I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Olympic-trained athlete and fitness expert Amanda Russell. Amanda focuses on helping people achieve a lean look through her intense AR Program. She’s already gained quite a following on her website and YouTube page where she hosts weekly mini-shows filled with diet, health and fitness tips, along with a new and free equipmentless workouts every Tuesday and Thursday. Highly engaging with exceptional content, she was recently selected by GOOGLE as one of “YouTube’s Next Trainers,” a title awarded to only 16 contestants worldwide.
By way of background, Amanda was an Olympic hopeful in the 10,000m when she sustained a career ending leg injury. Despite being told she’d never run again, Amanda dedicated herself to fitness and was able to recover, getting back to running and even winning triathlons within 2 years. Now her goal is to become the “Oprah of Fitness” by inspiring others to get fit and healthy. She personally exemplifies that fitness is about so much more than exercise. By offering numerous intense workout routines and diet tips through her videos and interactive website. Amanda’s philosophy is that fitness can be fun and that it’s not only about making your body look good but about making you feel good as well.
Amanda, thank you in advance for taking time to do this interview. I know how busy you are creating videos, doing magazine shoots, speaking at events, and filming your mini-series in the Hamptons.
Dave, it is absolutely my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time and interest to have me. I’m looking forward to offering my perspective to your readers.
I’m sure they’re looking forward to hearing it as well! Let me start by diving a little deeper into your philosophy. Why is it important to balance getting in great shape with having fun?
If your goal is to be a healthy individual, you can’t focus on any one thing too much. There’s diet, exercise, attitude, sleep, and fun, and it’s best not to go to extremes with any of them. I believe a healthy lifestyle means creating a balance in everything you do from your work and personal life to your fitness regimen and diet. Fitness is about more than just exercise, it’s a catalyst for positive change in your life. When you feel great, everything in your life is affected. You can’t just make fitness about going to the gym and logging X amount of minutes on the treadmill. You have to find a way to incorporate it into your life in a way that you can enjoy and sustain long-term, if you view it as a punishment, you’ll never be able happy.
All that being said, obviously exercise is one of those components that help you create balance. What do your “go-to” workouts include?
I post all my workouts to my YouTube channel, Amanda Russell TV so I’d encourage people to check them out and pass them along. My philosophy is to get more out of less time by using 1:1 ratio of Bodyweight Strength Training and Plyometric Cardio Intervals to create the most intense, efficient total body workout.
I am a firm believer that your body is your BEST tool and you can get more out of less time using the right format and the right intensities. My format works by:
1. Burning more calories by elevating your metabolism so you lose fat faster
2. Elevating your power
3. Maximizing your speed
4. Building your endurance and stamina
When you simply go for a run, or jump on a cardio machine and plug along at the same pace, not only is your workout mundane but your body enters a ‘steady state’. This is a state at which your body has adapted itself to the speed you are going and conserves energy, meaning you burn less and less and are bound to plateau.
With the ARfit workouts, your body is not allowed to enter this state. Instead your body is constantly guessing what’s coming next, your heart rate is revved faster and faster, your muscles are constantly guessing what’s coming next and your body is shocked leaving your metabolism on super speed for 24-38 hours after the workout. It’s not about the duration of the sweat-session it’s about the intensity – you will get more out of my 15-20 minute sessions than most hour workouts, what’s better than that?
Given that you like bodyweight workouts, does traditional cardio such as the treadmill or elliptical play a role in your routine?
I think that traditional cardio machines can be effective, but the results you attain are dependant on what you put into it. The treadmill can be extremely intense if you in an intense effort. With machines it’s easy to plug along at an easy pace, but to make change happen you need to push yourself, get out of your comfort zone.
Let’s discuss your approach to diet and nutrition. How strict are you when it comes to counting calories and avoiding junk food?
Again, it’s all about balance. I come from an Italian family, so there was no diet in my household! I don’t really like counting calories, it feels too excessive and rigid and a life on broccoli and spinach would be infinitely boring. I think we all should enjoy sweets and treats from time to time, it’s one of the pleasures of life! My approach is to make sure I eat healthy about 80% of the time. By that, I mean lean protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. The other 20% of the time I enjoy the fun stuff.
Finally, what’s the #1 piece of fitness advice that you would offer?
If you want something bad enough, no obstacle is too great. If you don’t, then you’ll find every excuse to get out of it. If you make it a priority, you’ll always find a way.
Thanks Amanda, I really appreciate your time!
If you’d like to get more of Amanda’s great tips, check her out below: