I want people to know that they’re capable of way more than they give themselves credit for. My favorite quote is, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.” I want people to believe in themselves and to take risks, and of course, take care of themselves.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.
As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Victoria
Anna Victoria is the creator of workout + wellness app Fit Body with Anna Victoria and host of podcasting Your Best Life with Anna Victoria. She is a NASM certified personal trainer and has taken the Instagram world by storm with her contagious personality and on-the-go workout routines. Her social content is filled with a mix of sweaty selfies, workout videos, scenic travel photos, and inspirational and body positivity quotes.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?
Absolutely! My journey started in late 2012 when I decided I needed to start taking care of my health, primarily my physical health. I had been experiencing digestive and GI-related issues that I was given a prescription medicine to treat, without any question into what my diet was like when it was in fact entirely junk food. I took the medicine but realized it was only covering up an underlying issue — my poor diet. I decided to take things into my own hands and embark on a journey of fixing my health through food and exercise. In the beginning, I really didn’t believe it would work, but my boyfriend (now, husband) at the time was encouraging me to give it a shot. Thankfully he did because it has now changed every aspect of my life for the better!
At the time, Instagram wasn’t even a commonly used app. But I decided to create an anonymous account in order to share what I was learning and connect with others who were on similar health and fitness journeys. Since Instagram was just barely becoming a thing, my page organically grew and within a matter of months, I had hundreds of thousands of followers, and this was in 2013! However, I was still anonymous. It wasn’t until a few more months that I mustered up the courage to share my personal journey. When I did, I was shocked at the positive reaction and how much people wanted to hear about my journey and all the things I did to achieve my progress. This is what eventually led to me creating my @annavictoria page and eventually building a brand.
It was never intentional; it came out of a complete need to connect with others on the same journey and my desire to help others on their own journey. I knew firsthand how hard it was and all I wanted to do was share everything I was learning!
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?
My husband, Luca! He’s the one who encouraged me to start my fitness journey and begin taking care of my health. He’s from Rome, Italy, and their way of eating and lifestyle is quite different from an American way of eating or lifestyle, so he is the one who first brought to light that my health issues likely were deriving from my poor diet. His encouragement and push for me to take care of myself never had anything to do with my physical body, it was 100% for my physical health and well-being.
Admittedly, I was not happy with this new routine we had created for ourselves in the beginning, working out and eating healthy. I HATED it. But he always encouraged me to keep going and not give up. Now I’m the one encouraging him not to give up!
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
There were many! I remember while I was still figuring out how to eat healthily and what that even meant, I would still fit in lots of indulgent toppings on my “healthy” meals. For example, I love a loaded baked potato. So, at the time, my idea of a healthy alternative was simply switching the white potato for sweet potato, but I would still load on all the toppings with no regard for portions. While none of those things are “bad”, white potatoes are good for you, and toppings like sour cream and cheese are totally okay in my book as well, it’s all about moderation! But at the time, making that potato swap was good enough in my book. It took some time for me to realize that it’s not so much about exactly what you eat other than having the right macros, but the portions are what matter the most. These days, I still enjoy my baked potatoes, but the toppings definitely are added with a bit more moderation and portion control.
As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact, perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
My success is something I don’t take for granted. It’s a regular occurrence I pinch myself because I do feel incredibly lucky to have the platform and business that I do. With that being said, it didn’t just fall into my hands and didn’t happen overnight. It’s something I’ve worked on since 2013.
Over the course of those 7 years, I’ve spent at least 10 hours a day working on content, my brand, and just engaging with my community which is as important as any other task. I don’t even consider it a task, but with so much work taking up my time, it’s something I have to carve time out of my day and need to prioritize.
My advice is to first, be sure it’s something you LOVE. Something that doesn’t feel like work or like a chore. If you have that part down, then it’s just a matter of hard work and consistency. I’ve posted almost every day, multiple times a day, for years. In the last year, my posting decreased a lot honestly because of my infertility journey, but for a good 5–6 years, I posted every day, three times a day. That’s a LOT of content to come up with! But I always focused on what felt true and authentic to me in the moment.
