From Art Teacher to Wellness Entrepreneur: Sarah’s Inspiring Journey

Tune in to this enlightening episode of Local Vibes, where we cover Sarah Schlievert’s journey through the disciplines of art, teaching, fitness, and ultimately, entrepreneurship. Initially an art teacher at a high school, encouraged by her family’s vision for her future, Sarah found herself desiring more; to utilize her talent, to make a direct impact on others’ lives.

In her quest for fulfillment, Sarah stumbled upon the business of health and fitness. Embarking on a new journey, she left behind a teaching career for the unpredictable realm of entrepreneurship in fitness. With help from trusted friends, she started paving her path in the wellness industry, leading to the creation of ‘2717 Wellness‘, a venture that’s all about nurturing holistic wellness.

Note from Pat:  I apologize for the “technical difficulties” in this episode. 
OMG!  Everything went wrong but we persisted and got it published.  Wrong audio input at first (the sound gets better after the first 10 mins, camera was freezing, then the camera died!…  Had to finish with a handheld iPhone… Just get’r done! 

This ends Pat’s lesson of the day.  🤣


Introduction to Entrepreneurial Wellness: The Journey of Sarah Schlievert

The Seeds of Entrepreneurial Spirit and Wellness

The story of Sarah Schlievert intertwines the worlds of art, education, fitness, and entrepreneurship. It’s a tale that begins with a passion for creativity and the cultivation of knowledge, as Sarah originally embarked on a career as a high school art teacher. The importance of a career in education was instilled in her from a young age, influenced by her family’s desire for her to pursue a stable and secure job. Despite the noble nature of teaching, Sarah realized over time that her aspirations extended beyond the classroom. She found herself yearning for an avenue that not only allowed her to flex her creative muscles but also provided a direct and tangible impact on individuals’ lives.

Sarah’s journey is a testimony to the idea that one’s vocational path is not always linear. Her narrative unfolds as she transitions from the structured world of high school teaching to the dynamic and often precarious domain of entrepreneurship. This move was sparked by an epiphany, which came after realizing that her leisure time was heavily dominated by an interest in fitness and nutrition—a passion that would eventually become her vocation.

Creative Foundations: A Path Through Art and Education

Before delving into the wellness industry, Sarah’s academic pursuits led her to pursue a degree in art education, followed by a transformative nudging from her painting professors towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She grappled with the concept of becoming a professional painter—a career that seemed as fraught with uncertainty as it was alluring. Although her natural talent for painting became evident, the real-world implications of embracing such a profession posed a stark contrast to the security her family envisioned for her.

This struggle between following one’s passions and conforming to practical expectations is a common thread in the tapestry of many career journeys. For Sarah, the decision to double major and obtain a degree in painting and drawing, in addition to her teaching qualification, was a compromise and a testament to her dedication to her craft. This balance allowed her to explore her artistic capabilities while also meeting the practical demands of a stable career trajectory.

The Leap from Education to Empowerment

After eight years of teaching various subjects, including digital photography and graphic design, Sarah found herself at a crossroads. Despite the accomplishments and rapport built with her students, the allure of having a greater, more personal impact gnawed at her. The realization that the value of her work was not always reflected in the rewards or recognition received began to overshadow the joy she once found in teaching. It was the internal conflict with the administrative aspects of the profession that finally propelled her to make a life-altering choice.

Sarah chose to leave the comfort and familiarity of teaching to pursue what truly ignited her spirit: wellness and fitness. The transition was bolstered by the support and guidance of friends who recognized her potential and offered her opportunities to take her first steps as a fitness entrepreneur. Renting a modest space to start her fitness journey, she laid the foundation for what would later evolve into a dedicated wellness business, 2717 Wellness. It began with basic equipment and an eagerness to make a real difference in people’s lives.

