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Bonus: Amy Mac – Fit, Healthy, and Energetic…Oh My!

Jonathan: Hey, everyone. Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus, Smarter Science of Slim Podcast. Very excited about today’s show. We have basically super woman with us in the show today. According to her Skype profile picture, she is officially super woman. According to her bio, she is definitely qualified to call herself that. She’s a wonderful woman. She’s a fitness enthusiast. She’s an entrepreneur. She freaking was podcasting before podcasting was cool.

She actually, with her husband, founded the company that was used to populate the iTunes’ podcaster. How cool was that? On top of all this, she’s a mom. She’s fit. She’s immediate personality. She’s a best-selling author. When you got all this bundled up into one wonderful woman, you got to bring her on the show. You got to ask her how she’s living so well and how we can live better. Amy Mac, welcome to the show.

Amy: Well, thank you. That was quite an introduction. Will you just follow me around all day long and tell people that?

Jonathan: Nope. I’m just kidding.

Amy: Oh, come on please.

Jonathan: Well, Amy, let’s just back up here. How did you go from little Amy to modern day super Amy?

Amy: Oh, wow. That’s a long story. How long do we have here? No, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version. I promise. No. it’s been really a wild road. Actually, my husband and I were just talking about it. We just celebrated our twelve wedding anniversary. We were just “Wow!” It’s been wild. It all come together and it all makes sense now. I went from a banker to a hip hop dancer, which is an odd transition. Then from that a personal trainer.

He was starting a couple of different companies. We’re moving all over the place. He founded Podcast Alley. We ended moving out to San Francisco to work with PodShow, which was been Mevio, which is now BiteSize TV out in L.A. I was personal training. He was doing that. I was really kind of interested in what podcasting was. Just too kind of understand what he was doing and all these producers and everything that he was talking to. He was always listening to all these podcasts.

I started an audio show which was Fitness Attack with Amy Mac. It was a sixty second fitness audio tip. We did over five hundred episodes. It blew up. It became kind of a legit show. iTunes was featuring us a lot. We got picked up by couple of different people which really, really fun. Then once audio move in to video, then we started FitLife. We’re still actually doing that. I think we’ve got about two hundred episodes of FitLife. That comes out a couple of times a month. Yeah. Now, we have a national video production company here. Yeah, just kind of all over the place. Still keeping the training and then the fitness thing a big priority in our life.

Jonathan: How has your fitness approach evolved over time? Because so many people it’s “I don’t have time for fitness. I don’t have time for exercise.” Clearly, you… you’re on a scale of one to ten, you’re ten on a career perspective. I believe you’re also a mother, is that correct?

Amy: Yes.

Jonathan: Okay. You’re also a wife. You got the personal stuff going on. How’s fitness fit in there?

Amy: It’s always been hard. Actually, I will say that now being a mom… he’s almost five months old. Now, it’s kind of even harder than it was before. I’ve always been really big on functional fitness. Why drive when you can walk? That’s always easier on a bigger city. You just waste it. I always take the stairs instead of the elevator. Just kind of trying to always figure out how to build it into my everyday life. Then from that, finding stuff that’s fun.

I was a hip hop dancer in Chicago for a while. I loved it. I still love to dance. I can go out there and shake it like anybody else or at least I can try. That’s what I do. I don’t like being a hamster on a wheel. I don’t want to have to go work out on the StairMill or the Elliptical or the treadmill all the time. Of course, I still spend some time doing that. Because sometimes that’s weather depending or whenever that’s where I’m at.

You got to find… if you don’t like jogging, don’t go jogging. Do something else that you really enjoy. I’ve always just been big on finding activities that I like. We actually… we just bought some kayaks. We’ve been out in the water doing some kayaking and everything, which is just enjoying the summer. Just getting the workout in a bit. Spending quality time together and just having fun with it. I think that’s the big thing is no matter what, always just finding a way to have fun. Instead of thinking about as work and working out, try and find ways to make it fun. Do something you enjoy.

On the other end, I also use it for stress relief. It was actually very difficult towards the end of my pregnancy. Then after having him, not being able to work out. Just because that’s just kind of my Zen. That’s where I go to a happy place. I’m just thinking and doing and just feeling really good about myself. It was always been struggle if I haven’t been able to work out. Because it’s just a big part of keeping my balance mentally and physically. It’s been a ride through the past few years.

