Work-Life Balance: Fitness, Modeling, And Being A Lawyer with Amy Collins

TBC 2 | Fitness

 

Some of us become too consumed with our work that we forget to take care of ourselves. On top of that, we do not have the time to be with the people we love anymore. A living proof that we can achieve that work-life balance is Amy Collins. Aside from being a lawyer and a mother of three kids, Amy is also a fitness trainer and a fashion model. She shares how she manages to do it all, showing how it is possible and ultimately a great way to make the most of our lives here on earth. Going beyond appearance, Amy talks about the importance of being healthy from the inside out.

Listen to the podcast here:

Work-Life Balance: Fitness, Modeling, And Being A Lawyer with Amy Collins

It’s Amy Collins. I’m excited to have you here and I know everybody will as well. You’re a dear friend although I haven’t talked to you in ages.

It’s been a while, but it’s good to see you again.

Everyone’s going to find out what a superstar you are. I want to thank you for being here. Not only is Amy a friend but she’s someone a lot of people can get some inspiration from, at least I did. Amy’s a lawyer and a good one at that. I met her where we were handling a whole lot of insurance cases after hurricane Ike.

A whole lot is probably an understatement.

We were overloaded and we got to know each other and trade notes and whatnot. We were friends ever since. You moved on to other types of litigation.

I’m doing a lot of a products liability litigation, mainly medical device and pharmaceutical litigation.

You’re home-based out of Houston. Amy’s a lawyer but honestly, that’s not the only reason I wanted to have you on. In addition to being a busy trial lawyer, a busy mom and wife, Amy has started down a fitness path. She’s an instructor and a fashion model.

I wear several hats. I’ve got a lot going on. A lot on my plate, but it’s fun.

How do you do all that?

I have a lot of help. My husband is amazing. I always joke that he’s as good of a mother as I am to our kids. He’s helpful with them, shuttling the kids around where they need to go. He’s home quite a bit. He’ll make me dinner. I also have a nanny, which I can’t live without her either. She’s been on maternity leave and we’ve about pulled our hair out. It’s been nanny appreciation month for us because she does much for us. I have my mom who lives nearby, it does take a village. I’ve got three kids: twelve, nine and four, all in different schools, different activities. It’s a lot but I’m able to make the time to do what I want to do. It makes me a better mother for it.

When you go through a shocking situation that hits so close to home, it makes you reassess your own mortality. Click To Tweet

What’s your Instagram handle?

It’s @AmyCollinsFit.

Amy’s got the coolest Instagram because she’s always putting these videos on there. These machines you always had these videos on and you’re stretching out. You’ve got to check it out. She’s stretched over some sled machine. I don’t know what’s going on, but it looks like it’s doing something.

Let me tell you about that. That is called a Megaformer and it’s similar to a Pilates reformer machine. What I do and what I teach is called Lagree fitness. Lagree fitness was invented by celebrity trainer Sebastian Lagree out in LA. He wanted to create a high intensity, low impact, full body workout. He created these machines called Megaformers. It is a full body workout. We go slowly in our movements, which is a lot harder to do than going fast. It tones the body, it increases muscle mass, burns fat. It’s the most effective workout I’ve ever done in my life.

You never had a weight issue or anything like that.

I’ve never had a problem with my weight. When I was younger, I used to get made fun for being too skinny, but I was never strong. I feel since I’ve been working out, I have put on muscle mass. I have leaned out. Have you ever heard the term skinny fat? That’s how I would have described myself. I was on the thin side, but not tone, not super strong. Since working out doing Lagree fitness, I have gotten much stronger, more toned and I turned 38 and my husband will tell I’m in the best shape of my life. That’s a testament to the workout.

What made you do that? What made you change?

Several things happened. My older sister was diagnosed with cancer. When you go through a shocking situation like that, that hits close to home. It makes you reassess your own mortality. It makes you look at your health. After that happened, I started thinking to myself, “I need to eat better. I need to take better care of myself.” The things I can control because a lot of times we can’t control who gets cancer in many cases, but I can control the rest of my health. I owe it to my husband, myself and my children to take better care of myself. I downloaded a running app and tried to run or I joined a gym and nothing ever stuck. I’d have what you call gym ADD. I’d get on the treadmill and I’d get bored or I’d be like, “I’m hungry. I’m going to leave.” I needed the peer pressure of a group fitness class.

In 2016, a Lagree fitness studio opened up right by my house called Wicked Core. I tried a class and I was immediately hooked from the first time I took the class. It was challenging, it was low impact. I got a full body workout in 45 minutes. I stuck with it. I was amazed at how quickly I saw the results. I fell in love with it much that I decided to become an instructor there. I teach six classes a week. They’re 45-minute classes and I do a couple of classes after work and then a couple of classes on the weekends in the mornings for fun. It’s my hobby. I enjoy helping people change their lives. My clients, they come in there to work and I want to help them achieve their fitness goals. I believe in the workout much and I enjoy it.

You might be having more fun in the fitness roles than the lawyer sometimes.

TBC 2 | Fitness
Fitness: It takes a while to get into the habit of working out, but once you do, it becomes a part of your day.

 

That’s fair to say.

I’m not knocking it, a change of pace if nothing else.

It’s a different type of community, a different mindset there. It’s a nice change of pace. It’s refreshing. The legal community, the work that I do can get stressful. You can be dealing with some strong personalities, high-stress and deadlines. It’s a nice break to go and do something that I enjoy. I believe that people who are lawyers or who are in other high-stress jobs, it’s important to find a hobby. Find something outside of your work that you love, that’s a break or a release for you. That’s what this is for me.

