Amanda Tress – Founder & CEO of FASTer Way to Fat Loss

Episode 180

Today we are talking with Amanda Tress, a certified nutrition coach, strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. She is also the Founder and CEO of FASTer Way to Fat Loss - a fitness and wellness program that has helped over 150,000 people get healthy. After experiencing health issues in her teenage years, Amanda decided to make significant lifestyle changes; however, she spent years in the gym doing all of the “right” things with only minimal results. She then began to experiment with several cutting-edge nutrition strategies, and her and her clients immediately started to see a dramatic change. Amanda is one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the country and now, she’s empowering other women in the industry to ramp up their own online wellness companies as part of her twofold mission for FASTer Way! Get your daily fix of motivation and inspiration with this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be, I want to just sort of make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked out knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara golden show. So join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go Let’s go. Hi, everyone, its Kara golden from the Kara golden show. And I’m super, super excited to have my next guest here. I have my friend and my next guest Amanda truss here who is the founder and CEO of faster way to fat loss she is a super, super wonderful serial entrepreneur. And and in the fitness industry has just built an incredible reputation of somebody who just really gets it and has oodles of followers on her social as well in case you’re not following her or you’ve heard about her. Maybe that’s where that maybe that’s where you recognize her name. So today we’re going to talk to her about building not only this brand, but as you know, we always talk about the journey of becoming an entrepreneur. And she’s going to share a bit more hopefully on how she started her journey and becoming a fitness coach. And then basically moving on into just the business venture and helping 1000s to get healthy. She’s also the author of the faster way to fat loss and the host of the faster wave podcast, which I was on, which was lots and lots of fun, which I was thrilled to, to meet her actually through our mutual friend Allie Brown. Hello, Allie, if you’re listening, and really, really excited to to have you and everyone else get to know her a little bit more. So welcome, Amanda, good to see you.

Amanda Tress 2:23
Thank you. I’m so thrilled to be here. I love any opportunity to get a chat with you, Kara.

Kara Goldin 2:28
Yay. So let’s talk a little bit about how to how did you get started? Oh, I forgot to mention too. Not that this defines her. But just a little tidbit. She’s got four kids just like me over here. And Amanda is a little younger and probably a little more fit too. But it’s it’s great to it’s great to see a fellow mother also doing what she’s super passionate about. So very, very excited. So tell me how this all got started. How did you? Where did you grow up? Yeah.

Amanda Tress 3:03
Oh my goodness, Kara. I’m going to try to make a long story as short as possible. So I was born in Long Island, New York. I was born in Smithtown, but my family moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania when I was in school. And through high school, I decided that I was more interested in working than in studying and doing homework, I started working at 15. And my first real job was actually at a fitness center. I worked at a gym, unfortunately, I was behind the desk, and I was in the childcare area of the gym instead of training, which is what I really wanted to do because I was into sports and into fitness. But interestingly enough, I was also simultaneously struggling with my own health and wellness issues in high school. I had high blood pressure. As a teenager, we’re talking 170 over 110 I still have my blood pressure readings from when I was on blood pressure medication. And I mean it’s just incredible numbers when you overweight or

Kara Goldin 4:08
where you change your mind fast.

Amanda Tress 4:09
That’s a great No, I don’t mind at all. It’s a great question. I weighed more than I do now. However, the primary issue is that I ate terribly. I loved fast food. I have a wonderful family and I will never criticize my upbringing or my family but we did not eat well. I have two older sisters. They are both morbidly obese to this day. And much of that is due to lifestyle in addition to genetics, you know, I do not have great genes unfortunately. But you know, was dealing with a metabolic disorder in high school in addition to being on blood pressure medication, my doctor wanted to put me on blood sugar medication Metformin. I you know, was dealing With the stress of being a high schooler and the student body president and Captain of sports teams and working at a gym, and then also journeying through these different health problems, and when I transitioned into college, I looked around and realized that I was the only one on medication. And at the time, I’d been told by my doctor that I would be on medication for the rest of my life. And I’m a rebel at heart, I have rebel tendencies and decided I wasn’t going to accept that particular reality. So I, without my doctor’s permission, decided to wean myself off of blood pressure medication by making some significant lifestyle changes. I started focusing on whole food nutrition, and I started working out to improve my lifestyle versus just simply working out to improve fitness. And I was able to overtime do a complete 180. I went from feeling lightheaded, just simply standing up, you know, or being unable to go on rollercoasters with my friends at an amusement park as a freshman in college to feeling fantastic having energy clearing, you know, of my skin, and frankly, being happier overall. And so my freshman year of college late in my freshman year, I decided that I needed to help other people also transform their own health. I became a trainer, I started training clients in my freshman year of college, and now I have a $110 million fitness company. So very glad that I went through those, you know, personal struggles.

