by Amanda Jane Snyder
I have always been into theatre arts. In fact, I have a degree in it! But just like any artist, I have struggled to reach my dreams. It even reached a point when I already doubted my capability. What's even worse was that I got injured and had difficulty moving and fulfilling my dream to be cast roles, the ones I had worked so hard to be in. Those were the times when I realized I need to do something and make some changes in my lifestyle.
But, this is the opposite of what I want for you. Theaters haven't been open now for over 1.5 years. And with them re-opening, as a Strength Coach, my biggest fear is that you will end up injured, like me.
But I didn't always start out as a Strength Coach. It started with a debilitating back injury that had me questioning my career.
Eventually, I reversed my injury and got back in the game.
How did I do it?
Well, at first, I hired help.
You see, after that first day at the gym, I realized that if I really want to improve, I need someone who knows their stuff.
I’m just a musical theatre girl.
I don’t know anything about back pain or sciatica or how to gain strength in my core or in my glutes.
So, I hired a Physical Therapist.
But there was still something missing.
I felt that if I really understood the human body, the human movement system, and how we function, I could not only stay in shape, but I could also prevent future injury for myself and other actors, singers, and dancers just like me.
Initially, I had doubts about whether I was good enough to help other people. That’s what most of us feel whenever we try to go out of our comfort zones, right?
So, I took it one step at a time.
I first became a regular ole personal trainer. Then as I went on, what I found was that the structure of personal training doesn’t actually help most people.
First of all, it has a low bar of entry.
Second, I realized that it lacked some important factors such as the following:
- ACCOUNTABILITY. There is a greater sense of accountability needed to make lifestyle changes that are necessary to obtain optimal health.
- MINDSET. Most actors, singers, and dancers exercise solely to have good “looks” and achieve how they want to appear so that they will be included in the cast. They lack the proper mindset needed to prevent injuries and sustain their careers.
- NUTRITION. Food is fuel. If you are working hard, you need to recover and refuel hard too. Thus, it is necessary to understand why proper nutrition is important and how one can incorporate it into their lifestyle.
Time passed, I thought about it, then I knew that becoming a strength and conditioning coach, and obtaining a master’s degree would make everything all the more real.
Fast forward to today...
I am finally a Strength and Conditioning Coach and a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition!
I remember writing in my journal in 2013 that I would be happy to just be able to book a paid work.
But, I ended up booking recurring paid roles as Show Captain, and even amid the pandemic I still landed on a paid ad gig that helped me pay off old student loans.
I also remember admiring the physiques of other women wishing I was in better shape just like them.
But, you know what?
Now, I realized that size and shape do not really determine one’s ability.
You can appear to be “in shape” and still be actually injured and debilitated.
Most of all, if there's one last thing that I learned from my journey, it's to never ever stop at finding ways to improve yourself, even if it means going out of your comfort zone. 'Cause, whatever happens, life has its way of leading you to the path of discovering the best that you can be.
Amanda Jane Snyder is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and Mindset Coach living in Brooklyn, NY. She has been vegan for 4 years. She specializes in Strength and Conditioning for Actors, Singers and Dancers.