This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Amanda Bucci.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I am young girl with big dreams. More specifically, I have always had the natural inclination to 1. help people and 2. make a difference in the world. I graduated with my degree in nursing, but I decided to take the unconventional route and focus my energy into becoming a content creator (YouTube, Podcast, Instagram, and other social media) and help people in health, fitness, business, and life. I’d describe myself as a realist, fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur who’s always looking to find bigger and better ways to elevate my life, and make an impact on the world.
In college you suffered from severe anxiety how did you overcome this?
Ahhh, yes. In college, my anxiety truly stemmed from a lack of identity in myself. I didn’t know what I was passionate about, I wanted to fit in with everyone else, but I just never really seemed to. I wasn’t into the whole “let’s start life after we party our faces off in college,” lifestyle, I wanted my life to start NOW. So it took a toll on me constantly trying to be someone who I wasn’t. How did I overcome it? Well, I’m still working on it, but what helped the MOST was building confidence in myself and saying “You know what? I’m going to ONLY make decisions for ME.”
Many women feel they can’t live up to the standards displayed on social media channels. What do you think of this image portrayed by social media personalities and how it impact self-esteem?
It is truly difficult for someone to scroll by a picture of someone with shredded abs and not feel like you should look like that, and immediately compare how you look to that person. As a society, we PRAISE leanness and smallness of females. We don’t always praise or appreciate the in-between, the healthy body fat, etc. or consider it to be #goals. But why? I’m all for the movement of praising every body type, but also showing women that they can love themselves while still wanting to better themselves. Being proud and happy with ourselves and where we’re at comes first. Wanting to change from a place of self-love is so important.
Starting out on your fitness journey you were not able to afford a coach and had to educate yourself. How did you go about this and what advice do you have for beginners?
I have always been curious, especially when it came to something I’m so passionate about. Some resources that I used included BodyBuilding.com, YouTube, and social media to find out more. I followed a few pretty inspiring people who shared a lot on social media – Layne Norton and Nick Cheadle. I am forever grateful to them for providing their free information, because it helped me get to where I am today. Another reason why I love providing valuable content to people – it saved me, and I want to do that for someone else.
As a competitive athlete, how do you go about continuously improving yourself?
Always striving to improve. Progress, not perfection, is so corny but it’s so TRUE!!! If you feel like your physique is on point, okay – how about your mental health? That’s awesome too! Okay, how about your spirituality? Maybe you’re strong and shredded, but you can’t even do a pull up. Make a goal to do that. There are always ways to improve, you just have to get creative! I love having non-aesthetic related goals. Not only that, but non-fitness related goals as well. Self development is seriously my favorite!
A lot of competitors struggle with the fact they are not able to maintain their stage physique. What is your personal experience here?
I always was able to comprehend and understand that maintaining a stage physique wasn’t going to happen, but it still didn’t make it too much easier on me when I watched myself lean down week after week, and then gain weight week after week. When your main focus is to get shredded, anything that gives you the opposite effect simply feels like back tracking.
When you are so focused, disciplined, and seeing the results you want – allowing yourself to be less focused and disciplined and seeing your body gain weight creates guilt. Now, I understand that relaxing a bit is normal, and it’s healthy to gain that body weight back. But the psychology of training your brain to think that anything less than shredded is opposite of what your overall goal is, is going to cause problems.
It has taken me awhile to feel comfortable with 20+lbs above where I weigh on stage. The biggest thing that helped me be okay with it, is realizing how truly happy and myself I am when I have that extra body fat. Physically, I feel alive and well. On stage, my body was always hurt and I was constantly exhausted. Plus, food is great 🙂
You’ve build a significant audience through social media, to what do you attribute your success?
There is not one thing that I attribute to my social media success. When it comes to providing other people with advice, I say consistency, quality content, networking & exposure. For me, I look into my story and think that my authenticity has propelled my success. Of course, my content is quality, I provide information people want to hear about, I post visually pleasing images and write thought-provoking captions. But the reason why my audience is so engaged is because I engage back with them. I’m constantly asking them what they want to see, and go back and provide that.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
The most unexpected lesson I’ve learned is absolutely that the better you look doesn’t always mean the happier you are. Also, fitness does not always equal health. Looking good and doing “fitness” does not always mean you’re mentally in a peaceful place, your gut health is on point, or your body is functioning optimally. Healthy is a state of being that I am striving to promote and achieve now, but fitness is not always promoting that.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I try to think about the previous week, and figure out what was missing. “Did I kill it with business this week? Yes! But I totally didn’t make training a priority. Let’s work on that.” Or – “Did I kill it in the gym this week? Yes! But I didn’t make enough time for my family and friends – let me call them and spend a day with them.” There are a lot of different things in life we have to balance, but it’s all about progress not perfection.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
Yes! Currently, I am tracking my macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) while focusing on maintaining my current physique. I eat a variety of fruits (apples, bananas, blueberries are my fav), veggies (gimme a big, fresh salad!), nuts (cashews and pecans!), protein (I’m not huge on meat, but I love egg whites, greek yogurt, whey protein to get my protein in), avocado, and other foods! I follow a flexible dieting lifestyle and will be utilizing that for an upcoming cut this spring!
I am currently focusing on getting stronger in my squat, bench, and deadlift (I love powerlifting) while also incorporating HIIT style cardio 1-2x per week, and incorporating functional movements for warm ups and accessory workouts! I love to be well rounded and try new things 🙂
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
I’d tell myself to care less about what other people think, and go with your gut. I used to be a people pleaser. I always made decisions based on what others would think about me. It took me a while to make decisions for myself (that of course, were not affecting anyone else negatively) to truly find peace, happiness, and balance.
What are your biggest life goals?
My biggest life goals are to make an impact. I want to change the way people think about fitness, food, exercising, and life. I want more people to be more positive, and show them how to do that through both fitness success and business success. I want to have a family, and be able to give back to my family as well. Happiness, right? 🙂
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!