It’s time for another body transformation interview! A few days ago I ran across the Facebook profile of Amanda “MandaFit” Olsen. I contacted her, and she agreed to take time out of her very busy schedule to do an interview.
Amanda struggled with her weight from childhood into her young adult life. But she became an unstoppable force once she set her mind to losing weight and changing her lifestyle. Manda transformed from a softbody into an elite soldier–one who has the highest physical training scores in her unit!
Check out this interview and be inspired!
Kevin: Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about yourself (age, where you live, your profession, etc).
Manda: My name is Manda Olsen, 27 and will be a very wise 28 in November. I currently reside in Orange City, Florida–a small city east of Downtown Orlando. I am the owner of a small Personal Training business and studio gym called Mandatory Fitness, LLC. I started my fitness career after being approached many times in the gyms and asked if I were a personal trainer, or what my diet consisted of. I always considered working as a personal trainer and coach but never thought I had what it took or confidence in myself knowing my flaws.
Kevin: Let’s talk about your “before” body. What was your heaviest weight? What got you to that point (were you always overweight or did you gain a lot of weight as an adult)?
Manda: I grew up not knowing a thing about nutrition or how to properly train in order to start seeing the results. I had ALWAYS been overweight growing as a kid and into my teenage years.
Being overweight really takes a toll on everything. My relationships with my family suffered, and I also felt ugly and uncomfortable all the time. I felt silly working out and I clung to anyone who showed me attention whether it was with good or bad intentions. That resulted in even worse relationships and friendships that stirred me in the wrong direction. I began going out every night, drinking and partying. I wasn’t taking care of my health or body.
I always made time to run about 2-3 miles a couple of times a week and thought that was enough (now I realize it wasn’t). So one day I think I had just had enough of being uncomfortable in my own skin. I knew what I had to do if I wanted to reach my goals of being “fit.” I stopped drinking and smoking and made it a priority to wake up at 5am and hit the gym. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing but because I was there, I felt accountable to make a change.
I’ve lost a lot of “friends” along the way because they weren’t into my new lifestyle. But I gained self motivated and positive friendships and they’ve taught me everything I know today!
My heaviest weight was 240lbs and a size 18 pants. I didn’t own shorts till I was 21 and never once went to the beach or the pool with my friends. Changing my lifestyle and prioritizing my life has allowed me to create my own happiness, find out who I really am and my capabilities. I am now 138 and in a size 3. It is still a struggle everyday because I spent 20+ years eating whatever I wanted and my metabolism still needs work. It is something I will be working on for the rest of my life because to me, success is never final.
Kevin: What was the “breaking point” for you—what motivated you to transform your physique?
Manda: I’d say my breaking point was not EVER feeling comfortable. I am 5’3 and at my heaviest, it took my breath away to tie my shoes. I knew I was an attractive girl but I didn’t feel like it on the inside. I had no confidence.
Kevin: How long did your transformation take?
Manda: It took me 3-4 years to drop down to the 140’s. Like I said, it’s still an everyday struggle. But once you see the results, it almost becomes an addiction to be better everyday. It’s an amazing feeling to look back at where you’ve come from and see what is really possible when you put your mind to it. It has been a learning process of putting in the work day in and day out. I’ve been drawn to more motivating and inspirational people with goals and they have taught me a lot. Now I want to teach and share it what I’ve learned.
Kevin: Did you ever hit any plateaus in losing body fat? How did you get through them?
Manda: There were times I felt uncomfortable being “thinner” and it was like an out-of- body experience when my clothes that I had been wearing for so long no longer fit me. All I had known was an overweight body. I was tempted to think I could afford to gain some of the weight back and just lose it again. This caused setbacks and plateaus but I just turned them into comebacks.
I also learned a lot about training through trial and error. I started out doing 2-3 hours of cardio a day. That’s how I lost my first 15-20 lb, but then I hit a plateau. I eventually realized the importance of lifting weights. I was introduced to weight training and bodybuilding by a good friend and mentor, Joey Diaz. I developed a new passion for the gym and training and now I understand why women should lift weights.
Kevin: How has your new body affected your confidence?
Manda: I have so much more confidence now that people see me as a fitness enthusiast. I don’t look at my business as my job, but as my passion. I get to motivate and help push other people to reach their goals because I know it’s possible. People are always asking me where I work out or when I’ll be competing. It feels good to be able to share my story with confidence and not be ashamed.
Kevin: Please give us a general description of your diet and training (how you typically eat and train—number of training days per week, resistance vs cardio, etc).
Manda: My days are GO-GO-GO from 5am-9:30pm. I don’t stop and I’d have it no other way. I wake up a 4:50am pretty much every day–either to do morning cardio or to train a client. I then eat breakfast no later then 7:30. My meals will remain on regimen every 3 hours until my last HumaPro shake at 9:00pm. I weight train 5-6 times a week, depending how busy my work schedule is or how sore I am. I make it a point to sweat EVERY DAY, therefore I run at least 4-5 miles, 7 days a week. My lifting schedule is split up into muscle groups allowing my body to heal properly and go even harder the following week.
As far as my diet, it’s clean 95% of the time. I stay pretty consistent with my meals and prepare them ahead of time every Sunday. I stay anabolic by eating my 1g of protein per pound of body weight daily and eating every 3 hours. If I am busy and cannot eat a meal, then I will supplement with a protein shake or BCAA’s. I ‘cheat’ every Saturday or Sunday, but my ‘cheats’ are not really cheats. I can’t get myself to gorge on food that I know will make me feel like garbage the rest of the day so I opt for sushi or I will eat high carbohydrates.
Kevin: Are you involved in any fitness competitions?
Manda: Currently I have not competed and it’s the number one question I am always asked. I have intentions to get up on the stage and I know it will happen eventually. But for now my main focus is my career and my clients. I have had the privilege of working and training a pro figure and other aspiring competitors, so I do know what it takes and I will gladly accept that challenge when the timing is right.
Kevin: What made you decide to get involved in personal training?
Manda: I decided to get involved with Personal Training in 2013 when I chose to surround myself with only inspiring, self-motivated people. I noticed how many people looked up to me and believed in me. Once I completed basic training for the Army I knew anything was possible, and this gave me that last bit of confidence needed to become a personal trainer.
Kevin: I did notice that you are in the military—God bless you for your service to our country! What motivated you to join the armed forces? What role does fitness play in your life as a soldier?
Manda: I joined the US Army in Feb 2013. It’s an incredible feeling to know I’m part of an unbreakable force and have done something not everyone can do–earn the privilege of wearing the uniform. Being a soldier is a lifestyle even when you aren’t in uniform. I understand I have values and standards to live by and I’m now inspired to pass them on. I currently hold the highest physical training (PT) scores in my reserve unit and will be attending Master trainer school in the future to be able to instruct PT for my unit. I also have been asked to stand in front of my company and give a Nutritional class and hopefully raise our PT scores as a unit. It’s quite an honor!
Kevin: What do you say to new trainees who are just starting their transformations?
Manda: Don’t stop. Be the force to inspire other people. You will get so much more than what you put into it. Don’t throw in the towel, just use it to wipe the sweat off your face.
Kevin: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview!
Please check out Mandatory Fitness if you are looking for a personal trainer in the Orange City/Orlando area.