Is Dracut trainer 'fit' or 'flop'? You can help decide
08/22/2014 07:00:49 AM EDT
DRACUT -- Minutes after Amanda Kelly took the stage in New York City last October to present her fitness routine and philosophy to the judging panel and Internet audience of the online reality TV series Fit Or Flop, one of three celebrity judges declared her to be the fitness world's equivalent of a "rock star."
To win Fit Or Flop's crowning title as "America's Next Fitness Star," and the $150,000 prize package, including her own mass-produced DVD, however, the 37-year-old mother of two and owner of GFA Fitness in Dracut needs clients, family members, friends and the general public to cast their votes for her candidacy on the show's website,
Amanda Kelly, 37, owner of GFA Fitness in Dracut, is excited about her opportunity to become a finalist on the online reality series, Fit Or Flop, which seeks to crown "America's Next Fitness Star." Fans can vote online once every 24 hours through Aug. 31 on Kelly's audition on Episode 8 of the show, viewable at www.fitorflop.com. Sun/John Collins
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Kelly is among 40 fitness trainers the reality series' producers invited to the Big Apple last fall to record their on-stage auditions for the Fit Or Flop cameras and judges.
After each trainer presented his or her credentials and sample demonstration of their workout routine, the judges gave their individual critiques before hitting either a red or green button to indicate whether each trainer was a "flop," or was "fit" to advance to the next round.
Kelly, who is certified in kickboxing, group instruction and personal training, with 20 years of experience in the field, received rave reviews and green lights from two of the judges for her demonstration of her "Get Fit with Amanda" full-body routine, and her original, signature philosophy that "Life is a journey, travel it strong."
"You're a rock star! You're owning it," said the most enthusiastic celebrity judge, Anna Renderer, CEO of POPSUGAR Fitness, an online fitness media network, in reaction to Kelly's audition. "I really love that you have a program that's working for people! You're passionate about it, girlfriend! You know you're going on to the next round."
Similarly, judge Steven Renata, a New Zealand native and CEO of Les Mills International West Coast, praised Kelly for presenting a well-defined fitness program, recognizing that she has fine-tuned it over time.
Only judge Brett Hoebel, best known as a trainer on NBC's hit weight-loss show, The Biggest Loser, offered Kelly some constructive criticism about her "GFA 100" routine.
"Brett Hoebel said that out of all the contestants, I was the most professional because I already had a business and already had the experience," Kelly said. "But he was a little tough on me. He wanted me to tweak the format. He spoke to me after (the audition taping), and it was definitely valid and a credit to him that his advice definitely did make the workout better."
Every month since January, Fit Or Flop's producers have posted a new half-hour episode from Season 3 online at www.fitorflop.com. Each episode contains the on-stage auditions of four or five trainers, judges' comments, and the online host urging viewers to cast votes for their favorite trainer through the end of that month.
Two trainers from each month's episode advance to the competition's final round, either by receiving the most votes to become the "fan favorite" or being selected as the "Judge's Choice."
When Kelly discovered that her audition was being aired last, in the eighth and final episode of the Fit Or Flop season in August, she hoped viewers would agree that the reality series saved the best for last.
"I just want to get the word out there that someone local is doing this," Kelly said at her studio at 1350 Lakeview Ave., as she proudly hugged sons Jacob, 13, and Connor, 9, who she's raising with her husband, David, a UPS driver of 20 years.
"I do know what I'm talking about," she said. "I have all the certifications. I just feel like, as a trainer, I am someone who deserves to win or deserves a shot at it."
Kelly's fitness program is primarily designed to give her clients a long-lasting physical and psychological boost, rather than promising a quick cosmetic fix, she said.
"I always say, Life is journey, travel it strong. Because it's not about how small you are, being the perfect size, or getting your body its thinnest. It's about working hard and getting your body to its strongest and healthiest," Kelly said.
"If you can run around with your kids for an hour, if you can run up and down a few flights of stairs -- things you maybe couldn't do a month earlier -- that's a goal," she added. "That's something we get excited for and strive for, to get people feeling healthier and feeling stronger. Our philosophy here is, keep going, keep trying, keep moving, and eventually you'll feel your best."
Kelly first used that "keep trying, keep moving" mantra to drop 40 pounds from her "chunky" high-school years, and then again after her weight topped out during her pregnancy for second son, Connor, at 202 pounds.
"I did it with my training knowledge and workouts in the basement of my house," Kelly said. "I started working out, eating well and dropped 75 pounds in five months. It wasn't an unhealthy way. It was good nutrition and my workouts. Then I thought: Why not bring this to everybody else?"
After having started her fitness-training business in her home basement, doing personal training and group classes -- while also hosting the local TV show, Get Fit with Amanda on DATV -- Kelly pondered at length whether to open her own studio in a separate office space in town.
Finally, she listened to her own tough-love, motivational advice that she often gives newer clients who lack the confidence to do a box jump: "You can jump, can't you? It's a box -- just jump on it! Just do it!"
Christine Baratta strongly endorsed Kelly's campaign to become America's next fitness star.
"Amanda is very skilled in her work, very dedicated," Baratta said. "But here's the unique thing about Amanda, as a trainer -- if you don't show up for class for a couple of days, she'll call you and say, 'Is everything OK? I'd really like to see you come back. I want you to be healthy.' She'll actually make the effort to see how you're doing.
"Amanda's been doing this for years," she added. "She loves it, and she's dedicated to all the people that come here. She should win, based on her merit."
Follow John Collins on Twitter and Tout at johncolowellsun.