LOVE YO BODY.

Hello World!

While it is embarrassing that I haven’t posted in nearly a year… or that frequently before that I find it fitting that I am making my re-emergence with this post.  I have been working professionally as a photographer now for 12 years and full time for nearly 7.  Most artists try to continue to grow their skillset even as they enter the professional world because sometimes when your exchange your craft for money your passion takes the backseat… and no one likes a stagnate cranky artist 😉

The last several years I have focused immensely on upping my game in the lighting category.  Lighting is basically the foundation of photography so mastering added and artificial lighting makes the world your oyster.  2017’s project was working on a new, harsher lighting.  Most of my past lighting focus was for portrait work and so I needed a new and more challenging project so this year I decided to focus on fitness photography.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the weirdo who can’t get enough of a good sweat session or the endorphin high after cranking out a new PR.  So entering into this new line of photography was not only fun but it allowed me to combine some of my passion with my work. (winning!)

After I learned some of the lighting techniques I needed for fitness photography (a HUGE thank you to all of the fitness instructors I used as guinea pigs 🙂 I should do a post for them at some point!)  I wanted to do more than just shoot professional athletes or fitness pros.  My favorite part of my job is not capturing the ‘money shot’ or the 8×10 great grandma will hang on her mantle.  My favorite part of what I do is working with families and people in such an vulnerable way that I capture ‘THE’ shot.  The shot where a person can see themselves through my lens the way loved ones see them.  Beautiful.  Strong.  Capable.  Loved.

Our society puts so much pressure on all people to be a certain way, act a certain way and achieve certain goals and without completing this imaginary list of conquests we are told we are worth nothing.  I hope that through my work (both hired and personal) people can treat themselves a little more kindly and see themselves in the light that other people view them.  Which with that longwinded journal entry brings me to my project!

This project was birthed to show everyone of all fitness levels, interests and walks of life that there is an inner athlete in you.  Everyone can be fit, strong and do amazing things.  You don’t need to do cross fit, run marathons or be a zumba instructor. (though if you want to, more power to you!)  Everyone has their own starting point and often times people have *multiple* starting points.

The main goal is to view your body as this amazing machine that enables you to do AWESOME things.  So we should really love it instead of constantly hating it, criticizing it and worse; trying to starve it to mold it into something it isn’t meant to be.  Fuel your body.  Love your body.

As I finally delve into the ACUTAL post a huge, huge shout out to KIN Movement for hosting this event.  They have an awesome space to help people from all fitness levels achieve their goals.  Their mindset is unlike any I have found in a gym and their support through this project has been unparalleled.  Also a HUGE thanks to the folks who showed up and were vulnerable enough to let me use them as my models.  These are just regular people (NOT fitness models!) and I hope you give them a standing ovation for their awesomeness.

2017-08-22_0001Bob: Triathlete and would be diplomat.
Always be ready to embrace the suck.  May not be the fastest but always moving forward.

2017-08-22_0002Cole: Manager/Specialist at Human Element and Single-Mom-Extraordinaire
Strives to be stronger and more fit to set an example for her son.  Wishes she could be a travel writer to show him the world.

2017-08-22_0003Hannah: Owner/CEO Metric MKTG
Loves the beach, her kiddos and kicking thyroid disease in the butt.
Favorite actress is Candace Cameron Bure and would be a professional singer in another life.

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Holly: Mama of two sweet babes and part of University of Michigan’s Sea Grant (School for Environment and Sustainability)
Multi-sport competitor and Proud Canadian.  Mama who nurses/pumps WHILE working full time (that is a marathon folks for those of you who have never done it!)

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Jesse: Swim instructor and coach.  University of Michigan student.
Would be professional gymnast.  Favorite book is The Hurt Artist by Shane Neimeyer.

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Katie: Mama and Manager of Health and Wellness of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Would love to travel to Greece and favorite color is yellow.  Has a PhD but in another life would be a Labor/Delivery nurse.

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Megan: Nurse Anesthetist, bad ass and dog mama.
Loves Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and would be a race car driver if being a nurse anesthetist didn’t work out.

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Nikki: Mama to 3 littles and fitness lover.
She is a beach lover and Paul Walker fan.  If she could tell her younger self anything it would be: To stop spending so much time caring what other people think because what matters is what YOU think!

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Sam: Teacher for STEM Prep school in Nashville.
Runner and newly minted teacher from EMU.  If she could live anywhere it would be to her newly relocated Nashville, living the dream!  Favorite song is ‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood.

2017-08-22_0010Stacey: Mom of two and Battle of Waterloo finisher
Loves making gains in the gym, pushing herself harder and being epic for her two sons. If she could tell her younger-self anything it would be “Don’t compare yourself to all these girls. Don’t change a thing about what makes you you. You and your life end up to be really amazing! ”

2017-08-22_0011Susan: Fitness Guru and Marketing pro
In another life would be a photographer or a veterinarian.  Miami transplant to Michigan and warm weather lover.  If she could live anywhere it would be Brazil.

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey!  Posting this has taken a bit of vulnerability on my part as an artist because as we learn new crafts we see only the flaws in our projects… much like how we view our own body’s in the mirror.  I hope through this journey of life we can all view ourselves a little more kindly and honestly give ourselves a pat on the back.  Being a good human is no joke, so lets all be nice to each other, give each other high fives and encourage each other to be the best, strongest human ever.

run often, smile more!

