One thing people often ask me about my blogging and fitness endeavours is who or what I draw my inspiration from. On the first anniversary of my blog, I am extremely pleased to have been able to interview Marianne Kane who has played a key role in helping me to take the leap to pursue my aspiration to become a fitness writer and personal trainer. Although I have never met Marianne in person, I feel I know her quite closely, having done many of her kettlebell based workouts and having followed her personal journey on her website where she shares her ups and downs with her readers. Marianne inspires me in so many different ways – her courage to stand up for her dreams; her purpose led thinking in everything she does; grounding herself in her faith in God; her inner strength dealing with her chronic pain and not allowing it to prevent her from living the life she wants to; her wisdom about matters many women struggle with such as body image and self-confidence; and last, but not least, her challenging yet very enjoyable workours.
First things first – who is Marienne Kane?
Marianne Kane is a Cardiac Nurse turned Fitness Coach and Founder of Myomytv, LLC. Her passion for short, effective and fun home workouts saw her work listed in Shape’s Top 10 Workout Channels on Youtube, and as an advocate of strength training for women, she Co-Founded both Girls Gone Strong and Get Glutes. After realizing the benefits of strength training to her own confidence and health – due to a diagnosis of a chronic pain disorder – she now coaches and inspires others to believe in themselves.
Marianne has very kindly allowed me to quiz her about the following areas – I hope you will enjoy reading this interview and will try her workouts!
Q: A couple of years ago, you left the security of your job as a cardiac nurse in the NHS to pursue your passion for working in fitness. Drawing on your own experience, what piece of advice would you give to those people who are currently thinking of doing something similar but are still sitting on the fence or are afraid to take the plunge?
A: First of all, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. It’s an honour to share my lessons with your readers.
Taking the plunge to entrepreneurship will seem like a big scary leap of faith, and in some ways it is: there are always things you don’t know you don’t know, but it doesn’t have to be full of unknowns. Three years before I handed in my resignation, I had set myself a goal to start a blog and make a living from it. I didn’t have a timeframe, and I didn’t exactly know how I’d achieve it, but I told myself that as soon as it was viable, I’d leave nursing.
In the meantime, I began prioritising my blog work and fitness skills by working part-time nights (although that was also because my condition was less painful at night), I was committed to delivering frequent, high quality, and useful videos and blogs, and taking opportunities in the fitness industry: interviews, guest posts, meet-ups, collaboration, and making sure I was taken seriously.
I sometimes underplay what it took to get to the point, in 2013, when I had enough business coming in, that I could leave my secure job.
Before I left, I was confident it was the right thing. I was sure it would be a success. After I left, I went through a lot of doubt and fear about it. It hasn’t been easy and is getting harder as times change online. There’s no easy money, and there are many pitfalls, but I don’t regret it one bit. It was worth that leap.
Q: On your blog, you talk a lot about leading a purpose driven life, aligned with your values. Could you explain what this means to you personally and how your life changed once you started to live this way?
A: Up until a few years ago, I didn’t really know what values were. I just knew that some things I was doing felt off, like they clashed with who I was or what I stood for. That was the first sign that I was living out of alignment with some of my values. Perhaps, also, I was living what other people said was important. When I asked myself who I was living for, I realised it was for myself. I needed some kind of approval from people to make myself feel secure. But it was never enough. That’s when I began looking inward for my own inherent value and gifts, which often spring from your core values. These aren’t gifts for my glory, these are gifts to use for the good of others.
Much of that journey was really humbling as I realised more and more what I was NOT, so I could finally make peace with who I am.
Since I began asking myself if things aligned with my values and weighing up what I was prepared to do for success, for love, for the world, I have become much more at peace and secure. Not perfectly so, but much more than before.
Q: You speak quite openly about your faith in Jesus Christ and how coming to know him as your personal Saviour has transformed your life. How do you integrate your faith into how you run your website/coaching business?
A: What a great question! My faith is what keeps me going through the struggles in life and business. I wholeheartedly believe that God’s work in my life is evident in the fact I’m still going. I can say the same for my marriage too. Only by the grace of God have we stayed together through the first years. That might sound bad, but I think I went into both thinking I was great. What I realised is neither marriage nor business have room for selfishness or pride. As soon as they show up, you better ask for help because these will be your downfall. Let’s just say I needed (and continue to need) a lot of help in these areas. I’m grateful every day for His guidance.
Of course, in coaching I sometimes have clients who all have faith (any faith) and they decided to work with me because that mattered to them. One thing I love is learning about what others believe. And particularly how to help people get more from their faith.
Q: You are one of the original founding members of the Girls Gone Strong movement. Could you take us back in time a bit and tell us how it all started, and what made you step away from it eventually?
A: In 2011, I knew a lot of fitness people online. Most of them were in the USA and I was in Ireland, so I’d never actually met anyone in person. When I heard that a few of them were getting together in Cincinnati for Julia Ladewksi’s post-children powerlifting comeback, I jumped at the chance to go too. It was then that Molly, Nia, Jen, Julia, Allie, and I decided we HAD to start a movement. So we – the original original 6 – did just that. Later, Neghar was added as GGS #7.
