Anjuli Mack is another perfect example of someone who I think is what the fitness industry should be all about. She is always smiling, genuine and has a holistic and balanced approach to fitness and wellbeing. I was lucky enough to recently work with her at one of her sponsor’s EHP Lab’s Melbourne events recently (in fact – she’s the one who helped hook me up with that gig!) and I saw just how engaging and caring she was with her fans.
It’s thanks to this attitude and personality that she’s grown a loyal and engaged following on social media, through three different instagram accounts – @anjuli_mack, @anjuli_fitforlife, @anjuli_dreams as well as a YouTube vlog and other social media channels. Thanks to this, she’s also scored sponsorship’s from some of the best brands in the industry – EHP Labs, Gymshark and Les Mills and has now also launched her own site – anjulimack.com.
First of all, tell us about the philosophy behind “Fit for Life”
When I first started social media I did it to share photos of my journey; my goal was always to be healthy and happy. I came up with the name Fit For Life which to me is all about being fit both physically and mentally. Going to the gym and being “fit” physically is one thing, but finding balance with food, family, friends, self-love and your daily mentality is a whole different thing! So Fit For Life just reminds me that I’m doing all of this for more than just the aesthetic side of things.
How did you get into health and fitness yourself; what’s your journey been?
I have always put pressure on myself to do well with everything I do. I started violin at 6 and then piano at 8, doing exams yearly and in my last two years at high school I needed to have a break from music at times. So, I started going to the gym and just jumping on the bike or treadmill for half an hour a few days after school.
I then went on to study Accounting at University with some performance violin papers which I found very stressful, so I decided to sign up to the gym on campus and after seeing all the guys lifting weights I started to try it myself! I didn’t really know what I was doing but I made friends with a lot of people and they helped to train me. I loved it! Lifting weights was the perfect stress relief. I could go into the gym with my headphones on and for that whole hour I could forget all about everything else. Before I knew it, I was waking at 3 or 4am, biking to the practice rooms to do violin and piano, heading to the gym, showering & getting to my tutorials by 8am. I’d wake up at any time I needed to to ensure that I could squeeze everything into my day. Fast forward a few years and I’ve been to the NZ fitness expo, Fitness Expos across Australia, competed at the WBFF show in the Gold Coast, got a job in the industry and grown a following of amazing people from all around the world. Safe to say, going to the gym was not a was “waste of time” as my parents once said!!
You recently competed for the first time in the WBFF, how did you find preparing for your first show and stepping on stage? Was this already a goal or dream of yours?
Love this question – I smile just thinking about stepping on stage. It was one of the highlights of my life in that I am still SO proud of myself for doing it. I had actually wanted to compete in my 3rd year of uni but after 8 weeks I found it too hard mentally with everything so I put it aside. Then this year (about 3 years on), I started cutting for fun – I dropped 4kg and realized how simple it was. Something just clicked in my head and I thought that maybe I should compete.
I knew I didn’t want to enter any competitions in NZ and I had roomed with Rachel Dillon (WBFF Pro) during the Perth fitness expo so I sent her an email to ask about WBFF. I sent her photos of my current condition and asked if I could be ready in 16 weeks for the May Gold Coast show, she got excited and said to start prep ASAP. Rachel straight away said that she didn’t care if I wasn’t the leanest on stage if I was healthy. When I heard that, I knew she was the coach for me. I was right, my prep was VERY healthy – no endless amounts of cardio, no starving myself, no crazy water depletion or hours in a sauna.
I loved prep and stepping on stage was just a way for me to show my hard work. The WBFF is an amazing federation and I wouldn’t compete in another one – everyone was SO lovely. I made some new friends and we all supported each other on the day. Such an awesome experience.
Do you have any tips for those looking to compete?
Live a healthy lifestyle for a couple of years before you start thinking of competing. If you can’t enjoy following a set meal plan and going to the gym 5-6 times a week normally then competing most likely won’t be for you. If you have a bad relationship with food, competing won’t fix that for you. It may even make things worse. The closer you get to comp, the harder it gets – but it’s definitely worth it.