Part of doing this podcast is one of my goals is to also talk about trying to find that balance as busy professionals. I’ve struggled with it. When we talk about fitness, I thought I was dying. I didn’t know what was going on. I kept gaining weight. I’d walk by a doughnut and gain weight and I felt like crap. I was tired all the time. I was thirsty all the time and ate terribly. I was never working out at all. I have a sedentary life otherwise because I’m either sitting down and reading something or talking to someone and we’re not working strenuously physically. The mental stress sometimes is worse than the physical. I didn’t know what was going on. One day I woke up and I changed the battery out of a car. Who would have thought I ran the Boston Marathon? I was like, “Something’s wrong.” I felt bad the night before and then I drank a glass of water and I wasn’t hungry. My stomach was upset. My chest started hurting and then I threw up the water. One of the kids was out of town with my wife. It was me and my kids.

I sent them to the neighbor’s house and I called my mom. I was like, “You’ve got to come and take me to the hospital.” I got there. I nearly ate and drank myself into a diabetic coma. I didn’t know it. My blood sugar was over 500. I don’t remember what the measurement is, but a range of 80 to 120 is normal. 500 plus is a problem. The A1C marker was over ten and I’d skewed everything else. One of the craziest things is they ran the cholesterol and triglycerides and all that and apparently, the diabetes somewhat skewed but the type of triglycerides were high the lab that the hospital couldn’t read it.

Was that a wakeup call for you like, “I need to do something different?”

It was in a way. It had an onset. I don’t think it’s something I’ve been dealing with for years, which was good. It was scary. I’ll say it wasn’t something I could immediately fix or I didn’t feel through diet and exercise because I was in it. You have one with your feet, other issues fast. We were aggressive medically in the first few months. Purposely, my doctor and I’ve got a good relationship with them. I’ve done work for him as a lawyer and known him for several plus years. Here’s our plan. One of the early medications that I was only going to take a few months and it did a great job getting blood sugars, but one of the side effects is even more weight gain. I probably gained another fifteen to twenty pounds and not eating perfectly and not a whole lot of exercise but being a little more active and nothing I could do about it. It did finally sink-in towards the end and I’ve gone on it. I lost about 60 pounds. The only sad part was I weigh myself on Fridays and I said, “I’ve lost 60 pounds but I’m still fat.” I’ve been working on it long enough. It’s become more of a routine.

That’s important especially people who aren’t used to being “workout people.” It takes a while to get into the habit but once you do, it becomes part of your day. That’s what you do like you brush your teeth before you go to bed or you put your seatbelt on when you get into your car, you work out. Whether that’s every day or three times a week or whatever, you find your routine and it becomes part of your lifestyle.

That’s always been the hardest thing for me is consistency with those things. Growing up, I was always active. I played sports and never had an issue until probably late 20s, early 30s. I had some injuries and stopped going as hard as I used to. It slowly crept up on me. I’m even a few years older than you. I had to do it. We were talking about schedules. I get up around 4:30 every morning. If I do something, it’s light, but most days 4:30 work out in the morning. It’s hard to get going then the first twenty minutes. That’s the best time to do it and everybody else is asleep and it makes my day go well.

That’s what you have to do. I have been not an early morning workout person. I cannot function that early in the morning. It ruins my whole day. I’m worthless the rest of the day. I usually work out either late morning or in the evenings. That works best for my schedule. It’s not a one size fits all. We all have different commitments that we have, kids, no kids, working full-time, working part-time. You’ve got to figure out a way to fit it into your life. A lot of times what happens is the biggest lie I hear people tell themselves and I used to tell myself was, “I don’t have time to work out.” If you sit there and you look at what you do each day, how much time do you waste scrolling through social media? How much time are you watching Netflix?

A lot of times, we can't control who gets cancer, but we can control the rest of our health. Click To Tweet

You have some dead time. Can you multitask? For example, if you’re picking your kid up in the car rider line at school, get a set of dumbbells, do some bicep curls while you’re waiting in the car rider line. If you’ve got your kids home with you and they’re watching TV, get on the floor with them, do some pushups, do some sit-ups. It’s not an all or nothing thing. What happens is people say to themselves, “I have to go all in. I have to get this gym membership. I have to hire this trainer.” That’s not true. There are many things you can do at home. There are many YouTube videos out there. If you want to do it, you can find a way.

I was sitting here as you were talking then I thought, “You’d never had a weight issue.” Have you found when you’ve gotten focused on this part of your life that your productivity in other areas has improved?

I sleep better. I have more energy. My mood swings when it comes to that time of the month aren’t as extreme. I handle stress better. Those are some of the things people don’t think about. Those are not things you can measure on the scale. I’m stronger. If we have to move a piece of furniture at the house, my husband doesn’t have to call his buddy because I can lift up the other end of the couch. I opened a pickle jar for him. It’s a nice feeling to have that strength and that endurance. Even simple stuff like chasing my kids around in the yard, I don’t get worn out from it. I don’t get out of breath. I can hang with them. As far as the work side, I feel in addition to the exercise, I’ve also cleaned up my eating as well. I’ve never had healthy eating habits growing up. I played sports and after my high school basketball game, we’d run through the drive-through at McDonald’s and I’d have two cheeseburgers and some nuggets and I ate terribly.

