top of page

Andrea Marcellus: “Never complain. Never Explain”

By Tyler Gallagher (Thrive Global)

Everything I do is about helping people preserve and cultivate more of their own most precious personal resources: time, energy and money so they can achieve any goal, fitness or otherwise, get the most out of every day and always put their best foot forward. As you strengthen physically, you fortify yourself mentally as well. I’m about mind-body connection in the most practical sense of the term.

As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a large team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Marcellus. Andrea is a certified fitness expert and CEO of ANDREA MARCELLUS, a cross-platform lifestyle brand focused on delivering customized how-to content that enables busy people to maximize their lives.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I got into fitness when I was studying acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. I had a really traumatizing accident in the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of school that took four surgeries and years to heal. I started taking classes at an amazing studio in NY at the time — Molly Fox’s place — as something I could do to make myself strong and confident again as fast as possible. In the process, I ended up soaking up technique and inspiration from two amazing instructors, Terri Walsh and Petra Kolber. They have no idea, but they taught me how to teach.

Throughout the years, fitness was my bread and butter while I was busy working on an acting career, then dabbled in stand up comedy and ultimately ended up a screenwriter. My first feature film to actually be made is coming out in 2020 — A Nice Girl Like You, starring Lucy Hale. I never expected my fitness career to overtake my entertainment industry aspirations, but over the past three years, that’s exactly what has happened. And I couldn’t be happier. The work I do now to get my message across about a personalized, positive approach to fitness takes absolutely every skill I’ve ever developed. It feels great to push myself in every possible way as I work to help others improve their lives, both physically and mentally.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

One of my best friends, Nicole Ferry (Tuminello), played a pivotal role in getting my business off the ground and is to this day my top advisor. We were roommates when I was 21, my first year out of NYU. At the time I was teaching at Crunch gyms around NYC while working as an assistant in the marketing department at Clinique International and doing theater and any acting job I could find in between. Nicole was working in advertising at the time and has since become a branding guru. When I started my company, we had a series of meetings over several months to figure out how I might scale for a larger audience what I do so effectively for people one-on-one.

Working with Nicole, I was finally able to fully understand what it is that drives me — my mission: my goal is to help busy people maximize their lives by conserving and expanding their most precious personal resources: time, energy and funds. She also helped me codify the personal “best practices” I developed to help me stay focused and driven throughout my life despite considerable hardship and disappointment. My 5 Life Strategies, the foundational time and life-maximizing principles upon which my brand has been built, are the product of a decades-long friendship, deep respect and understanding. Her point of view is gold to me. The words gratitude and blessed simply don’t cut it when it comes to describing what it’s like to have a friend like that is my corner.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was 20, I taught my first step class in NYC to a packed room of about 75 people… and about 67 of them left. Keeping my head up and seeing that class through to the end was one of the hardest things I ever did. After the class, I was absolutely devastated and couldn’t have been more ashamed to face the club manager. But her response wasn’t only unexpected, it was one of the greatest lessons of my life: namely that, perspective is everything. The manager said that she needed to elevate the club, but didn’t have the budget for high-level instructors — until my audition. She said I could absolutely hold my own with the best in NYC but, since I had no experience, she could afford me. It was pretty funny. Then she gave me the best piece of advice ever — she said believe in yourself and never “teach down.” If people don’t get it, slow down, but never “dumb down” what I have to offer. Give people the opportunity to catch on and ramp up — and when they do, they’ll love you for it. It was confidence-cementing, life-changing advice and I truly wish I could remember her name to thank her.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Your best body starts in your mind. My goal is to first address the mindset necessary to make your fitness goals attainable, sustainable reality and then offer a practical method to get you there. Both my book, The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong & Lift Your Life, and the AND/life app feature my real-world, small daily goals approach to fitness that takes into account your whole lifestyle –including your social life. But both work on your mentality as well so that life events — good or bad — won’t ever totally stop your progress. The plan makes the body. The mentality makes it permanent.

