Interview: Ally Diamond, Orangetheory Fitness [Tips + Passion]
Finding the proper motivation to start and finish a workout can be difficult, cant’ it? The internal desire to get yourself to the gym or to get your routine started can come and go.
If you choose to start your own fitness business, you will be even more aware of this volatile cycle and will have to find ways to help your clients to keep showing up even when they don’t always feel like it.
Today, we’re talking to Ally Diamond who will share her experience as a fitness professional. She will chronicle how her passion for fitness was borne through a time of adversity as exercise became her refuge. Now, she transfers that same passion to her clients and helps them to stay dedicated to reaching their goals.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Meet Ally Diamond, Orangetheory Fitness Coach
Schimri Yoyo: Hey, welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with Exercise.com, and we are continuing our interview series with fitness experts. And today we have the pleasure of having Ally Diamond, who is a coach at Orangetheory Fitness in Tampa, Florida. And you’re at the Channelside location, correct?
Ally Diamond: Yes, sir.
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Well, thank you for joining us, Ally. Let’s just jump in a little bit on your personal background. How did you become passionate about fitness training?
Ally Diamond: Yeah. I do believe this is probably very true for many trainers, but my passion for training others kind of organically inspired from the passion of training myself. During the darkest time of my life, fitness was my saving grace. It was my escape, and it really changed me from the inside out. I do just believe that to be able to share that with others now kind of just became my calling in life.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Did you play any sports growing up?
Ally Diamond: Yeah. I’m tall, I had to be good at something, right? Growing up I was involved in club swimming. I was a swimmer. And when I say involved, I mean, it was my life until I was 19 years old. Taught me a lot of discipline, how to win, how to lose, power a team, friendships, et cetera. These days, I can’t really say I play any sports, but I apply kind of all those principles to my weight training because that’s what I’m passionate about now.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay. And so did you personally ever use a strength and conditioning coach or a personal trainer before you got into the profession?
Ally Diamond: All my life I was coached, starting at a young age in swimming. So I guess you could say I was coached my entire life. But when I retired from my sport, I did hire a trainer in my early twenties, and he actually became my greatest mentor in the industry.
I hired him to train me for two back to back bodybuilding competitions in the bikini division, but what I really got out of it was the man who really redirected my life and helped me completely change it.
Schimri Yoyo: Go ahead and give him a shout out. What’s his name?
Ally Diamond: His name is, my mentor, Matt O’Brien. He’s a health and fitness coach, he’s an author and a nutrition specialist. He’s based in Largo, Florida. He’s helped me so much and definitely inspired me to chase my own dreams in this career. So he’s amazing.
Schimri Yoyo: Good. Alright. Well, when you’re not training and inspiring people, what do you do for fun?
Ally Diamond: Well, working out is always fun for me. But aside from being in the gym, I’m most often probably in the dog park. I have two big dogs and they’re full energy, so I feel they’re my second job. But traveling is also something that I really love to do as well.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Well, I’m glad that you’re a big dog owner. I don’t the small, foo-foo dogs, so big dogs are good.
Ally Diamond: Yeah, they’re huge. They’re huge. I have a golden retriever and a boxer.
Schimri Yoyo: Nice.
Ally Diamond: Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s nice. Alright. Well, just give us a quick rundown. What exactly is Orangetheory? I know it’s relatively new and trendy, I guess, now. But what is it for those of us who have never experienced Orangetheory?
Ally Diamond: Yeah, absolutely. Orangetheory is a one-hour, full-body group workout that focuses on heart rate-based training. It’s led by a coach, it’s backed by science, and it’s tracked by technology. That’s kind of, in a nutshell, what OTF is.
Schimri Yoyo: How exactly is the technology incorporated as you’re doing the service or as you’re doing the workout?
Ally Diamond: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I really believe that technology and innovation are a huge part of what we do. We’re an industry leader when it comes to that. Our members wear a heart rate monitor during their workout, and the results are monitored in real-time. That technology and tracking that is also what ensures us that they’re seeing results and that they never reach a plateau. It’s pretty powerful.
Schimri Yoyo: Oh that’s cool. And so with that, with the constant monitoring, have you been able to see a reduction in injuries and a speedier recovery from a rehabilitation standpoint?
Ally Diamond: I would say maybe more of a heart health standpoint.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay.
Ally Diamond: It’s actually pretty incredible. The results that we see aside from our bodies and our performance physically, we’ve also seen such incredible results because we are tracking that. People have taken it to their doctors, shown them, they’ve gotten off medications, et cetera. So this workout really changes you at a cellular level. It’s pretty incredible.
Schimri Yoyo: And how do you approach the topic of nutrition with your clients or with the people who come in the gym?
Ally Diamond: Nutrition always is something that comes up, right? I’m not a registered dietician, so I always try to make that known. But I do always approach it by providing them with the knowledge that I’ve gained from my own experience and research.