Wellness and Entrepreneurship: Founding 2717 Wellness

Tracing back to the establishment of her first business venture, originally named Shakti Fit, Sarah’s foray into entrepreneurship is characterized by a resounding belief in the power of direct influence and personal empowerment. Combining fitness, nutrition, and her newfound expertise in yoga, she took to nurturing a community focused on holistic wellness. This entrepreneurial leap was not without its hurdles, as Sarah dived into the wellness industry with a commitment that was as much about personal development as it was about professional growth.

Sarah’s education in wellness continued as she sought out certifications that would enhance her ability to serve her clients. Immersive experiences in yoga teacher training amidst the natural landscape of Guatemala enriched not only her skill set but also added a layer of authenticity and depth to her practice—a fortified blend of art, education, and wellness that informed her unique approach to health and fitness.

The Evolution of 2717 Wellness

Today, 2717 Wellness stands as a beacon of Sarah Schlievert’s vision, reflecting her multifaceted approach to health that incorporates physical training, nutrition, and mental well-being. As she continued to refine her craft, she recognized the importance of ongoing learning and development. This led her to engage in further certifications, such as the American College of Sports Medicine certification for personal training. Perhaps more importantly, she propelled her understanding of nutrition through Precision Nutrition’s comprehensive programs, ensuring that her knowledge base was robust, current, and scientifically grounded.

In the realm of wellness, Sarah’s journey raises an important point: the impact of a professional extends beyond qualifications—it is grounded in the ability to connect, empathize, and understand the diverse needs and motivations of clients. By pursuing the Active Life Professional Program, Sarah demonstrated her dedication to bridging the gap between fitness and health. This program not only fortified her foundations in anatomy, physiology, and programming but also facilitated her growth in business acumen, marketing, and client relationships.

The success of 2717 Wellness, fostered by Sarah’s relentless pursuit of knowledge and the application of a holistic approach to her clients’ well-being, is a testimony to the incredible potential within the intersection of passion and professionalism. Sarah’s story is a reminder that the drive to learn, evolve, and impact lives in a positive and meaningful way is what ultimately defines a successful entrepreneur in the field of wellness.

The Journey with 2717 Wellness: A Testament to Adaptation and Growth

The establishment and evolution of 2717 Wellness under Sarah Schlievert’s guiding hand symbolizes the very essence of entrepreneurial growth, showcasing the value of adaptability in the face of unforeseen challenges. As Sarah navigated the turbulent waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, which upturned the lives of many entrepreneurs, she exemplified the power of resilience and the entrepreneurial spirit’s unwavering resolve.

The necessity to pivot, both in business approach and personal development, is an integral aspect of any entrepreneur’s journey, and Sarah’s story is no exception. Post-pandemic, Sarah recalibrated her business model, embracing the opportunity to downscale physical operations and focus on what truly mattered for her venture: creating profound, lasting impacts on her clients’ lives.

The rebranding to 2717 Wellness was not just a cosmetic change; it was a strategic move encapsulating the ethos of forging stronger connections between people. With her business, Sarah aspires to be an instrument of sharpening iron, in line with the biblical proverb that inspires her venture’s name. Each client interaction isn’t merely about achieving a fitter physique or mastering a perfect yoga pose; it’s about nurturing the inner strength and vibrancy that Sarah holds in such high regard.

Building and Sustaining Client Relationships: More Than Just Numbers

At the core of 2717 Wellness is an unwavering commitment to fostering deep and meaningful client relationships. Sarah’s intuitive approach to assessing potential clients’ compatibility reflects her dedication to cultivating a supportive and positive environment within her gym. The notion that “who is let in that gym matters” underscores the importance of maintaining a quality community over merely increasing membership numbers.

This personalized approach ensures that all those who become part of the 2717 Wellness community are aligned with the gym’s values, a place where mutual respect, encouragement, and a persistent pursuit of personal growth are in abundance. Consequently, this environment of accountability and encouragement has engendered a circle of trust and strength among members, where Sarah’s example leads, and every participant is both learner and teacher in their fitness journey.

The Personal Touch: Sarah’s Philosophy on Autonomy and Agency

A distinctive feature of Sarah’s coaching methodology is the emphasis on client autonomy. Guided by the belief that self-sufficiency is a marker of true empowerment, she equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain their wellness routines irrespective of location, financial constraints, or life circumstances. In her view, true success as a wellness coach lies not in retaining clients forever but in preparing them to continue their road to well-being without constant supervision.

