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On Inspiration, Motivation and the Drive to Succeed



At MyFitnessPal, we love to celebrate major milestones — from major weight loss to major non-scale victories — what our community accomplishes is no easy feat. Success is all around us, and it’s usually sparked by a pivotal moment. We’ve asked our Under Armour ambassadors to share their journeys, inspiration and driving forces. We hope this inspires you to share yours in the comments below.

“Do what makes you feel alive. Love your body. Play outside.”

Adinda, an obstacle course trainer, is inspired by her mother and Mother Nature. “The two mothers that have always supported me since Day 1. Without these two women, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.”


It comes as no surprise then that Adinda’s fire comes from the outdoors. “To wake up and have the possibility to discover what my body is capable of doing beyond what I thought possible and being proven wrong. Nothing is more motivating to me than to be active while having the opportunity to learn about different cultures and discovering different parts of the world.”


Adinda hit rock bottom and wasn’t taking care of herself — not eating right, drinking too much and not getting enough sleep. Her sister introduced her to bikram yoga. She slowly adopted a healthy lifestyle once again. Then, a trip to Vietnam changed things. She had one beer and her body rejected it. “I started ordering fresh coconut water through the concierge, enough to last me, for what it would seem like, a whole month on a deserted island. I drank a glass of coconut water every half an hour in hope to detoxify the toxins in my body and rid of the water retention from the swelling. I prayed and drank and prayed and hoped.” Eventually she was OK. “This was the time that I realized that I needed to love my body. This was the beginning of @Saktidin. This is my story and the prologue that signifies where I am today.”

“I am enough.”

Running coach and Run to the Finish blogger, Amanda looks inward for inspiration. “I’ve always been internally driven to seek out my best,” she says. “I don’t need to win a race, I just need to know that I showed up for myself in moments that were hard and I chose not to quit.”


She meets each day with wonder, “I’m excited to see what each new run will bring. Will it be a glorious sunrise? Will it be a run that I never want to end? Will it be a hot, humid, can’t breathe will-I-make-it-through run that leaves me smiling because I did?”


When Amanda suffered her first real injury, she recalls, “It was the first time I discovered the power of training my mind, and that led to greater success in every area of my life. I dug into podcasts, mantras, affirmations and suddenly it was just an injury, not the end of the world.” As we know, those low points can teach us many things by uncovering weaknesses that become opportunities for greatness, “I know how to flow with the discomfort and always keep my eyes focused on finding the solution.”

“I will rise under pressure.”

For Chaley Rose, singer and actress on “Nashville,” her mother was her rock and source of inspiration. After a divorce, her mother went back to college to get her masters in journalism. Rose recalls, “I watched her, at the age of 40, hustle her way into her first on-air job. Everyone told her it was too late for her. It was impossible. But she never heard them. ‘No’ was subjective for her, and I learned that and have lived it myself.”


For Rose, her day-to-day motivating factor is simple: “There’s nothing more motivating than knowing that you can have your dreams if you’re willing to fight,” she says.


Rose’s own experience gave her the courage to try new things. “I think there are lots of pivotal moments along the way to success,” she says. After a bad experience with a production company in Atlanta, Chaley looked to open up her career to acting. “It was the right place at the right time with the right coach. I fell in love with it and decided to pursue an acting career from there. I am where I am now because of that Atlanta experience. Painful as it was I wouldn’t change it.”

Under Armour is honoring under-recognized feats of empowerment — elevating them to where they belong: Above gender roles. Above labels. Above convention. Above comparison. Get the full scoop on Misty Copeland and other athletes in the Unlike Any campaign.

“Treat everyday like an audition and every human you meet like they are going to be your boss one day.”

A dancer, Dani is inspired by bold people who are relentlessly pursuing their passion. She says, “People that inspire me today are the groundshakers, the ones who decide to pave their own path and way. Not waiting for a hand out and just taking risks and chances!”


