Meet fitness icon, Amanda Russell!

amanda russell 3

Hey Amanda! How are you?

Hey! I’m good, actually in Los Angeles, going to your Equinox so if your parents see me tell them to say hi! Congratulations on your new website, it looks awesome.

Thank you! So let’s get started! Why did you get involved in fitness? What really inspired you to start a career in fitness?

My dad was a runner, so he was my first inspiration, and to be honest, I was encouraged to try running because of my ‘small size’. With few other choices available, I joined the high school cross country team and it ended up becoming my ticket to a much bigger world. I literally ran my way to a division 1 full scholarship in the United States (I’m from Canada).

But, it wasn’t until after my injury [a broken femur due to a stress fracture] and I was no longer able to run anymore, thatI realized the impact of fitness on one’s life. The ability to run and ‘own my body’ had changed my head, my confidence, my outlook, my work ethic and pretty much everything in my life. I became determined to find a way back to fitness despite the fact that I could no longer run, and that’s really how The AR Program all began.

So it wasn’t about starting a fitness business at all. I was actually doing my MBA at the time, but life has a funny way of pointing you to your purpose in subtle ways, and I chose to follow the signs and see where I could take it.

Fitness and seeing what it can do for myself and for others is what fuels me! There’s nothing I love better than talking about fitness and helping other people with it. Seeing the transformation between not having fitness in your life and having it in both myself and other people proves that it is just so much more than exercise. It affects everything from personal relationships to your career to your activeness and health.

That’s a really good foundation to have, and the fact that you saw the effects of fitness in yourself really makes your business such a genuine endeavor. So you now have your amazing website,, which just launched a few months ago. What would you say are the top three most important takeaways from your training and weight loss technique?

I actually have another website I just launched too! FitStrongandSexy is where you can find all my diet and fitness plans and an entire workout video library you can subscribe to, it’s my community of Fit Strong and Sexy Women – a truly incredible group of women who are raising the standard on what it means to be FIT!

I also just launched, which is where you can find my articles, upcoming events, shop and my blog.

The three most important things I want to tell people who want to lose weight…

First, it doesn’t matter what background you have. If you have bad experiences or good experience, or what size you are, or what genes you have, you can get into the best shape of your life. I have proven it many, many times. It’s about finding the right program and the right motivation for you.

Second, you do not need a lot of time or money to exercise. You can get a better workout in 30 minutes or less than most 70 minute workout classes if you’re doing them right. That’s how I created the workouts and programs I have.

Third but not least, your body is the best tool that you have. You need to become the CEO of your own body and really learn what motivates and works for you. Working out 5 days per week in a gym is great if that’s what works for you but if you hate the gym, then that program is not going to work for you. You have to find what it is that drives and motivates you and shape your life around that. It takes a lot of trial and error and commitment, but that’s why I created what I did, as an education to help you realize what works for you and what doesn’t.

Those are great, I love that phrase, “become the CEO of your own body!” Now aside from those quick takeaways, do you have any tips for girls and women that are lost in the mix of celebrity diets and magazines and other negative fluff surrounding dieting and being thin and are just totally overwhelmed by all that?

It is overwhelming! I think that at the end of the day, there is so much ‘noise’ out there. People need to just stop paying attention to all of it and focus on themselves. You only need to worry about what you’re doing, not what anyone else is doing, what is a miracle for one person could be toxic for another.

Find a source of motivation and a method that makes you feel good and focus on YOU rather than trying to compare yourself. Everyone always wants to change something about themselves, but you know at the end of the day, life is too short to get caught up or bogged down by the trivial things. If you live your life by a few pounds on a scale, then you’re not really living!

Completely, and if you’re not happy there’s no way to make the changes last. You can’t make a starvation diet a lifestyle.

Totally, if you can’t go to social functions or enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party, then what’s the point?

Exactly. You’re just going to end up binging on pizza after it doesn’t work, anyway!

Oh yea! Starvation/Restriction diets almost always end in binge terror!

Amanda Russell 2

On that note, are there any little diet and fitness tips and tricks you’ve tried that haven’t worked?