Sarah’s focus on autonomy extends beyond physical training and nutrition; it is ingrained in her mission to modify mindsets and impart a sense of self-efficacy. By instilling the concept of ‘becoming the avatar’ who embodies one’s wellness goals, she encourages clients to adopt daily habits and mindsets that align with their desired self-image. This transformative approach caters not just to the body, but to the spirit and mind as well, forging strong, independent individuals who carry forward the tenacity and vigor they developed under her tutelage.

The Continual March: Looking Ahead and Persisting in Growth

Sarah’s reflection on her entrepreneurial voyage thus far synthesizes a saga of trials, triumphs, and growth. With a decade’s worth of learnings and experiences, 2717 Wellness stands as her proud declaration that melding one’s passion with persistence can indeed carve out a rewarding pathway.

Even as she celebrates the present milestones, Sarah remains forward-looking, hinting at five-year aspirations yet to unfold. The culmination of her tirelessness and unwavering commitment to her craft is not just a thriving business but an influential legacy that encourages others to step into their power and become architects of their health and wellness narratives.

In the end, what Sarah offers through 2717 Wellness transcends the conventional confines of a fitness regimen or nutritional guidance. It is an invitation to embark on a rewarding journey of empowerment, discipline, and self-discovery—a embarking on which each muscle toned and each personal barrier shattered contributes to crafting not merely a statuesque figure, but a fortified spirit equipped to handle the vicissitudes of life with grace and strength.

Reflecting on Personal Transformation Through Fitness: The Undercurrent of Change

Sarah’s insights into the transformative power of fitness offer a larger revelation about personal change and the potential hidden within each individual. As she recognized in her own life, the trials she faced didn’t end with just keeping her head above water—they laid the foundation for a deeper metamorphosis. For Sarah and many others, fitness became a means to an end rather than the end itself. It was the catalyst for shaking up the status quo and discovering that life can always take a turn for the better.

Navigating Life’s Hardest Moments with Strength and Fortitude

  • Personal resilience: The stories highlight a compelling truth about the human capacity for resilience and transformation even in life’s most difficult moments. Sarah’s journey through the end of her marriage and her emotional numbness, as well as clients like the 84-year-old Mary Jo starting her fitness journey so late in life, are testaments to the innate power we possess to rise above our circumstances, no matter our age or situation.
  • Mentorship and guidance: Sarah’s role as not merely a fitness coach but a beacon of hope and encouragement demonstrates the profound impact that mentorship can have on individuals’ lives. Through her, many clients find a path to reclaim their agency and embark on a journey toward empowerment and recovery.
  • Overcoming limitations: Sarah and her clients’ stories serve as reminders that limitations—whether self-imposed or external—are often not as concrete as they may seem. Through determination and support, it’s possible to negotiate these barriers and find new strength on the other side.

The Power of Ownership Over One’s Journey

Ownership of personal health and wellness is a recurring theme in Sarah’s approach. She champions a model that not only assists clients in their immediate fitness goals but also hands them the reins to their long-term well-being. The goal is to create autonomous wellness warriors who can navigate the complexities of health independently, armed with the knowledge, confidence, and skills honed through their training with 2717 Wellness.

  • Empowerment through knowledge: Clients are encouraged to take control of their health not just within the confines of the gym but in their everyday lives. This approach fosters a sense of ownership that transcends gym walls and permeates every aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Client agency and the ‘avatar mindset’: By advocating for the adoption of an ‘avatar mindset,’ Sarah helps clients visualize and embody the traits they aspire to. This perspective enhances clients’ ability to make choices aligned with their best selves, creating a self-fulfilling cycle of growth and wellness.

