Daily Affirmations. I write and say daily affirmations every single day. Not just whisper them — I say them out loud, usually in the shower, and then I write them down. My favorite is “I am strong and unstoppable.”
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Moreland.
After hearing she was “too fat” by others within the fitness community, mother of two Amy Moreland set out to create her own program, AMPD Strong, to promote body positivity and showcase body diversity within the fitness community. As a previous fitness instructor and owner of her own gym in the Pittsburgh, PA area, named “You Rock Fitness,” Amy strives to promote that fitness is much more than burning calories and instead illustrate its importance within mental health, social behaviors, and a way to connect with your community. Amy is now a Head Master Trainer and has presented AMPD Strong at fitness shows around the globe, including the IDEA World Fitness Convention, FIBO Global Fitness, CanFitPro World Fitness Convention, FILEX Fitness Convention, and SCW Mania.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
My first fitness convention was finally here and I was nervous, yet so excited. Everyone was going to love me, I was going to meet so many great people and mentors were going to help me grow, right? Not exactly. As I was starting to question why I was doing this, a man came over to me, the business card already in his hand, and proceeded to tell me that he runs a marketing company and he can help me promote AMPD Strong — I was elated. However, after he asked me who the owner was and I told him it was me, the mood shifted.
The words he said cut so hard, I remember them like he said them to me yesterday: “You can’t be the face for this program — you don’t have the look. We need to get models that can give a better image of fitness. People want to see fit and thin.” My heart sank. It was the first time anyone had said anything about my looks and my weight since starting AMPD Strong. He then turned his attention to my marketing on the table. Since I was starting out, the only people I had for my flyers and brochures were people that came to the fitness studio that I owned at the time. He said they had to go too.
I promised myself after that conversation that I would never use models. I would only show the people that I wanted to represent me: my friends, my clients, my instructors, my participants. I was not going to be your typical fitness program with model marketing — I was going to keep it real.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Starting out, my biggest issue was that I didn’t say “no.” I wanted to please everyone and make them like the program, so I was always changing things or trying new formats, even when I knew it would be a bad idea. I started to lose control of things and it ended up slowing my business down. I had to learn that “no” is not a bad word.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I first started out with fitness as a stress relief from a busy job. I was doing something for myself and having fun doing it. After every class I took, my two daughters, would be waiting for me to see how it went and would always say “Mom, you rock.” It became our thing. After every class, I was just as excited for the “you rock” as I was for the actual class. My normal day job consisted of me training people on computer systems, but to my children, I was just a teacher. One day after a workout class, my eldest child said, “Mom, if you are a teacher for your real job, why don’t you teach fitness?” At the moment, I laughed a little and went home like normal. But, as I laid in bed that night, I kept thinking about that conversation. It was my children’s confidence that I could do anything that made me seriously pursue fitness and get me to where I am today.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I think many out there, don’t have a person to relate to them in the fitness industry or have a support system on their journey. Through my openness about my own anxiety, weight, and medical issues, I show that with passion and determination, you can become a fitness instructor and inspire others. I’m willing to tell anyone that will listen that wellness is different for everyone and we are all beautiful. It’s not just about losing weight but becoming healthier and happier.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Wellness is for the mind, body, and soul, and my tweaks help round me out in all those areas.
- Daily Affirmations. I write and say daily affirmations every single day. Not just whisper them — I say them out loud, usually in the shower, and then I write them down. My favorite is “I am strong and unstoppable.”
- Read a Book. I try to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Ten years ago, I would never have said this, but I’ve learned that there is an endless amount of knowledge out there and so much we don’t know.
- Put those headphones on! Music is such good therapy. There is a song for every mood or a song to get you out of any mood. You can crank it up, sing along even if you don’t know all the words, or just close your eyes and take it in.
- Food is not conditional. We tend to look at exercise as punishment for what we ate or eating as a reward for doing exercise. We all need food to nourish our bodies and to live.
- Make sure you have fun every day. Everyone’s “fun” is different. It’s easy to do sometimes, but we have to remember to not get caught up in work and life so much that we forget to smile and have fun.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
#thenewlookoffitness — I recently started this hashtag on my personal Instagram account. I believe that wellness and fitness is all about how you feel, not about how you look. In the fitness industry, especially as an instructor, there is an expectation that you must look and act a certain way. The truth is, knowledge and passion are key. We do not know everyone’s stories, and it is so unfair to judge others based on what we see. We need to understand their stories to get the full picture. And that total picture is so much more than how much they can bench, or what they weigh — it is them as a person.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- When you own a business, you work all the time. Even if I am not in front of the computer, or doing training, I am always looking or listening for things that can help my business.
- Not everyone will like you. And that is ok.
- You must be able to take criticism. People will tell you everything they do not like more than what they do.
- You make a lot of sacrifices to start out. You’ll miss events, not get to see friends as much and it takes a lot of money to get started.
- Do not go too fast. I was trying to do everything right at the beginning. I needed to slow down, organize and plan things out before hitting the ground running.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Definitely mental health. I am incredibly open about my struggles, things that happened when I was a child, and things that have been said to me throughout the years. While they may have happened ages ago, they can still affect a person today. I have anxiety and battle with depression, so I know what it feels like. I live it every day and try to be as outspoken as I can to show people it is ok to talk about things, therapy is normal, and to not be embarrassed. Mental health will affect your physical health and we need to focus on both to bring better wellness overall.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!