So many different things motivate people, and Dani found hers in adversity. “The driving factor, honestly, is the people that doubt me, that whisper behind my back and question my abilities. I do it for the ones who ‘don’t understand,’” she says. “Then, the successes that happen along the way remind me what I set out to do is all worth it.”


For some, pivotal moments come a bit more regularly. “I have had a ton of low moments in my career. Being a freelance professional dancer, you can get off of a four-year world tour performing in front of 80,000 people every night sharing the stage with one of the biggest artists in the world, then when it’s over, you wake up that next day in your bed unemployed. That repeats after every job, no matter how monumental it was, when it is over, it’s the ‘what’s next” game,’” shares Vitale. “There was one job where I auditioned for 16 straight hours not eating or drinking a thing, then the next day another 8 hours to find out I am in ‘serious consideration’ to attend a week of rehearsals before tour.” Ultimately, after being assured she got the part, she didn’t. “I didn’t leave my bed for a week. That launched me into wanting to prove to everyone that I can achieve more than just this tour. That I don’t need the title of ‘Hi I am Dani and I am dancing for …’ and that skyrocketed my versatility in dance and the ability to reinvent myself as an artist! Sure enough after not getting [the initial part], I did about six huge performances with her the following years.”

“Don’t lose faith.”

Secret of DD blogger and influencer, Deddeh sees her mother as her role model. “My mother is my biggest inspiration, as an African mother, she had been through so much and she still managed to get on her feet and raise three children. Her strength and power inspire me.”


For Deddeh, being active and pursuing her passion keeps her motivated. “My yoga practice and my blog make me leap out of bed every day,” she says. “I can’t live without yoga, and I love writing and producing content to inspire people because their stories inspire me, too.”


Embarking on her Black Mirror Project took her to a new level. “I was sick and tired of being held back because of my skin tone and I just wanted to do something about it. I decided to put myself out there and mirror two images to show the world that if we are given equal opportunity, black models can do just about the same as a white models.” This moment still resonates with her. “The world reacted to my story, it was unbelievable, and now it makes me want to do even more. I’m inspired to speak out and make more changes for myself and the future generation. It made me stronger.”


“We practice courage by pushing our limits.”

Cyclist and fitness vlogger, Kym is inspired by “the women who have come before me who have ignored the warnings and blazed their own trail,” she says. “I’ve been told countless times that it’s dangerous. I’ve been asked ‘wouldn’t I rather just stay home? Do something else?’”


Nonstop knows women are held to a different standard, but have to keep going and work a little harder, “while my male counterparts are just expected to show their grit.” Kym doesn’t let anything get her down. “I know that potential has yet to be reached. There’s more to learn and more to teach,” says Kym. Each day is “an opportunity to live my life to the fullest and to inspire others to do the same.”

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

Videographer Lucie Fink has her family to thank for inspiring her. “I grew up with parents who told me that if I worked hard enough for it, I could be anything I wanted to be. Each time I reach a new personal or professional milestone, it’s that energy and positivity that motivates me to keep on moving.”


Lucie is fueled by her close bond with family and her boyfriend. “These relationships nourish me and cause me to wake up every day with love, happiness and energy.”


It wasn’t college, but it’s what came right after college. “I remember feeling like I wasn’t in the right place; I wasn’t doing what I loved, and because of that, I wasn’t flourishing and shining. That was when I started making art — for myself, for my family and for my portfolio.”


“Be daring, be different, be impractical.”

Ambitious Kitchen blogger Monique Volz also looks within for inspiration. “I know it seems silly but there is no better investment you can make than believing in who you are. Chase your vision and dream every day no matter what, there’s always a way to make it happen. Over the course of your life you will transform into several different people, so just be who you are, be wild, practice self-care, and love yourself and those around you.”


For Monique, her work is her driving passion, “I love what I do and that most of the time it doesn’t feel like work. I’m proud that I have worked hard to become the woman I have become today,” she says. “I love getting up, getting a workout in and having ‘me’ time before I get in the kitchen and make recipes to help and inspire others to eat healthier. Inspiring other people is my success story.”