Cultivating Physical Strength as a Foundation for Life

The anecdotes shared about Mary Jo and her journey from a complete novice in the weight room to confidently executing barbell chest presses and sumo deadlifts capture the essence of physical training as a metaphor for life’s challenges. Sarah’s work emphasizes that building physical strength mirrors the process of building emotional and mental resilience; each rep and set contributes to a stronger, more resolute character.

  • Overcoming age-related stereotypes: Mary Jo’s story challenges the stereotypes and social narratives typically associated with aging, showing that we are capable of physical feats and changes at any stage of life. Sarah’s training creates a space where age is not an impediment but an advantage—an opportunity to demonstrate that growth and capability are not bound by years.
  • Muscle building as a metaphor: The transformation of the body’s muscle composition mirrors the personal growth clients experience. As efforts lead to increased strength and stamina, the parallel progress of personal enlightenment and empowerment becomes undeniable.

The Social Dimension of Fitness: Community and Competition

Sarah’s approach to wellness extends into the realm of social support and interaction within the 2717 Wellness community and the broader fitness world. Whether through Crossfit as her social hour or the potential for collaboration with other fitness professionals, Sarah understands that connections forged through shared struggle and growth are some of the strongest.

  • Fostering a supportive environment: Within her own gym and beyond its doors, Sarah actively cultivates a community atmosphere where encouragement and shared experiences are as valuable as the workouts themselves.
  • Collaboration vs. competition: Sarah’s perspective on the fitness industry as an area ripe for collaboration rather than competition offers a refreshing take. It highlights how mutual support can enhance the service and motivation provided to clients, as seen in her positive relationship with other trainers like Jason or the way she navigated a cooperative business approach with her former employee Maddie.

The Educational Aspect of Wellbeing: Inspiring Lifelong Learners

Through their conversations about podcasts and literature, strategies for personal development keep surfacing as practical applications, way beyond theoretical knowledge. Sarah and her peers value continued education and the sharing of insights as core elements of their fitness and wellness philosophy.

  • Recommendations as resources: From the nuanced perspectives of the Huberman Lab to the practical advice of the Consistency Project, Sarah and others in her field lean on a host of educational material to improve themselves and, by extension, their clients.
  • Continuous learning as a path to excellence: This dedication to learning showcases the importance of remaining a perpetual student, always seeking to broaden one’s horizons and improve, whether through thought-provoking books or insightful conversations.

In the narrative of 2717 Wellness, every weight lifted and every boundary crossed not only strengthens the body but also reinforces a belief in the potential for change and improvement, regardless of circumstance. Sarah’s coaching goes beyond physical training, striving to uplift individuals and push them toward a reality better than they might have once envisioned for themselves—a pursuit that has proven to be both a personal and professional calling.

Embracing the Seven Pillars of Wisdom from Schwarzenegger’s Legacy

In the spirit of continuous growth and knowledge, Schwarzenegger’s newer book, with its emphasis on the life lessons that shaped his remarkable path, offers a rich source of inspiration and instruction. It epitomizes the kind of literature that captures Sarah’s enthusiasm and is indicative of her overall philosophy.

  • Learning from icons: The wisdom gleaned from the lives of successful individuals like Arnold Schwarzenegger can provide invaluable guidance in developing one’s principles for success and personal fortitude.
  • Applying lessons to everyday life: Sarah integrates these teachings to inform her coaching, emphasizing that real-life application of learned concepts is key to holistic development.

Nutrition Coaching: Stripping Away the Complexity

When it comes to nutrition, the importance of simplifying the often complex and confusing information available is crucial. Adam Bornstein’s book on nutrition mirrors the straightforward approach Sarah advocates.

  • Cutting through the noise: The book’s focus on balance and the psychological aspects of nutrition aligns with Sarah’s belief in removing unnecessary complications from dietary habits.
  • Customizing nutritional strategies: Acknowledging the individuality of nutritional needs reinforces Sarah’s stance on personalized coaching and helps clients develop sustainable eating habits tailored to their unique situations.

Fiction for Strength: ‘Boys in the Boat’

Even when switching to fiction, Sarah chooses stories like “Boys in the Boat,” which, based on true events, resonate with her commitment to building strength through challenge and teamwork.

