How to Build Your Confidence with The Fierce Collective Founder Amy Christman

Listen now:

Meet The Fierce Collective Founder, Amy Christman. Amy’s passion for fitness, the outdoors shines through in her wellness community and passion to coach and harness the confidence within the women she supports.  

What you’ll learn:

  • Amy shares how she built her fitness career and struggled with her own burnout 
  • Amy outlines how and why she built her wellness community, The Fierce Collective 
  • Amy illustrates ways to harness your inner confidence 

To learn more about Amy Christman, visit her website The Fierce Collective and follow on instagram at @thefiercecollective

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Emily Merrell  0:04  

Welcome to the sixth degree Podcast, the podcast where we grill our guests about the things that make them tick and find out how human connection plays a role in their life. I’m your host, Emily Merrill. I’m your host, Emily Merrill. And today I’m so excited to have my friend Amy Chrisman, founder of the fierce collective and coach for fit pros on today’s podcast. Amy, welcome to the show.


Amy Christman  0:32  

Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to be here.


Emily Merrell  0:35  

I love I love the opportunity to interview my friends because sometimes when you’re with them with you, like you have normal conversations, but we don’t get to the the gooey center of like your why and why you created things. But before we dive in to digging in further and your story, we talk a little bit about how we met each other. Yes, let’s talk about it. Because I think it’s such a cool like six degrees of separation kind of story.


Amy Christman  1:06  

It totally is. Do you want me to tell you or do you want to tell it? Okay. So, um, I was connected with MLS EDA, which is a career coaching website that I found through my Alumni Association at Arizona State University. And so I got connected with Nicole Wood, who connected me with Kelly Nash, who is the founder of lipstick and ink. And Kelly Nash connected me with Nicole traumatic Leo. And I


Emily Merrell  1:38  

actually knew all the all the ways that you guys Yeah.


Amy Christman  1:41  

And Nicole true Magglio. And I connected and I started following her on Instagram, and she was posting a lot about six degrees society. And then I remember following you on Instagram, and just in my mind, I was like, I feel like this is a person I should know, because she seems to know everybody. Um, and then I started coming to your events. I think it was early last year, early 2021. And then I did ReadySet coach program with you, and then Alexi, and then, like, I’m obviously super fan of you. But we have slowly been becoming friends because now we live like an hour apart from each other. And it’s been so great to have you close and like finally meet you in person. But yeah, it’s very six degrees of separation there.


Emily Merrell  2:34  

And I Okay, so thank you for retelling it too, because I was thinking that girl get after it was part of it, too. You’re part of that community first. And it’s funny. There’s moments in time when you’re, you might think like, I’m no one cares about me or no one’s paying attention to me. And there are these people that are working on your behalf, in one way, shape, or form. So like, I introduced Kelly to Nicole, and I met Nicole through another person, I don’t even remember who I met Nicole through. And it’s like they became such good friends with one another. And then the fact that Kelly was one of my first clients, so it’s so cool to like, see the the full circle trickle effect and to also be in the same state as you. I want to say the same city, but almost the same city. Yeah, like the same time to like we both made moves.


Amy Christman  3:32  

Yeah, I know. Yeah. It was all very unexpected. And then all of a sudden, we were like, I think I might be moving to Denver. And I was like, That’s so great. Because you’re gonna be so close to me. So, yeah, yeah. So that’s kind of like how I came to know you and six degrees society. And it’s been such a great journey. I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way, including you. So it’s an awesome,


Emily Merrell  3:57  

thank you for saying that. And I think this is just a friendly, like teachable moment for people to when you see someone on social media, and you’re like, I would love to connect with them. Connect with them, send them a message, you can send them a DM, you can send them an email. I’ve met so many incredible friends and clients and coaches, and just resources by sending a message and just letting them know that what I think they’re doing is has meaning to me. So if there’s one takeaway from this episode already, and just do the damn thing. So that that goes to you and me as well. Amy. So like when we feel intimidated by someone, just send them a message or all humans on the other end. Maybe bots are some of them, but some of them yeah, yes. They mostly humans. Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s dive in. So can you introduce who you are and what you do?