I stepped away because my commitments to Myomytv, nursing, and GGS were creating more stress. I also went through a period of depression and was pretty overwhelmed. I was so sad to step down, but I am honoured to be a continued GGS advocate.
Q: What is your proudest achievement so far?
A: My proudest achievement is the creation of my very first group coaching course, The Pull-Up Academy. I was in a very deep rut for a couple of years and I thought I’d never get my act together. It’s not just the level of work it took to create as a one-woman-band, but the amount of self-doubt and self-sabotage I overcame to finally launch my first ever solo product.
Q: On your blog, you have shared with your readers your struggles with chronic pain which prevented you from exercising at the level you wanted to for quite some time. Those were very upsetting times for you – could you tell us what coping strategies you used which helped you to come out on the bright side and not lose hope?
A: I very nearly lost hope a few times. Living in pain is both physically and mentally debilitating. One thing I remember doing a lot of was creating moments of wonder and awe. I would plug in my favourite music and allow myself to feel gratitude and hope even for a short time.
Mostly, I believe it was aptly timed messages, interactions, and moments of less pain. These things made it possible for me to believe I could actually make it through “today”.
Q: Nowadays there seems to be an increasing number of so-called ‘fitness and health influencers’ on social media dishing out all sorts of advice, and trying to create a culture of ‘fit living’ or an obsession with ‘clean eating’, bordering on unhealthy. With so much ‘pseudoscience’ out there, it is hard to know whom to trust! In your opinion, what are the qualities that set a true fitness professional aside from the ‘fakefluencers’?
A: I was just talking about this in my Facebook group and it is a real problem. It can be hard to tell the difference between a narcissistic person who has good information, an honest person who is misinformed, or the person who’s both dishonest and misinformed!
You have to know what you yourself are happy to support; you also have to be prepared to check facts; and be aware of why you are seeking this information.
As a rule of thumb, just be skeptical about any steep claims about results or extreme methods. Unfortunately, the buck stops with us (the potential customer) to check their claims, or reach out to them and see how they respond to questions. Ask them if they offer free consultations and get a real idea of their expertise or values.
If you’re not sure of the validity of their approach or their honesty, it’s safer to stay away. Do the very scientific thing of trusting your gut.
Q: Your workout videos on your website are very much centered around working with kettlebells. What do you love the most about using kettlebells? Which one is your favorite workout on your blog?
A: I love Kettlebells because they are perfect for building strength, explosiveness in a way that’s challenging and fun, in less time.
My favourite workout is probably the Summer Bikini Blast Workout from 2011. It reminds me of a great time and a beautiful warm day back home.
Q: What’s the worst/most ridiculous fitness and health advice you have ever heard?
A: It’s got to be Tracy Anderson’s warning about women lifting more than 3lbs. Basically everything she says about fitness or health. A useful framework for how to spot a charlatan, I think.
Q: Now a quickfire round! Try to answer with just one word or one sentence:
- What’s your favourite kettlebell exercise? Roundabout Swing
- Which celebrity would you like to be a personal trainer/coach for, if any? Since I literally can’t think of anyone, it’s a safe bet this isn’t a goal of mine 😉
- What is the weirdest/most unusual fitness equipment that you have ever tried? Does using vertical bars on a staircase for pull-ups count?
- What’s your favourite music/song to workout to? Lady GaGa’s Edge of Glory!
- Who or what inspires you? Nature mixed with silence.
- Do you have a favorite motto or mantra that you live by? “No time like the present”
- What is your favourite guilty treat? I don’t feel guilty, but I think the amount of honey I eat could be frowned upon.
- What is one daily ritual you cannot live without? Checking my weather app HAHA!
- Exercising with the Hubby – yes or no?? Sometimes, but mostly no LOL
- Cats or dogs? CATS!
Q: You have recently launched your ‘Pull-Up Academy’ – could you tell us a bit more about it?
A: The Pull-Up Academy started as an idea for a stand alone program product, but it started to feel just like other programs that people would download and never use. One of the biggest challenges people face when trying to achieve their pull-up goals is giving up too soon due to frustration. I had to create a supportive environment to work on that part of the equation. The course is a small group, with weekly live coaching calls with me, and unlimited exercise feedback. This means people can fine the right progressions for them without doing too much too soon and burning out.
The course is opening for enrolment again after the summer, so if you’re interested, you can sign up for the waiting list at the following link.
Q: Can having a blog help launch a small business like yours?
A: Yes! Give away a ton of value for free, do it consistently, engage with your audience and love on them. Create a unique culture for your business and stand for something.
Q: Finally, what are your plans for the future, do you have any specific goals for your coaching business and Myomytv website?
A: Yes, I hope to create an online training studio for the community. I may also be writing a wee book 😀
Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions, Marianne, especially during a really busy time of launching your Pullup Academy. I wish you all the best with your future endeavours – it sounds like you have many exciting things planned! I hope our paths will cross one day.