Get Bodied by J is the relatable Fitness Influencer for Real Women
On today Jenelle Salazar, better known as ‘Get Bodied by J’ is hurriedly traveling from a gym workout to lunch with friends. Her schedule is tight so fitting in meetings and interviews has to come at the expense of a leisurely lunch break. At first glance Jenelle is primarily a fitness coach; teaching, encouraging, and motivating her audience and followers on the fitness routines, healthy eating, and a healthy mindset.
However, as you dig deeper you can see that her followers don’t just see her as a fitness coach. She’s a symbol of what’s possible as an woman, mother, and a female entrepreneur. Talking with Jenelle, I got a sense of where she came from, how far she’s come, what she’s been through, and the heights to where her sights are set.
The thing is, Jenelle doesn’t hide this.
She talks about the difficult topics and life situations from her past and her present.
THAT is why she is who she is.
THAT is why her followers are so loyal and passionate about her message.
Oh yeah, she dishes out some great workouts and diet plans too!
On this day in August we talked about her story, her struggles, how she went from zero to half a million Instagram followers so quickly, and what her vision is for the future.
When you look at Jenelle from where she is right now, and in today’s world when you see someone that is ‘Instagram Famous’ it’s hard to imagine that were ever struggling. Even if they were ever struggling, it’s hard to imagine that most of them would ever be transparent or vulnerable enough to actually let you know about it. Jenelle doesn’t hold back while telling her story of struggling to know how she was even going to pay her next month’s bills and rent just a few short years ago.
She tells her story not boastfully or solemnly but with enthusiasm because as she says, she “knows there are women out there right now that are struggling with these issues everyday.”
I used to be afraid to fail. That fear used prevent me from growing.” – Jenelle Salazar
When I contacted Jenelle about doing this interview for SWEAT (a fitness & health magazine), I thought we would be talking about working out, eating healthy, etc….
But this is why Jenelle is who is she is. She’s true to her story. And as she taught me on this day, this is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. This obvious goes so much further than just workout reps, exercise routines, and diet plans.
This is what GetBodiedbyJ followers see when they see Jenelle. They see a woman that was for some time a single mother, has struggled with her weight in the past (she doesn’t hide this fact, and actually frequently posts photos of herself when she was overweight).
Jenelle’s followers see a woman that has overcome real life issues that they maybe dealing with right now.
Originally from New Mexico, Jenelle got her fitness degree in Las Vagas in 2005 and began training people one on one out there working as an independent contractor. At that time she wasn’t doing any classes or groups like she does now.
A move to Atlanta brought much of the same: one on one training, modeling, acting… Oh yeah, and working full-time as a waitress too.
After a breakup she decided to go all in on being a fitness coach and trainer because that is where she knew her heart was. It’s apparent that this wasn’t a fairy tale story of a meteoric entrepreneurial rise. Jenelle talks of not knowing for sure how she was going to pay her bills, paying her way to her self hosted fitness boot camps without having payment from the attendees prior to the trips, late nights to early mornings on the computer figuring out payments, etc.
Online classes were the next venture (circa 2010) and without a team of assistants or any help to speak of at all that meant more late nights to early mornings figuring out payments, invoicing one by one with paypal, emailing the programs individually, dealing with customer service issues, etc…
All the while, raising a young child as a single mother.
You can feel from Jenelle’s tone and passion that being a mother (and now a wife) and captaining her growing brand is time consuming enough. Adding much more on top of that is only shorting her family. Giving less than her best isn’t the way Jenelle rolls. That is evident.
“I had to stop looking around the corner and constantly checking for what I was going to trip on in order for me to grow” says Jenelle, “As soon as I let that go, I started growing and great things started to happen.”
I had to ask Jenelle about Instagram. I mean doesn’t everyone wonder how the heck a person goes from 0 (okay, that ‘s where everyone starts when they open an account) to 500k followers? I didn’t get any magic formulas or specific tactics. For Jenelle, her authenticity and her message is just that dose of pixie dust that fueled her growth.
Jenelle says she started on Instagram around 2012. Before that she was only using Facebook and Twitter as her social accounts to grow her brand.
On a side note, GetBodiedbyJ was her original IG account and it was hacked and deleted. She had to change to GetBodiedby_J for several years and start all over. She recently got the original account back by just randomly checking for it one day and finding that it was miraculously available again!
Jenelle stopped training people one on one 3 years ago and now only hosts group classes.
Jenelle says she used to do the classes by herself, and though it was rewarding, it was exhausting both physically and mentally. She had to expand with other trainers. Jenelle formed Team Bodied, a group of trainers that Jenelle has built and endorsed that help execute the GetBodiedbyJ camps alongside her and do one on one training through the Team Bodied platform. She now holds classes whenever and wherever she wants allowing her to be there for her husband, Crezdon Butler, and her children.
“I love that there is no limit to how far I can go and what I can achieve. If I work hard, I can achieve more. If I don’t work hard……” Well, That’s not an option.
One of the foundations of the GetBodiedbyJ brand are Jenelle’s group fitness classes that she holds in cities all around the country (and soon the world, though technically she has been in Canada there are plans to do London soon). I asked Jenelle how some of the store brand partnerships come about, like doing group classes in places like the Official Nike Store or Lululemon for example.
“I just ask. I tell them about my following and they usually understand that it’s a win-win. They may so no. They usually don’t say no but if you don’t ask, there’s no way you’ll get a yes” – Jenelle, on how she forms strategic big-brand partnerships and opens doors for growing her brand.
There is so much more on the horizon. There’s a book Jenelle is currently working on, to be titled ‘Bodied’, and should be releasing the end of 2016 or early 2017.
Growing ‘Team Bodied’ is a top priority right now but Jenelle isn’t about setting limits.
Jenelle is an independent spirit.
This spirit is what attracts her following, fuels her growth, and why the passion for her brand is on fire.
“God has blessed me so much. I just want to bless others that that are ‘thinking there is just no way I can……’ – Jenelle Salazar