Amy Christman  4:55  

Yeah, so I am the founder of this year’s collective. It’s a very tool, sweat working platform for wellness and fitness minded professionals, it’s a chance for us to come together, at the end of every month, slow down, take a beat, do 45 minutes of yoga, about 10 to 15 minutes of journaling and networking, followed by some really expansive and beautiful programming, taught by an expertise in their field. And I’m also a coach for fit pros, I love helping zip pros get their businesses set up, you know, the pandemic really forced a lot of fitness professionals to pivot. And that is where all my background lies is in fitness. And so yeah, that’s how it all kind of started was it was like a pandemic project, but is kind of turning into a full blown passion of mine.


Emily Merrell  5:52  

So you started the fierce collective during the pandemic,


Amy Christman  5:56  

I started working on it during the pandemic, because I was working in the nonprofit industry, and I was working from home. So I had a little bit of like time and space, I knew I wanted to do something I just didn’t quite know, what I wanted to do. A big part of it was like I knew I wanted to build a community of women who were all very like minded, and most of the people in my community already have their own business. So it’s kind of turned into like a collaboration space where female business owners can come together. And not just females, but all humans can come together and just connect with each other at the end of every month. And it’s been really cool to see some of those relationships and partnerships grow. So yeah, I started it in 2020. And then I launched January of 2021. And I’ve just been kind of taking it one day at a time ever since then, as you know, I’m sort of like a stay at home working mom right now. And that has kind of played a big part in starting this business is trying to create something where I can be flexible, and be at home with my my kiddo who’s four, but also, you know, have an impact in people’s lives.


Emily Merrell  7:18  

I think it’s so cool that you’re able to see that need for community and collective collectiveness and bringing people together. During the time when people were really isolated. I mean, everyone was at home, everyone was craving, some sort of connection. And, and I so admire starting because I think you’ve done an incredible job of starting, you’ve started with your close friends. And now you have members and you have people who join from all over the country. Did you expect that when you started?


Amy Christman  7:48  

No, I didn’t. I mean, I think what I so if I could backtrack a little bit, like my ultimate goal, when I was living in Arizona was to build like an outdoor retreat for women who are interested in outdoor and fitness activities, and then the pandemic hit, and it was like, Are we even gonna be able to do things in real life anymore? Like, how long is this gonna last? Um, and that’s kind of when I just like reached into my, like, toolkit of, you know, being in fitness, what, what is it that I want to do, I really want to build community and like, I didn’t expect it to be this, what it is now. And it’s been so fun and unique. And I’ve learned so much along the way, I just think back to where I was like, wringing my hands and trying to get started. And you can, excuse me ask any of my friends back, I would say like, maybe five years ago. And all they would hear me talk about is me wanting to work for myself, but never taking any action on it. And so, in a way, the pandemic was a catalyst because I was like, it’s an hour never baby, I don’t know when this pandemic is going to end and I want to make sure that I can stay connected to like my friends, but also like build a community outside of that. And that’s kind of what it’s morphed into. And it’s just been


something that has really been fulfilling and has truly filled up my heart and soul. And that’s always what I’ve been searching for. It’s, it’s so true. I feel like the pandemic definitely was like the permission slip that so many humans needed or wanted to just move the needle forward in their life in some capacity or, you know, they got let go or they got furloughed or they were able to get a small business loan easier than they had previously or get PPP money. And I in a weird way. It was devastating. It was a horrible time. It’s still happening, but like it was this weird Renaissance to So, where people are like let’s do it headfirst jumping in. And yeah, I’m, if I fail at least I feel trying. Yeah, yeah.


I mean, I feel like that’s, you know, it’s been, it’s been a really difficult couple of years for everybody, you know, we have had our trials and tribulations as well. But if anything, I would say it’s been a catalyst for people to, like, chase their dreams in a way or find that creative outlet that they’ve been putting off, you know, or do just, like, do what it is that they want to do. And I also think it’s changing the way that we live our lives. I mean, fitness has changed forever, the fitness industry has totally changed because I haven’t stepped foot in a gym, and probably two and a half years. And I don’t know if I intend to ever again, I bought a treadmill. I stay connected, like to that community online. So, you know, I do think, despite how difficult it’s been for so many people, it’s kind of a wake up call, I think especially in American culture, where, you know, people are prided for hustling. And,


Emily Merrell  11:13  

yeah, it was like a whole reimagining of the way that we live our lives like we wouldn’t be here, if my husband wasn’t able to work remotely, which was granted because of the pandemic. And you think of like, all these little decisions that altered our lives are changed our lives because of it. But you mentioned something about fitness and you are a business coach for fit pros. What How did you get into the fitness world?