Kara Goldin 6:43
That’s incredible. So you talked about so you were a fitness coach at that point. I mean, that’s when you really started you, you sort of I mean, it sounds like you were an accidental fitness coach. I mean, you were you had just sort of started working on yourself. And then you wanted to help other people, which I think is as the greatest story. I mean, that’s how so many entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs, I know are, are kind of born, right? They just start doing it. And yes, so what, like, how did you think about things? Did you think, Okay, I’m going to just be a fitness coach, you know, when I get done with school, and that’s what I’m going to do? Or did you actually think, how do I scale this? How do I make this into a much bigger business?

Amanda Tress 7:28
Yeah, I love that question. So keep in mind, I already enjoyed fitness, I’d worked in a gym, even as a 15 year old and throughout high school. So the personal trainer aspect of things was something that I really was passionate about. I also became a certified nutrition coach. In college, I decided to pursue exercise sports science, and I lasted in that particular major for one very long day. And I looked around and said, You know what, these aren’t necessarily the classes that I want to be taking for the next four years, I would rather know more about motivation, and behavior change. So I decided to declare psychology as my primary major in college, and then also train clients on the side. I worked essentially full time throughout all of college, to empower people to get well through personal training, but I’ll be honest with you, Kara, when I first started training clients, I was training for either free or $5 an hour or gift cards, you know, when my clients could afford it, I had at least 70 clients, you know, that I’d be working with at any given time. And some of them would literally be like, okay, you know, I’m a college student, so I don’t have any money. But you know, losing all this weight I had a guy literally lost almost 100 pounds, and he’d give me like an olive garden gift card at the end of the month. You know, because he had lights like all he had, you know, his mom gave it to him or so. And so, you know, when I was going through college for me, it was about the the passion and the the experience of helping people. But I never really looked at it as a way to put a lot of food on the table for my family long term or for a way to have a very successful career. So after college, I decided to get you know, a real job as I would consider it. And then I maintained my side hustle in the fitness industry. So I would go to work in the morning and then during my lunch break, I’d run to the gym, I’d train clients right after work. I’d go to the gym, I train clients all weekend, I’d be in the gym training clients, because I loved it. But it was really just kind of that side hustle that was fulfilling my passion. But then I ended up having a baby and still maintaining this. Just Crazy schedule and hardly getting to see her, which broke my heart, I was working full time in digital marketing, and then also continuing to train clients. And right before having my second baby, when my oldest was two, I decided that I was going to step away from my full time job, and really pursue fitness and ramp up some virtual online boot camps, so that I could work from home with my babies and see them more. And so that’s really what got me kick started in my online virtual fitness business journey. And, you know, once I was able to crack the code on growing and scaling online virtual boot camps, myself, I then started a digital marketing agency for other women in wellness, who wanted to do the same, who wanted the flexibility and opportunity to work from home with their own kids. So I had that digital marketing agency and out of that digital marketing agency was birth, the faster way to fat loss and the certification that goes alongside faster way to fat loss.

Kara Goldin 11:01
So before we jump into that, I want to stop you for one second. So the so what year was this, that you were doing virtual? You know, classes, right? I mean, this question, yeah, right. Last year and a half as I, as I shared with, you know, my assistant the other day, if people don’t know how to go on zoom, today, I mean, maybe 18 months ago, it was kind of hit or miss, but you know, you sort of adapted or you didn’t, and I think that you got left off the train, if you are if you didn’t adapt, if you have any type of business or work in a business, that is typically, you know, community build or whatever, I don’t know how it’s defined. I guess if you’re in a restaurant, maybe that’s not the case or you work inside of a gym. Maybe that’s not the case. But even working inside of a gym like if you didn’t figure out how to have virtual and your business then you lost because other people in your industry ended up hopping into it. So tell me what your with this that you were doing? Yeah.

Amanda Tress 12:09
It’s pretty. So Kara, do you remember flip cams? The flip cam?

Unknown Speaker 12:16
Yep, yep.

