtual? But, it’s allowed us personally to practice what we preach: quality over content and true intentionality and focus on what we’re putting out into the online world and how we’re doing it. We also just did our first in-person retreat at 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley, Cali. It was amazing to connect with readers in person.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
After overcoming my own dieting struggles, I really wanted to let other women know that they were put on this planet to do more than worry about their weight or try to hate themselves healthy. Everything really grew from that mission – and the timing in 2008 was perfect because it didn’t take much knowledge or know-how to start a blog/website and there were other sites out there, but not a ton. With good writing, a solid message and a fun tone (plus, the name with its play on the Queen song, Fat Bottomed Girls), we got attention and a following pretty quickly. From there we just grew and grew to cover other verticals where we saw a need (moms with Fit Bottomed Mamas, food/nutrition with Fit Bottomed Eats, mindful living with Fit Bottomed Zen) and were able to start working with brands that aligned with our missions.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We just passed our one-year podcasting (https://fitbottomedgirls.com/podcast/) anniversary which has been SO exciting, and we’re looking forward to talking to more amazing people on our show. We’re also launching our next online weight-loss challenge (https://fitbottomedgirls.com/coaching/) soon and will be announcing a new highly individualized online program to maximize health and results soon, too. The science of health is so cool and interesting right now, and we’re looking to help women get results they never thought possible, based on their individuality and with – of course – loads of self-love.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
The majority of our revenue comes from working with brands, but we only work with companies that are a perfect fit for our message and that we personally endorse. We’ve said no to a lot of opportunities, simply because they didn’t feel right. In the short-term, maybe we’ve lost out. But in the long-term – and in our goal to make the world a more body positive place – we’ve certainly come out ahead. For us, it’s about more than money. It’s about authenticity and alignment. Our readers and followers know that and expect that, and that’s why they trust us and keep coming back.
7. Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
I don’t have a background or degree in business, so I basically learned EVERYTHING as I went and am still learning today. My business motto is evolve or die … and thankfully, we’ve been able to evolve and adapt to current trends while still staying true to ourselves and our mission.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
A woman who comes to one of our sites or sees a message from one of our social media channels and is inspired to eat healthy foods and move because she loves herself – not as a way to conform or change or be anything that she thinks she’s supposed to be.
How do you motivate others?
I practice what I preach – and expect everyone’s best, but not perfection. There’s a lot of flexibility here – and a LOT of virtual high-fiving.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Be yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for your worth. Also? Fake it ‘til you make it – or at least fake it until you can learn it and make it. You’ve got this.