I was active though. I was burning many calories from playing sports all year round that it didn’t matter what I ate because I was going to burn it off. That catches up with you as you get a little bit older. I wasn’t thin as I got older. I had my babies and I kept eating terribly, I had that skinny fat. I’ve noticed that cleaning up my eating has made a difference too with all those other things as well. It’s been in conjunction. If I kept eating terrible, I would not have the energy to work out. I would not have the energy to get myself to go to the studio to work out. It goes hand-in-hand. As far as productivity at work, I feel I’m more focused. I feel I can think clearer and the stress that was before like, “I’ve got all this stuff to do and I don’t know how to do it. I’ve got much work to do. I’ve got this deadline,” I handle it. That has to do with my change in mindset because when you start making fitness a habit and healthy living a habit, it changes your mind in a positive way. I’ve become more of a positive person and not negative towards myself or negative towards others. That’s helped in every aspect of my life.

I did go to the doctor every quarter for a follow-up blood test. My blood work is clinically no longer diabetic.

You can come back from it. You don’t have to be, “I have diabetes now.” It doesn’t have to be that way. You can fix it. It may take a little bit longer, but nobody’s ever too far gone when it comes to health.

I like the teaching that you do and the positive attitude you have. It dovetails well with your profession because ultimately in your practice you feel you’re trying to help people who have a bad situation. It may be a result of a medical device in a resulting injury. It may be a consumer transaction where they get cheated or shortchanged in some way but ultimately, you’re trying to improve someone’s situation.

That’s what I’m doing in both my careers in the legal career and the teaching. I’m trying to help people. I’m doing it in different ways.

You had one of many jobs and I said fashion model. I don’t even know what either fashion model or a fitness model is.

It’s fitness lifestyle model. You’re not going to see me walk in the runway at New York Fashion Week, but you might see me on a commercial or an ad for sportswear or something like that.

TBC 2 | Fitness
Fitness: Nobody’s ever too far gone on when it comes to their health.

 

What does fitness model mean?

There are different types. There are some fitness models you have more of the bodybuilder physique, a lot more muscular. That’s not how I look. That’s their thing and I’m glad for them. That is not my body type. I’m a little bit leaner and my muscles aren’t quite as big, more of a lean tone look is what I have. More of a Pilates yoga type look and it’s modeling, activewear, commercials for different fitness equipment. I’ve only been on a couple of auditions. Both of them are for acting and I had zero acting experience. I’m still new at it. I’m still learning. We’ll see what happens with it. I enjoy doing the photo shoots with my photographer. It’s something fun for me. It’s a hobby.

What got that started? You didn’t wake up and say, “I’m going to try out for a commercial.”

I went to a fitness symposium in Arizona because I had in my head that I wanted to get published as a fitness writer. The things we’re talking about trying to inspire people, help people, I wanted to write those articles and put them in magazines and other fitness publications. Part of that process out there is they had several magazine editors come in and they wanted to see a portfolio. I didn’t have a portfolio. I went and got some pictures taken and I went out there. They had an audition to the magazine editors. They also had a modeling agency out there. I showed them my pictures and he said, “You would get work as a fitness model. You need to go back to Houston and find an agency to represent you.” I always had a dream when I was younger that I wanted to be a model. When I heard that I was like, “This might be fun.” I submitted my photos to an agency called Naturally Fit Agency. They’re the only fitness modeling agency in Houston. I got an interview and was signed on the spot.

Do you have an agent? You are represented.

I have an agent. I’m legit. I have not been published yet, but we’ll see where that goes.

How old are the kids?

My oldest daughter is twelve. My son is nine. The little one she’s four. My oldest one was nine months old when I started law school, then I got pregnant with my second one in my third year in law school. When I was studying for the bar, I had a three-and-a-half-year-old and a six-month-old. That was probably the most stressful and most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I got through it. I passed the bar and I’ve always told myself, “If I can do that, I can do anything.”

What do you see the near future holding for you? It seems you do so much working full-time, training six classes a week.

In addition to my work out, I’m teaching those and then I also have to find time to work out myself too.

Mental stress is sometimes worse than the visible. Click To Tweet

That’s probably another four or five a week?

I do about three, good four.

My kids are fifteen, thirteen and eleven. We’re running all over the place. You probably got some of that going on. Your husband is a pilot, right?

He’s an airline pilot but fortunately, he is home a lot which has been nice. That helps out a lot.

He’s gone some too.

Sometimes he’s gone and that’s when everything goes crazy, if something’s going to break at the house or one kid’s going to have to go to the emergency room. That’s when it always happens is when he’s out in Australia.

Do they call that Murphy’s Law?

That always happens. I have help. I’ve got my nanny. I’ve got my mom who moved down. She lives a mile away from us. In the near future, we’re at the age where my kids are all in different activities. My oldest daughter does cheer. She tried out for school cheer. She does All-Star cheer and she’s probably going to be doing school cheer. My son does taekwondo. My little one is doing taekwondo and cheer. They all go to different schools. They get out at different times. It’s a full-time job to pick them up from school and take them to all their activities and bring them home.

It sounds like my house. The difference being is my wife didn’t work outside the home.

Even for her not working, I’m sure she’s super busy.

TBC 2 | Fitness
Fitness: The most effective thing to do to become fit is to eat healthy most of the time.

 

She got on this similar health fitness kick probably a few years ago, maybe longer but she has time during the day when they’re at school. She goes to the gym and whatnot, but she’s not teaching classes. She stays busy. I can only imagine it gets crazy over there.

The big thing I do each week is I will sit down and I print out a calendar and I write down all the activities for the kids. After I do that, I go in and I schedule workouts. I figure out what I have on my work calendar, what we have on the personal calendar for the kids, then I schedule those workouts. I treat those workouts like appointments. I cannot miss those appointments. That has helped to keep me accountable. Now so much I don’t have to do that because it’s a habit. It’s part of my life, but initially, that’s something that I had to do. Fortunately at our studio, if you late cancel, you get charged a late cancellation fee. It gives you that incentive to honor that appointment that you’ve made for yourself.