Jonathan: That’s fitness in the Amy Mac world. Amy, as you’ve been looking out onto the broader world – the broader fitness landscaping. You’ve been in this industry for quite some time. What are the biggest shifts you’ve seen from when you got started to what’s popular or effective or just even surprising you today?

Amy: Well, I think we always… at least, I grew up thinking how to spend two hours in a gym or two hours working out in order for it to be worth your time. I think we all had that gym or weight lifting class in high school or whatever. Then into college, whatever sports we did. It was always this big long drawn out work outs, especially if you’re weight lifting.

When I was training and also just also fads that I’ve seen, everybody’s trying fit fitness into their life. I think it’s been abbreviating it by using circuit training or other methods of kind of high intensity interval training. Different ways that you kind of get the maximum work out in the minimum amount of time.

Jonathan: Amy, do you have any tips? Sometimes, I see… especially females, there’s a bit of a challenge because when it comes to intensity, especially when it comes to strength training. This is something which has historically has been more associated with men. Generally, even today. If you go into a gym, you’ll see in the free weights area predominantly male cliental on. If you go to cardiovascular area, predominantly females cliental on. It seems we could all benefit from doing a little bit more strength training. How do we help make that shift?

Amy: Absolutely. I think it’s always been so interesting. Because it’s so important for guys to have a cardio balance and women to have the strength training balance. Any study that you look at for any type of… for women, especially. As you age, osteoporosis and things like that are all made better by strength training. Your muscles will help to hold you together. I think everybody is so afraid of getting big and bulky that they are afraid to go into that free weight section.

Maybe, it’s just intimidating to be in there with all the big guys. I’ll push those big guys out of my way to get to the bench press machine because I have just as much right to be there as everybody else. I don’t expect everyone to do that. I think it’s… maybe, an education factor as far as… maybe, when we were in high school we were taught the weight lifting and whatever. I was lucky enough that I was in the sport where we were encouraged to do weight lifting.

It was a big… this is part of how you keep your balance for all your muscles, healthy wise. Preventing injury and all that stuff, muscle alignment. All that stuff plays into it. I think it’s such an important part. I think you can also make it a tighter work out as far as time and effectiveness, if you do combine both. I think maybe education and just making… kind of making… maybe, going and doing buddy training. Taking two or three girls into the free weights section to do the weights. Maybe, getting guys up on the track to do intervals together on the cardio side.

Jonathan: Amy, I got to tell you. I like that. I’m encouraged because this does seem something that is getting better with time, at least in my observation. For example, take my mother. My mother tells me that when she was in the university, she was literally not even allowed in the weight training facility. It was no girls allowed. Literally, I’m not kidding. That makes sense. In the fifties and sixties, it was quote unquote, “common knowledge” that intense exercise could hurt women and could make them sterile and blah, blah, blah. Which is of course, crazy [indiscernible 0:08:35].

Amy: Right.

Jonathan: That was many decades ago. Now, especially with… for example, some… not making judgments about it could be being good or bad. With CrossFit, the image of strong woman seems to be coming more and more mainstream. It seems if you look at on one end of the spectrum, sixty, seventy year old females how they were brought up thinking of strength training. You look at women in high school. There’s a much different perception on the role of strength in femininity. What’s your take?

Amy: Absolutely. No, I think your right. I think it’s exciting. I think maybe some of those myths of getting big, scary, bulky, hair on your chest just because you lift weights, I think that’s starting to go away as people… I hate to throw back like “Oh, in Hollywood…” Because I always hate that stuff. Those people don’t really count for the rest of us. I’ve seen women with strong arms even like Jennifer Aniston. She’s not big and bulky. She’s got some muscle tone to her. I think that kind of encourages people to maybe go lift a couple of weights.

The bar method is awesome for doing lightweights but really training the muscles and everything. I am encouraged. I think CrossFit is awesome. I love seeing these hardcore women out there. Maybe, later… you always see on Facebook, they have their CrossFit workout. Then, you see them later dressed up for dinner or something. I love that the muscle is becoming a sexy factor. Unless you’re spending eight hours in the gym and you’re taking steroids on top of it, you really can keep that femininity that’s important to women and still be strong. That’s my take.

Jonathan: Amy, I’m really encourage because it seems like the gender barriers are being broken down in general. Because thinking back in the fifties and sixties, we talked about women but also for men. There was this big barrel arms and big barrel chest and hairy… today, when you think of… let’s go back to Hollywood. What is portrayed… this is kind of silly example but Dwayne Johnson, The Rock.

Amy: Yeah.

