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  • Growth And Goals With Innermost Insider Amy Costello

    27th October 2021

    27th October 2021

    By Caitlin Bell

    Hi Amy! Can you tell us a bit about how you got into your fitness journey?

    Hey my Innermost faves! I was always involved in sports at school and loved running, but it was on my travels to Sydney, Australia, that my passion for fitness as a real, positive, daily part of my life, kicked off.
    I love the lifestyle in Sydney. Everyone is really invested in their health and fitness and that fuelled me to get my Personal Training qualification and start going to the gym (I’d never stepped foot in a gym before this!), where I learnt absolutely everything I could about functional and resistance training. I read books, I watched technique videos, and I put all of it into practice in my own training and programming. But this was just the beginning!

    How did your passion for fitness begin to translate into your full-time job?

    Whilst living in Australia, I met Mike, who is now my fiancé (woo) and my business partner in the fitness empire we are building! 
    It actually started when my Aussie visa was due to expire, and we were game-planning ways that we could stay together and avoid doing the long-distance relationship thing. At the time I was coaching at an F45 studio in Sydney, and after a bit of research, we realised there was only one F45 studio in London - so Mike got thinking - why don’t we see if we can open one! 
    It then all happened very fast - within a couple of months we had signed with F45 to open our own studio, had packed our bags and were moving to London. 4.5 years later and we've built an incredible member base and community at F45 Tottenham Court Road, and also launched our own fitness retreat company, Salt Escapes, where we run fitness holidays at various beautiful destinations around the world! 

    What was more challenging, opening your F45 Studio or launching Salt Escapes? 

    I would have to say F45. It was our first business so there was a lot to learn and a lot to prove. We made a heap of mistakes and knew next to nothing about business, but we worked our little asses off to build our gym into what it is today. 
    When we launched Salt Escapes, we already had an engaged, interested customer base in our clients at the gym, so it wasn’t SO terrifying to launch! Also, with it being our own brand and company, there were no limitations like with F45. Instead we were free to branch out, be adventurous and see what works. This is how we like to do things!

    How has your business evolved through lockdown? 

    Wow, it’s been a testing year. We lost a lot of members throughout the past year. Being located in central London was a huge advantage for the first few years of business, but when lockdown hit, everyone just disappeared! 
    It’s almost as though we’ve had the chance to start from scratch, which has meant we’ve had the opportunity to re-evaluate everything from our finances, processes and sales strategies, to our membership offering and client-relationships. 
    From that perspective (and ONLY that perspective), it’s been great for us. We’ve been given the opportunity to build our business back stronger. Nine months of closure allows you to do a lot of reflecting. 

    How have you personally evolved throughout the last year? 

    Well I’ve managed to avoid packing it all in and moving to a tiny island in the middle of nowhere - does that count?! 
    Haha, no but seriously - I guess for me, it’s been the year I’ve actually understood what it means to look after your mental health. It’s been a really challenging year to own a gym and a travel business, and my sleep and mental health has taken a battering. 
    Realising the importance of “self-care” (sounds cheesy, but it’s a whole vibe) has been a game-changer. For me, it’s walks in the park, my daily 10 minute Calm, switching my phone to Do Not Disturb, and prioritising learning (books, podcasts, journals). 

    What does the word ‘growth’ mean to you?

    Aside from #gains? Ha. 
    In the past couple of years - Mike and I have started saying to each other, and our team, “we like solutions, not problems”. Look, in work, training, life, there are always going to be problems, difficult people, and tough days. I used to obsess over the problems to the point they’d keep me awake at night. Now the minute a problem arises, I start thinking about the solution. Because there’s always a solution if you look hard enough, so what’s the point in stressing over things you have the power to do something about? 
    For me - that’s growth. Pushing forward, maintaining a solution-driven outlook whatever is thrown at you, and working out how to move past problems - adapt, reflect, learn. 

    How do you push past plateaus?