When I started hammering down myself, I did that and I wrote out a few months, “Here’s what the workout each day would be.” Below that, I kept a journal of what I was eating mostly to create a habit of knowing and being cognizant.

Being mindful, a lot of people don’t think about what they’re eating especially if you’re eating a snack while you’re watching TV or you’re on the run. If you sit down and pay attention to what you’re eating and look at it, you can find ways to make healthier substitutions.

You’re cleaning. What do you mean by that? What diet do you try to follow?

I’m anti-diet. I don’t like diet.

I used the word diet loosely and the way I use it is generally what stuff you eat. I have a fifteen-year-old daughter who’s been a vegan for two years. It bothers me in some ways and truly tries to make sure she gets enough protein and some other vitamins and minerals. She’s committed for her own personal reasons, I respect that and support that.

If she’s vegan, that means no dairy too. I do not want to live in a world without cheese. Good on for her for having that self-discipline. Not me, I can’t do it.

It’s a lot of quinoa and a lot of random stuff. Me at thirteen, fourteen and fifteen had never heard of that.

I’m glad you touched on that. I’m glad that healthy eating education is out there with parents or schools. It’s getting better. We’re not going through fast through, drive-thru anymore. The kids are learning that, “It’s probably best to make healthier choices.” That’s what I’m trying to teach my kids. I failed as a mother in getting my kids to eat healthily. We basically live at Chick-fil-A.

We have to learn how to fail and lose with grace. Click To Tweet

My two boys would eat fried chicken and pizza all day.

That’s my youngest. She will eat mac and cheese or Chick-fil-A nuggets every single day. They’re young. They still have time. We try to teach them, “That’s fine but eat some fruit or some vegetables too.” Try to push that. As far as what I do, I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t eat when I’m not hungry. I’m mindful. I try not to do boredom eating or eating out of habit. For example, every time I’d go to a movie, you get popcorn because that’s what you do when you go to the movie. I don’t even like popcorn that much. I would get popcorn because that’s what you do. Think about why you’re eating. Is it because you’re hungry? Is it because you’re bored? Is it because you’re thirsty? Is it because that’s what you normally do when you’re in this situation?

Even though I’m not hungry but it’s lunchtime, I should eat something,” maybe not. Listen to your body. I’m mindful of when I’m hungry and when I’m not. I also try to make healthier choices. I don’t eat 100% clean. I follow what they call the 80/20 method. 80% of the time I am staying away from processed foods, fast foods, stuff with a bunch of added sugar, a bunch of trans fats. I eat mostly clean. The 20% of the time, I’m going to have a Reese’s Cup or I’m going to have some ramen noodles because those are my favorites. I don’t eat them all day every day, but if I eat them here and there no big deal. People try to take this all or nothing approach with diets as well like, “I’m going Keto. I’m going Paleo.” They realize after a certain period of time that it’s not sustainable.

There are few people unless they’re fitness competitors or bodybuilders or competing for a competition, they are strict on their eating. Most people can’t stick to a diet perfectly. What happens is they eat something they’re not supposed to and they’re like, “I blew it. I’ll try again.” We all do that. Instead of doing that, say, “It’s okay that I had a piece of cake at this kid’s birthday party. I’m going to have something healthy for dinner. Big deal.” It’s not an all or nothing thing. When we deprive ourselves, then we get to the point where we’re like, “I can’t do this. I give up,” and then we eat unhealthily.

I’ve been changing things. If it comes out of a window or a box or a factory, try not to eat it. It happens. My wife has started doing this intermittent fasting. I don’t know if you do any of that.

I don’t. I’ve heard about it.

It’s a little bit of BS, but that’s my initial thought on everything.

The three main things I like to look at when someone’s asking me about a diet or a certain way of eating, is it safe? You’ve got these people who are drinking nothing but celery juice all day every day. That cannot be good for your body. Common sense tells you that.

The carnivore people who only eat red meat.

You cannot take that. Is it effective? Does it work? It’s because your cousin’s neighbors brother lost twenty pounds on it, how’s he doing? Did he gain all the weight back? Is it sustainable? Is this something that you can stick to the rest of your life? If that’s not the case, it’s probably not a good idea. Listen to your body. I don’t count macros. I don’t count calories because it’s not accurate. You plug all your food into your MyFitnessPal app. Depending on how big the portion is, you could be off by 100 or 150 calories. You may have burned fewer calories in your workout than you thought you did. At the end of the day you’re like, “Why haven’t you another 200 or 300 calories left that I can eat when maybe you’re already 200 or 300 over your calorie count for that day?” We’re not all trying to be bikini models or bodybuilders. That’s not what most of us are doing.

TBC 2 | Fitness
Fitness: You got to set the bar a little higher for your kids because they will run a business someday.

 

If you’re trying to follow those plans, there’s a good chance you’re going to fail. The most effective thing to do is to eat healthy most of the time. Think about what you’re eating. Don’t just eat sweet stuff. Let yourself have some treats every now and then. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t starve yourself. The biggest thing is planning ahead. We don’t keep potato chips in our house. That doesn’t mean that my kids can’t have potato chips. When my husband takes the kids out on the boat, they like to go to the store, they each get a bag of chips and some candy to take out and go with it. That’s fine. They’re not out on the boat every single day. What do we keep in the house? Healthier choices. My kids cannot drive to H-E-B and go buy chips. If it’s not in the house, they’re not going to eat it. We keep on hand apple fries with peanut butter, healthier options. We do that for us too. If there’s no healthy food in the house and I’m hungry, I’m going to eat it. If there’s not, I’m too lazy to drive to the store to go get it. I’m going to eat whatever I have.