Amy Christman  11:38  

So when I graduated from college, I had a degree in kinesiology. And I graduated during the great recession.


Emily Merrell  11:53  

Recession. And


Amy Christman  11:55  

it’s, you know, I’m not typical millennial, and nobody I and I also didn’t know what I wanted to do with my kinesiology degree. And so I moved back home, I kind of like hit the reset button. And I got really into fitness like more on a personal level. Like I knew I wanted to help people, but like, I wasn’t living. I was I was talking to talk, but I wasn’t walking the walk. And so I really, like turned inward and did a lot of like self discovery. And one thing I learned is that I loved being active. Like I can’t think of a more like fun career choice than fitness or the outdoor industry, because you just get to constantly move your body and you get to meet new people and build relationships. And that is 100% me. And so I ended up using what I learned for my kinesiology degree to go back and get a degree in nutrition. And while I was in nutrition, well, while I was doing that degree I finally like that the bullet and got my personal training certification, I started teaching classes at the university and I just totally fell in love with not just so much that means but like the community that is built through fitness because they I’m sure you’ve heard of like the third space, right? Where it’s like, you have your home, you have your work. And then you have like that third space where you find your community and fitness is that third space for so many people. And so while I was working on my nutrition degree, I also like went in from the university, I went and worked in corporate wellness. And that is like where I found my niche that was I just loved that job so much because we were actually like in a health and wellness center that was on site. And so people who worked it was for Honeywell, and so people who worked for Honeywell would just come and like work out at the fitness center and I actually still have like so many friends one of my best friends I met while working there and then my mortgage lender when I bought my home in Tucson, she was the wife of someone I trained in, like you know, it just I still keep in touch with so many of these people and yeah, so that’s kind of how I got into fitness and I really truly loved being in fitness but there’s always a but it was really really hard on my body. I have bad knees I have thrown out my back. And I know I’m not the only one in the fit pros if you’re listening like I feel you if you are thinking about going to a different industry because of how hard it is on your body. So yeah, that’s kind of how I that was my journey into fitness and it’s just always been a big part of my life. In fact, I I think I was telling you and I think I just posted on Instagram the other day, but I met my husband on a fitness website that was built for, like fitness singles. And so at the time, I was just kind of like, well, I love to work out, and I love to be outdoors. And I’m just like searching, you know, is living in northern Arizona and my Podunk hometown of 2500 people. And about an hour away, it was this guy, and he was like, really into hiking. And so our first date was a hike. And it was the mountain in my hometown that we hiked. And we’ve been together ever since it’s been. We’ve been together for 13 years married for six. So this website still exist. I have no idea. Actually, Tiffany sage Swan met her husband on the same website. So yeah, Tiffany, if you’re listening, we need to, I feel like every time we talk, I heard I talked about this, like every single time we see each other and I’ve never looked if the website still exists, I should look after this podcast and send it to her.


Emily Merrell  16:08  

What was it called?


Amy Christman  16:09  

It’s called fitness singles.


Emily Merrell  16:11  

Single I’m sure I’m sure it’s still around or something like it? Because there’s like spiritually single, there’s all of the Oh, yeah, yeah, all of the websites that are available and how incredible to to meet someone that has a shared passion with you that’s like, very, very important to both of you. Like that’s a shared area of focus. Actually, I’m, I’m curious as if it pro yourself or an expert for yourself? How was having a baby for you? You know, I know you have Oh, and you have a four year old? How was it watching your body change and evolve? Because I know, for me, it was terrifying, and still is terrifying. You know, letting relinquishing control of my body.


