off the record: fitness star amanda kloots
amanda started her journey dancing as a rockette on the great stage of radio city music hall. her love of dance and fitness led her to work and lead classes at one of new york’s premiere fitness studios with regularly sold out classes teaching upwards of 12 hours a day. her pursuits to keep performing led her to broadway where she starred alongside zach braff in bullets over broadway and where she would meet her husband, nick cordero. although, she was already successful and had accomplished so much in the world of dance and fitness, amanda wanted full control of her own destiny. her pursuits allowed her to go out on her own and create what is now a global fitness brand – her signature class the rope & the dance. additionally, she has recently launched her own online workout videos. people from all over the world tune in to dance and jump rope with amanda kloots and her classes continue to sell out from new york city to paris. amanda’s motivation and drive helped her to continue to push forward to create her own brand, but it was her vision, relentless work ethic and belief in herself that has helped to redefine a style of fitness. amanda talks about how she got started, stayed motivated and kept moving forward even when she was the only one that believed in herself (and was the only one that showed up at her first few classes).
the impetus and taking control of life
the void: you started your career as a professional dancer and then you moved to broadway where you met your new husband nick and then you then transitioned to fitness. what the impetus for you and the driver to make fitness your full time career?
amanda kloots: the impetus [for my career] was definitely just needing control over my life. performing, i loved and did it for 16 years, but it got to a point where i was 32 and i wanted certain things in my life. the ups and downs of the performing world being in and out of jobs -- it just wasn’t working for me anymore. i needed consistency and i wanted that control. i wanted to make my own decision about when i worked, not told when and how and where i could work. it just basically was being a woman in her 30s wanting to take control of her life!
the void: i know you’re really passionate about focusing on women’s fitness in particular. you have a global following, who are predominantly women. was it a conscious decision to focus on women? was that just a natural draw for you? what is that for you and how does that feel in terms of connecting with all of these women around the world?
amanda: well, i think that i connect with women because the workouts that i lead and that i am passionate about are dancing and the jump rope. i also think that [it’s] trying to be a strong woman and trying to be someone that leads a healthy and positive lifestyle as some women can relate to. especially a woman in her 30s and living in a city -- you’re kind of always feel trampled down on and having to prove yourself, so i just think that is why i can relate to them in that way.
transitioning, taking risks and staying motivated
the void: going back to your career, you’ve made these transitions from one career to another and you’ve kind of transitioned your life in that way. how did you stay motivated, focused and dedicated to your vision in the early parts of those career choices? what is it that helped you put one foot in front of the other when you just aren’t where you want to be yet?
amanda: yeah, i think when you start your own business it definitely is hard. i knew that i would have to put performing on the side for a while. i knew that i couldn’t start a business and stay focused on it and do other shows because it takes so much of your time. i think when you’re starting your own business, you work that hard because you kind of realize if you don’t do it, nobody else will. you know what i mean? there were times where i would get up for class and i had my jump rope class at 7am on monday mornings where no one would show up and it would be depressing and i would come home and say to my now husband “nobody showed up and i feel like such a loser. i don’t know why this isn’t translating and this is such a good workout.” there are times when you just have to keep believing in yourself, you just have to keep believing because i knew i had something. i knew that it was special and i knew that it was an amazing workout. i think that once it catches on, you’re in a zone, but you just have to keep pushing and you just have to keep believing in what you’re doing, and changing it too. there were times that you would you have to listen. if nobody is coming, i still believe what i have here, but is there something that i have to change or do better or fix. so in the beginning of my jump rope classes there were definitely, like the class that i teach now and the class that it has molded into wasn’t the class that started out. i changed it and i fixed it and i made it and kept making changes to make it really, really good and i keep doing that, i try to evolve with staying on my path and on my brand.
but i think that in general, you just have to keep on pushing because no one else is going to do it for you. i have no one else who is going to teach my class today, i have no one else that is going to teach my private sessions. it’s me or nothing. that’s what it is!
believing in yourself even when no one else does
the void: that gave me goosebumps because i think you’re absolutely right in terms of believing in yourself and i think that is something super important for women to hear that you have to keep pushing past when nobody shows up. or when it’s not there yet you just have to believe in your vision and keep going.
amanda: it’s hard too and i will say that with business and places that i have worked that are brand new, it takes a minute for people to catch on. it doesn’t necessarily happen like wildfire right away. and it did, it took my business about 6-8 months before i started seeing really good numbers in my jump rope class and then about the same for my dance class.
you know i left a fitness studio where i was a teacher and that my classes were always sold out. i had waitlists into my classes, i was told by the business that i was the most well received trainer there so i had left there thinking i was going to start my own class and have all these clients and everything is going to be great! i was super positive thinking that everybody loves me at the other place so why wouldn’t they come to my class now. and it’s not the case, it’s just not. it took me awhile to get known as my own person and even though i was loved at the other fitness studio, it didn’t necessarily mean they were just going to come and follow me wherever i went next. so you can’t bank on it or anything, you just have to keep working hard.
entrepreneur life: balance between work and home
the void: with a new husband and a growing global brand, where is the line for you between work and personal life? how do you balance it and make it work because you are constantly, constantly working?
amanda: yeah, it is hard and it’s funny because nick and i have the hardest time with how much time i have to spend on my phone. and instagram is a whole other business! so i have everybody that i teach and then the classes that i teach and then the business that instagram is. it is a business. i mean social media these days is how i reach out to people and how people stay in contact with me and how they hear about what i’m doing and see what i am doing so that is a whole other thing. i will come home and/or we will be on vacation or out to dinner and there are certain things that i just have to do right away and that i think is the hardest part because this is a 24-7 job. he knows i have a client or two or a class or two that it’s like “oh i have class i’ll be done in two hours.” but running your business on instagram is a 24/7 thing because you’re constantly trying to stay present and answering direct messages. i try to really make sure that if anyone asks me questions or writes me a dm that i write them back. nick will be like “you don’t have to answer everyone” and i’m like “yes i do, i really do.” because they’re taking time to write to me so i want to write them back. i mean it’s hard, it’s just a hard balance. we have sunday nights and monday nights together because he doesn’t have a show so i really try to make those days precious and never try to schedule anybody on those evenings so that we always have our sunday and mondays together and then the rest of the week it’s just passing in the night.
the void: if you had a to give a piece of advice to someone just starting on their journey launching a new business, starting a career, following their passion or if they’re hitting a major roadblock in their journey forward, what would your advice be?
amanda: i would say just know that if you’re going to start your own business, you are going to work harder than you have ever worked before in your entire life. but the rewards of it are extraordinary because you are doing it for yourself. my other piece of advice would be to ask for help. there are people out there that love to help and want to help and the people that have helped me, i would not be where i am, a year and a half after starting my business. so ask for help and accept it and be super grateful for that help because it you can get help it’s amazing.