After losing her father, Monique dealt with her grief by traveling and working out. This ultimately led her on the path she’s on now. “I found myself on a beach in Australia asking myself what I was going to do with my life and how I could become the person I was meant to be,” she remembers. “After I came home, I started cooking and baking as a therapy and to teach myself a new skill. Shortly thereafter, I launched my blog and worked endlessly doing what I love. If you love something, your passion and talent will shine through.”

“If life puts obstacles in your way, try always to find the positive side of it.”

Brazilian model Paola is inspired and driven by gratitude. “I think that my biggest motivational factor is to enjoy life, because I really appreciate it,” she says. “Every day I wake up thinking about doing something new and always in a better way. This inspires me.”


Paola emphasizes the importance of staying positive and how it can

Exercise at Home

8 Reasons to Try Indoor Rowing



As outdoor workouts become relegated to the weekend and your body requires a reprieve from repeated long rides or runs, a fresh training method could become a welcome change to your training schedule. Enter: indoor rowing.

As the heir apparent to the reigning king of group fitness classes, indoor cycling, indoor rowing is poised to become the country’s newest workout obsession, as rowing studios continue to pop up throughout the country.

If you’re looking to supplement your training regime, consider this full-body workout. Here are eight reasons you should try indoor rowing:

1. It Burns a High Amount of Calories

Harvard Medical School states that a 155-pound person rowing at a vigorous pace can burn more than 600 calories per hour. This is on par with mountain and BMX biking.

2. Rowing Removes Muscular Failings

“Endurance runners and cyclists tend to have many muscular deficiencies that lead to repetitive stress injuries,” says Richard Butler, a UCanRow2 Concept2 indoor rowing coach at Mecka Fitness in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He believes rowing can offset this propensity. “When we row, we use more than 86% of our muscles. [It’s] tough to have deficient muscles using that many muscles.”

3. Rowing Circumvents Compensation

“While running and cycling, it is also very easy to become quad-dominant (overusing your anterior muscles),” says Dustin Hogue, interval studio director of Studio Three in Chicago. “Rowing counteracts this by engaging the posterior muscles of your body: the hamstrings, glutes and back. This helps avoid compensations.”

4. It Burns Fat

In a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, which compared fat oxidation in rowing to cycling across a range of variables — including exercise intensity, mode and recruited muscle mass — rowing beat out cycling. This was specifically due to the greater recruitment of larger muscle mass on the ergometer.

5. It’s a Two-For-One Workout

Rowing works both the upper and lower extremities in synchronicity. “It’s one of the true full-body workouts,” says Butler. He says when done properly, in one continuous movement, athletes use their back, arms, legs and core.


6. There’s a Meditative Component

According to UCanRow2, an organization with a mission to bring rowing to people across the U.S., rowing indoors keeps the mind centered and helps relieve stress as you get into a rhythm with each stroke.  

7. Classes Teach You Proper Technique

Most people have either never rowed or row with incorrect, gawky posture — curtailing rowing’s proper returns. But participating in indoor rowing classes diminishes the inelegance and instructors help you perfect your position. “That awkward feeling of not knowing how to do a move is minimized,” says Butler.

8. It Decreases the Risk of Injuries

For those who recently suffered an injury and feel a little apprehensive getting back into high-impact sports (like running), but feel ready to get back into cardiovascular shape, rowing is a favorable alternative. “Running causes a great deal of stress on the leg joints, so rowing is perfect for avoiding injury while endurance training,” says Butler.

As with any group fitness class, rowing classes vary by studio and instructor. “A typical rowing class at Studio Three pairs bursts of short, anaerobic exercises, with active recovery periods and weighted resistance training,” says Hogue. “Athletes perform a series, or distance or timed pushes on the rower along with multi-joint strength movements off of the rower.” At ROWFit by Mecka Fitness, Butler teaches authentic, crew rowing techniques to increase endurance and train all major muscles. At the popular Row House NYC in New York City instructors encourage participants to row in sync with each other, simulating a real crew team.  

