• Member Spotlight

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  • Amanda Blau
  • Q & A with Amanda, new Northville Chamber of Commerce member and owner of Iron Journey Fitness.

    Biggest challenge in starting your business:

    The self-doubt. Whenever you’re faced with a challenge that you’ve never done before, and it’s scary and it’s uncharted waters, those negatives thoughts just enter your brain: What if I fail?       What if I’m not good enough? What if they don’t like me? People will think it’s dumb, people will think I’ll never make it…blah blah blah. I get thoughts like that running through my brain every day all day long. I had to make the choice to actively ignore them and not give them any more power.

    Best advice you received before going out on your own?

    It’s all about building relationships and how you make people feel. You can be the best trainer, the best strength and conditioning coach, the best nutrition coach in the world, but if people don’t enjoy being around you or like working with you, they won’t keep coming back.

    How do you motivate clients?

    Everybody is different and everybody’s motivations for why they want to work with me are different. So it’s about figuring out what they want and what they need from me, and then providing that. With some people it’s to recover from pain, so I’m patient with them and provide words of encouragement as they work through this challenge. For some people it’s to excel in their sport, so I push them as hard as their body can handle it. For some people it’s to lose weight, so I give them all the tools I can to ensure their success, and I celebrate every win with them, no matter how small. For others it’s simply to have somebody to talk to, and somebody to listen, so I make sure I’m there for them.

    As a nutrition coach, how do you work with clients to break bad food habits?

    It’s a very long, very slow process. Changing lifelong habits can be a very emotional experience for most human beings. I usually let the client dictate what pace they’re comfortable with and we tackle it together one step at a time.

    What is the biggest misconception about powerlifting/strength training?

    That lifting weights makes you bulky! Unfortunately women still have this misconception that lifting weights will turn them into The Hulk overnight, when in reality, it takes a lot of very hard work done consistently over a very long period of time to put on muscle. And that’s if you’re eating right and getting enough sleep. Lifting weights increases your metabolism causing you to burn more calories at rest, and it will give you that lean curvy look that many women are after. The truth is, if you’re lifting weights and putting on weight, then it’s your diet that you probably have to take a closer look at, not the weight training.

    What are the most common physical issues you see as a coach?

    A weak posterior chain and a tight anterior chain. What that means is that all the muscles on the front of the body are very tight (specifically the chest and hip flexors), and all the muscles on the backside of the body are very weak. It’s a very common postural imbalance caused from sitting. As a society we sit A LOT and it wreaks havoc on the body over time which leads to aches and pains and potentially injury as you get older. You can stretch a tight muscle all you want, but if you’re not going to work on strengthening the weak areas, that tightness will never really go away.

    How do you decompress?

    I love spending time with my dog. Going on hikes, training him, cuddle time. I have a soft spot for animals and I’m actually the co-chair of a volunteer committee called Animal Advocates of Ann Arbor. We raise money for local animal shelters and advocate for animal rights.

    What’s your favorite season?

    Anything but winter! I’m from Toronto, Canada, and I like to say that I’m a terrible Canadian. I hate being cold.

    Coffee or tea?

    Tea all the way, I don’t drink coffee. Little nutrition tip for you: if you’re having trouble drinking enough water throughout the day, put a tea bag of natural de-caffeinated tea in your water to add some flavor. Whenever I do that, I find that it’s easier for me to remember to drink.

    Five Northville favorites:

    • Maybury Park: We love going for hikes there with our dog

    • Custard Time: A guilty pleasure

    • Red Olive: I LOVE their Greek wrap

    • The Friday night concerts in Northville are always a lot of fun

    • The sense of community: There’s always something going on and something to do, and for someone that’s new to the area it helps get us out of the house!