She’s making comprehensive exercise instruction super accessible.
Four years ago Amanda Kloots traded in her life as a Rockette and a Broadway performer to reclaim control as a personal fitness trainer, where she could finally call her own shots. She has since racked up a substantial, almost cultlike following. Kloots had toyed with the idea of launching a subscription series for years, the necessity of which the pandemic emphasized after eliminating the possibility of hosting in-person classes.
Physical fitness, along with so many other things, has developed new meaning over the past few months. Equipment-laden gyms were swapped for a mat on a living room floor. Soup cans and water bottles have replaced dumbbells, and fitness instructors are separated by computer screens. More than that, retaining some sort of fitness regimen is a way to maintain some sense of normalcy and to take back control when so much is uncertain.
Kloots, who has always believed in the power of exercise, has found solace in working out not only for her mental and physical health, but also to create a community. She decided to forgo the perfection a studio and crew could offer and launched her AK! subscription series in March at the accessible price of only $9.99 per month. On top of this, Kloots has also channeled her positive spirit into a new t-shirt company, Hooray For, which she co-founded with her sister Anna, to celebrate happiness and all the things we have to be grateful for. We caught up with the fitness fanatic to discuss launching a business in the middle of a pandemic, the power of exercise, and the importance of positivity.
On why she went into personal fitness:
“When I launched my fitness classes and everything, like four years ago, it was such a joy in my life because it was a time where I really needed something for myself, some control. I had just gone through a divorce. I was just completely lost, and I was like, ‘I need to do something for myself. I need to have control in my life. Being a Broadway performer, being an actor, you just really never have that control. It’s always down to somebody else to hire you or somebody else to decide whether your show is going to run or is going to close. So I just felt like I really needed something for myself at the time. My business has just meant the world to me for that—it has given me that accessibility now.”
On launching a virtual platform during a pandemic:
“When quarantine hit, I had been wanting to do a subscription series. I had been wanting to do something online. For the longest time I stunted myself because I was like, ‘I have to have the perfect outfits, and I have to have the perfect hair and makeup, and I have to have the perfect lighting and the perfect sound and perfect space. Then, every time I film a video, it has to be in that space so it looks uniform and great, and I have to have the money to do all of that, and I don’t have the money to do that right now because I just had a baby and I’ve been on maternity leave.’ So it just wasn’t the right time, ever, in my head. Then quarantine hit, and I thought, ‘OK, I am not going to be teaching my live classes for who knows how long—I just have to do this. I have to do this, and it’s not going to be perfect.’ So I just got it up there on my website. It’s such a great lesson to learn that things don’t have to be perfect in order for you to just give it a shot.”
On leaning into the imperfection:
“I think so, too. In a way, a silver lining to quarantine was that it kind of got everybody out of the ‘everything’s perfect on Instagram’ bubble—that whole persona that everything is always wonderful in my world. It’s not, and I think people were just craving content and craving something they could do and connect with. It was honestly such a blessing to be able to launch it and just be like, ‘OK, this is what I can offer you right now, here, in my space, and if you like it, then thank you so much and thank you for working out with me.’ I’ll just keep on creating so that I can keep my business alive.”
Are you so glad that your work is something that you’re actually passionate about right now?
“Yes, thank god, right? To have a business [that] I am super passionate about, [and] not only that, but I believe in it. I really, truly do believe that exercise and fitness and moving your body, even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day, will help you feel better, help you physically, and help you mentally. That was such a blessing that my business is something that would also be able to help me get through this time.”
What does the platform actually entail?
“It’s a subscription series. It’s only $9.99 a month, which turns out to less than 30 cents a day if you do a video a day. I wanted to make it super affordable for anybody because, again, at this time, a lot of people have lost their jobs. So you log on, and there’s all types of videos. There’s video from 55-minute live-streamed classes to five-minute quick leg series or arm series, and a myriad of things in between. There’s jump-rope stuff because I love jumping rope. There’s dance cardio—a lot of the videos don’t use any equipment at all. Usually if there’s equipment, it’s just a set of free weights, which can be, as we all know by now, cans of soup or water bottles or anything you have at home. I wanted to make it super easy, super accessible. Not easy workouts, just easy to do, follow, and do at your home. Every Tuesday I upload a new video.”
On differentiating her series:
“One of the things I think is unique about it is that I have started mood-based workouts. One night when I was filming a video, I was just so frustrated. I turned on the music really loud, and I hit Record on my phone. I just had to let off steam. I was walking out after I had filmed, and I thought, ‘Wait a second, how many times do we go into a workout needing a mood change? Or thinking about a workout and being like, I want to work out but I don’t really want to sweat because I don’t have time to shower and I have to go somewhere afterwards? Or I just need to blow off steam?’ I came up with this idea of mood-based workouts, so I’ve added those onto the subscription series, too.”
On the purpose fitness has served during the pandemic:
“I think it’s been so wonderful to see how the fitness community has come together. It’s amazing. Everyone has been on Instagram doing live classes, just so that people feel like they have a community and somewhere to go. I can connect with people still, even though I’m alone in my house. Honestly, it’s so important. I was doing live workouts every Monday, Wednesday, Friday with Aimee Song. It was so nice because I was alone in my house with Elvis, and pretty much my only connection to anybody those three days was meeting Aimee on Live, doing a live workout with her, and connecting with that Instagram community. It was so helpful to me at that time because otherwise I was just alone in a house worrying about my husband. I think it’s been a huge help for mental health and keeping everybody sane at this crazy time.”
On how she stays positive and how positivity ties into fitness:
“My faith keeps me very positive. I do believe that god is with us throughout this whole thing, and whatever the outcome, that is what his plan is. That definitely gives me strength. I start every morning off with a positive quote that I deep-dive into either Instagram or Google to find. If that’s the first thought that comes through your head, I just feel like it’s a great way to start your day and it’s something you can keep coming back to. If you’re getting lost in your day or something bad happens, you can kind of come back to that positive thought that you started your day with. And exercise especially. When you exercise, when you move your body, it makes you feel good. It’s rare that you leave an exercise class or something you’re doing at home, even if it’s just a five-minute breath series that you do, you rarely, if ever, leave that feeling worse. So I feel like that’s such a great way to add positivity into your life.”
Photos: Courtesy of Amanda Kloots
Want more stories like this?