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Conversations with the Inspiring Salina Duggan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Salina Duggan.

Salina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Massachusetts and my passion as a child was MOVEMENT! Gymnastics in particular was my favorite activity. I started competing at a young age, which gave me a very strong foundation physically and mentally. As I got to high school, gymnastics became too expensive and time-consuming for my mother to support me, so I started transitioning into high school sports like field hockey, track & field, and tennis. I loved being an athlete and always craved movement as it had become a way of life for me and had helped me to thrive in so many aspects of my life.

When I went away to college, I made the decision to study international studies because, in addition to movement, I also had a fascination with human behavior, the world, and how we communicate/interact/collaborate/learn from and with one another. After college, I was lucky enough to live abroad for a year in Europe. While I was overseas, I became intrigued with how Europeans lived in comparison to Americans. One of the biggest and most interesting observations I made was through observing food (meals, diets, etc.), exercise (physical activity, movement etc.), and the connection to health and wellbeing. From what I could see, Europeans were not running to the gym every day to get in their physical activity or splurging on the latest and greatest “health” products on the market. They appeared to lead healthier lives without focusing on any of this. It was during that year, that I realized I wanted to learn more about the human connection to health, fitness, and wellbeing.

I got accepted into a graduate program in Washington, DC focused on health promotion, and it changed my life. I learned about nutrition for health, exercise physiology, and health and behavior change as it relates to different populations. After graduating, I began my work as a health and fitness educator, developing and successfully implementing health and fitness programs for various organizations within DC.

My graduate program coupled with my valuable work experiences in DC set the stage for me to feel confident enough to make the next big move in my life. After seven years in Washington, D.C., my husband, our pup (although he didn’t really get a say!) and I took a leap of faith and decided to uproot our lives and move across the country to the west coast. We found our calling in sunny San Diego and it immediately felt like “home.” I love this city and how well it embraces local small businesses of integrity, as well as the local commitment to leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Over the last year, I have been working to put together the very first solo business venture that I feel best represents myself, my passion for health, fitness, people, and the beautiful community of San Diego that I now call home. Website launching soon!!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road. It’s been bumpy, dark, and there have been (many)(long) detours… but I believe our struggle is an experience that is meant not to define who we are, but to demonstrate how capable we are. As a woman, you have to remind yourself how unbelievably resilient and strong you are. It’s a superpower!

Find a mentor or two or twenty! We often forget that the people around us are some of the best resources, and more often than not people are willing to help. Put yourself out there. One of the first things I did when I moved to San Diego was connected with people in my field to see if they wanted to meet up, hop on a phone call, etc., so I could learn more about what they were doing professionally. Reaching out to people in your field (even if they are your competition!), Reach out to those who inspire you. Reach out to those who are doing something completely different or unrelated to what you are doing! You never know what opportunities might present themselves. Some of my biggest mentors (and friendships) have developed by simply REACHING OUT.

One of the best things you can do to serve both yourself and others is to always continue to learn about yourself. Be open to new experiences. Make mistakes. Learn what you enjoy (and don’t enjoy) and why you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) something so that you can better understand who you are.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Salina D. Fitness story. Tell us more about the business.
I believe strength comes in many forms. I want to empower others to tap into their strength so that it may carry over to whatever you do in life. I want to create a brand that is fun and inviting for anyone regardless of their current fitness levels or health goals by encouraging inclusivity and diversity in the fitness world. As a female and woman of color, my mission is to encourage and inspire others to honor and love their unique bodies.

My services include in-home personal training, small group training, and outdoor BOOTYcamps. I’m currently working to develop several online programs focused on nutrition, stress management, exercise, and mindfulness specifically geared to towards women. I specialize in functional strength training and also specialize in prenatal and postnatal fitness.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
The three things that helped shape who I am were my mother, sports (particularly gymnastics), and the journey of self-discovery as a woman of color.

My mother was a big inspiration to me. She was a health & physical education teacher, and she encouraged healthy eating in the home and would educate me about different foods and how to cook simply. My mother also encouraged physical activity in various forms, which led me to discover my love for movement.

Gymnastics was my foundation both mentally and physically. Gymnastics helped me in many ways to develop core strength, flexibility, and power, while also tapping into an inner strength. These learned skills helped me perform better as a gymnast, as well as an athlete in various other sports. Additionally, it helped inspire my training style, which focuses on developing a mind-body connection. To this day, I incorporate various techniques into in my training that stem from my gymnastics background.

I grew up with my white mother and sister in a predominantly white town. As a biracial child, I was often confused and insecure in my own skin. But as I got older, I opened myself up to new experiences and over time learned to develop my confidence. I learned that being unique is a strength and I’ve been tapping into that realization ever since. Now, I focus on being a positive role model for my five younger sisters and for anyone who has struggled to tap into the strength and beauty that they already possess.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Joefer Bautista, Rahdnie Laphoric, Erin Douglas, Sammy DeGuido, Rebecca Barlas, Dana Tarr

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Sarah McCracken

    September 8, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    What an awesome display of female beauty and power! Salina, you are a true inspiration to girls and women everywhere. I love the high jumping photo shot! If that isn’t true joy and power, I don’t know what is!

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