Coach Stories

It's your body. Move It. Love it. Live it.

Chayan Garg
6 min read

Meet Vanessa Bogenholm, CEO Fitness 23, CEO Exercise in the Streets, CEO Train with V, professional runner, and a certified personal trainer based in San Jose. She is also a published author of The Moral Line and It’s Your Body Move IT!

We helped Vanessa develop and launch Fitness 23, an online Fitness App. With Fitness 23, the significance of which you'll unveil as you read more, she's able to assist her clients in becoming their best version. 

In the seventh episode of Outside The Gym, we had the pleasure of meeting with Vanessa, who took us through her fitness journey and shared her thoughts on women taking up sports or fitness as a profession, a topic that has recently gained greater attention in society.

She also discussed how fitness helps you improve your physical and mental health and excel in whatever job or career path that you may choose.

The Starting of Vanessa’s Fitness Journey 

“How did you get your fitness journey started?”

“At school, I always had a love for sports and physical activity.

I was a very overweight child, about 200 pounds as a 13-year old, and I went to basketball practice. The coach was really nice, but he said he wanted me to get fit, so he let me join in on their workouts despite being slow!

It was the 1980's and running was huge at that time, and Frank Shorter was my hero. He was an American gold medal winner in the marathon, and I went out to run, and I could only run 23 steps. This is why my company is called Fitness 23. It is because that's how many steps I first ran as a 13-year-old, and that's where it all started.”

“When was the first time you ran your first marathon?” 

“I started running when I was 15 and won my first marathon at 16. I usually run eight to nine marathons in a year despite injuries.” 

Vanessa’s Fitness Inspiration and Role Model

“Who has been your fitness inspiration or your role model?” 

“Frank Shorter, an Olympic marathoner, was my hero. 

The running craze was huge in the United States, but still, women were not believed to be physically capable of running. They thought that our universe would fall out if we tried! They said the most bizarre things ever. 

But I wanted to do what Frank did. 

I wanted his character more than I even wanted to ever think that I could be a great athlete.

I just thought these athletes had character, and I really wanted to be an achiever in life and not someone who's always disappointed. And what running and exercise did for me was not just make me take off this weight. 

I used to be a C student in school, but after actively participating and taking out time for my fitness, it helped me become an A student in school and showed me that hard work got me somewhere.

One of the things I always tried with my clients, especially young people, was to say if you could do this better than you did yesterday, obviously, you could work harder at school also, and that's how our mind-body connection works!”

“As women’s day is around the corner, we’d love to know a female athlete who you actually look upto or what you think sets female athletes apart from others.” 

“I think it's really fascinating about female athletes becoming big business people. 

Look at Serena and Venus Williams. They create empires after becoming an athlete and not doing it like everybody else.

It's always amazing to look at these athletes, and currently, we have so many track and field athletes coming from around the world and not just from the United States or from England, which were always the major places. 

You see this and see them taking ownership and not letting an agent control them and using their money for the good in the world.”

Title IX: Changed Education for the Better 

“The accomplishment of Title IX being passed allowed women in the United States to get college scholarships for sports. Before that, women could not, and this changed everything because now you could be a sportsperson and get college paid for the same as a guy.

So, that was huge, and that's really changed how things go.” 


What do you think are the major challenges for female athletes to take up fitness or athletics as a profession?” 

"I find it interesting how women can't be too strong in the business world because then, they are considered bullies and everything else that has a negative connotation.

Whereas in the case of a guy, you expect that. 

Also, one major challenge is that no one's harder on a woman than another woman, which is also the worst thing ever. We are not very supportive of each other, which is a very strange thing to me. 

It's really weird to see how many women are getting plastic surgery nowadays. And when I wrote my book, not even a single photo in the book was photoshopped. None of the photos are ever photoshopped, with no plastic surgery. So that's a big deal. 

I really hope that my image shows that women can be really fit even in their 50s and be their own company and do things responsibly and still feel good about it.”


Vanessa’s Experience with Coaching Clients through the FitBudd App

“Do you coach more in-person clients or more online clients?”

“It's more online clients now. So, my business was always based on in-person clients. 

But when COVID happened, I really took to writing the book and finished it as well. 

And then, the second thing to do was the app and onboarding more remote clients. 

It's very expensive to see a trainer one on one in person. 

I really want to be able to inspire more people on a remote level. 

So, now that I have the app built and the book is out, you know, we have videos now, we moved to that different level of coaching a lot more people at a less expensive cost that still is financially viable for me as my company and build my brand.”