Amanda Tress 12:17
So I graduated college in 2008. I started pursuing digital marketing, you know, pretty hard in 2008 stepped into that career field, I was maintaining my side hustle as a personal trainer. And what happened was some of my in person clients started moving, you know, I’d have different college students that I was training or family members or staff, you know, faculty members, who would move and I’d say, Well, listen, I will still train you, but I’m going to train you online, I’m going to create workout videos for you, I’ll upload them to YouTube, I’ll send you the links, I was making PDFs with, you know, different videos, hyperlinked to the PDFs for online clients. And this was, you know, 2008 2009 2010. And eventually then started into this whole concept of virtual online boot camps, because I wanted to take my in person boot camp concept where I would train many clients at the same time and translate that to online and virtual. And since my career was actually in digital marketing, I was able to marry my expertise in digital marketing, with my passion for fitness in those early years. So it’s, you know, interesting this past year, as you know, we went through the pandemic, so many different companies were starting Virtual Training. Well, I’ve been doing Virtual Training and virtual online boot camps for many, many, many years, over a decade. So you know, I consider myself to be one of the Oh, geez. And that, for us was a big benefit as we went through the pandemic.

Kara Goldin 13:58
So which platform were you using? Then?

Amanda Tress 14:00
I was using YouTube. Yeah, primarily YouTube, I used Facebook, right from day one to market my business. Literally, my sophomore year of college, Facebook came onto the scene at my college, I probably my first post was, Hey, I have some training sessions open on Tuesday night, who wants it, you know, it’s like, I just immediately use the platform as a business and brand, you know, building a platform. So we’re using Facebook groups, in addition to YouTube, which was really effective, you know, back then, and it was PDFs and hyperlinks and all that.

Kara Goldin 14:36
That’s amazing. And so nobody was there to teach you how to use these platforms. You just started trying and made the best of it. And you started to talk about this incredible program that I want you to talk more about, called the faster way for fat loss. And so tell us a little bit about what the program is.

Amanda Tress 15:00
So I mentioned that I had a marketing agency for women in wellness. This was several years ago. And this was birthed out of my passion to eradicate poverty in the wellness industry. The average yoga instructor, for example, Kara makes $24,000 annually, that is unacceptable, that is not enough to put food on the table for your family. So I decided that I wanted to equip other women in wellness to ramp up virtual online boot camps. So they could then earn significant income and recirculate their wealth to their family, their church and their community. A few years into ramping up my agency, I came upon a unique pain point that I was not expecting. And that pain point is that even though I was empowering my agency clients to get more eyeballs on their content to create an effective sales funnel to convert customers into their programs, their customers were leaving quickly, their churn was high. And it was because my agency clients were not good with programming, their customers were not seeing results. So I decided to solve this problem by creating the most effective Fat Loss Program on the market, building a certification around this Fat Loss Program, and giving my agency clients the opportunity to become certified with an accredited certification to then run my program with their own clients. So I had wellness professionals all over the country who were investing in my agency becoming certified to run faster way to fat loss with their book of clients. And then really, I was looking at them as Super affiliates for the brand and giving them a turnkey solution, similar to a franchise model for a faster way. And so that is, is really why and how fast way was launched, I launched the program itself as a beta test in January of 2016. With 11 clients, 11 clients who I’d worked with in the past through different virtual boot camps or in the gym. My clients had amazing results. And I continued to iterate for a series of months until I perfected the program. And now the rest is history.

Kara Goldin 17:18
I read that you grew this business from one to 65 million ish at in two years. Yes, insane. Yeah, any industry. I mean, that would be insane. But especially in the highly competitive fitness industry. I mean, that is just absolutely wild. So thank you, like, Who did you look at? Who can you want to be? I mean, I guess like, how did you sort of think about your business? When people did? I, of course, people were like, wait, what are you doing? I’m sure they were, you know, trying to get their arms around it. As I always say, when you’ve got this big idea that no one is doing. It’s, uh, you know, you have a lot of doubters around you, you of course, always have a little bit of doubt in your own head, is this thing actually going to fly or not? But I love the fact that you just kind of took steps and tried to figure it out. I mean, how did you? Did you look at any business that was out there that when people to help them kind of, you know, compartmentalize it in some way as to what you were doing? Obviously, it was different, but Was there anybody that you kind of looked at that you said,

Amanda Tress 18:30
it’s such a good question, Kara. And, you know, truly, honestly, you know, one, maybe one of my superpowers. Although saying it out loud, makes it sound like a liability is you know, I just I put my head down and I solve the next problem on behalf of my community and I created a category of digital nutrition plus fitness. So in the fast array, we offer a program that focuses on intermittent fasting, carb cycling, macro tracking and whole food nutrition. We provide weekly meal plans to our community. And then we also pair our strategic food blog with effective 30 minute workouts. We do the same workout together each day, but it’s a different workout. 365 days of the year. So Monday I led a workout it was hit, hit workout, high intensity interval training, everyone in my community did the workout with me on Monday morning. But we’ll do a different workout next Monday because I will lead that live. It’s a live workout. And so you know, I just kind of put my head down and created what I believed was the very best program to solve problems for my community. And just for those listening, most of the guys and gals, primarily gals in my community are in the Midwest. We work with a lot of women in the Midwest in Florida and Texas, people who don’t have access As to the boutique gym, or the studio space, people who really want to use their home gym as their primary place of fitness, and people who really want that meal plan and the strategic food cycle that’s going to give them long term results. There’s plenty of entrepreneurs that I look up to from like a lifestyle perspective. But when it comes to a business model, I really created what I believed was the most scalable and sustainable for my own, you know, personal business, but then also the coaches who I was working with through the certification.

