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Everything I do is about helping people preserve & cultivate their most precious personal resources

By Ming S. Zhao (CEO of PROVEN)

“Everything I do is about helping people preserve and cultivate more of their own most precious personal resources.” With Ming Zhao & Andrea Marcellus

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. […]

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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 the mind-body connection in the most practical sense of the term.

At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body, and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Marcellus. Andrea is the founder and CEO of ANDREA MARCELLUS, a lifestyle brand with the mission to help busy, driven people maximize their lives. For more than 25 years, Andrea has expertly guided clients in New York and Los Angeles to personalized health, utilizing her own unique, actionable set of principles to ramp up every area of their lives. Andrea is also the author of The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong and Lift Your Life, and the creator of the popular fitness app, AND/life, named top fitness app of 2019 by Women Fitness.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

Igot 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 New York at the time as something I could do to make myself strong and confident again as fast as possible — and it worked. Inspired by the impact that certain instructors had on me, not just physically, but also mentally, I decided that fitness would be a great side hustle while I was finishing my degree and getting a foothold in life.

Fast-forward through the years and over a dozen certifications later, fitness unexpectedly became both my second passion and my bread and butter while I was busy working on, at first, and 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, an empowering romantic comedy 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 a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn 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 to 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.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

Always remind yourself that the word “no” is just the beginning of “not yet.” The key to success lies in setting clear intentions, laser focusing your energy, embracing criticism as an opportunity to improve and taking daily steps forward no matter what — especially in moments when it seems like your goals are beyond reach. Aside from reframing the word “no,” the best piece of advice I can give is to make it a personal rule on days when you’re feeling disheartened to respond with extra effort, not less. The difference between success and failure isn’t the day today. Everyone can do the day today. It’s about how many of the extra little steps you are willing to take in the name of getting to your goal.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

All of my content is personally touched by me — my heart is in every post, story and video I share with my community. I take time every day to personally answer questions on Instagram and Facebook, and it’s a true pleasure to get to know the people in my community. It’s also crucial to surround yourself with a team that supports your vision without attempting to mold you into a marketing concept they think “will sell”. Authenticity is everything. So I think the equation goes: strong personal vision plus mission-focused team = engaged, loyal community.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

I make an oat milk latte almost every afternoon, either matcha or turmeric. Giving myself a nutritional boost every afternoon is a little act of superfood self-love with the added bonus of making me slow down and breathe. The few minutes it takes to properly mix a powder into a liquid becomes a mini-meditation that reduces my stress level a notch and ups my sense of well-being. When it comes to thriving mentally, rituals, even little ones like stirring a nourishing beverage, are a tremendously powerful tool.

I also get in 20 minutes of exercise every day. Some days I have a little more time, but most I don’t. Resetting the “workout bar” at 20 minutes instead of 45 to 90 minutes is how I got super fit at 36…and how I’ve kept improving through two pregnancies and up to this very moment at 47. I find strengthening work done at a cardio pace to be the most time-effective in terms of results. That’s the workout principle I stick with for most days and what inspired the customizable workout options you’ll find on my AND/life app.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Feeling beautiful starts on the inside. Here is a couple of ways to feel immediately beautiful from the inside out:

Switch your phone to Do Not Disturb and really listen then next time your partner, roommate or child comes to you with a concern. So often we give the best of ourselves in terms of focus and attention to co-workers or complete strangers instead of those at home. Home absolutely needs to be a place where we can let go and “turn off.” But treating the ones closest to you with the same focus and patience you treat others who aren’t in your inner circle is a surefire way to ignite your heart.

Knock on an elderly neighbor’s door and say hello (staying six feet away). The affliction of loneliness is especially prevalent amongst the elderly. Give the gift of a smile and a short conversation to someone in need and then go look in the mirror at the sparkle in your eyes. I dare you to tell me the person you see didn’t just get more beautiful. Eat nutritious foods as a habit. My book The Way In: 5 Winning Strategies to Lose Weight, Get Strong & Lift Your Life is all about creating a few super-nutritious “Go-To” foods for meals you don’t share with others (which ends up being like 80% of them). Turning daily superfood nutrition into a no-brainer habit not only makes you look good thanks to vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. It also calms your mind to have a plan that eliminates decisions from your day — especially ones that might lead you to foods that aren’t so beneficial.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz during a very challenging time in my 20’s and it gave me two life “guideposts” that continue to guide me 25 years later. The first is to be “impeccable” with your words. Ruiz’s teachings validated wounds I carried from the teenage years that I knew would scar over, but never completely heal. His description of how words can be the most destructive of weapons when used inaccurately, particularly in anger, made me vow to myself to try never to be sarcastic or biting when feeling angry or defensive. I do my best to stick to that promise I made myself decades ago.

The second life guidepost I got from Ruiz is to always do your best, with the crucial caveat that your “best” changes from day to day. My achievements in life are always more of a result of hard work and determination than anything else. Whatever direction I decide to head, it’s definitely my nature to push very hard. The idea that the strength or energy I have available will vary from day to day is an enormous relief. Thanks to Mr. Ruiz, I’m never hard on myself. There’s no need. It’s in my nature to give my best each day, so I trust in that. And if my “best” happens to be at a lower frequency with less output sometimes, that’s ok.

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

In my late 20’s, I had horrible digestive issues and tried colonics. Not only was the “cure” worse than the “illness” itself, it turned out that all I really needed to do to fix my digestion was stop eating almonds and dump my then-fiance. All the better!

As an influencer, 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 Moderation Movement. It lacks the flashy promise of a “15-Day Fat Flush” or “7 Day Sugar-Shred,” but your mom was right when she said, “Everything in moderation.” Based on my 26 years of experience in fitness (and my 47 years as a human), a moderate approach is the most effective for the long haul, whether it be to food, exercise, work, finances, relationships, your words…

In terms of fitness, my goal is to first address the mindset necessary to make your goals an 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 approach — small daily goals that take into account your whole lifestyle, including your social life. The idea behind the daily goals is to cultivate a capable, confident “do-er” mentality. I think of wellness as being about having a personal foundation of daily self-care “rules” and rituals 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.

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 the mind-body connection in the most practical sense of the term.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Kelly Clarkson. Her music has tremendous reach and manages to be relevant and impactful without ever pushing the envelope into the gutter. I’m inspired by the strong, uplifting public figure she has become over the years.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media? Instagram — @andrea_marcellus Facebook — AND/life by Andrea Marcellus Twitter — @AndiMarcellus Pinterest — Andrea Marcellus YouTube — Andrea Marcellus

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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