You don’t have to be extreme to get results. For example, I take two rest days and have two “off-plan” meals each week. These keep my lifestyle more manageable and make it easier to stick with my plan for the long haul. If I were to do killer workouts seven days a week and never have my favorite treats, I would definitely fall off the wagon — and back in my early days of working out, I did.
As part of my series about health and wellness leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andi Wagner. Andi is a 47-year-old mom, personal trainer, nutrition expert, lifestyle consultant, pro fitness competitor and all-around fitness junkie. Andi has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years and loves helping others live their best life! Her personal experience as a busy mom and interactions with other women inspired Andi to create Best You Crew, a monthly fitness subscription program designed to help moms easily fit workouts and healthy eating into their lives.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was always active as a kid — I danced and competed in basketball, tennis and track and field. I stayed active into adulthood, and at 27, I started competing in fitness competitions. I actually stumbled across one on ESPN and just thought it would be cool to do! As a Health/PE teacher and an exercise physiologist, competing in fitness complimented my lifestyle, and I immersed myself in the culture. I competed for 19 years, earned a pro card and was proud to place second in the world six times! Eventually I took time off to have a baby, but I jumped right back in as soon as I could to both competing and hosting international fitness shows. A short time later, other fitness competitors sought out my help coaching them to similar levels of success.
My work helping others continued long after my competition career ended. Instead of working with professional competitors, I turned my attention to the women who were simply looking to get their mojo back and live a healthy lifestyle, while still enjoying their families and social life. The impact I was able to create for my clients was so motivating that I was inspired to start my fitness program, Best You Crew, to reach even more women. The program is an amazing tool for women who need nutrition information at their fingertips, workout videos they can do anywhere, meal plans they can easily follow, and a community of like-minded ladies who are all working to be their best! Plus, everything is available through our mobile app and a private Facebook group, so it fits easily into any busy mom’s life.
Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I was a competition coach, fitness transformations were easy. There was a start and end date. As a client got closer to the show, food was tweaked and tapered, and workouts were streamlined. There was a formula, and if it was followed to a T, each person achieved their desired physique. The challenge came after the competition when there was no big goal. For many people, living a healthy lifestyle just to be healthy is not always enough — they still need that big goal. I always encourage Best You Crew members to continually set goals so they have something to work toward. These goals might be to achieve a certain body type, prepare for an event like a wedding or photo shoot, or to perform well during a 5K or hiking trip. I also love making a game out of living a healthy lifestyle. Our kids have streaks on Snapchat. Why can’t we have healthy lifestyle streaks of healthy eating days, or weeks where we hit 5 workouts?
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we began designing plans for our Best You Crew app, I knew I wanted to film full workout videos each month. I had done short video demonstrations in the past, but I really wanted members to see the workouts from beginning to end. I knew they would help everyone stay on pace, demonstrate proper form and stay motivated. I also wanted to show authenticity — these workouts are challenging for me, too! So we scheduled our first video shoot, planning to do all five workouts in one long day, and allowing for a second day only if we needed it. I was pretty confident I wouldn’t need it.
Wow, was I wrong! Filming workout videos is hard, and as much as I like to think I’m invincible, I’m not. I was exhausted, sore, and I realized I was compromising my form and speech by trying to be a superhero. After that shoot, we moved to two days of filming, and now we film just one workout a day. I am better able to focus on each workout, keep good form and maintain my energy. I would never ask our members to do several workouts in one day, so I should have known it wasn’t the best thing for me to do, either.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
It’s been really exciting to watch Best You Crew grow over the past year! Every month I film new workouts for our members and spend a lot of time making sure they’re fresh, engaging and effective. All of the workouts can be done at home with minimal equipment, and I always give options to customize each workout to make it more or less challenging. We’ve recently started exploring other lifestyle projects, too, like a cookbook that would be especially valuable for moms.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
1. Move every day, even if it’s not a full workout. A little exercise is always better than no exercise!
2. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Think brightly colored fruits and veggies, various proteins, and healthy fats and starches in the appropriate portions. I never ask anyone I work with to cut any food groups, because it cuts out a lot of necessary vitamins your body needs. It’s also way more fun to try out new healthy foods and recipes!