Getting in shape in a sustainable way is all about consistency. My method builds confidence by keeping the bar low and including your social life in the plan: the small daily goals of the method “magically” turn into life-changing habits that get you to your goals and keep you progressing. The plan is grounded in 5 practical mindset strategies for when “life” happens so you have the time and energy for fitness and never get derailed. It’s truly a mind/body approach aimed to build both physical and mental strength.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

The purpose of my AND/life app goes far beyond being a great resource for workouts and recipes. Grounded in a unique, permission-based approach to fitness, the app helps people ingrain the four, simple daily goals of my method as habits. To amp up this process — and make it even more fun — we are about to launch Challenges. Your brain creates habits through repetition and reward. The purpose of Challenges is to get you to repeat and track your daily goal choices over and over and to receive rewards/recognition for hitting minimum achievement levels. The Challenges start with just one day and level up to 21 days. If a user completes all the possible Challenges on the app, she/he will have practiced beneficial habits for three times as long as necessary to start making a habit. Not only will Challenges transform bodies, they will also — and more importantly — transform minds. I’m so excited for people to start diving in!

Outside of my app and promoting my book The Way In, I am starting my second book. It’s about life maximization and how my 5 Life Strategies can help you preserve and expand your own most precious personal resources: time, energy and funds. I’m also diving into hormone research — we are just scratching the surface on regulation of hormones and taming imbalances that affect weight loss. Also, microbiome research and gut health, which are potentially hugely important pieces to the fitness puzzle. Life strategies and daily habits will still be #1 in determining your overall fitness, but there are areas of health research that must be mined for more science-backed solutions to help people.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

We’re a small organization, so everyone has to be able to do a little of every job — including me. This allows for an egoless environment where all contributions are valued as equal and important to the process of getting a job done well. It also helps me understand what hidden skills and talents people may have that are being underutilized. Most often, people who are given appreciation and doable challenges tend to thrive. I try to set people up to succeed using both.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have the deepest respect and gratitude for everyone who has ever taken one of my classes, trained with me or shared their stories in asking for my help. I wouldn’t be where I am without the trust they show me in sharing their goals and challenges. Every person with whom I work gives me the opportunity to learn something new and increase the base of knowledge and experience I have to offer guidance to others.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Right now I’m working hard on introducing my first game-changing products to the world — my book The Way In and my AND/life app. Goodness is what it’s all about.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

One of the main reasons I’m anywhere in life at all is simply because for me the word “No” is nothing more than the first two letters of the words “Not Yet.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The Rule of Awesome

Everything I do is about helping people preserve and cultivate more of their own most precious personal resources: time, energy and money so they can achieve any goal, fitness or otherwise, get the most out of every day and always put their best foot forward. As you strengthen physically, you fortify yourself mentally as well. I’m about mind-body connection in the most practical sense of the term.

The Rule of Awesome is everyone’s favorite of my life strategies and a total game-changer. It goes like this: if it’s not awesome, don’t do it. Applied to fitness, this means if you bite a brownie and it’s not an AMAZING brownie, don’t finish it just because it’s there. Applied to clothing, it means if it doesn’t make you feel fabulous, don’t buy it. If it’s already in your closet, give it away. The point is to elevate your life by having less, but of more options and the best quality you can afford. And, make no mistake, being discerning about isn’t about avoiding calories or holding out for designer clothing. When we take the time to be discerning about the things we spend our time, energy and funds on, we aren’t just deciding that the things we choose are worth it, we’re telling ourselves that we’re worth it as well.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Never complain. Never Explain.

I first learned and adopted this Katharine Hepburn quote in my early 20’s and it has served me well. It helped me move past a victim mentality developed during some tough times in my childhood where my ego was easily bruised by failure and criticism and I’d waste precious time rehashing the situation over and over. One of the greatest lessons you can learn is never to waste the opportunity of criticism by defending yourself. There’s great strength in accepting it when you fall short and deciding to listen instead of speak so that you can learn how not to repeat the mistake. My confidence doesn’t come nearly as much from my successes as it does from my failures.

Developing personal power is all about failing with grace, learning quickly and getting right back on the horse.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

James Corden. When I saw his rebuttal to Bill Maher’s suggesting that “fat shaming” should make a comeback, I recognized the truth he spoke. So many people I’ve worked with over the years have expressed to me pain like that which he so eloquently (and pointedly) shared with humor. Shame is such a huge factor in people not being able to make beneficial changes in their lives. The last thing we need to do is add to that. I have visions that James Corden and my team could work together to put a dent in the obesity epidemic — the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States, and dramatically improve lives. Or may he and I could just sing in his Range Rover — that would be pretty great too. ;)

0 views0 comments


bottom of page