Speaking of authenticity, this is perhaps the most important, right next to consistency. You must be your own person. Speak your own truth. Don’t simply mimic what you see others doing. It will show through to those watching if you aren’t completely yourself and at the end of the day, you don’t want a community or a following that are there for something or someone other than who you truly are — it would get exhausting!
To summarize, find what you love, don’t be afraid to consistently put in long hours, and be yourself.
Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?
To be honest, I never had a strategy, creating and connecting with a community was born out of my genuine need to connect with others on their own journey. I was living in China at the time, then moved to Italy the year after, and being an American living in foreign countries, I really needed that connection and familiarity with others on their own journey. I consider what I did to build a large community was me just being human, being open and raw about my journey. At the time, there was a huge lacking that in the Instagram fitness world and that’s why so many women were attracted to my message and my community that held the same healthy living beliefs.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.
You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self-care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)
First and foremost, my morning workouts. I follow my Fit Body app which has three workout programs, one called Shred that is a high-intensity bodyweight program and can be done from anywhere (warning: it’s killer), one called Tone that is a medium-intensity strength training program that uses dumbbells (my personal fav), and one called Sculpt which is the gym-based program (ok, my other fav).
Currently, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic, so I put my Sculpt workout on hold and am currently doing Tone for my at-home strength workouts and Shred for my at-home cardio workouts. And doing this workout first thing in the morning is so crucial to helping my body thrive. These workouts give me the energy I need to sustain me through the rest of my busy day and my days just aren’t the same without them!
Second, I’ve found going for walks (with my Golden Retriever, Rigatoni) are such a great way to help give my body a mini reset during the day. I tend to be a homebody and a worker-bee, which means I can easily stay in the same spot for HOURS without moving, without realizing it. Getting outside and moving my body even if just for 5 minutes has been a great help to my mental well-being. It’s good for my pup, too!
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
One thing I love doing each night that helps my mind thrive, is I go over 5 new Italian words with my husband each night! This has been a routine for us for over a year now since we moved away from Italy and my Italian vocabulary has suffered a bit. Since I’m pregnant, we are going to raise our children bilingual, and I don’t want to be the only one left out of the convo!! So brushing up on my Italian vocabulary each night, picking out words usually that relate to our day, has been a great way for my mind to thrive and my heart since it always leads to a fun convo with my husband!
Another thing that helps my mind thrive is honestly, giving my phone a time-out. My phone is constantly blowing up with notifications, text messages, emails, Slack notifications… and I want to get to everything RIGHT NOW. But that doesn’t allow me to be productive for any decent period of time. I’ve begun putting my phone on Do Not Disturb for at least 1–2 hours a day to allow me to really dive deep into various projects I’m working on.
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
I whole-heartedly feel that all one needs to do to feel beautiful is internally believe it, no questions asked, no to-do’s necessary… but I know it isn’t always that easy. My tips for feeling beautiful go way beyond getting your hair done or even just getting an in a killer workout. It has much more to do with accepting and loving who you are because who you are is who was meant to be on this earth. It has to do with ignoring everything society has ever told you that you need to do in order to be beautiful, or who you need to emulate in order to be beautiful. It has to do with realizing that we are all on our own journey and shutting out any voice that tries to tell you that you have to compete or one-up another person that’s on their own journey. Beauty isn’t a thing you “do” in my opinion, it’s something you are, as is, no questions asked.
Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
I wouldn’t say there’s one person I’ve been significantly impacted by, but I’ve been inspired by several people. A few that come to mind are Gary Vaynerchuk for his work ethic and The Rock for his heart.
Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?
I’m honestly not one to try out random wellness treatments.
As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
For people to know that they’re capable of way more than they give themselves credit for. My favorite quote is, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.” I want people to believe in themselves and to take risks, and of course, take care of themselves.
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 with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@annavictoria on Instagram