  • Drawing parallels between narratives and life: Fictional accounts of perseverance and resilience can serve as analogies for the real-life struggles faced by clients in the wellness journey.
  • Inspiration from all sources: The diverse sources from which Sarah draws inspiration are evidence of her holistic approach to personal transformation, whether through historical achievements, academic works, or literary storytelling.

Guidance for a Tailored Fitness and Nutritional Journey

Sarah’s closing advice encapsulates her vision for empowerment and personal betterment, with a clear call-to-action for anyone who seeks improvement in their lives.

  • Allowing oneself to aspire for more: She urges listeners to not settle for mediocrity but to constantly pursue a higher level of well-being.
  • Utilizing available resources: By pointing to her website, Instagram, and blog, she invites individuals to leverage the trove of detailed guidance she offers on fitness, nutrition, and overall health.

In closing, Sarah does not just offer coaching services but provides a gateway to a more informed, resilient, and fulfilling life. Her passionate belief in a never-ending pursuit of growth compels her to share that message through all possible avenues, ensuring that anyone who crosses paths with her or her content is equipped to chase the ‘better’ they deserve.



Pat on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/patrick.cherubini/
Angie on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/angie.franciscocherubini
Sarah Schlievert on FB:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100071477823436
2717 Wellness FB:  https://www.facebook.com/2717wellness
2717 Wellness Website: https://www.2717wellness.com/


Notable Timestamps:

00:00:54: Introduction and Guest Introduction
01:39: Discussing the guest’s background and journey
03:21: The guest’s exploration in arts, teaching and career transitions
08:16: Reflection on teaching career and its challenges
10:10: The guest’s venture into fitness and nutrition
14:30: Establishing a personal gym and the transformation into a nutritionist
16:44: Yoga teacher training experience in Guatemala
18:04: Discussion on living conditions in Guatemala
00:18:29: Earthquake and wildlife experiences
00:19:20: Scorpion encounter and dealing with it
00:21:45: Desire to revisit the location despite the challenges
00:22:07: Discussing yoga training and recertification
00:23:08: The ever-changing field of nutrition sciences
00:24:37: Enrolling in the active life professional program
00:27:54: The importance of continuous learning for coaches and trainers
00:31:07: Danger of unqualified trainers and importance of high-quality certification
00:33:37: Approach to marketing and client success
00:35:00: Teaching clients autonomy
00:36:01: The story behind the name “Shakti Fit” and sentiments on the power it represents
00:37:19: Overcoming intimidation in fitness environments
00:37:36: Discussion about perceptions of power and strength
00:39:10: Explanation of the origin story of her business name, chose to use “Shakti”
00:40:12: Explains the transition to her new business name,
00:42:23: Covers the growth of the business and the impact of Covid-
00:47:44: Explains that Covid was a moment of self-reflection and business realignment,
00:49:56: Discusses how she rebounded and grew stronger post Covid
00:52:12: Explains the impact of past challenges, financial struggles, dissolution, and her gratitude towards the support from her family
00:55:02: Shares about her mission for her business beyond just selling training packages, aiming for mental strength and fortitude
00:55:53: Changing Perspectives in Training
00:57:14: Goal Setting
00:58:14: Memorable Moments with Clients
01:00:27: The ‘Why’ of Shakti Fit
01:04:09: Empowerment through Weightlifting
01:06:33: Working with an
01:09:44: The Strength of Mindset and Persistence
01:12:31: The Rewarding Aspect of Training Others
01:13:46: Personal space and Satisfaction
01:14:22: Discussion on Growth
01:15:07: Love for Movement
01:15:54: Social Hour: CrossFit and Bodybuilding
01:16:33: Importance of Coaching
01:18:02: Difficulty of Finding Collaborations in Fitness Industry
01:22:37: Thoughts on Competition and Collaboration
01:29:38: Favorite Books and Podcasts
01:31:45: The importance of self-development and growth
01:32:12: Conclusion and thank you notes
01:32:24: Technical difficulties and humor
01:32:35: Sign off


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