    I think the most important thing is that you recognise you’ve hit a plateau. Whatever it is you’re trying to change, be it weight loss, muscle gain, fitness levels, or whether it applies to work and productivity. I love to track everything. I write down all of my workouts, including the reps I’ve done, the weights I’m lifting, and even notes about how I felt during and after the session. This helps me clearly see when I’ve plateaued in my training, and encourages me to then reassess my goals and make a plan to push forward. 
    There are so many ways to mix things up. If it’s a training plateau, maybe try hitting the gym with a friend, trying out a different class, or getting a PT for a few sessions to give you some fresh ideas and perspective. 

    What aspect of your life do you struggle to develop most? 

    For me, it’s definitely finding balance. Running two businesses doesn’t usually allow for much down time, especially as I work with my fiancé, which means that we’re always either at work or talking about work. I really love working for myself, but it’s definitely had a big effect on my social life. Any 'time off' I do get, I usually feel like I just want to chill out alone. I definitely find it a struggle to maintain or build more meaningful friendships these days. Don’t get me wrong - I have a whole heap of wonderful people in my life - I’m just not that hot on messaging back or letting my hair down and going for a night out these days. 

    Do you set yourself goals? How do you make sure you achieve them?

    All the time! But I read a great book recently, Atomic Habits by James Clear, which taught me about the importance of goals that are specific and actionable. He says goals are good for setting direction, but systems are best for making progress. I can resonate with this from my own experiences, and from watching so many clients set themselves goals, and then feel like they’ve ‘failed' because they’ve been so focused on the end goal, as opposed to making small, actionable, daily changes to get them there. 
    So for example, a small goal of mine at the moment is to drink more water as I’m generally pretty bad at this. I’m making this a habit by setting out my bottle of water before I go to bed each night, so I see it first thing in the morning. I tell myself I can’t leave the house for work until I’ve had 600ml water. I also use a water tracker app, which sends me little push notifications throughout the day. System in place, and so far it’s working and I feel great! 

    What is your greatest life accomplishment?

    It’s got to be building Salt Escapes. Mike and I have been on the same page since we met. We wanted to create a life where we could work for ourselves and travel the world. We’ve achieved that with Salt Escapes, and there’s a lot more to come! 
    On top of that, I don’t think there’s any greater feeling than being in a beautiful part of the world, with a bunch of amazing people who have just had the week of their lives, and have been inspired beyond measure, and realising that you made that happen. 

    What’s one goal you’re going for now?

    Work goal: Building my businesses back up in a post-pandemic world. We’ve got 9 Salt Escapes trips on the schedule for this year and I’m going to do everything in my power to make them all happen. I just need Boris to play ball! 
    Personal goal: Mike and I want to buy our first house by the beach. It’s definitely a longer term goal, but everything in our foreseeable future is now driven by this end goal. We’re focused on a future of beach walks, BBQs and puppies! 

    What are the benefits of having a growth mindset?

    The opportunities! Personally, I didn’t do too well at school. I didn’t get the point of learning for the sake of learning. But I’m pretty proud of the fact that through hard work, applied knowledge and a lot of determination as an adult. I now own two businesses, work for myself and get to travel the world. 
    Natural talent or academic intelligence is one thing, but a growth mindset allows you to experience success, build resilience and overcome challenges, all through a simple shift in your perspective. 
    To keep up with Amy, follow her on Instagram and on Salt Escapes

