“Exercise is a key habit”, Angie Bellemare and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Exercise is a key habit, possibly the most obvious, for maximizing your potential in any work or sport environment. While the connection between your performance in a sport and exercise is rather clear, it might be a little harder to create that connection in the workplace. But, again, circling back to my original theory that […]

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Exercise is a key habit, possibly the most obvious, for maximizing your potential in any work or sport environment. While the connection between your performance in a sport and exercise is rather clear, it might be a little harder to create that connection in the workplace. But, again, circling back to my original theory that confidence is a key component to maximizing your performance, exercise helps you feel energized and confident in your body every single day. That confidence will translate into your work.

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewingAngie Bellemare.

Angie Bellemare has built a successful lifestyle brand and business by helping women (and some men!) achieve their health and fitness goals. Over the past seven and a half years, Angie has built the largest Beachbody team in all of Canada and the 4th largest team worldwide. “Team Uproar” currently has approximately 8,500 coaches. But Angie has developed much more than a million-dollar plus brand. She has become a successful lifestyle influencer. “Donuts, Dumbbells and Dreams” focuses on helping people “dream grander and smile bigger.” Angie uses YouTube (over 300,000 followers) and Instagram (65,000 followers) to share content that encourages people to live their best life, both personally and professionally. Topics featured on these platforms include health and fitness, goal setting and planning, motivation, decorating, routines, work-life balance, and her extreme love of all things Disney. Angie invites her followers into her own life on these social media platforms, which has resulted in her husband Andre and her dog Carl becoming fan favorites. www.AngieBellemare.com. @AngieBellemare

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My upbringing is far from unique. I grew up in a modest home in Ottawa, Canada. Dad was an engineer. Mom was a paralegal and owned her own business — giving me my first insight into entrepreneurship. I was a creative child and would often find myself filling time either drawing, coloring, or creating roller coaster designs on the Roller Coaster Tycoon video game.

When I was 15 years old, I met my now husband Andre. He came from a family of business owners, so we shared that entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, we started our first business together selling imported purses and accessories out of the trunk of Andre’s car during my first year of college, where I was studying to be an architect. But my love of fashion took me in a different direction, and we started our first fashion brand in 2009. Unfortunately, that business did not do very well, mainly because we hadn’t mastered this thing called “social media” that seemed to be taking off.

In 2013, we started the process of transitioning our fashion brand into an activewear brand. Simultaneously, I was doing a lot of soul searching as I felt we were spinning our wheels in the fashion industry. The demands of the industry were not aligned with my true passion, which was helping people feel confident. The moments of bliss in my fashion business were those where a customer would try on a piece from our collection and smile from ear to ear because of how great they felt wearing it. I honed in on that passion, and it ultimately led me to the world of fitness coaching, which translated into a full fledge multi-faceted “help you dream grander and smile bigger” brand I call “Donuts, Dumbbells and Dreams.” Our primary focus is creating content, resources, products and communities where people can feel a sense of ambition and purpose.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I’ve had numerous inspirations and support systems that led me to where I am today. Tony Robbins, Lauryn Evarts, Chalene Johnson, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ed Mylett to name a few. All of these people are, in my eyes, tremendous content creators and great thought leaders whose work ethic, philosophies and views on life I admire. My career path was a slow gradual shift that involved finding myself, and learning to grow in the ways I needed to serve people the way I wanted to. However, the story for how I came to be is not super interesting, and doesn’t involve many plot twists. I simply always felt I was meant to help people find their confidence and live a fulfilling life, and my decisions led me to the path of coaching, content creating and personal mentoring.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

For this question, all fingers definitely point to my husband, Andre. He and I have been together since I was only 15 years old, and he 16. We grew up together, and while my family instilled a strong work ethic within me, I believe that Andre helped me dream a little bigger and grow in a way that has been vital to my progress from a business and personal standpoint. Andre is a partner in our business and he spends his time handling many of the peripherals of our business. Andre and I have complimentary strengths and he ensures that I am constantly focused on the areas of the business that I am passionate about. All that to say, growing up with my spouse has been a blessing in the way we have gotten to know each other as both business and personal partners.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