I do not believe in juicing or fasting. People say they’re going to cleanse their body. The best way to cleanse your body is to eat whole and natural foods. Your body will naturally detox that way. As long as you exercise balance, you won’t need to ’detox’. And you know what? A glass of wine or a piece of pizza in moderation won’t kill you.

Also, in regard to exercise, I don’t really believe in the extreme rigid schedules. It’s not about spending hours and hours a day in the gym. Fitness is about finding the workout that fits for you, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money on it. I will prove it to you, come to my website!

That’s such a good point. I love your 80/20 rule, it totally changed the way I look at myself eating and myself dieting.  Making any lifestyle change 100% cold turkey is just not going to be as effective as easing into it and enjoying yourself. So the 80/20 rule is great because you need that glass of wine or that piece of cake.

Exactly, thank you! I think I got it from my mother. She’s Italian and she is never on a diet. She just lives a very healthy life and doesn’t restrict herself in that way. The people who make it a lifestyle and are secure with who they are, you know they go to brunch and have a mimosa and have a great weekend. Then when they start the week it’s not like “Oh god I had a cookie now my whole life is ruined!”

That’s so true. I did research in Italy studying their diet and lifestyle compared to their obesity and disease rates. They have a great lifestyle and diet to model from, nobody diets but nobody is overweight!

Yea growing up with a mom like that, we never had any “diet” or “low-calorie” anything. We had pasta or salami or anything, we just had real, wholesome food. It is the best diet in the world!

Haha, I agree! Now going back to your FitStrongandSexy diet plan, or maybe even pulling from your Italian recipes, what’s your favorite go-to healthy food or recipe?

I am crazy about my AR Scramble Stir Fry! It is basically the kitchen sink of tons of vegetables. I am not a portion control person. I would rather have a big meal of whatever vegetables are around my kitchen. I throw all the different vegetables I have in there and add some kind of protein, like an egg, and a sauce. When you use difference sauces or vegetables and protein it always tastes different.

On my FitStrongandSexy site and meal plan I have a template for how to create the AR Scramble, as well as AR Stir Fry, Minestrone and so many more – you basically pick as many ingredients from each category and VOILA! SO easy, so tasty, so simple and SO waistline friendly!

I love your stir fry recipe! It’s the best cause you really can change it every time and it always tastes different. I always add egg and chicken, it’s so good.

Yes, yum! I love adding in quinoa or mashed up sweet potato now!

Yum! What about a healthy snack? Something easy you can run out the door with?

I am obsessed with Premier Protein and I am doing a HUGE giveaway with them this month on my site. I am so tired of ’health experts’ telling people to snack on raw almonds and boring snacks like that. I love things you can grab and go that also taste good. Premier Protein bars are 200 calories or less and have 15-30 grams of protein, low sugar, and they taste amazing. You can order them on my site or enter the giveaway. I also love beef jerky! The brand of beef jerky I love is Field Trip Jerky. My friend started it and it’s a natural, great jerky. You can actually order some with my discount code here.

I’m always on the run so I love snacks that I can just throw in my carry on or my purse. If you look in my purse I always have a protein bar and field jerky. You never know when you’re going to get hungry!

That’s good to note, always have a snack on you! Now, last question, changing gears a bit, what’s your typical workout schedule? You know, do you do yoga certain days or do you still run? 

For a long time everyone was asking me, “How do you structure your week?” That’s actually why I started FitStrongandSexy. I will do one workout one day, like yoga, then another the next day, then maybe a day for stretching or a rest day after a more intense day. A major part of FitStrongandSexy is learning the right template to put your workouts in and how to structure your workouts.

Any other notes you want to share?

As I said, fitness is about so much more than exercise. You may get into it for weight loss or whatever other reason, but you will soon learn it greatly influences every aspect of your life. It has a positive ripple effect on the world around you.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning chatting with me!

You can find and follow Amanda Russell on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. I also highly recommend subscribing to FitStrongandSexy, as well as reading about her at!



This entry was posted in SCIENCE, WORKOUTS. Bookmark the permalink.

Comment Here!