Amy Christman  16:54  

It was so hard. I mean, I think I will and I’ll be completely transparent. I really suffered from a lot of body image issues while I was in the fitness industry, because there are sometimes is this pressure to like, have the six pack and no cellulite, and the super toned arms and like, be this sort of, like perfect, quote unquote, prototype of what a fitness professional should be. And so I really felt like I developed some really like, poor eating habits. Just I was like, very restrictive with my diet, I, I went, like completely vegetarian. And not to say that that’s a bad thing. It’s not at all it just, I think I turned it that way for the wrong reasons. And becoming a mother was, like, one, like, kind of unexpected, but to it was just eye opening to me. And I think if anything, it made me feel so powerful. And I knew, you know, I was in my 30s when I had my kid. And it was, you know, I spent a lot of time in my 20s as a FitPro. And when, I don’t know, I feel like with age comes wisdom. And feel like, you know, I was able to nourish my body, I got really anemic because I was still a vegetarian at the time. And I finally just had to throw in the towel on that lifestyle and allow myself to be okay with having this big pregnant belly and, you know, eating the extra calories that I needed to nourish myself. And it was, you know, it was hard, but it was eye opening, because it just wasn’t about me anymore. It’s like, as soon as you find out on your pregnancy tests, and you get it, you know, confirmed you’re like, it’s not about me anymore. I could care less what I’m putting in my body. I mean, to some extent, but, um, but I will say that I felt the best in my life. When I was pregnant, I would I was still working out. And I was doing Orangetheory and I was just feeling like, really, really good. And healthy and strong. I also like, you know, I wasn’t drinking, I am a wine drinker. So I wasn’t drinking, I was eating while I was exercising. And it just made me feel like Superwoman. And I know that not everybody has that experience, but it was just, it gave me a new you know, perspective on my body and taking care of it and making sure that I’m nourishing it in the ways that I need to but also like removing it in the ways that I need to. And it totally I love this question because I love talking to new moms and I love like welcoming new moms into this club because most people in my life did the same for me and I want to pay it forward. But um, yeah, being a mom is just like, changed my whole perspective on Everything, which I’m sure you can agree in, in that respect.


Emily Merrell  20:04  

Oh, yeah. And your your kid is definitely a lot older and more communicative. And my, I think that was one of the things that startled me the most, while being pregnant was letting go of like the scale creeping up. And like, it was good. It was positive to have it creep up. And I heard stories of some doctors, and when I got to about 50 pounds, or 47, yeah, about 50 pounds, almost 50 pounds over my starting weight. And I remember, someone told me that like their, their doctor told them that like they were getting too much wheat. And I had read somewhere that like it was okay to be, I’ve had actually the best book that I read that I give or recommend or like order for the PERT yet, usually I just give it to the person is expecting. And it’s a book about. It’s a book about by this economist, Emily auster. And she talks about, like the studies behind like, why aren’t we drinking alcohol? Or why aren’t we eating fish? Why did or eating raw fish and like the statistics, and she’s the I love the way her mind works. And so I did drink wine, like I did drink like a glass of wine a week or like I was it gave me something myself more permission. And one of the things she had said about the weight gain was it’s better to start off underweight and then be overweight at the end, then overweight and be underweight. So if that makes sense, so like, I like to cleanse before I got pregnant. And then, and I felt like I like prepared the womb in a way which sounds so we will, but I did, I was post holidays, and I did like no gluten and no sugar, and no coffee and all of those things and just kind of tried to flush my body as best as possible. And then, while pregnant, I was really forgiving with myself. I there was a ice cream place called Milk bomb right below our building. And they knew me by name. And they commented on the post when Jackson was born, they were like, I thought you were gonna name a milk bomb. But I regret it too. But yeah, point being is like, I think it’s such an ebb and flow. And it’s also just like a trust of your intuition and knowing your body and knowing you’re doing the best that you can. You still have to be true to you, but also, like, recognize that you’re renting your room for a bit. Right?


Amy Christman  22:37  

Yeah, and just I love that, that like concept of like giving yourself permission because I think, you know, in this society that we live in, and there’s so much pressure put on women to look a certain way and be a certain way. It’s like, I don’t need permission from anyone else but me to do me and I think being pregnant taught me that in a way and like having like being a mom is just like taught me so much in general. But one of that one of those things is just like be gentle and kind with yourself because we are just doing the best we can like everyone is just trying to do the best we can and I even have like a post it note above my desk right here that says that you’re doing the best you can because it’s it’s hard being a mom is tough. And especially a working mom and working stay at home moms stay at home mom, every every mom everywhere you look at it, it’s it’s hard. And so if there is another takeaway from this podcast, all you mamas out there, just be gentle and kind to yourself because you are doing the best you can.