Kara Goldin 20:36
So, so fascinating on so many levels, so, so when you were thinking about how much you could charge for this, for example, was there any model out there? Like, how did you figure that kind of stuff out?

Amanda Tress 20:50
Yeah, that’s a great question. And for that, in particular, I did look around at a few competitors. And I said, Okay, you know, my deliverables here are, you know, offer a six week program for new clients, which is the orientation program before clients transition into a VIP membership. And I, you know, looked around what are some other six week type programs that are offering similar deliverables, and then I decided I was going to charge more, because that would position me as better or best, and I always am going to pursue the very best in programming and quality. So

Kara Goldin 21:27
now everybody listened to that she didn’t lower her price. Right? No, no, I raised my, you raise your price. Right. Right. Which is, which I love. And, and, you know, and potentially, you were ready to allow some people to walk away? Absolutely. Which as I always say to people that you’ve got to know what your walkaway is, you’ve got to put stakes in the ground, all of those things. I think that that’s such a great example of it. So I sorry to stop you there. But I really wanted to emphasize that because I think it’s super important.

Amanda Tress 22:05
Yeah, yeah, we are still one of the most expensive programs on the market, not only our six week orientation program, but also our membership. But here’s the deal, things are either expensive, or valuable. They cannot be both. So I sell on value, I don’t try to be the Walmart of fitness, I don’t try to be the Dollar Tree of fitness, I try to be the Nordstrom of fitness, I try to be the most valuable. And the reason that what I offer is valuable is because we provide one on one coaching, we provide accountability, we provide the most incredible unified community and all of the wellness industry, and top notch programming. So I will continue to sell on value, you’ll never see a massive discount from my brand. I went for four years without ever discounting my six week program a single time. And you know, it seems to be working so far. So why backtrack?

Kara Goldin 23:04
I love it. So people coming into the market. And when I think about this, it’s not just in your industry, but whenever a competitor comes in, right, it’s I’m sure you’ve had moments where you thought, oh, gosh, right, in their early days, especially when you’re the only one doing this and then all of a sudden other people are copying you mimicking you. What’s your response to people who are dealing with that in their own industry? I mean, what how do you think about, you know, the call it to some extent imposter syndrome, I guess, a little bit, but also just people that are that are, you know, kind of potentially trying to steal your share that, you know, that sort of world because my belief is there’s only so much you can do. Right? And you have to focus on what you’re doing. And yourself. And I’d love to hear your response to

Amanda Tress 24:02
Yeah, you know, Kara, this past year was interesting, because two, three years ago, I would have thought to myself, you know, what, if Apple comes out with some sort of digital fitness program, what if some of these other big companies come out with a digital, you know, exactly what if, what if such and so competitor decides to do exactly what I’m doing? And here’s what happened in 2020, Apple did come out with a digital fitness probe and these other big cup Nike, you know, and so, I’m like, ooh, is that going to take some of the, you know, market share for a faster way. But what it did was it actually proved the concept in the marketplace even more and gave people the comfort and knowing that working with a trainer online was just as effective if not more effective than going into a gym. So the fear that I had that these big companies are going to come out and they’re going to do something similar, was actually an opportunity for a tail. For my own company, you know, when Apple came out with this, people don’t want to necessarily invest in the huge, massive big company, they want to work with the female founded female led company with like minded clients who are part of a community. And what we have the power of what we have is this incredible community and the one on one connection. And so other competitors coming out with something similar for me actually was a big

Unknown Speaker 25:27

Amanda Tress 25:28
And so I think that we can either focus on the fear of, you know, what the competitors are going to do and losing, right, or we can look at different things as an opportunity and say, Wow, I’m going to use that to my advantage. And I’m going to, you know, just continue amplifying my efforts of what I’m doing and how,