Whatever class you choose, all indoor rowing classes focus on providing low-impact, high-energy workouts, helping you elevate your heart rate and building strength as a complement to any endurance training regime.    

If you’re interested in indoor rowing, you can find a certified instructor at UCanRow2 and even become certified yourself.  

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Exercise at Home

Daily Deliberate Practice



Anders Ericsson has written an excellent book PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Ericsson’s research contributed to the common recited 10,000 rule.

If you’re not familiar with it, Malcolm Gladwell interpreted Ericsson’s research and suggested people need to accumulate 10,000 hours to become an expert.

Ericsson, however, says,

“[T]he key thing that people have misinterpreted is that it’s not just a matter of accumulating hours. If you’re doing your job, and you’re just doing more and more of the same, you’re not actually going to get better.” (source)

Ericsson instead says the missed element is something he calls “deliberate practice.” As fitness experts, this idea should resonate with you.

Imagine a client who wanted to get healthy and strong, but they kept repeating the same exercises done incorrectly. If they reached 10,000 hours without hurting themselves, would they really have improved? They may even be in a worse position long term.

Ericsson says, “Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal” (p. 15).

An Interview with Anders Ericsson

Check out this interview with Ericsson below:

6 Tips for Incorporating Deliberate Practice Into Your Business

As you think about how deliberate practice might apply to your business, we wanted to share a few tips:

Incorporate practice into daily work life – The first step in applying deliberate practice into your business is to schedule it into your daily work life. You’ll never make progress if you don’t set aside regular time. Get out of your comfort zone – If you only practice what you’ve always practiced, you’ll never grow. That’s true when you exercise and it’s true in your business. If one of your clients only wanted to exercise their biceps, you’d firmly explain that’s not a smart way to exercise. Seek immediate feedback – A core component of deliberate practice is seeking immediate feedback. That might mean seeking out a business mentor or taking an online course where you have access to an expert for a new business tactic. Don’t keep practice something that you can’t get feedback on and don’t know if you’re doing correctly. Learn from others, particularly experts – The best way to become an expert is to learn from one. That might mean reading a book like PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, taking a seminar, going to a conference, or seeking a new certification. Our digital world provides us hundreds of ways we can learn from experts. Build mental representations – “A mental representation is a mental structure that corresponds to an object, an idea, a collection of information, or anything else, concrete or abstract, that the brain is thinking about.” (source). Many people use this form of learning in school but stopped using it as they transitioned into the business world. It can be a tremendous tool in your deliberate practice. Focus – Deliberate practice requires your full attention, so set aside a specific amount of time and remove distractions. If you’re new to this idea, read more about the Pomodoro Technique.

We’d love to talk more and provide more tangible tips on how to grow your fitness business. Enter your info below to schedule a demo with our expert team!

Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World. You might also like…

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Exercise at Home

11 Exercises for Your Best Back Workout



Many people focus on building their “mirror muscles” (think: chest, shoulders, arms, and abs). But to create a well-rounded physique, you don’t want to skimp on back workouts to sculpt the other side of your body, too.

Whether you’re wearing a bathing suit, a tank top, or a backless dress, a well-built back shows the world you’ve got it where it counts. Physically and aesthetically, there’s no substitute for a strong, muscular back, which is why you should include back workouts into your regularly scheduled routine. To help you get started, here are some of the best back exercises found on Beachbody On Demand.

The Back Muscles

Across the rugged topography of your back are over a dozen different muscles. Some of them — like the trees minor — stabilize movement at your shoulder girdle; others — including the erector spine — extend your spine, helping to keep you upright.

But the primary focus of back workouts are usually the two largest muscle groups in your back: the trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles.

Trapezius Anatomy

This is a kite-shaped muscle which extends from the back of your neck, to your shoulder blades, and down to your mid-back. Your traps are responsible for moving your shoulder blades upwards (as in a shrugging movement) and inwards (as in a rowing movement). When they’re well developed, the traps keep your posture in check and give your mid-back depth and detail.