What about alcohol? Have you tried to avoid that?

I don’t drink much. I don’t know if it’s my age. I’m getting older, but I could have two glasses of wine and have the worst headache ever and feel terrible all day the next day. I’ve never been a drinker. If I go in social situations and around with dinner, I might have a glass of wine or a cocktail. My husband and I, we don’t drink at home. That’s a choice we made to not do that.

I asked about the alcohol because that’s what I have to reduce when I’m trying to maintain weight.

There are many empty calories in alcohol and depending on what you’re drinking a ton of added sugar. Depending on how well you handle your alcohol, if you have too much, then you’re going to make bad food choices. You feel bad the next day. There’s nothing better than some fat greasy burger to help you with your hangover. It gets me off my routine. I save it for special occasions. It’s how I am. Can you be in great shape and have a healthy lifestyle and still drink? I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with a glass or two of wine in the evening with dinner at night. It’s not something that I regularly do.

Every lawyer I know drinks, at least some. A lot of the lawyers I’m friends with drink a lot. You probably know some of them. I remember being in this orientation in law school and the stories they tell you, but they say, “By the fact that you’re sitting here, you’re 50% more likely to be an alcoholic or drug addict.” That was many years ago. I can’t imagine it’s gotten any better. After that last day of orientation, they tell you that in the morning and the dean had a big reception at his house with the full bar and everybody got drunk.

I have two good friends of mine who are lawyers, who are recovering alcoholics. Wonderful people, but they both replaced drinking with fitness and it’s worked well for them. A lot of times in the legal world it can be stressful and one of the ways to cope with that stress is drinking. If you can find a healthier way to cope with that, then those people who are struggling with drinking get their high off of their runs or their spin class or their weightlifting, whatever it is they do. That cardio that runner’s high if you’ve experienced it, they have to work out because that is how they get through their day. That’s how they cope with being a recovering alcoholic.

It has to do with even personality for a lot of people that are tied into our business.

They are risky personalities.

It’s nothing else, type A’s and charge the world.

When it comes to food choices, you just have to go back to common sense where eating fruits and vegetables is always the healthy option. Click To Tweet

That’s what a lot of times will make you successful in this career, but also can be your downfall in your personal life if you don’t keep it under control.

Are you keeping up this pace you’re at now? Do you think you’re going to keep doing all these different endeavors in the near future?

I think so. Maybe scale back a little bit on work in the sense of more working from home. I have the benefit of having a job where I can do a lot of my work from my laptop. I don’t have to be in the office. I think a lot of careers, especially the legal careers depending if you’re working in mass torts. You can get your work done without being in a physical office. I’m fortunate to have that situation and because of that, I’m able to be home more for my kids when they get home from school. What I’ll probably do is transition more into that. I want to keep working because I can’t imagine not working. That’s me. I’ll keep working and maybe transition a little bit more into being at home. My kids are all in different activities, different schools. It’s going to be a struggle not only to get them to the places that they need to be, but I want to be there. I’m their mom. I want to be there when he’s in the spelling bee or my daughter’s taken her first belt test in taekwondo. I haven’t been there for everything, but I want to be there for the big stuff.

What belts do they have in taekwondo?

The little one started. She took her first class. My son is a level two first degree black belt and he’s nine years old. He’s been working at it for a while and they made him a student instructor. He is an all-star. We’re proud of him.

My eleven-year-old son’s a third level brown belt. He’s not too far behind. He probably could have that first black belt by now. He’s been there long enough. He’s always met the minimum requirements, but it’d be ready. You’ve got to set the bar a little higher because sometimes they’ve got to run a business and you’ve got kids coming through there. It’s good for them to see some type of return for their work. Sometimes they’re able to move a little faster than traditionally. He’s good with that. For him, it’s in a great program, a great discipline overall. As an adult, I go to the adult class. My kid’s gone there for several years and they used to have boxing in one of their rooms years ago. I love boxing. I’m a big boxing fan. I used to go to the boxing class and beat up on sixteen-year-old kids. It was awful. I beat up a high school kid once and not on purpose. He caught me pretty good and we were sparring and he is a talented kid. He caught me and instinct unloaded. I moved, but he still caught me enough that it got my attention and the instinct was I threw a left hook. Right before I hit him, I backed off. I probably only hit him 40%, 50%. I got him right.

Were you stepping up to get him?

There was blood coming out of his mouth. His dad was standing right there. I felt like a piece of crap. They don’t do the boxing anymore, but I go on an average once a week. My deal with the guy who owns the place, I said, “I’m going to come in. I’m not going to give your instructors any crap. I’m going to do it. I’m a fat old guy who wants to move around.” I’m not wearing belts, I’m not testing.

You’re doing it for the fitness aspect of it and for fun.

He’s totally cool with it. Some of the younger kids, they are probably in their early twenties. There are some of the instructors who are into it and they’re good. They’ve been out of shape with it. I’m not giving them any grief. Sometimes they’ve been out of shape, but it’s been important for me because my son got into it. It was something we could have together to encourage him. You never know how he turns out, but he doesn’t have a big interest in sports. He suffers probably negative consequences sometimes at school, in gym class. Wait until he was about the blue level that he finally was like, “I’m into this,” and he turned it up and he got good. I wanted to support him that way and it was a good way for me to move around.

TBC 2 | Fitness
Fitness: The great thing about taking time in fitness is it’s not just something you do and then don’t do ever again. By taking time, it becomes part of your life.

 

That’s something that you all have together.