Jonathan: He was a line man at the University of Miami. He was enormous. I remember watching an interview with him where to become more mainstream he essentially had to get more cut up and more normal looking rather than more mammoth looking.

Amy: Right. Exactly.

Jonathan: Even that men have to be like Shrek stereotype seems to be going away as well.

Amy: Yeah. I think lean and mean is hot right now. I think whether a guy or a girl. Yeah, I love that you use The Rock as an example because we were watching The Other Guys the other day and The Other Guys the other day. We’re looking at… we were talking about how much smaller he is now. Because if you still… if you look at that man’s biceps those things are still pythons on. At the end of the day, he’s a lot smaller than he was. Because in order to be an actor and be believable in these roles, he had to slim down and get rid of a lot of that muscle tones. I think lean and mean is hot for everybody.

Jonathan: I really… I like because it also really seems to celebrate health a bit more. Because for a man to become Incredible Hulk like is not healthy. For a woman to become super skinny stick figure is not healthy. What is healthy is something a bit more reasonable. It seems we, as a society might, might be moving in that direction.

Amy: I hope so. That would be better for me, at least. Well and that’s the thing… skinny can be scary. When you see… there are a lot skinny people out there that look great. I love it when they have some muscle tone. I just feel you feel stronger and more confident about yourself. Maybe, it’s just a female thing. When you got a little bit of muscle tone on you, you just feel your posture is better. You stand up taller. Being able lift the forty pound bag of dog food and carry it to my car and be confident in that, it just gives me a little bit of empowerment. I like that.

Jonathan: I think you’re spot on, Amy. There’s a big difference between the idea of shrink yourself down and build yourself up. Those are two very, very different… when I say build, I don’t mean make yourself big and bulky. Make yourself strong.

Amy: Yeah.

Jonathan: Celebrate strength. Those are two very different approaches.

Amy: Yup. Absolutely agree. I would love it if Hollywood and if everybody kind of went that way. It’s not about being skinny or being a size two or a size zero or whatever for women. It’s about being strong. I always weigh more when I’m weight lifting than if I don’t. I’m always smaller. I always look better in my jeans. I’m always smaller when I weigh more than when I weigh less.

I think it’s always so hard when we’ve always been staring at the scale and always saying, “Oh, my gosh! I gain two pounds.” “I lost two pounds.” “Oh, my gosh! This is where I’m at.” I learned a long time ago that I looked better when I’m three pounds heavier as long as those three pounds are muscle. My jeans fit better. It doesn’t matter what the scales says because I look better and I feel better.

Jonathan: I love it, Amy. You’ve done so much already. What’s next for you in the fitness and wellness arena?

Amy: I don’t know yet. I’m kind of exploring some opportunities. I love talking about fitness. I love doing fitness. I’m just always looking for opportunities just like this to be able to share my thoughts and feelings and opinions. If anybody wants to hear it, I’m always excited. Just doing more of what I do. Then constantly researching and finding new and better ways to work out and to share that information with people.

Jonathan: What are you most hopeful about in the future? I guess, what would you hope to see in the fitness and wellness world moving forward?

Amy: I would love to see it become the lifestyle of everyone. I know that’s kind of a lofty goal and it always has been. The reason that I became a trainer in the beginning and then started doing the audio and video podcasting from training is so that I could talk to more people in a less amount of time. Just being able to help people figure out that it’s totally attainable. That it’s a lifestyle choice. I don’t want people on diets all the time. I don’t want them to be miserable or not have a piece of birthday cake because they’re on a diet. They’re watching their weight.

I want people to live. I just want people to live healthy and enjoy. Enjoy those moments. Then also have a really good balance and just make that a way of life. I don’t know how you get that message out there. I don’t know how you teach people how to do it. I’m just going to keep talking and hope that people listen. Maybe start… just start doing something. It doesn’t matter how you get started, just get started. I wish that fitness wasn’t its own realm. I wish that it was just part of life.

Jonathan: I love it. I love it. Well Amy, that certainly a noble goal. Certainly, an inspirational message. Certainly, you do live that example. I very much appreciate that. Folks, her name is Amy Mac. Amy, thank you so much for joining us today.

Amy: Well, thank you, Jonathan. It was great being here.

Jonathan: Listeners, if you want to learn more about Amy, please do check her out on the web. She’s got all kind of stuff as you can tell in terms of video, audio. Lots of great content. She’s a bundle of joy. You can find her at WithAmyMac.com. Please remember this week and every week after. Eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Chat with you soon.