Emily Merrell  23:45  

Yeah, amen to that. And are a woman to that. But I also last thing I want to say about pregnancy is I think pregnancy is one of the most out of control experiences, we’ll probably face one of them that you’ll ever face in your life. Like you know, especially at the beginning when when you don’t have a bum and it’s so easy to want to pee on a stick every single day just to confirm that there’s something growing inside of you. But there is also something about surrendering and just like enjoying the beautiful thing that your body can build every single day and that every day I always joke that like the Keebler the retired Keebler elves like are project managing eyeballs and arms and someone someone’s like Okay, today we’re working on eyebrows like how big for weird whatever weird reason that kind of like visual just made me laugh and put me at peace and that your body knows what it’s supposed to do. And you could have all the money in the world and all the resources in the world and you’re dealt this card, your adult this as easy or as hard as it’s going to be for you and I’m Yeah, enjoy, enjoy the ride and enjoy watching your body shift and change. And the fact that you can, like be sitting on the couch eating bonbons and grow an eyeball is still remarkable to


Amy Christman  25:09  

  1. It is it is women have such a remarkable a remarkable ability. That is a lot in one mouthful, but um, yeah, remarkable ability to be able to do that. So I agree with you on 100%. Yes, 100%. Well,


Emily Merrell  25:27  

and then I want to switch gears for a second because we already talked about your breaking into the fitness industry. And now you know, you created this incredible community, you’re working stay at home mom, which is literally the most admirable thing in the world. But why are you passionate, we know about your own FitPro journey. But why are you so passionate about helping IT pros at this time in your life?


Amy Christman  25:53  

I think now I have sort of a bird’s eye view of the industry. And I have such a unique story. You know, I didn’t ever really work in a studio regularly. I didn’t teach it many of the popular places. But I still felt the same things that other fit pros were feeling and, you know, it’s it’s tough, it’s tough, because it’s such a hard it’s a hard industry to be in because of some of that toxicity that does exist. Like, I remember one time like this, you know, and this is bad on me. But I remember like going to a class like one of my first classes before I even started teaching. And I saw the instructor and I was like, There’s no way she’s the instructor and that girl kicked my ass, she really kicked my ass. And later, I was like, I will never ever judge anyone again. So that’s kind of like the mentality that I sort of go into with every fitness experience that I have now. But sort of like taking a step back and looking at the pros. And seeing that there’s a lot of people that struggled with the same things that I did, I really just take that into account, because I never really had anybody to be like, Hey, you should try this certification, or, Hey, maybe you should think about like, doing this on the side and seeing if it works for you. And then like turning it into a business, like I just never really had anybody who had that like bird’s eye view of the industry that could say, this is what you should do with your career. These are what your strengths are. And I think you would flourish in this part of the industry. And so I really wanted that I really wanted a mentor, I really wanted a leader and as somebody who could just recognize my strengths and build me up for it. And I think that’s what I’m passionate about now. But I’m also passionate about helping the pros take care of themselves. Because you do literally get beat up in the industry. So bad. I mean, I taught step. And for anyone who like, thinks that step is gone step is the best, the best workout and it’s the most fun, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had teaching in my life. And there’s such a strong step community out there. And I would teach step every day if I could, because it’s just so much fun. But my knees are just shot. I don’t think I can teach step anymore. But you know, I wasn’t taking care of myself at that time. When I was at the height of my career. I wasn’t stretching, I didn’t have anybody say like rest and recover. It was a lot of just like, I felt so exhausted at the end of the week that I didn’t want to do anything. So yeah, I want my passion just lies with like letting sort of the same thing we were talking about with pregnancies, like giving the pros permission to rest, giving them permission to like, not have that ideal body, giving them permission to explore other areas of the industry. And, you know, I think that’s just something I wish that I had when I was teaching so much and training so much. And I think I’m just passionate about that now because I’ve been there and sucks. Yeah, you want to be you. It’s funny. I


Emily Merrell  29:32  

think it goes a lot with a lot of the coaches that I meet too is the fact that you want to be the person that you wish you had had.


Amy Christman  29:39  

Right? Exactly. And that person


Emily Merrell  29:44  

and that person that you wish had been in your camp and had been in your corner, just guiding you and telling you to take a weekend off and to work smarter, not harder, charge more and know your worth and help people navigate that

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