As an adult though, I think taekwondo is bullshit.

Do you know what I want to do? Krav Maga.

That’s more legit. It’s a great discipline. It teaches you a lot of things. It teaches you a lot of kicks in. It teaches you some dexterity and all great things, but practicality in real fighting is not there.

If I want to kill somebody, I need to take Krav Maga. That’s probably what I’m going to do next if you ask me what’s next for me. If I ever add anything else to my already busy life, that’s probably the first thing I would do is learn Krav Maga.

I’ve seen it too and I’ve never had much real boxing training other than with my dad. We bought golden gloves a thousand years ago and washing them my whole life and working out at the gym with it. The foot work’s different from taekwondo. I would notice I’d be up there and we’re going to spar a little bit. I get these guys who had been black belts and some of them are legit and you wouldn’t mess. You wouldn’t mess with them whether they were taekwondo black belt or not. I also seen in professional fighting, in the mixed martial arts, taekwondo guys have a hard time unless they master another discipline.

We’re probably going to get our son into wrestling and/or Krav Maga as well. The taekwondo we got him in when he was little, it was mostly for a discipline thing. Boys need structure. They need discipline and it was good for him. He was always wiggly and not paying attention and this has been good for him to learn how to focus. I love it because he’s failed some of his belt testing. This is not participation trophies and it’s important for kids especially these days in this participation trophy whole environment we have to learn how to fail, to learn how to lose with grace. It’s been good for him. He’s learned some life lessons with that as well.

It’s perfect for kids. It’s great for adults too but don’t go in it like, “I’m going to come out of here as badass.”

Not if you want to defend yourself or learn how to fight.

Where do you go for Krav Magas? Is there a gym that has these instructions?

As we get older, we need to make sure we have good balance so we don't fall and hurt ourselves. Click To Tweet

My husband and I took a few classes several years ago.

Is it that martial art that came about of the Israeli military and Special Forces?

Israeli self-defense is what it is.

Does it involve a lot of throws like judo?

I didn’t take enough classes to be able to talk about that intelligently, but it was what we learned a lot of ways how to get out of choke holds, how to get out if somebody comes up behind you. I want to learn all the advanced stuff too like how to disarm somebody and blow their brains out with their own gun. I don’t want to be defenseless up against somebody who’s trying to hurt me or my family. I don’t want to cry and be dead or not be able to protect my kids because I wasn’t strong enough or didn’t know what to do.

I try to avoid those confrontation situations as much as possible.

I’m talking about if somebody breaks into my house or confronts me in the parking lot at night. I want to be able to live.

I haven’t always avoided the situation. That’s why I have metal plates all in my body. Every year that I grow old, I don’t want to get hit in the head anymore. I need my brain. I don’t need to get kicked in the head or hit in the head nor do I need potential consequences of fighting with some goober in the street. I never did want to go start it, but I wouldn’t back down from it. I may not talk the first amount of crap, but I’d be right there to keep going with it. Are there any supplements that you like or have used for you? I’m asking you this because you know more obviously, at least looking at you I’m like, “She knows more about working out and staying fit.” It’s unregulated by the FDA that you see things and you hear claims and I don’t know if it’s snake oil salesmen or there’s any legitimacy to anything out there.

I don’t like the taste of coffee. I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like coffee. I need that little bit of caffeine like people who drink coffee in the morning. I drink Spark. It’s from Advocare and it tastes like Kool-Aid. It’s got some vitamins and amino acids in it. It tastes good so I drink it. I have one in the morning when I first wake up and then usually about one or two in the afternoon when I start to hit that wall or get my afternoon sleep, I’ll have another one. It’s enough caffeine to get me through the day but not jittery or crazy or keep me up all night. That’s my routine. I also take a multivitamin, which I think everybody should because nobody’s diet is perfect. I also take turmeric supplements, which helps for inflammation because I work out so much and I have a tight TFL, which is on my hip. I get sometimes a little bit of hip pain and that seems to alleviate that as well.

What’s turmeric?

TBC 2 | Fitness
Fitness: No matter what your age, shape, background, or history is with fitness or nutrition, you can start and make fitness a part of your life to be healthier and not just to lose weight.

 

It’s chewable. The company’s called Garden of Life.

That’s an herb, isn’t it?

Yeah. You can add it to your food, but I’m not crazy about the taste of it so I get the chewable. My vitamins are little chewable gummy as well. There are people who take lots of different supplements, meal replacement shakes. If that works for them, then you go for it. You don’t have to have them, this is my opinion. Sometimes people can’t afford them because they’re too expensive and they think, “I have my meal replacement shakes or my protein powder. I can’t eat healthily.” You don’t need those things, but if you like them and you feel they’re helpful for you, then go for it. Make sure you do your research. There are a lot of companies out there that are not regulated by the FDA. There are some independent testing companies out there. That’s why I use Advocare. It might be a little bit more expensive and you have to go through a distributor, but I’m comfortable with the testing that they use. That’s why I use Spark.

Part of why I said it selfishly is because I’ve been into these local nutrition stores. I got these jacked bodybuilder guys working there and trying to tell me all this stuff. I’m into bottled water consumer goods, I can handle a salesman. Do I need L-carnitine or do I not? Do I need branched-chain amino acids or do I not? Do I need whey-protein or do I not? It’s hard for me to decipher and this 25-year-old man’s telling me.

There are many different types of protein powders. There’s pea protein powder, whey protein powder and there are different flavors.

There’s that bone broth. That’s nasty. I can’t do it. I tried it. Have you tried it?

I’ve tried a little and it’s gross.

