Staying Ahead: How Passion Fit Leads With Cutting-Edge Wellness Education

Health and wellness are increasingly becoming cornerstones of both personal fulfillment and professional success, and health coaches play a pivotal role in guiding individuals and organizations toward their best selves.

Among these changemakers, Reena Vokoun, the founder and CEO of Passion Fit™, stands out for her innovative and holistic approach to wellness. With a background that includes over two decades of    experience in the digital advertising, media and tech industries, and an impactful tenure at Google, Vokoun’s journey from corporate America to the forefront of the wellness industry is both inspiring and instructive.

As health coaches seek to expand their impact and refine their practices, there is much to be learned from Vokoun’s journey. Learn more about the strategies, philosophies and insights that have propelled Vokoun to success, offering valuable lessons for fellow coaches in the art and science of wellness.

Passion Fit offers a unique approach that blends the best of Eastern and Western philosophies. Could you elaborate on how this integration benefits your clients and sets your programs apart from others?

My upbringing, which is deeply influenced by my first-generation Indian American heritage, introduced me to yoga, meditation and mindfulness from a very young age. While initially, I might not have fully appreciated these practices, their mainstream acceptance over time has underscored their value in enhancing physical, mental and emotional well-being. In all my classes and much of my work, I integrate yoga and meditation, reflecting this blend of influences.

For instance, my fitness classes encompass a wide range of styles – from bootcamp, Pilates, barre, to high-intensity interval training. My dance background, which spans ballet, modern, hip-hop, jazz, Latin and ç, allows me to infuse a unique cultural element into my choreography, sharing a piece of my heritage with my students and clients.

Nutritionally, my approach is natural and holistic, drawing not only from Indian traditions but also adopting principles from the Mediterranean diet. This focus is on whole, unprocessed foods and beneficial spices like turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and immune system support. My philosophy extends to preferring natural remedies and homeopathic medicine when possible, complementing Western medicine’s necessary interventions with more traditional, holistic approaches.

My American upbringing, coupled with my deep cultural roots, enables me to offer relatable yet distinct wellness strategies. This dual influence ensures that my programs are not only modern and efficient but also grounded in time-honored practices. My work is highly personalized, recognizing the diverse needs and backgrounds of each client.

With your extensive experience in digital advertising, media, and tech industries how do you integrate technology and digital media into your current wellness programs and initiatives at Passion Fit?

Leveraging my 16-plus-year career in tech and digital media at prominent companies like Yahoo, Google, Reebok and GE naturally informed my approach to building Passion Fit. It’s quite interesting because at Google, I worked on monetizing content for publishers, and now I’ve become the publisher myself, utilizing Google’s suite of products. I’m also a YouTube partner, having launched my YouTube channel nearly a decade ago, which reflects a full-circle moment from working with YouTube partners to being one.

Technology plays a significant role in Passion Fit’s operations. I’ve developed an online course on work-life balance, collaborated closely with web developers and designers to enhance our digital footprint, and maintain a strong presence across all major social media platforms. This comprehensive digital strategy is aimed at creating and sharing content through various mediums, from videos and photos to articles.

While the pandemic necessitated a shift towards online for many businesses, Passion Fit was already operating on a hybrid model, blending in-person and online engagements. Post-pandemic, we’ve continued this hybrid approach, valuing the importance of connecting with clients both locally as well as internationally.

As a brand ambassador, speaker and advocate in the health and wellness community, how do you stay updated with the latest research and trends to ensure your programs and advice remain effective and relevant?

Staying updated with the latest research and trends in the health and wellness community is something I take very seriously, given the responsibilities and liabilities involved in our field. Although my educational background is in business, marketing, management, advertising and communications, I recognized early on the importance of grounding my work in health and wellness knowledge.

