Meet Amanda Vogel of fitnesstestdrive.com
Instagram has been an amazing resource for finding people in the fitness industry. Something simple as responding to a question can be the catalyst of great things and that's exactly what happened when I responded to Amanda's question. Her question/comment was inquiring about tricks to making a cool flatlay and since flatlays are my thing I responded with a few suggestions. My intentions were nothing more than being helpful, but shortly afterwards FITOutfit was selected as an Instagram Accounts to Motivate You & Your Clients by Amanda on ACE Fitness! I've since learned more about Amanda's story and had to share it.
Amanda is sharing her BEHIND the BRAND story of how a Master's Degree thesis turned into a thriving career!
Name & Role
Fitness Writer/Blogger, Social Media Consultant &Group Exercise Instructor
How did you get started as a fitness writer/blogger, social media Consultant and fitness presenter?
I started in the fitness industry as a group exercise instructor before completing a Master’s degree about body image and the role of the fitness instructor. After I finished grad school, I wanted to share my thesis results with other fitness pros, so I taught myself how to get published in magazines. I’ve been a fitness writer for magazines, books and blogs ever since. Presenting at fitness conferences has been a natural extension of my passion for fitness education and a way for me to satisfy my ambitious career goals. The fitness industry can be quite competitive, so it was important for me to find a niche. I’ve been able to carve out a specialization while remaining a bit ahead of the curve by focusing on areas that a lot of fitness pros need guidance with: writing, blogging, social media management/education and fitness technology/activity tracking.
What's the inspiration behind your site fitnesstestdrive.com?
I review health and fitness products on my blog FitnessTestDrive.com from my experience as a magazine writer and certified fitness professional. Years ago, a friend and I talked about starting a blog that reviewed local fitness classes. Nothing came of that idea, but I took the concept and spun in into an area where I already had expertise because I was writing a lot of product reviews for women’s health and fitness magazines. The blog is a platform for me to reveal my candid responses about a product, share new and innovative programs/products with my readers, and provide insider perspectives based on my role as a long-time fitness professional.
On top of your multiple roles you're also the mother of a pre-teen daughter. how do you manage it all?
Some days I get a lot of work done, and some days I don’t. :) It’s hard to find true balance every day for an extended period. So I’ve come to accept that some days or weeks I work more than I want to, knowing that I’ll also have the chance to take time off and enjoy family time.
What's been your biggest successes thus far?
From a professional perspective, I can’t think of one career-related moment where I felt like I hit the jackpot and had finally “arrived.” Most of my career has been built on little successes—moments of joy, exciting projects and small accomplishments—that help create a career path that I’m happy to be on.
Conversely, biggest failures?
There have been plenty of failures when it comes to writing. They come in the form of rejections to article pitches or proposals I send to brands that I’d like to partner up with for my blog or social media. As a writer, I learned a long time ago to pitch ideas, reach out to the big magazines and reach out to major brands even if it amounts to nothing, or worse, rejection. As a presenter and instructor, I learned that not everyone will like your teaching style. Oh well. When you put yourself out there—whether it’s pitching an idea to a big magazine, writing a heart-felt blog post, teaching a class or doing public speaking—you risk being criticized. At the time it can feel like a failure, but it’s ultimately what helps you develop a stronger career.
Top three things you wish you knew when you first started
1) Ask for what you want with your career—people and companies don’t always offer opportunities, but if you ask, they might say yes.
2) Consider areas and trends in your industry where people need guidance and education; always look a couple of steps ahead of where most of your colleagues are at the moment.
3) Not everything has to be perfect.
Top three tools/app/technology you can't live without
1) My Apple Watch
2) My SLR camera for taking photos that look good on my blog and on social media
3) Hootsuite dashboard for pre-scheduling tweets
4) My OMbra, which is a “smart,” fit-tech sports bra that uses my personalized activity metrics to coach me to become a better runner.
Since starting on your journey, what's been the biggest surprise or something you didn't expect?
Growing up, I wasn’t athletic in school and did not play team sports because they intimidated me. I never identified as a “sporty” person. It’s still a surprise to me after 20 years in the fitness industry that I made a career out of fitness!
Who's your professional crush and why?
Too many to name.
Now that we're in the last quarter of 2016, what can we expect to see from you for the rest of the year and going into 2017?
I’m working on more contributions to my blog and social influencer campaigns. I hope to present at more fitness conferences in 2017 on social media, fitness technology and fitness blogging. And I’ve been branching out with my social media management and support to work with companies that aren’t related to fitness. One of my current projects is working with a high-level social media team on a Facebook page devoted to makeup. I’ve never thought so much about lipstick in my life (lol). :)
Extra credit: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by breaking up my routine and diversifying how I spend my time during the work week. If I stayed in my home office writing all day, every day, I might go crazy. So my work schedule includes teaching a fitness class every week, seeing a personal trainer, connecting with social media clients and magazine editors, and test-driving cool products for my blog.
Love Amanda's unique story of taking a unique path in the fitness industry.
Share how Amanda's unique story has motivated you in the comments below!