In the moment, the mistakes I’ve made rarely feel funny. But, looking back, I can certainly see myself laughing at a couple of them, which is a lesson in itself. One that certainly stands out as a mistake is a time where I completely confused my identity and my audience simultaneously. To explain in greater detail; a big part of my brand is content creating, specifically on Instagram and YouTube. I became very invested in a handful of YouTubers who most would deem “beauty gurus.” They would create beauty tutorials and I would marvel at their talent. Being the versatile individual that I perceive myself to be, I decided that I would do a video on something completely outside my usual style. I did an “eyebrow tutorial,” which in no way aligned with my content strategy, my goals, or my identity. My husband and I were out shopping when the video went live. I remember my husband’s face when he saw a “66% approval rating” (VERY low). He was shocked. Apparently, the YouTube community was not overly receptive to my newfound passion for beauty tutorials. Some of my biggest advocates were writing comments asking me to stay in my lane. My first response to this was to look in the mirror to check my eyebrows and ask my husband if there was something wrong with them! My second reaction was to take the video down, and commit to never letting others sway my true purpose and identity.

The lesson I learned through this experience, besides that my eyebrows needed fixing, was that it’s so easy to get consumed by what others are doing. Don’t dilute your brand by becoming a watered-down version of your competition. As they say: “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and if you can keep your head down, stay true to yourself, and work hard at the mission you are setting out to accomplish, you will progress in a way that is both productive and fulfilling.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I think one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned on my path to business and personal growth is simple, but often overlooked: Success leaves clues. For many of us, watching somebody thrive in an area of life we wish we were thriving in can prompt feelings of envy and jealousy. This, in my opinion, is the epitome of living with the wrong perspective. Every time I’ve experienced growth in an area of my life, it’s been because I’ve learned from someone who came before me and accomplished what I was trying to do. I learned from the clues they left behind. This is true in business, in relationships, in fitness and in life.

Another hugely valuable lesson I’ve learned that I would pass on to anybody that wants to reach their potential is to be mindful of the individual who is providing you with their opinion, or providing you with guidance. In a world where everybody has an opinion AND a voice, you must be mindful of who you listen to. My general rule of thumb is; if an individual is successful in an area of their life, I will take their feedback on that specific area. You wouldn’t want to take relationship advice from somebody who’s in an unhappy marriage, right? Or life advice from somebody who lives no semblance of the life you want to live, correct? It’s so important that you assess where you’re getting your direction, and from whom you’re taking direction.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific book, podcast or film that truly made an impact on me. I can, however, point to an author I feel I owe a lot to — Tony Robbins. My love for Tony Robbins started when I was a little girl coming home from elementary school. My dad would play his audiotapes in the car and we would listen to them together. My dad would quiz me and ask me for my opinion on what Tony (yes, we were on a first name basis at this point) was talking about. I learned many lessons on how to be a strong businesswoman, but also how to be a good human from Tony Robbins. I attended many of his seminars, read many of his books, and even offer his events as an incentive to my team for when they accomplish certain milestones. I believe Tony Robbins marries humanity and entrepreneurship so well, which is why he will have a continued impact on the way I operate on a day-to-day basis, both personally and professionally.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare. — Walt Disney

I think so many of us tend let the start stop us. We may think, dream and believe, but never dare. In this quote, I feel there’s an amazing emphasis on the final piece of the puzzle … DARE.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I like to keep most of my projects a secret until they are officially done, just in case something falls off throughout the production process. But I can say that I am hoping to launch an academy this year, as well as another book, and a planner. My hope is that these resources will empower people to work in a space that fulfills them, and give them the tools to see through to their potential.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

A good habit can be hard to define or identify. For some, a good habit is working 12+ hours per day, but for others that would be a bad habit. Sleeping until 8 a.m. may sound like a good habit, but again, for others it is not. What is important for distinguishing a good habit from a bad one is to get clear on your goals. Ultimately, good habits will dictate your ability to progress toward achieving your goals. For example, if you’re looking to get healthy and fit, good habits such as working out, making your own meals, and getting enough rest will allow you to get closer to your goal every day. If your goal is to build a successful business, then waking up early, having a productive day and engaging in leadership training will contribute to that goal. Those small, seemingly insignificant habits can truly make or break your personal growth journey. Identify what a good habit is to put in place for accomplishing your goals, and make that habit a ritual. Like brushing your teeth. After awhile, it’s not a habit anymore…it’s so automatic that it has become a ritual.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