Many people, guys especially, focus exclusively on the upper portion of this muscle — the bands of muscle that give gymnasts and football players that thick-necked look. But that can be a mistake, says Beachbody fitness expert Cody Braun. “When improperly trained, the traps can round your shoulders, which causes a postural dysfunction and a higher likelihood of injury.” Solve the problem by focusing on mid-and-lower trap exercises instead, using movements that emphasize retracting the shoulder blades.

Latissimus Dorsi Anatomy

Often shortened to “lats,” this fan-shaped muscle originates at your mid and lower back and attaches to your upper arms. It pulls your arms downwards and behind your body, (as in a pull-up movement), and directly backward (as in a rowing movement). The lats are your primary “pulling” muscles, and when they’re developed, they give you that unmistakeable “V” shape when your visible from behind.

The lats, Braun explains, are often underdeveloped and tight. Strengthening and stretching the muscle is key for good posture and full mobility — particularly in the shoulder joint, he says.

How do you exercise your back?

Most back movements are variations on rowing (pulling your own bodyweight or an object toward your torso), or chinning (pulling your bodyweight upward and over a bar or other stationary object). That’s the case with the 11 back exercises below, all culled from Beachbody On Demand’s huge selection of fitness programs. Together, they’ll work all the back muscles — large and small — to ensure complete functional and athletic back development. And the best part is that you can do them all at home! All you need is some dumbbells, a resistance band, and a pull-up bar (or a door attachment).

11 of the Best Exercises for Back Workouts


1. Balance row pistol squat

Appears in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel – Chisel Balance

Benefits: This move is an intense, total-body challenge. It works the traps, lats, and scapular retractors in the upper body, and the glutes, hamstrings, and quads in the lower body, all while testing your balance.

Stand holding two medium-weight dumbbells at your sides. Lift your right foot slightly off the floor. Keeping your back flat and your shoulders pulled back, hinge forward extending your right leg behind you. Let your arms hang straight down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring the weights up to the outside of your ribs while keeping your elbows close to your sides. Lower the weights back down and return to the standing position. Try not to let your right foot touch the ground. Keeping your knees close together, extend your right leg forward. Bending at your hip and knee, squat as deeply as possible on your left leg. Return to standing and repeat. Do equal reps on both sides.

2. Dumbbell reverse grip row

Appears in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel – Total Body Chisel

Benefits: This move can help improve posture by challenging the upper and lower back simultaneously.

• Stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding two medium to heavy dumbbells in front of your body, palms facing forward.

• With your shoulder blades pulled back, hinge forward at the hips until your upper body forms about a 45 degree angle to the floor.

• Keeping your palms turned forward, squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows, pulling the weights up toward your ribcage.

• Reverse the move and repeat.

3. Renegade Row

Appears in: SHIFT SHOP – Strength :25

Benefits: Challenge your upper back and lats while you also work your core and shoulder stabilizers.

• Assume a push-up position with your hands just outside your shoulder-width, gripping two light dumbbells. Your feet should be in line with your hands.

• Lift the dumbbell in your right hand off the floor, bringing your hand to the outside of your ribs while keeping your right elbow close to your side. Resist rotation of the body.

• Lower the right dumbbell to the floor and repeat with your left arm, alternating sides.

4. Alternating row and lunge

Appears in: Autumn’s BOD Exclusives – Kill Cupcake

Benefits: This move works multiple parts of the upper back (lats, traps, and scapular retractors) with light weights, challenging the muscle fibers responsible for endurance.

• Stand holding two medium to light dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in toward your body.

• Take a big step forward with your left leg, bending it to assume a deep lunge position, keeping your right leg straight.

• Bend forward at your hip, attempting to lay your torso on top of your left thigh. Let your arms hang straight down to the sides of your left leg.

• Bring the dumbbell in your right hand up to the outside of your ribs while keeping your elbow close to your side.

• Reverse the move and repeat with your left arm, alternating sides.

5. EZ bar row

Appears in: Body Beast – Build: Back/Bis

Benefits: This move challenges the large muscles of the upper back to move a heavy load, while the lower back stabilizes and protects the spine.