Amanda 🙂

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Feature Friday: RydeOn Cycling Studio!

 

March’s feature has taken me a little while to finally get my thoughts down on paper err, keyboard? Any of you that know me personally (or have read my emails) know that I LOVE running and being active; hence my sign off, ‘Run often, smile more’. 🙂 It is something that I acquired a love for in high school (thanks to the fantastic SalineXC crew!) and has followed me through life and has shaped me greatly! The benefits of running are vast but the one I have most enjoyed is being physically and mentally fit allowing me to accomplish whatever I set out to try. Aside from being passionate about running personally, I also love to inspire others to be active too.

2014-03-31_0007two of my favorite running routes captured by my FANTASTIC hubby!

Because I loved running so much, I decided to try spinning back in 2007 during a cold winter shortly before our wedding. I figured it could keep me fit during the winter months while helping me avoid my necessary nemesis the ‘dreadmill’. I instantly fell in love with it and soon was saving up for my first road bike. Much like running, people will tell you about the training, the mental battle and the endurance that is involved with spinning/biking but every single person will tell you about the endorphins and how they outweigh all of those obstacles.

Often the hard part of beginning a fitness regime (or lifestyle as I like to think of it) is the inaccessibility to equipment and a support system. How many times have you said ‘when I lose ten more pounds I’ll go to the gym’ or something along those lines? Or how many of you have signed up for a gym membership only to walk in and feel much like this video (please continue reading after watching! Hah!)

Enter Brigid Lossing! Brigid has an amazing story apart from the start up of the RydeOn Studio. A mother of two, wife to a local firefighter and a cancer survivor, Brigid took what life threw at her and used it as fuel to take her journey to the next level of awesome.

2014-03-31_0001Brigid found herself much like many of us often do; overweight, working a day job and wondering if this was really all of what life could offer. After receiving her stage three colon cancer diagnosis and treatment she decided to not only take control of life but to run (well, spin) with it. Shortly after her second round of chemo Brigid signed up for a six week spinning class at the Saline Rec Center.

 

“Personally I can relate to the struggle signing up for your first class.” As a self titled ‘Type A’ personality Brigid so beautifully stated what so many people wrestle with. “When you know you’re type A, it is so easy to not begin something simply because we don’t want to push ourselves to do something that we know we cannot do very well.”

 

At 320 pounds Brigid took the leap of faith and went to her first spin class. She readily admits that she only returned because she had paid the money and didn’t want to waste it. But week after week she returned and not only saw progress but fell in love. Within the year she was encouraged by her spin instructor to consider getting certified to also become an instructor and that was when a seed was planted for a different kind of studio, RydeOn.

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There are many gyms and studios in the area that boast their success for weight loss and training. However the dream for RydeOn was not simply a successful studio for the elite to frequent but instead to create an atmosphere of accessibility for people from all walks of fitness to come together and continue on their road of fitness together. The facebook page has the quote ‘Training for Life’ and Brigid hopes the studio will embody exactly that.

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“You never know when that seed [of fitness] will take root, but I like to provide a fertile ground.”

 

And that she does. RydeOn is staffed by knowledgeable instructors who are as passionate about the people who come to workout as they are about fitness. When you walk into the studio there is always one person to help you check in as well as the instructor for the class. The studio is outfitted with 25 top of the line Kesier bikes  and each instructor is Keiser certified in order to help everyone get the best fit for their bike. Spinning classes, like many fitness classes have several different methods of instruction. RydeOn is outfitted with a variety of instructors as well as classes to help meet your individual needs. One of the amazing aspects of spinning is that it is an individual sport that makes room for the positive dynamics of group exercise. With each bike individually controlled you are 100% in control of your own ride. So regardless of your level of fitness you can come and participate and without worry that you cannot keep up!

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“Spinning is so different than any other group exercise class because if you walk into a Zumba or Jazzercise class as a new participant it will be obvious that you are new or if you have trouble keeping up with the group. Spinning isn’t like that; here you are only in competition with yourself. With spinning you get all of the benefits that are derived from working towards a similar goal but each goal is personal and you never have to worry about letting anyone down” Brigid shares.

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So many people have different reasons for beginning their fitness regime, for some it is a major life event that helps them decide to make a change, for others it is simply a goal (like a wedding or class reunion) regardless of why you want to begin, take that first leap of faith! Register for a class using their online system (it will let the instructor know you are new so they can help you get your bike fitted correctly, the first step to a successful class!!) show up about 15 minutes early, bring your water and settle in for the ride of your life! Walk in rides are $16 and the new client special is $39 for the first month of unlimited rides (your $16 can be applied towards that!) Most clients end up riding 2-3 times a week but some more and some less!

“I wanted to be able to wiggle my nose like bewitched and change my life [for the better].  In a way I did, it just took a lot more energy. Everyone has the ability, you have to figure out how to light the flame and more importantly that you are worth it.”

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Hope to see you soon at a ride!!! I love the early morning ones personally! 🙂 Until then, Run Often (spin often) and smile more!

-Amanda 🙂