Friday, January 8, 2010

My Body, My Biography

Warning this is a Longer Read – but I think it’s worth out, so grab a cup of tea and enjoy!

‘My Body, My Biography’ – this is the title of the Equinox Fitness 2010 campaign, which launched January 1 of this year. I was honored to be chosen as a member of this project. The experiences I had and the people I met along the way were inspirational and life changing for me, after much internal debate about exposing this to you on my blog, I decided that if I was that motivated and uplifted by the experience it may prove to do the same for you. If nothing else, it’s an interesting story (at least I think so).

If it isn’t yet obvious, I’m a fitness nut, not only am I passionate about exercise and training but I thoroughly love talking to other people about their experience and helping them get motivated and step up their fitness and lives to the next level.

In line with my career aspirations in this ‘fitness industry’ (and to help me pay for my MBA while living in Manhattan) I have been doing fitness modeling since March of 2009 and in my short career I have seen a lot and met a lot of ‘fit looking’ people, but it never fails to amaze me how many of them are NOT actually fit, nor are they even healthy. Yes even in fitness modeling!

There is a lot of pressure to look ‘thin and toned’, but a substantial percentage of the men and women who grace the pages of the magazines we read, may do everything but hit the gym to look the way they do.

Lesson #1: Being skinny does not equal being fit! Why do I bring this up? Because the Equinox Fitness shoot was unlike any other modeling experience I have ever had. Why? They wanted their models to be more than just ‘bodies’, they wanted to get to know them as people and hear their story. In fact, the models were chosen not only for appearance but for their personal life story and the potential impact it could have on others by sharing it. Above all, they wanted to hear about how getting fit and staying fit was a part of their lives.

To begin - The casting call seemed like any other– Two castings, one in New York, one in L.A., I happened to be in New York, so off I went, prepared to stand around in a sports bra and short shorts with a bunch of other barely clothed girls waiting to be herded in like cattle for ‘judgment’ as per usual - I was wrong.

Equinox took the time to interview and gather information about each and every person (and they did so for thousands of people). They also proceeded to video record each us telling our own life story and personal experience with Fitness– they wanted to know about the person.

Needless to say I was caught off guard and proceeded to ramble away my own ‘overcoming obstacle’ story to a production crew and panel of people. There’s nothing like being asked to public speak on the spot, let alone about a personal topic with cameras and an audience in your face for the sole purpose of being judged. However, rather then feeling nervous, I appreciated it, it was cathartic to be able to open up and expose my own life in this way. I left feeling proud and excited.

To my surprise and delight I was chosen to be part of the campaign and share my story with the rest of America. I was elated and then quickly humbled. At the shoot, I met five of the other individuals selected, and it was these people that made my experience worth telling. Each had such an incredible story of empowerment, despite the challenges and struggles they faced and overcame they carried the most positive attitudes and such a contagious energy and passion for life.

In all of these cases it would have been easy to backdown and accept the unfortunate circumstances they had been dealt but not one of these individuals did that. Rather than use it as an excuse, they turned it around and took it as a gift that added to their character. These people were the personification of beautiful inside and out.

I am hardly doing justice to these individuals or the campaign with this brief overview, but I invite you to check it out online. You can read their stories and view their utube videos

However, I do want to note the three most profound lessons I took with me from this experience:

Everyone Has Their Story – You can never tell by looking at someone what they’ve been through. If someone comes across as rude or short with you, don’t jump to conclusions, you don’t know what kind of day they are having. We can learn so much through other people, so take a moment to listen to someone else in this busy world.

Happiness is a State of Mind, Not a Circumstance – Attitude is everything. You can’t control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it.

Our Journey Builds our Character - Life isn’t full of roses all the time. We all face challenges and struggles, rather than reacting with anger, sadness or defeat, try to see past the immediate state and focus on picking yourself up and doing what it takes to get past it. Overcoming obstacles makes you stronger.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you are interested, visit the Equinox ‘My Body, My Biography’ Campaign

My Body, My Biography

And please - share your own personal story, I’d love to hear it!


  1. Very inspiring Amanda! The lessons that you learned are ones that we all can keep in mind. Thank you so much for sharing, keep it coming!

    Any chance you could share some exercise tips for targeting the butt, hips and thighs? Especially exercises that don't require equipment and can be done at home?

  2. Hi There,

    Thank you for the nice feedback!

    I DO have a lot of exercises for the thighs, butt and hips that you can totally do at home. I love getting questions like this because it gives me ideas for future postings. And once I have my website up, I can dedicate an entire area for targeting specific regions.

    To begin, I would start by doing wall squats: standing with your back to the wall, crouch down until your legs are at a 90 degree angle (thighs parallel to the floor) and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat two more times and feel your thighs burning - literally!

    I have so many more, I am going to write a post for you to better explain, hope this gets you started!



  3. Hi Amanda:

    I love your slogan: "Happiness is a sate of mind, not a circumstance." - definitely words to live by. One of my favourite things about exercise is what it does for my mental health - stress reduction; endorphin production - it makes me a happier, more motivated person.

    I've been meaning to tell you that during our workout over the holidays, you really inspired me to increase my cardio and it feels great! I used to do about 25-30 mins of cardio coupled with an equal or greater amount of weightlifting, but I've since extended my cardio workouts to 45-60 mins and the new routine is already effective (at least I feel the effect). I've resolved to maintain the cardio increase and keep my workouts current - your blog is a great help in preventing me from falling back into monotonous workout routines.

    Much thanks and appreciation!


  4. Hey Amanda. I'm the Creative Director at Equinox. Thank you for such an insightful perspective about our casting process and our campaign. We were committed to creating a campaign rooted in authenticity where we could create a platform to celebrate our remarkable members. We too are inspired and honored by the participation of each member we featured in the campaign. Thank you for sharing your personal story and your overall experience with "My Body. My Biography."

  5. Amanda! THis is fantastic. A good friend and I just joined Equinox and i didn't know you were working with them. Great club! I was hesitant to join a gym because i love working out outside...but am loving the place. Hope all is well with you and you give me inspiration to trek through those moments of lactic acid pain in spin class. :)


  6. I’m a fitness nut, not only am I passionate about exercise and training but I thoroughly love talking to other people about their experience.