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Meet Trailblazer Lauren Pon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Pon.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After graduating college in 2016 with my BA in Psychology, I wandered aimlessly for two years hoping to figure out what my true calling or passion was. Although I knew I wanted to go into therapy and work as a psychologist, I didn’t like how limiting the mental health industry was. So, for two years, I hopped from job to job, working as a rehab tech to volunteering with autistic children, I felt like I was a lost soul. After getting pressured by my parents to go back to school, I got all my prerequisites to go to occupational therapy school and then shortly after deciding to switch to physical therapy. I began to feel frustrated that all the health care professions were in the job of fixing people rather than preventative care. My belief is that we should be helping people before they are so broken that they need to seek medical help.

So, shortly after, started as a corporate personal trainer in 2017. After coaching 100+ clients, I recognized that the fitness industry desperately needed a holistic approach and I quit the corporate gym to pursue my vision of bridging mental and physical health.

I then began to work online through Instagram as a fitness coach working with online clients around the world.

I then teamed up with my client, Stephanie, who shared a similar vision to help others, and we co-founded Powerwolf Athletics, holistic fitness and self-development organization committed to mental and physical wellness.

We help particularly post grads, health care professionals and entrepreneurs create a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

To accomplish our mission of bridging mental and physical health, we offer online holistic fitness training which combines physical, emotional and mental fitness to help individuals make a transformation for life.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely has had many challenges. I had no idea that this idea of bringing fitness health and mental health was in such demand. I knew that people were struggling with diets and exercise not because they were lazy or unmotivated but because they were facing many internal battles that kept them from getting out of bed in the morning to the gym before work or stop stress eating.

This kind of online fitness program was tough to build because, for one, many people don’t really trust online coaching when you could go into a gym and find a personal trainer to help you in person. However, we do more than just give people customized workout plans. We bring together people who also are looking for an approach that empowers them to take care of themselves even if they are going through a rough time in life.

The most difficult thing was conveying how we would get people in this program. Most people won’t step up and say they want to work on their mental health because there is still a stigma around it. However, when it is combined with fitness and working out on your physical body, most are willing to give something like this a shot.

On top of that, I had teamed up with my business partner Stephanie to build this organization and we both had very little experience how to manage not just a new startup, but also each other. Most partnerships don’t last simply because personalities clash or people are unable to get through disagreements. Not only that but because I was spending so much time with her, we were forced to learn a LOT about each other and open up about our personal issues and be able to work through them. It may sound great to join forces with a friend or someone who shares your vision, but remember that it takes a lot of internal teamwork, trust, and personal ownership to make your business thrive. I believe that having a really strong team that is able to get through tough times and still stay committed to the vision is the foundation for a great company. My advice to any women out there thinking of starting their journey is that they have to love the struggles that come along with building out your vision. Most people get excited about all the money, fame, etc. that comes with a thriving business, but if you are unwilling to stay true and committed to your vision, you won’t last. Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Powerwolf Athletics – what should we know?
I’m most proud of the community we’ve built in Powerwolf. This isn’t just any ordinary fitness program. We focus on mental health and walking our clients/students through their struggles. The foundation is in fitness, but overall we are looking after their overall wellbeing. We embrace authenticity and vulnerability in our work. We believe that that is the key to truly making long term progress, whether that is in fitness or in nutrition. We don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach, as we understand that everyone’s lifestyle and cultural background is different, therefore our nutrition philosophy has found great success for many people. All of this works because we focus first on training the mind. We work on peoples deeply rooted habits or negative self-talk around food and body shaming. Our problem isn’t that we don’t have the best diet or the best workout plan. It is that we don’t have the confidence or support to help us stay consistent and dedicated to changing our lifestyle.

It’s very rewarding what I do because I am combining my two passions into a company that I truly love: fitness and mental health. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
There are so many opportunities for women! Particularly, if you are in the healthcare industry, there is still a lot of room for creativity. As women, we are very compassionate creatures and I think the world needs us to tap into that and bring something beautiful into the world. If we are too afraid to take a chance on ourselves, we are doing the world and the people who need us most a disservice.

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