Getting a good coach is SO important! To me a “good coach” for competing is one that prioritizes your health over ANYTHING. Read up on the different federations and categories then choose one that you think you’ll enjoy. I love the WBFF Bikini category because it’s so glamourous. The bikinis, makeup and hair is just stunning, and the tan isn’t too fake like some other federations.
Post competition – I totally screwed up with this and went crazy on food. Learn from me and take my advice: KEEP YOUR COACH AND REVERSE DIET (increase your calories gradually)!!!
What’s some advice you’d give to people wanting to start out on their own healthy lifestyle journey?
Most importantly, find what you love.
You don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t enjoy it. If you enjoy walking outside, start with that. You can then speed it up, increase the distance or even add weights to your back back. Find something you enjoy that you can do long term. There are so many different ways to get fit – mix it up.
If you want to join a gym, find a trainer or coach to get your started.
Get a trainer/coach that has been in the industry for a few years and has had success with clients with different goals eg: fat loss, muscle gain, strength and conditioning. I wish I had started with a trainer from Day 1 – I think it helps you learn the correct form whilst limiting any bad habits and gets you results without you having to worry about what’s “right” or “wrong.” There is NO one size fits all plan to fitness so it’s good to have someone that has had a lot of experience so that they can help you reach your goals based on your lifestyle.
Educate yourself on nutrition, or seek advice from someone who’s qualified.
Education plays such a big part in results whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle. I don’t mean – get a basic plan of chicken, broccoli, sweet potato in which you eat the same thing every day. I mean, learn about portion sizes and macros (proteins, fats and carbs) so that you can fuel your body adequately. I really like bodybuilding.com for reading about training/nutrition.
Understand that results don’t happen overnight.
It will take time, but that time will pass any way so you may as well start today and get steps closer to your goal every day, week, month, year. Don’t compare your chapter 1 to people’s chapter 20+ on social media. It’s your journey, enjoy it.
Aside from popular compound lifts of squats and deadlifts, what are some of your favourite exercises?
My FAAAAAVOURITE exercise right now is heavy smith machine hip thrusts. LOVE THEM! Also enjoying booty exercise like frog pumps or frog kick backs off a bench. If you have no idea what I’m referring to, this video from Bret (the Glute Guy) is awesome:
What’s your favourite healthy meal? And then, how do you also like to indulge?
I love homemade versions of classics such as mini hawaiian pizzas and high protein/low carb spaghetti bolognese. This vlog has three of my go to meals:
When it comes to indulging… I actually love fresh fruit but if we’re talking of my cheeky “YOLO” type days – I LOVE eating desserts/brunches out. It could be anything from french toast to pancakes (with bacon of course) to burgers and kumara chips. YUMMY! I mainly try to track my macros but I’m not going to stress too much about it if I don’t have any comp or expo coming up.
You’ve also had massive success in growing your social media channels and building a great relationship with your fans, how did you build this up? And again, what advice would you give to people looking to do the same?
My 5 top tips:
- Provide value – unless you’re some super famous and gorgeous movie star, model or musician, I feel like people want to follow pages that add value to their lives. Whether it’s positivity, quotes, motivation, freebies, recipes, tips for business or workout videos – you need to provide something of value to those that are following.
- Be genuine – your social media should be as you are in person. Don’t try to be anyone that you aren’t. EG: if you’re posting positivity and acts of kindness yet walk around dreading life and not helping others, it’s transparent. Followers will either meet you in real life and know that it’s a fake online presence, or they’ll be able to tell just from your posts.
- Quality images – you don’t need a professional photographer or a super fancy DSLR camera, an iPhone these days will do the trick. Make sure that your photos aren’t blurry and are well lit. This may sound basic but I’ve seen a lot of Insta pages (personal and business) that are so hard to look at.
- Consistency – social media is very time consuming and you honestly need to be posting every day (sometimes even twice). I personally stick to once a day.
