January 06 2019
Meet this month's Sweat-spiration - Rachel Antony! Rachel is super active in the YYC fitness community. You may know her by her instagram handles, @almostffamous and @almostffit. She sat down with us to talk about what it means to be an influencer, how to balance fitness with everyday life and what she has learned by chatting with local entrepreneurs on her podcast. Check out her interview below to find out more, and give Rachel a follow if you want to be in the know on what's going on in YYC!
Tell us about how @almostffamous started and what it means to be an influencer.
Almostffamous was born on Twitter circa 2009 and I have no idea where the name came from. I’ve never seen the movie, I don’t know the Eminem song. My 15 year old self is a mystery to me and it was just transferred over to Instagram because I lacked the creativity to come up with a new handle. The plan was never to grow my account or have anyone else other than my friends and family follow, but when I started my blog Frankly Ray in 2014, I needed a way to direct traffic so that is how it grew. It was two years ago that I got my first paid sponsorship with SportChek – I didn’t even know influencer was the term back then. I just thought it was super cool that a brand thought my content was worth paying for.
Influencer is such a weird word and it took me a long time to even acknowledge myself as one. I’ve always just shared what I do and what I love on my social platforms and if people were interested, that’s cool and if not, that’s cool too. But now it’s become part of my income and being an influencer has become sharing cool experiences and products with my audience. Being authentic and genuine is key for me since people will actually listen to what I say and try products that I suggest.
How and why did you make the transition to include @almostffit into your personal brand?
I have always been into fitness and keeping active. Over the past few years I’ve really gotten into the fitness community in Calgary, not as an instructor but just as part of the community and those connections and experiences have been invaluable to me. I’ve always encouraged my friends to come to fitness classes with me and try out the new studios. Additionally, as I have become more self-aware, I‘ve realized that fitness is how I cope with stress and the space where I feel the most confident. People would ask me where I workout, what brands I love and what I eat. I always prefer collaborations that incorporate fitness or health – like my collab with SportChek or being an ambassador for Under Armour and instead of continuing to spam my own account, I started almostffit to be able to post more and grow in the niche.
I love fitness but I also love pizza, donuts and tacos. I 100% believe in balance and not restricting your eating so much that you hate your life. I spent many years weighing boiled chicken and eating only that, rice and broccoli only to want to indulge on the weekends. People have asked me how I workout so much but don’t have abs, and the pressure to look a certain way but have to eat a certain way isn’t something I’m into so almostffit is there as a reminder to have balance and it’s not necessarily about having a 6 pack but feeling confident in who you are and just living your best life.
I love creating content and creating connections with the people that follow me, so that is the first goal – just to keep doing that. For almostffamous, my goal is to focus in on content that my audience loves but that also aligns with who I am which may mean saying no to more collabs and creating more authentic, experiential content. For almostffit, I want to grow that community and really help people feel confident in themselves without the pressure of having to conform to the typical diet or body type.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an influencer? Most challenging?
Even though I’m an introvert at heart, I absolutely love meeting people and so many of the people in my life today I wouldn’t have met if I wasn’t so invested in social media. I also think Instagram is so fun – I love taking photos, editing photos and creating captions.
The most challenging part is feeling like an imposter and questioning why people care about what I’m saying and posting. Sometimes it can be overwhelming with sponsored posts and feeling obligated to say certain things for brands and even more overwhelming that people are actually paying attention. I’ve never been a spotlight person or even cool, so having people interested in what I’m doing is very weird.
We also know you have a podcast - the Poolside Podcast, which features businesses and entrepreneurs! Tell us a little about this.
I started Poolside Podcast as an extension of my business, Poolside Digital but also a continuation of my blog in audio form. Frankly Ray got off the ground because I started interviewing local business owners and showcasing their products and services. So having a podcast allowed me to jump back into that and share other people’s stories.
Listening to people share their journey, passion, challenges and advice is what lights my fire. I have learned so much from everyone I’ve interviewed so far and I hope the same for my listeners.
You're very active in the YYC Community - what are your favourite yoga/hiit/spin studio's to go to in YYC?
I will preface this by saying we have too many amazing studios in this city to name them all but I also don’t like to commit to one studio so I tend to jump around BUT my favourite for spin is YYC Cycle (I’m a little biased since I run their social media but still, it’s my fave), Barre Belle is my go to for barre and for yoga I love Amber’s 10:30am class at Hot Yoga on Crowfoot. I also just really love the gym, so I tend to go there 4 or 5 times a week.
What would your number one piece of advice be for busy women looking to get fit in 2019?
Stop making excuses. Choose fitness over Netflix, choose sparkling water over beer, find friends that will workout with you instead of going for dinner. We are all busy and it is really easy to cut working out from the list first since it seems exhausting and time consuming but you can make time if you really try. You don’t have to work out every day, but put it in your calendar 3 times a week to workout and don’t cancel the appointment with yourself. If you need someone to be accountable to, DM me.
Who inspires you?
My first thought is my parents – they have created a life working for themselves and have stayed together during the whole thing. They have always been supportive of me doing a million things at once and it was only in the last year or so that I realized I inherited that habit from both of them.
My second thought is all the people who make up the Calgary fitness community. Every time I’m in a spin class or barre class, I am inspired and motivated by everyone who made the commit to themselves to be healthy.
What are your goals for 2019? Personal, Work, Growth, etc?
I would like to become more versed in video editing, for myself and for my clients. I bought the expensive camera this year as the first step, next year I need to spend more time learning how to use it properly.
I want to grow almostffit into a community of like minded people who want to grow in their active lifestyle but still maintain balance.
For work, I realized this year that I really enjoy running social media workshops or seminars and speaking on panels. I would like to set more of those up in the new year.
Personally, I need to organize myself between client work, influencer work and the podcast so that I can have days where I can fully disconnect. Currently Christmas is the only day that I don’t look at my phone at all.
How can people find you/get involved?
My fitness Instagram is @almostffit and my personal account is @almostffamous. You can find my almostffit youtube channel HERE and Poolside Podcast HERE. I am going to be running my first fitness challenge so stay tuned to social media for that announcement. And if anyone wants to try a new fitness studio or workout together, just DM me!