My habits dictate the structure of my daily routine. The good habits I want to sustain are those that take priority on my daily to do list. For example, a habit I’ve gotten into is to start my day EARLY and by focusing on ME. Filling my “cup” if you will. I start my day off with a workout, a stretch, meditation, journaling and reading a personal growth book (or listening to an audiobook / podcast). This sequence of events dictates the pace of my day. I feel energized, and I feel ready to serve after I’ve engaged in these habits. Also, waking up early means I have an entire day to work on my goals and aspirations with fewer distractions and more momentum.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

I believe a good habit is developed through practicing discipline. Much like working out a body part, discipline is something that needs to be worked out. Once you identify a habit you want to embrace, you should become clear on why that habit is important to you. When you know WHY a habit is so important to you, motivation becomes less of an issue. Over time, and with discipline, that habit will become a ritual and it will become automatic every day.

To stop a bad habit, my best tip would be to replace that bad habit with a better one. For example, if you have a habit of reading the news first thing in the morning, and you identify that habit is putting you in a negative headspace, then replace it with reading personal growth books. Or, if you have a habit of snacking on chips at the end of the day, and you recognize that habit is one that is not contributing to your fitness goals, then replace it with snacking on something healthier, like carrots sticks and hummus.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

For wellness, I think an amazing habit is to engage in activities that mitigate stress. I truly believe that stress is one of life’s biggest contributors to disease and an unhealthy body and mind.

Three habits that I believe will help with mitigating stress: First, is getting in the habit of lymph breathing occasionally throughout the day. Essentially, lymph breathing is the act of breathing through your belly rather than your chest. Doing so tends to avoid the bad habit of taking short sharp breaths when we are in moments of stress, which in turn causes more stress. Lymph breathing ensures your body is getting enough oxygen so that you may think straight and logically. This is specifically helpful in moments of stress. I bet you are lymph breathing right now!

Second, meditating is a habit that is highly recognized by wellness experts as being a great way to mitigate stress. Meditating is a way to quiet your mind, or to place your focus on getting in touch with your “inner-self”. For me, meditating reminds me that whatever I’m going through, it is not that important. With that being said, meditating is a surprisingly challenging habit to embrace. So, I recommend to anybody having difficulty that they try Tony Robbins rendition of meditating; what he calls “priming”. There are guided priming exercises intended to help you focus on what you have to be grateful for, rather than the things that challenge you.

Finally, I’m a big believer of getting into the habit of practicing yoga, as it tends to combine lymph breathing and meditation (to a degree) with stretching, balance and strength training. Great for the mind, and exceptional for the body.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I think one of the most effective practices for engaging in any habit that contributes to your wellness is to schedule your day and embrace structure. Most often, people believe that they don’t have the time to engage in certain habits due to their busy schedule. But if you schedule your day, and have a structured day, you will see first hand that you have plenty of time to forgo some of the less productive habits you might have (i.e. Netflix, video games, scrolling the newsfeed) and replace them with habits that will better contribute to your life and your goals. Something as simple as putting habits like “meditating” in your schedule so that you’re prompted to get to it, or a notification on your phone every 2 hours to do 1 minute of lymph breathing can totally change your commitment to wellness throughout your day, and also show you that there IS time to dedicate for you.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

Your performance is directly linked to preparedness and confidence. When I consider habits that contribute to your performance, I focus on habits that will contribute to one of the two, or both characteristics.

The first habit I feel contributes to performance through improved confidence and preparedness is reading personal growth books. There are always opportunities for you to grow and evolve. Personal growth books are so readily available and can teach you ways to maximize your performance, be it in your relationship, in a sport or at the workplace.

Second, exercise is a key habit, possibly the most obvious, for maximizing your potential in any work or sport environment. While the connection between your performance in a sport and exercise is rather clear, it might be a little harder to create that connection in the workplace. But, again, circling back to my original theory that confidence is a key component to maximizing your performance, exercise helps you feel energized and confident in your body every single day. That confidence will translate into your work.