- Quality content – kind of ties in to some of the other tips but ensure that you have quality content and be original. Don’t make a habit of only reposting other people’s photos and definitely never copy someone’s caption word for word (had this happen to me before). Be YOU! When people comment on your posts, respond – even if it’s just an emoji. Instagram stories/live video are also a great way to interact with your followers.
It’s actually taken me years to grow online, I’ve had a very slow growth compared to those that grow to 100K in a few months 🙂 So be patient and consistent.
On the topic of social media, while it can be a great tool for motivating and inspiring there is definitely a negative aspect to it, especially in the fitness industry. What are some of your gripes with it?
I am glad that you’ve asked this! I’m actually having a bit of a break from social media for a few days. Totally goes against all my tips above but I just need it. It can be so time consuming, I’ll find myself scrolling through posts on Facebook or Instagram. I’ll start on a travel insta then I’m on some girl’s page then end up on her husband’s dog instagram hahaha! I know we’ve all been there before, but that’s more my own personal issues of not wanting to waste time.
I could talk all day about some of the things I don’t enjoy about social media but I’ll try to keep it short. Social media as a whole can be very powerful if you are in the right headspace. I find that it really is a highlight reel of people’s lives and can become dangerous in that people compare themselves – material and superficial comparisons. “Comparison is the thief of joy” is one of my favourite quotes that fits this perfectly. Within the fitness social media world – photoshopped images, lighting and angles can cause a lot of unattainable body image ideas especially for younger women. It’s quite cool to see some big fitness inspirational women posting cellulite, tummy rolls sitting down and bloating so that girls know that these things are normal.
One other thing is that there are a lot of quick fixes shared by “fitspos” such as detox teas, waist trainers and magical diet pills, hair growth pills etc give people false hope. Nothing beats hard work, good nutrition and consistency. It makes me so sad to see these big Instagram accounts promoting all kinds of products just for money.
You’re sponsored by EHP Labs, GymShark and LesMills who are all amazing companies! What advice would you also give people looking to get sponsored?
I am so grateful to have had opportunities to work with all of them! I have a YouTube video that explains this in a bit more detail but in short:
- Live a healthy lifestyle and work on growing your social media channels.
- Find brands that you feel align with your personal brand. For me, GymShark and EHPlabs are all about helping to inspire and lift others up – they both have a big family vibe which I really love.
- Once you choose the brand(s) that you use and love – start posting online about them using their hashtags and tagging them in photos with NO competing brands. This will hopefully get you on their radar either for a repost or even just for some freebies.
- Work like crazy to be with them even if it’s offering to help for free at a fitness expo. Network and make it happen!
One thing I LOVE about you is your constant smile and positive attitude! How important do you think having a positive mindset is, and how do you try and keep this?
Aww thank you! I think it’s SO important to view the world with a smile on your dial. Having a positive mindset will get you through some pretty tough times. I won’t lie and say that I’m happy 24/7 – but I pretty much am. How? I just think about how grateful I am for all that I have – a job, family, friends, roof over my head, food in my tummy and an amazing online support network. There are many people that have more than us but there are also many that have a lot less. Perspective is everything. I always want to see my glass as half full. I think that positive people attract other positive people and when you surround yourself with good vibes, it’s makes everything more enjoyable.
Finally, what are some of your favourite motivational quotes?
I am a sucker for sunrises, sunsets, dogs and… quotes! I think that quotes can help people understand different situations that they find themselves in – they always seem to come at just the right time. One of my favourite instagram accounts to follow is @TheGoodQuote. Two of my favourite quotes for the last few years are:
I find that the harder I work, the luckier I get
I love this because people always seem to connect luck to success and you don’t become successful because you’re “lucky.” You become successful because of the hours you put in while no one is watching.
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach but not everybody likes peaches
This quote reminds me of when of I used to get so upset when I first started training and certain people didn’t like my fitness posts or the direction I was heading. I think it’s an important quote for a lot of people that get too upset when others don’t like them. Be a good person and do nice things… If people don’t like that then, that’s okay.