    Other Insights

    Finding Balance and Inner Peace with Brin McKinnon
    This month, we sat down with Innermost Insider Brin McKinnon to discuss inner peace, managing conflict and maintaining balance. Representing us in Australia, Brin is a true Innermost Insider, having loved our products since she was a London native. Funny, thoughtful and eloquent, even with the 11 hour time difference making the interview 1am for her; this one's definitely worth the read. Hey Brin! Tell us about yourself! Hi, my name is Brin, and I am currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations at the Australian National University, whilst also working as a management consultant and freelancing. I've been using Innermost products since 2018 when I used to live in London, and since then they’ve been my favourite products, specifically in terms of vegan products. I then became an ambassador this year, because I wanted to share my love of Innermost products with other people. My favourite platform at the moment is my YouTube channel where I actually recently spoke about Innermost and the products I’ve been loving. View this post on Instagram A post shared by B r i n 🌱 (@brindarcey) Our theme this month is peace. So, the first question I want to ask is, what does peace mean for you, in your own life? A lot of the time in the health and wellness industry, the focus is on the physical and specifically on aesthetics, but I think that it’s really important to understand our health as something that's part of a bigger whole. It’s not just physical - it’s mental too, and that’s why, personally, peace is such a big thing for me, mental-health wise. Mental health is such an important part of our overall wellbeing and I think finding peace is really central to looking after your mental health. I wouldn't say I'm naturally a peaceful person but it’s a process to find that sense of inner-peace and maintain it. What process do you undertake to cultivate your inner peace? What steps have you taken? Over the last few years, I've definitely been taking steps to improve my relationship with myself and I suppose, in a way, to relax a little. As I mentioned, I think that it's definitely a process, and how you cultivate inner peace depends a lot on the individual. For me, a lot of that is spending time in nature, taking walks and exercising outside. I also think that meditating can also be useful, but I think that something that can dissuade people from meditation a bit and definitely dissuaded me was the idea that there’s only one way to meditate. But I think that just finding something that's meditative to you can be really useful in cultivating inner peace and it doesn’t have to be sitting down with your eyes closed. It can be spending time outside with your family or your friends, or even just watching a television show that makes your mind switch off for a bit. The first step to cultivating inner peace is finding what brings you peace. How do you make peace with your mistakes or regrets? I think that I'm quite lucky because I'm naturally quite good at letting things go and I don't necessarily regret things. So unfortunately, that's not going to be helpful for everyone. But I think that, for anyone, letting yourself come to terms with your emotions and letting yourself feel those emotions, is the most important step in making peace with them. However, I also think it’s then important to not hold on to those negative thoughts and feelings for too long. Once you’ve let yourself feel those emotions, you then need to accept them. A lot of the time your ego can get in the way of this step, but you need to be humble and say “okay, I've made a mistake”, perhaps get advice from friends or family and then just take time to reflect on yourself. In the end, the most important step is letting go; it's so important to accept and then move forward, otherwise we let things that we've done in the past continue to hold us back in the future. Is there anything that disrupts your peace and how do you manage it? I’m a person who doesn't necessarily enjoy change. So any small thing that happens in my day could completely derail how I'm feeling and that's something I'm definitely working on. But as I mentioned, it's a process. It's not going to happen overnight. The way I deal with this is not over-committing, organising, scheduling and planning things, but also respecting that things change and that's okay. In addition to this, I've also been going to therapy for a few years and I think that's been really important for me as well. Therapy is typically seen as something just for people who are deeply suffering with their mental health but, I think that therapy can be for everyone. It's just a really useful tool to break down the way that you think and the way that you approach situations that can derail your inner peace. And its been really important for me in my journey to protecting my peace from those day-to-day disruptions. How do you manage conflict with other people? I think that these last few years have been particularly emotionally challenging for everyone. So I think that an increase in interpersonal conflict is something that's inevitable. I'm definitely naturally quite a combative person and I'm anxious-avoidant in my relationships, so I have felt this in my life too. Whilst I do think that it's important to stand up for yourself and for what you believe in, I also think that approaching people with respect, openness and honesty is the best way forward when you're having a conflict with someone. Of course, not all interpersonal conflict is going to be fixable but that's okay. Sometimes we need to let relationships go as well. Beautiful you’ve been open and honest with people then you can move forward knowing you don’t regret how you’ve handled the situation. View this post on Instagram A post shared by B r i n 🌱 (@brindarcey) Do you feel like your nutrition is important in being in that good headspace? Absolutely. I think that nutrition is incredibly important. There’s a massive connection between your physical and mental health so eating a balanced diet is really important. I don't believe in restricting certain food groups, because I think this can actually disrupt your peace. However, I think by listening to your body and viewing nutrition as fuel rather than something to be labelled good or bad, you can make nutrition benefit your peace. For example, for me eating protein is really important because I'm vegetarian. I find it easiest to do this by using a vegan protein, so it’s about finding ways to make nutrition work for you. I actually think that finding balance in our lives is probably the best way to cultivate inner peace, across the board. We can't always strive for perfectionism but I don't think we should be happy with mediocrity either. We need to be somewhere in the middle; striving to do the best for ourselves in the moment that we're in. That’s where you find peace. To keep up with Brin, check out her Instagram! Read more
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