Kara Goldin 25:45
yeah, and I think that that’s all you can do, and more than anything, what we talked about in my book, actually about in our industry, when Coca Cola came out with a knockoff product, and, you know, they actually went into a major retailer that we had been working in, and we got kicked out of there, because they came in and took our space. And then when, after a few months, they didn’t see the, the sales per square foot feet that they wanted out of out of this new launch. And so they discontinued it. And that major retailer called us back. And they said, we’re not only inviting you to come back in, but also we’re going to give you more space. And I was Wow, hey, what, what just happened because we believe in the category. And unfortunately, the big soda company didn’t want to actually play in that category. And so it was, so it’s something that I share with people a lot like there’s only so much you can do about competitors coming in. And you really have to focus on what you can do and what you offer, maybe you turn up the marketing a little bit more, maybe you look at, you know, the value that you’re offering. Maybe you share examples about how lives have, you know, changed in your case with with your business, but there’s only so much you can do so instead of freezing and being depressed and and not moving forward. You have to figure out what can you do? And what do you have control over which I think he is such a great example, not only in your industry, but in every industry. And certainly we’ve seen in our industry, too. So. So your coaching program, as you mentioned, has helped scale so many people’s businesses. So many people today, I think are particularly with the pandemic are really looking at how do I create my own business? How do I maybe it’s work from home, maybe it’s just have a little more security and, and and control the levers a little bit more than maybe what they were doing when they were working for a company? What do you say to that? I mean, how do you how do you feel about helping people, not only when you were first starting out, but you’re also helping people to develop their own income now? Yeah. How? What would you say to that? Yeah, my

Amanda Tress 28:13
vision, mission and purpose is twofold. I want to equip individuals all over the world to get well prevent disease and fulfill their own purpose with energy through the physical transformation that they experienced and faster way. But as a parallel effort, I’m extremely passionate about empowering women all over the world, and also some men to earn significant income, ramping up their own online wellness company. So they can then recirculate their wealth to their family, their church and community, women specifically will give back 90% of their income to family, church and community, which is really exciting. So that ripple effect is very significant. I’ve helped women make up to millions of dollars, which is extremely exciting. Yes, yes. And, you know, that is is really why I wake up in the morning is to do that is to expand my impact. I cannot do it all on my own. And frankly, I wouldn’t want to So, you know, now working with 2700 other trainers who I’m able to equip and empower has been a huge privilege. And I look forward to you know, working with 10,100 1000 and more as we continue to grow the fastest way brand and certification.

Kara Goldin 29:31
I love it and your book, the faster way to fat loss. Best Place to Grab it, grab a copy. It’s great, everyone, it’s it’s so good. I read it a few months ago and it’s really, really terrific. So absolutely, especially if you’re thinking about getting in shape and and and really getting better nutrition into your life. It’s great for that, but it’s also just great. I think it’s a great way Mind or even if you feel like you’re doing pretty well, I think that it’s definitely a book that, for me, I just felt like it a lot of the lessons that I already follow are really ones that you shared in the book. But I think it’s just nice. For me, it was just so motivational to just kind of hear how you had this idea, and this belief in something, and it started with you, and then you wanted to help lots of other people. And then you grew it into a business. And as I said before, you’re not just helping people get healthy, but you’re helping people become, you know, self reliant, and creating their own businesses, which is incredible. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a great thing. And obviously, your kids are probably a little young to realize this, but it’s something to be really proud of right now changing now that you’re doing this. So I really, really love it. So best place to get the book, Amazon, Amazon, yes, Amazon

Amanda Tress 30:59
is the best place to get the book and it’s really an introduction into the faster way to Fat Loss Program. If you want to learn about more about me as an entrepreneur, I’d say Amanda truss on Instagram is the best place but from the standpoint of science behind the strategies that we use in the program. You can look on Amazon for the book.

Kara Goldin 31:18
I love it. Yeah. And your Instagram is is on fire. It’s so good.

Unknown Speaker 31:24
Love it. No, it’s

Kara Goldin 31:25
super, super great. So well thank you everybody for listening and joining our little discussion and Amanda It’s so good to see you. And I love the fact that we’re not only doing this with audio but we’re also doing this with video so it’ll be on YouTube as well the full interview and as Amanda said, definitely check out her book check out her Instagram page and definitely go ahead and sign up for the program because it’s it’s really really terrific as well and I hope you all will come and hear more of the Kara golden show every Monday and Wednesday if you love this episode, please give it five stars and and definitely subscribe and and you’ll be getting these in your system every Monday and Wednesday. So we are here every week, twice a week and lots of fun. And definitely follow me on social on all platforms at Kara golden and thank you everybody have a great rest of the week. before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book calm and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara golden and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara golden golden thanks for listening