Finally, visualization has been such a huge contributor to my performance when working towards a business or work goal. I consider this a part of my preparation process. Knowing exactly what I’m working towards and being able to see in my mind’s eye how I am going to go about accomplishing that goal is such an important habit for me.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Much like the habits I outlined for focusing on your wellness, habits to improve performance are some that can easily be overlooked in favor of other people’s demands, or simply falling prey to a busy day. A practice I go through to help me prioritize my personal growth in a way that contributes to my performance is goal setting on a semi-regular basis, and ensuring I understand WHY those goals are important to me. This guarantees that I am motivated enough to keep those performance-building habits top of mind, and when I go through the practice of scheduling my day, I make sure that these habits show up somewhere on my list.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Focus has gone from a simple demand to an art form. The best habits I can encourage you to get into are those that eliminate distractions so that your focus becomes stronger.

First, turn notifications off on your phone and put the phone away while you are executing a task that requires your focus. The BIGGEST distraction in my life, and probably yours as well, is your phone buzzing, your notifications popping up on your computer, and your email dinging. So, get rid of that distraction by simply making them not accessible.

Second, get into the habit of getting up and walking around every 45 minutes to an hour when executing a focused task. Go refill your cup of water, take a washroom break, and circle back to the task at hand. This will ensure you are consistently fresh and that your mind does not start to wander.

Lastly, get in the habit of not multi-tasking. I myself am guilty of editing videos while a television show is on in the background. Or, I may be sending out voice memos, writing my Instagram caption and sending an e-mail all at once. The end result of multi-tasking is never great. I usually find that I’ve botched one of the tasks I was executing or taken MUCH longer to execute an otherwise quick task due to my being distracted. Identify the most important task and give your entire focus to that task. Eventually, focus becomes easier, because, like a muscle, you are building your ability to focus.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

For focus, I feel a strong practice is to get quality sleep. I don’t mean to sleep long hours; I mean to adopt basic strategies for ensuring you sleep WELL. For example, not being on your phone prior to going to bed, and reading something peaceful before bed. Writing a to do list the night before to ensure your mind is at peace prior to going to sleep. The practice of quality sleep will lead to a more energized day. Energy is, in my world, an important ingredient to being able to execute focused tasks and remain focused throughout the day.

Another strong practice I’ve found beneficial to my focus is setting a timer when I am working on a specific task. So many of us wear numerous hats, jumping from one task to the next quickly and swiftly. This often results in a huge lack of focus on the task you need to be most focused on the most. For example, if I need to respond to e-mails I will set a timer for an hour where I do nothing but respond to e-mails. Once the timer goes off, I switch to the next task and set a timer to execute that task, and so on. This ensures that if my mind goes to a place where I am thinking about having to execute anything other than what I’m currently working on, I can just remind myself that it is something I can get to after I finish with this task.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

I think a lot of us never experience a state of Flow because we never really give thought to what activities truly make us happy, or that we’re passionate about. A lot of us go through life trying to conform to an ideal that was likely set on our behalf rather than decided by us.

The best recommendation I would make for somebody who wants to experience a state of Flow more often is to make sure you’re clear on what you want in your life. One activity I did early on in my career was establishing what my perfect “normal day” looked like. I went into great detail; what time I wake up and why. Who I’m working with, living with and interacting with and why. Where I live and why. What I’m doing on any given day and why. Whose life do I want to contribute to and why. And so forth. This helped me seek out an opportunity, business or job that truly conformed to exactly the life I wanted to create for myself. Rather than just say, “I want to be an architect,” I was able to describe exactly what I want to be doing so that I could experience more moments of Flow while working. The outcome was that I chose a completely different career path that tests my creative ability more than I would have on the path I had originally chosen.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I aspire for my personal brand to be a voice that helps create confidence specifically within young women. I feel that with confidence we can chose a path for our life that legitimately makes us happy, rather than finding ourselves on a path that wasn’t truly forged for us. If I could spark a movement that helps young women live a healthier and more fulfilling life, and become confident adults, I would consider my work here meaningful.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Bob Iger. I’d have so many questions about the inner of one of the most beloved brands in the world, Disney. Plus, I’d love to hear stories about some of the behind the scenes work that goes into making Disney World such a well oiled machine… at least from a customer standpoint.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can find me and DM me on Instagram if they want to connect with me @Angiebellemare

They can follow along my YouTube journey youtube.com/angiebellemare

AND they can find out how to join my Fit Gym or be personally mentored by me on my website www.angiebellemare.com

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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