Due to traveling so much to different places due to the races, FitBudd helped me take care of my remote clients.

“How were you managing clients before using FitBudd?”

“Before FitBudd, I was using another app that was horrifying, and it was expensive, and it was just an online thing that they would get basically text messages from me. 

It was very cumbersome, but the main thing was I couldn't personalize it. 

So when I started to look at, you know, okay if I'm going to do my own app, how I want to be able to personalize it for the clients. But it still makes it quick enough that I'm not writing an essay to the client every week.

I wanted to communicate with my clients quickly, which is what FitBudd did.

I looked at six different companies to build the app before I chose you. 

I looked at a private entity to build my own app, and it was really interesting to see how so many brands just restricted what a personal app is supposed to look like and period. 

And I was like, well, that's not what I need at all. 

Every client’s pace is different, from 5k steps to 10k steps, and I wanted to see the history of all my clients under one roof, and that’s what launching the app with FitBudd helped me do.” 

“What’s the USP of FitBudd from a trainer's lens and the benefits of using an application?”

“It keeps everything organized very well. Everyone knows what's happening, where they are, what they're doing. But I think the best part is being able to see where we're going and what my clients are going to do for the week.

There is a schedule in there that helps you track your clients' progress. 

Also, water usage. For certain clients, drinking water is really really hard. So the app has made it like a game because it's just a click, I just like getting another glass.

It's very interesting, and they're really getting to see what happens calorie-wise with food because I'm not putting you on an exact diet, you're putting in there what you did to see what you've done. 

I can also see my client’s trends and food, and it allows them to be honest with food. 

As a trainer, I want to see what you do, and then we can adjust that to make your life livable so that you're actually having a nutritional value to make everything better.”

“What is your favorite feature of FitBudd?”

“It’s that I can put personal notes in there!

What I do with that feature is that if my client runs for three miles tomorrow, I actually put pretty much either an inspirational picture of me or a really funny cartoon of the person running.

This makes my clients open the app to see what pictures I have in there.

I think that's hysterical. 

Also, doing this makes the experience personalized, and personalization in fitness is great.”

International Women’s Day Special Tip

“What tips would you like to give to women watching this interview who are keen to enter into the fitness space or pursue running as a profession?”

“So one of the things that's very common with women is they don't feel secure enough to even try anything.

One of the reasons people would come to me is because it's a private studio. They can actually learn without feeling embarrassed. So, because they didn't have someone that taught them sports at a young age, they don't know what to do with their bodies.

But as all the offerings are personalized, it allows you to learn how to use your body and to grow without feeling embarrassed. 

Also, the first thing which I do while onboarding a client is to understand the person's personality. What is your personality type? 

And then we figure out a weight program and a fitness program for your type, and then we move forward.” 

“Women should not be embarrassed about their bodies. If they have to lose weight or gain weight or gain muscle, they should just feel proud that they're actually working towards a goal.” 

Secret Sauce: Vanessa’s Motivation

“Do you have any inspirational fitness quotes or a movie that motivates you and is close to your heart?” 

“I watch a lot of videos of people winning races, a sport, or biathlon. To me, it is fascinating. Also, I always watch people who collapse at finish lines. 

I mean, that's always such an interesting thing. When you've given everything you possibly had, and you collapse!

Even if I don't play that sport, it's inspirational that you gave 190%. 

So, to actually physically feel like you're fit enough to give 190% is huge! 

And I always watch athletes do that.”

“If you could have a huge billboard, what would it be and why?”

“It's Your Body: Move It, Love it, Live it.


Most people don't move their bodies enough, and they don't love their bodies.

We are lucky to have these, and they are the best machines ever created.

You could have twenty broken bones and your muscles, and your ligaments are going to make up for that problem. 

All of us have had injuries. None of us has a perfect body, and we all can do amazing things, and I really want to teach people that, you know, this is your body, you could actually do something with it.

Do You Want To Launch Your Own Fitness App Like Vanessa And Scale Your Fitness Business?

Fitness apps are becoming more and more popular with fitness trainers who want to offer their clients the best experience possible. 

Like Vanessa Bogenholm, many other people in this industry have scaled up their business by using a personal app that allows them hands-free while providing personalized workouts at any time! 

And now, you can experience FitBudd for FREE right away: Sign Up Now!

We'll be coming up with more success stories like this one soon, so stay tuned!

Watch the full interview below to hear what Vanessa has in store for you!



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