I got myself all freaked out and it was brown. I was grossed out like I’m drinking animal bones.

When I started teaching at Wicked Core, I would have a lot of clients because in addition to working out they want to change their diet as well and I use diet loosely. They were asking me about health and nutrition. I don’t like giving people advice about stuff that I don’t know about, so I’m going to go learn. I went and got my health coach certification online. That way I felt I was in a better position to give these people advice on nutrition. After I did that, I got in my head that I was going to be an online health coach. I built a website and hired a consultant group and I came up with a workout program and a nutrition program. It was one of those things where my heart wasn’t into it and it was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t feel the payoff was going to be worth the time away from my job, away from my kids. I was getting stressed out about it. I spent a lot of money on it and I’m like, “I scrapped it. I’m not doing this. This isn’t for me.” I have the knowledge to do it but I don’t have the time.

My sister-in-law, I’ve got to hook you all up together. She lives in Houston over in the Heights. She’s got a website where they health coach. It’s well-targeted though. It’s called Back After Baby. It’s targeted at systematically for all the issues a woman may deal with after they have children, not pure physical issues, all the physiological effects that it can have on people. They do some group online workout stuff. Locally, they do some stuff with people and it’s a good deal. That’s not her full-time job. She’s got her doctorate and she’s in physical therapy. She goes around helping people, teaching them how to walk again or whatever the issue may be. For some reasons, I’ve never asked her about her work but she works with a lot of elderly folks in helping them cope with things. I’m always encouraging her and stuff. You’ve got to check that out.

There are a lot of people who are doing that who will have online health coaching, either individual or group health coaching. Sometimes it’s targeted. There are some who work with women going through menopause or women who’ve had babies or different populations and people who might need some help. A lot of times it’s cheaper than hiring a personal trainer. The personal trainer will work with you on exercises or build a workout program. Some of them will do meal plans for you, but this is another option for people who might need a little bit of help or some guidance.

I have a cousin of mine, she’s a distant cousin. When I was talking about some of this health and nutrition stuff online she was asking, “Do I have to buy diet food?” I was like, “We don’t know. What is that?” If they’re thinking of Jenny Craig or whatever these deals are, it’s ‘80s. We’re talking about eating real healthy food which you buy at the grocery store that you make yourself. A lot of the issues with certain people, especially I would think some of the older people who grew up in the ‘80s with like, “Fats is bad for you, fat-free.” We go through all these different phases of what’s healthy and not healthy. Keto’s the latest thing. People who don’t have the knowledge on how to eat healthily or confused because there are much conflicting information out there.

It’s confusing. On Netflix, I was watching documentaries and it made me insane. I was like, “These guys were saying this is great.” Right next to it is another seemingly convincing documentary, the same exact topics.

People like you, highly educated, sophisticated people still are like, “I don’t know what’s healthy, what’s not healthy?” You have to go back to common sense, eating fruits and vegetables are always healthy. If you do eat meat, lean protein is always healthy and watching your portion sizes. It’s basic comments and stuff. It gets lost in all these different diets and all these different nutritional advices. You look at the source. Are they trying to sell you something? What is the reason they’re telling you that this is bad or this is good? Is it that you’ll buy their supplements? You’ll buy their flat tummy tea that they’re selling with the latest influencer on Instagram. You’ve got to look at where that’s coming from. If you’re confused, go meet with a registered dietitian. They can help you. If you’re serious about eating healthy and you’re not sure what to do, go meet with the dietician and get educated. Get on a meal plan if you need to or learn what healthy eating is.

We all naturally as humans want simple, quick answers and I get it a lot. You lose 60 pounds and people are like, “What are you doing?” I’m not being a complete Java, but it’s hard to explain because it’s not a one Keto or Paleo. If you need an explanation, I call it a modified Paleo. That’s not perfect but try not to eat it if it came out of a factory or a window or a drive-thru.

We live in a society of instant gratification. I order something on Amazon. It’s on my doorstep the next day. I think Amazon is the greatest invention of our lifetime.

I have to watch myself though because I don’t want to use it for months. I’ll get on a kit and I’ll order something and then they’ve got all this spyware. If I go visit the Nike site, I can’t get online. Every Nike and then Under Armour, I’m using those examples. It doesn’t matter what, they’re bombarding me. Some are cool and I end up buying it all.

There’s an Instagram account that is devoted to cool stuff that this person found on Amazon and it’s like, “I don’t want to follow it because I’m going to buy everything she posts.” It’s like, “How did I live without this?”

I ordered new boxing training gloves, handmade leather gloves from Japan. They were shipped and I still don’t have them. What do I need those for? They are pretty awesome though. I’ve always wanted a pair of expensive ones. They’re not unattainable, but for boxing gloves they’re expensive. All the pros wear them. I’ve got the heavy bag at the house and I was like, “I’m going to get it.” If you start doing that, it works too. They made them your hands. It’s worth it to help avoid hurting your hand not to close your thumb.

It makes sense. It was a necessary purchase. In this Amazon Prime world, people want that magic pill. They want that instant fix. Even though we’ve come far with technology and everything else in this world, there is no quick fix for getting in shape. I tell my clients all the time, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” You’ve got to take it little by little. If you try to go all in 100% and you take it too far, you’re going to injure yourself. You’re going to get burned out. You’re going to be like, “This is not sustainable. I cannot do this.” It takes some time. The great thing about it taking time is it’s not something you do and then don’t do ever again. By taking time, it becomes part of your life. It becomes a habit and that’s the best thing for you.

