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  • India Harl / Q&A

    28th July 2020

    28th July 2020

    By Robyn Schaffer

    India is a full-time model but a passion for health and fitness drove her to become a part-time trainer at F45 on the side. India doesn't let anything get in the way of her smashing her goals, and we've loved seeing how she's adapted her busy lifestyle over lockdown to continue to reach them. We caught up with her to find out what she's been up to.

    "Health and fitness has become a huge part of my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It brings me focus, new goals, a positive outlook and BIG-level energy. Working in the modelling industry, it’s always important to look your best – but fitness does more than that, it makes you feel good too! What’s more important than health, right? Healthy body, healthy mind!" - India

    What’s your hustle?

    I've got many hustles. I'm a full-time model, which is something I've always done and have the biggest passion for. I work with brands on Instagram and create content. But I'm also really passionate about health and fitness, so last year I came on board as a part-time PT for F45. Those are my main lanes.

    What does #liveinnermost mean to you?

    It brings purpose to the day. It motivates me to workout because I know I can have the products before or after. It’s a lifestyle, and since I've been really on board with health and fitness it's become a way for me to live my life to its fullest capacity.

    Favourite Innermost products and why?

    I'm obsessed with anything vanilla flavour right now. So I'm loving The Fit Protein in Vanilla and The Lean Protein in Chocolate. I'll have them every single day as I'm trying to increase my protein intake at the moment. They fit into my lifestyle perfectly, and they taste amazing.

    View this post on Instagram

    country girl behaviour

    A post shared by I • R • H (@indiaharl) on

     

    Why is staying fit and healthy important to you?

    It's always something to work towards. There's always so many goals you can set yourself in health and fitness. You're never going to reach the maximum, and even if you fall off the track one day, you can get straight back on it the next. It helps me wake up early, and it brings community. I've met so many new friends, whether it's through Innermost, F45, or any aspect of the fitness world.

    Any current goals, fitness or otherwise?

    In the short term, I'm trying to tone up and lose a little bit of body fat. But long term I want to build more strength, and now gyms are open again I want to figure out a new style of workout routine. It's really important to get back in the gyms and support their openings. I'm just really excited to try some new things in health and fitness.

    How did you find lockdown? Was it a challenge and if so, how did you adapt?

    It was important to me to find a routine early on and that was so important for providing me with structure to my days. I would workout in the mornings (I'm a morning person) knowing that I would feel amazing after. But it was also nice knowing I had the time to commit to something. That time you had was yours.

    It was difficult dealing with lots of cancelled photoshoots. A lot of work was cancelled, but there was a way to try and turn the situation around. Because I do work with brands on Instagram I was able to continue with those kinds of jobs. But I actually created a home studio with parents and they were amazing at helping me out. My dad jumped on board as a photographer. You just have to try and do what you can and you've got to make it happen for yourself.

    View this post on Instagram

    waiting for my next Zoom call

    A post shared by I • R • H (@indiaharl) on

     

    How did you try to stay fit and healthy (mentally and physically) during lockdown?

    I was in the countryside outside of London during lockdown, so I really upped my running and found a whole new motivation being out of the city. I also just tried to set daily intentions. So I'd wake up and say to myself: "Ok, today I will run a 10k." Putting the pressure on but not too much. It was about daily goals rather than long-term plans. And on other days, if I didn’t want to train I didn't. It was just about going with the flow.

    What have you missed most over the past few months? 

    Normality. The small, mundane things. The buzz of London and the day to day lifestyle. I'm never normally at home so to go from that to full lockdown was a big transition. I also miss travelling.

    Any books, films or TV shows you’re currently obsessed with and why?

    I reintroduced Prison Break back into my life. It was the best decision. I watched it originally a few years ago but my parents had never seen it. We were hooked. We watched maybe two or three episodes a night and did the whole thing. It became part of our routine and that became our thing which was really lovely.

     

    What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever done and how did you overcome it?

    I think for me it's been any sort of work rejection and learning to deal with it. In modelling it’s tough. But I think that's something I can say I've overcome now and I've grown up and know what I need for myself to overcome it. I give myself a day to get over it. A day to sit on the sofa and cry and eat loads of ice cream and then I put it behind me. If you keep dragging it along with you then you can't move on. It's mindset training and it's really hard, but I'm getting there with it.

    Who or what motivates you?

    I love supporting other people’s successes. I think it's really important to admire and praise the people you love and get inspired by them. But I've always worked for myself and been a big believer in making things happen for yourself. You can never have dreams that are too small.

    Best advice you’ve ever received?

    Not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. And if you're stressed about something, ask yourself: in 10 years time will it really matter? I find that that brings you back down to earth.

    If you want to see more from India, don't forget to follow her @indiaharl. And if you want to read more exclusive Q&As with Innermost Insiders, be sure to check them out here.

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    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!  View this post on Instagram A post shared by AMY COSTELLO (@amykcostello) 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).  View this post on Instagram A post shared by AMY COSTELLO (@amykcostello) 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.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by AMY COSTELLO (@amykcostello) 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.  Read more