• Stand upright, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding an EZ bar in front of your body with a wide grip, palms facing forward.

• Keeping your lower back in its natural arch and your shoulder blades pulled back, hinge forward at the hips until your upper body forms about a 45 degree angle to the floor, and the bar is near your knees.

• Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows, pulling the bar up until it contacts your lower abdomen.

• Reverse the move and repeat.

6. Chin-up

Appears in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel – Iso Speed Hammer

Benefits: This classic move is great to way to widen and shape your lats, creating that wide V-shape in your upper back.

• Take an underhand grip on a pull-up bar.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight as you pull yourself up.

• Lower yourself until your arms straight, and repeat.

• Too tough? Use a chin-up assist band to make it easier.

7. Core crunch chin-up

Appears in: P90X2 – Chest, Back, and Balance

Benefits: After you’ve master the classic chin-up, try this variation to strengthen and shape your lats, while also challenging your abs and hip flexors.

• Take an underhand grip on a pull-up bar with about 12 inches between your hands.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight, simultaneously pulling your knees up to the bar.

• Lower your knees, straighten your arms, and repeat.

• Too tough? Use a chin-up assist band to make it easier.

8. Track star pull-up

Appears in: 22 Minute Hard Corps – Deluxe Resistance

Benefits: This variation of a standard pull-up widens and shapes the lats, creating a V-taper in your back, while also challenging your abs and obliques.

• Take an overhand grip on a pull-up bar.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight as you pull yourself up.

• Lower yourself until your arms straight.

• Keeping your left leg straight, lift your right knee as high as possible as you twist your hips to the left.

• Repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep.

• Too tough? Use a pull-up assist band to make it easier.

9. Close-grip oblique twist

Appears in: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Volume 2 – Back & 6 Pack

Benefits: This move widens and shapes the lats and it adds an isometric challenge for the upper back and a challenge to obliques and core.

• Take an overhand on a pull-up bar.

• Pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar, keeping your back straight and core tight as you pull yourself up.

• Holding the top position of the pullup, lift your knees toward your chest as high as possible.

• Keeping your knees drawn up and squeezed together, contract the obliques on your right side, as if trying to touch the outside of your right hip to your right elbow.

• Repeat on your left side.

• Lower your knees, straighten your arms, return to the starting position, and repeat.

10. Lunge twist pull

Appears in: 22 Minute Hard Corps – Resistance 2 (as “Punch Pull”)

Benefits: This move works your lats and upper traps in conjunction with your lateral and rear deltoids. The lunge movement also fires up the muscles in your lower body.

• Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a medium-weight dumbbell in your right hand at shoulder height.

• Pivot to the left on the balls of your feet, bend both knees into a lunge, and punch toward your left foot on the floor with your right hand.

• As you return to the standing position, place your left hand on the dumbbell and forcefully drive your right elbow backward, pivoting and rotating your torso to the right.

• Repeat on your left side, and do equal reps on both sides.

11. Superman lat pull

Appears in: THE 20s – Megan: Pyreshape

Benefits: Using a resistance band, this move strengthens your entire back, from your waistline to the back of your neck.

• Holding a light resistance band, lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead, chest and arms lifted off the floor, and palms facing down. This is your starting position.

• Keeping both arms straight, trace a half-circle with your right arm, extending it directly out to the side and down toward your right thigh. Your left arm should remain straight overhead.

• Reverse the move, slowly returning to the starting position.

• Repeat with your left arm, and do equal reps on both sides.

How do you build a better back?

To ensure that you get the most out of your back workouts, it’s essential to consider not just what you do in the gym, but what you do outside of it as well. That includes stress management, sleep, stretching, and diet. When you’re doing challenging back workouts (or any strength workouts), you need to keep an eye on your protein and calorie intake, making sure you eat enough to help your muscles grow and repair. For more information on pre- and post-workout supplements, the Beachbody Performance line is a great place to start.

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