3. Get a spray tan! It’s a great way to feel amazing in your skin and have that extra glow without the harmful damage of tanning beds.
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
“Pound the Stone” by Jeremy Metcalf. It’s a book about doing small things every day to help you reach your goals. My son actually read this book in sixth grade and wrote a paper about it. It’s filled with wonderful lessons for him as a student athlete, and for me as a business owner and wellness professional. I highly recommend it!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I wish I could allow everyone to feel how great it feels to be in a truly healthy and fit body. Many people don’t realize that the way they feel in their unhealthy body is not normal. They say, “Oh, I’m supposed to have bad knees and a bad back and be out of shape, I’m 40.” Or they wake up every day puffy, lethargic, needing naps, and having muscle aches. Growing older doesn’t mean life has to feel this way! Living a healthy lifestyle can ease those troubles, but if you don’t know how good and freeing it feels, you can become complacent and just live with the discomfort.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the success and progress of each individual woman. I remember one of the first friends I helped was a mom of four kids who had been struggling with her weight and self-confidence. The fitness strategies she used in her younger years weren’t working anymore, and she just wanted to feel good in her skin again. With her busy schedule in mind, I helped her build a fitness plan with healthier foods and home workouts that still left her time to be a rockstar mom. The best text I ever got from her was while she was on a family vacation. After losing a little weight and gaining more confidence, she had actually put on a swimsuit and gotten in the ocean! Her kids were so happy their mom was playing with them in the waves, and she was able to enjoy every moment of that vacation.
Experiences like that are why I love being an online wellness coach helping clients across the globe. Through social media, the Internet and my Best You Crew app, I’ve been able to share my comprehensive wellness plans and virtual workouts that anyone at any level of fitness can follow. Through these experiences, I’ve learned that feeling like your “best you” means more than having a trim figure. It also means feeling supported, finding valuable friendships and being mentally tough. These are all themes I try to build within each woman I work with, as well as in our program’s community.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. You don’t have to be extreme to get results. For example, I take two rest days and have two “off-plan” meals each week. These keep my lifestyle more manageable and make it easier to stick with my plan for the long haul. If I were to do killer workouts seven days a week and never have my favorite treats, I would definitely fall off the wagon — and back in my early days of working out, I did.
2. Don’t expect every client to jump in with both feet and follow your program to a T on day one. Some will do that, but living a healthy lifestyle for the first time can be a challenge and may take some time. It’s okay to start slow! Small changes can lead to big results over time. Simply taking the stairs, parking in the furthest spot, substituting sparkling water for soda, choosing zoodles over pasta — these are all small changes that add up over time and help you reach your goals.
3. Not everyone is motivated to be healthy, but many people are motivated to look good, and that’s okay! It can still result in being healthy. Having a revenge body for your high school reunion is a great goal, and in the process other amazing things may happen, like getting better sleep, having more self-esteem and seeing lower blood pressure. No matter your motivation, living a healthy lifestyle can lead to a healthy body. I’m okay with vanity goals, because they can lead to so many other amazing things.
4. Many women will be happy to work out, but they also want to have their cocktails and eat off plan meals regularly. Lots of people I know think doing a workout each day is enough. It’s what they did in their twenties, and they were able to keep a trim figure then. It should work now, right? No! You can’t out-train a bad diet. Period!
5. It is hard to get people to eat healthy fats. Many women my age will remember a celebrity trainer named Susan Powter. She taught us to “fight the fat,” and said we could eat all the carby foods we wanted as long as they were low- or no-fat. We all took that to the extreme, and many people ended up gaining weight! It’s hard to change that mindset and show how healthy fats are essential for a healthy body. While we need healthy carbs in our diet, we just can’t eat unlimited amounts.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is watching.” — Anson Dorrance
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Yes, and it’s not a fitness person. LUKE BRYAN! I’m huge country music fan and I love his music. I follow both him and his wife on social media, and I love the videos and pictures of their family. I think it would be awesome sit down and chat with Luke and his wife to see if they are as down-to-earth as they appear. I think we would be great friends!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Check us out on Instagram at andi_bestyoucrew and on Facebook at Best You Crew!
Thank you for all of these great insights!