You’re an inspiration to me and a dear friend. I hope you continue to be that inspiration to others. That’s what I told you when I wanted to have you on is particularly for women. There are a lot of professional women who frankly have been a lot harder than me. They do by the nature of being a woman professional and the fact that you’re able to do that mama full-time. Granted you gave people credit, you’ve got help. All of these various roles and training, that’s good for other women professionals to see, in men too but particularly women to see that you can do it. It’s going to take some hard work and nobody’s doing the work for you.

You’ve got to do it yourself. You’ve got to make some sacrifices, maybe that means not watching Netflix as much or doing other things. I don’t spend a lot of time with friends and that’s a choice that I made. I have some close friends that I’ll talk to quite a bit, but I don’t go out and go to drinks all the time.

I haven’t seen you in years. You mentioned your sister that kicked this all off for you. The last time I saw you was with your sister at the national championship game.

That was in 2015 and she passed away.

That was good fun to free all of what you had together though.

It was one of those things where she was initially diagnosed back in 2012 with stage one, went through treatment. We thought, “Cancer-free,” then it came back. When it came back, she was stage four. We can be sad. We can sit around and mope or we can go with life. I took her to the national championship. I took her to the Orange Bowl.

Ohio State was playing on that game. When you say home, you said a word home.

Did I say it like an Ohio person? It comes out sometimes.

I’m a lifelong Texan and I picked up on it. I figured to let everybody know that you’re a Buckeye girl.

I am born and raised in Ohio.

We’ve got you down here now.

I got here as soon as I could get here.

You’re not going anywhere.

I’m not going anywhere. I’m a Texan. My kids are Texans. We’re happy to be Texans.

I remember seeing you on that trip. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit with you much. I was with the boys’ group. There were about seven or eight of us. We were over-served before arriving. One last time so everybody can find you. They want to keep following you. How do we find you on social media?

I have a Facebook page called Amy Collins FIT. I post workout videos, a lot of cool health and fitness articles I’ll share on there, my schedule for when I’m teaching in case anybody wants to come to catch a class. It’s the same thing with Instagram. I also have some of my fitness modeling pictures on there as well. I also have a website which is AmyCollinsFit.com. It has my portfolio on there. A little bit more about me and then a way to reach out to me, emails if you have, fitness modeling and speaking engagements. My goal is to spread the word of health and fitness that anybody can do it. My mom is a perfect example. In 2016, my mom had a pulmonary embolism. She had always struggled with her weight. She was never healthy eating, nutrition, fitness. That was never part of her life.

When my sister passed away in 2015, she got depressed. She lived in Ohio. My sister lived in Ohio. I was down here in Texas. Her and my sister did everything together. They’re friends. They go to movies and go shopping like they were always together. When my sister passed, my mom was depressed. She didn’t take good care of herself and that happens. She ended up falling. She lost her balance and fell and she injured herself to the point where she was non-ambulatory. She was not able to get up. She was stuck sitting around. As a result of that, she developed a pulmonary embolism and almost died. I got a phone call in the middle of the night from my aunts that my mother was in the ICU. The doctor said her condition was grave and she probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I flew up there and saw her. Long story short, she made a full recovery. We were about to pull the plug on her but she woke up. The doctors called it a miracle. Me, being in the profession that I am, I was skeptical of the doctors. I’m double checking everything they’re doing. I’m constantly questioning them to make sure they’re taking good care of her.

When the one neurologist said that she has no possible way of recovering from this, she’ll probably be in a vegetative state the rest of their life, I got a second opinion. Next neurologist came in and said the same thing. I figured to let her go to heaven and be with my sister. We were going to take her off life support. I got a phone call from the nurse that said, “Your mom woke up.” It was a long road to recovery. At first, she was confused and didn’t know what was going on. Now she’s perfectly fine. If you were to meet her, you would have no idea that she went through what she went through. That was a wake-up call for her. I moved her down to Texas because I didn’t know how much care she needs. We bought her a house about a mile away from us. She lives there so I can keep an eye on her. I was trying to have this influence on her of, “You need to eat healthier. You need to exercise.” She never had the self-confidence to go into a gym or a fitness class. She felt self-confident about it. Finally, I got her in, loves it and seeing results. She’s lost probably 60 pounds.

This is now her habit. She goes three times a week. She schedules it and she will tell me, “I can’t do this because I’ve got to go work out.” She’s changed her eating habits. She’s not on any diet. We talked about meal planning, making your own food, having healthy snacks on hand. It’s been fulfilling for me to see that I was able to make an impact on her life. I tell people, “If my mom can do it, you can do it.” I want to tell people that no matter what their age is, what kind of shape they’re in, what their background is or what their history is with fitness or nutrition. You can start and you can make this a part of your life and be healthier. Not to lose weight, but as we get older, we need to make sure we have good balance so we don’t fall and hurt ourselves. Fitness is for everybody no matter what your age is. It’s functional fitness, mobility. It’s important to have that. You don’t want to be the old person in a nursing home stuck in a wheelchair because you didn’t take care of yourself. You don’t have a whole lot of time on this earth. Make the most out of it.

Go check her out. Thank you for being here and please come again.

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About Amy Collins

TBC 2 | Fitness

My passion for health and fitness began in 2016 when I was first introduced to the Lagree Fitness method. Since then, I’ve become certified as a Lagree fitness instructor and currently teach Lagree classes at Wicked Core in Spring, Texas. As a partner in a successful Houston law firm, I understand the challenges that go along with being a full-time working mom and trying to balance a career, family and fitness.

I strive to reach people on a personal level through my teaching, writing and speaking to inspire them to create positive, lasting and healthy changes in their lives through fitness, nutrition and mindset training.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my husband and three kids ages 11, 8 and 3.

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