Despite considering additional formal education in nutritional sciences or anatomy and physiology, I opted to pursue various certifications through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and Gallup, focusing on corporate wellness. I am certified as a health coach, nutrition and behavior change specialist, yoga and mindfulness specialist, and have maintained my certification as a fitness instructor since college, also specializing in employee wellbeing and professional strengths-based coaching.

Obtaining these certifications was just the beginning. Continuous education plays a crucial role in ensuring my programs and advice remain current and effective. Continuous learning is imperative for anyone in the health and wellness industry, underscoring the ongoing commitment to education throughout one’s career.

You’ve worked with a diverse range of clients, from individuals to large organizations. Can you share an example where implementing your wellness programs led to significant cultural or health transformations within an organization?

I’ve had the privilege of conducting numerous speaking engagements, workshops and consultations with a wide variety of companies, including those in tech, financial services and academia. A particularly impactful experience has been navigating the challenges organizations faced during the pandemic, especially as employees grappled with isolation while working remotely and later, the anxiety of returning to the office. Through my workshops, I emphasized community and shared experiences, using poll questions to discuss common concerns like anxiety, burnout, stress and the struggle to maintain healthy lifestyles during these unprecedented times.

Seeing participants realize they were not alone in their feelings, discovering that their colleagues shared similar challenges, was incredibly powerful. It fostered a sense of camaraderie within departments and across the organization, offering a sense of relief and understanding among employees. My sessions have catered to various groups within companies, including sales teams, engineering teams, and women’s leadership groups, addressing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as well.

One of the most rewarding outcomes of these engagements has been the realization by companies of the need to prioritize employee wellness to prevent burnout, enhance engagement and retain talent.

The importance of mental health has become increasingly recognized within the wellness community. How do you incorporate mental health awareness and strategies into your fitness and wellness programs?

From the inception of Passion Fit in 2014, mental health has been a core component of our holistic approach to health and wellness, encompassing mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. This integration reflects my cultural heritage, with practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness deeply embedded in our programs.

In every fitness and yoga class I lead, the final minutes are dedicated to mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing exercises, extending beyond yoga to all types of classes. This focus on mental health extends to workshops, speaking events, online courses, books, retreats and digital content. I actively discuss mental health in media appearances, podcast interviews and TV health segments, aiming to contribute to a culture that diminishes the stigma surrounding mental health discussions.

The openness about mental health, especially with the advent of social media and the candidness of younger generations about issues like anxiety, depression, stress and burnout, marks a significant shift from the reticence of the past. This transparency has begun to permeate workplace conversations, challenging previous misconceptions that discussing mental health could signify instability or a lack of professional capability.

As a mentor and advisor to students and young entrepreneurs, what key piece of advice would you give to those aspiring to make a positive impact in the health and wellness sector?

To those aspiring to make a mark in the health and wellness sector, my key advice revolves around the crucial importance of education. It’s essential to acquire the appropriate educational foundation, whether through formal degrees for those keen on delving deeper into the field, or through certifications tailored to specific interests within the health, wellness and fitness industries.

Before embarking on this educational journey, it’s important to reflect on your specific interests within the sector. Determine your target audience, the niche you wish to serve, and the type of product, service, or content you envision creating. This preliminary step will guide your educational and professional development path, ensuring it aligns with your goals and the needs of the community you aim to serve.

Crafting a comprehensive business plan is another pivotal step. This plan should detail your revenue model, outline strategies for business sustainability, and anticipate the evolving needs of your clientele over time. The health and wellness industry is dynamic, influenced by new research findings, societal health trends, and even global events like pandemics. These factors can significantly impact market needs and operational approaches.

Finally, a commitment to serving your customers and addressing their changing needs is fundamental. The ability to adapt your business and offerings in response to shifts in the industry, advancements in medical research, and societal changes is key to long-term success and impact. Entering the health and wellness field requires a willingness to evolve with the landscape and continuously seek ways to better serve and impact the lives of those around you.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Powering the Business of Health, Fitness, and Wellness Coaching