I strongly believe though, like fitness, nutrition has to be something that’s balanced, sustainable. And that looks a little bit different for everyone. I don’t believe in diets. I just think changing your mindset about nutrition and applying it to your lifestyle is when you see the results.
Schimri Yoyo: And so would you say that Orangetheory Fitness is for everybody?
Ally Diamond: I would. I know people don’t always believe me when I say that, but I absolutely believe it’s for everyone. We cater to all fitness levels, and no matter what your starting point is, we have a place for you to start. Members in our class range from absolute beginners to professional athletes, and age-wise, from 14 to 90.
So, I feel those facts alone are a really good testament to that. Everyone is working at their best ability throughout the workout during class. So, I definitely think that’s a huge part of what makes us so unique is that it is for everyone.
Schimri Yoyo: Now, what would you say to an Orangetheory naysayer or skeptic?
Ally Diamond: My first question is: “Have you tried it?” Always my first question. I say, “What do you have to lose by giving it a try?”
There’s a reason that we invite people in to take our workout. Rather than waste our time just explaining what we do, we want you to come in and experience what we do. What do you have to lose, I suppose, right?
Schimri Yoyo: That’s a great marketing tool.
Ally Diamond: Yeah.
Dedication Delivers When Desire is Deficient
Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Now in what ways do you motivate your clients and yourself?
Ally Diamond: Well, I would say outside of the realm of my one-hour classes, I try to teach motivation to others as something that can come and go. It’s inevitable that, at times, we’ll lose it entirely, myself included. And that’s where our dedication has to be unshakeable. Our dedication to our goals.
Being dedicated is what gets us through the slumps and gets us to the gym on the days we don’t feel like it. Within my classes, though, I motivate with music, inspiring and heartfelt words of encouragement. I definitely push people outside of their comfort zone, but I’m good at recognizing what that is for the individual. And I bring every ounce of energy that I have to each class.
Schimri Yoyo: Awesome. Now I knew there was a reason why I liked you, Ally. You motivate through music.
Ally Diamond: Yes.
Schimri Yoyo: We’re kindred spirits in that sense.
Ally Diamond: Yes, yes.
Schimri Yoyo: I constantly have a song playing in my head at all times.
Ally Diamond: Especially when you’re working out, right? Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Now when you’ve seen people have success under your training and under your tutelage, what are some of the common traits that are shared by those who excel under your training?
Ally Diamond: I would say the people that I’ve worked with and have seen the greatest results, their common trait is that they all are open-minded to making a change, and they have a huge desire to learn. And that’s been people coming in with a high starting point or starting from the very beginning, that’s what they have in common. They’re ready.
Schimri Yoyo: Right. Open-minded, and ever-learning. Very curious. Those are good traits to have in all walks of life, and I guess, fitness would be no different from that standpoint.
Ally Diamond: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Personal Relationships: Foundation of Personal Training
Schimri Yoyo: Besides the technology—obviously it’s a huge piece of the training with Orangetheory—but there’s also a psychological and emotional side when you’re coaching and training.
So, how do you strike that balance of pushing your clients to reach their physical peaks without having succumbed to mental or physical burnout?
Ally Diamond: Yeah, absolutely. I think the first part of that answer is knowing the individual. I really believe it’s a relationship that develops over time, and I can’t know that right away. So it’s a big part of my role to kind of observe how that individual works, and I can learn.
I think people are motivated and pushed in different ways, so it’s definitely an art to be able to do that in a group atmosphere, but that does come with the relationship. And I kind of approach it from a standpoint of—I kind of feel like “no pain, no gain” is a fool’s mindset.
I think a sustainable program is one that challenges you outside your comfort zones, yes. But it also involves proper recovery time, and just a respectful and loving relationship with your body. It’s a privilege to be able to exercise, it’s not a punishment.
And I think that we often can get into that headspace, but adopting the positive mindset allows us to be a little more in tune with what our body needs day-to-day. To me, that’s what maximizes our potential and allows someone to train for life. Any mindset of that quick fix, I think, directly correlates with burnouts and injuries.
Schimri Yoyo: Right. No such thing as a quick fix.
Ally Diamond: Unfortunately, no. There just isn’t.
Schimri Yoyo: So, how do you incorporate the principles of rest and recovery as part of the whole training regimen?
Ally Diamond: Speaking from an Orangetheory standpoint, we recommend—it’s kind of your multivitamin if you will; it is what our owner actually calls it—that you need three to four times a week. And the recovery days in between are, I mean, at least by me, very encouraged.
I think it’s really important that you allow yourself recovery time so that you’re coming in for your next training session ready to give it your all. I don’t want them to be coming in and dragging and feeling exhausted, because again, I think that overtraining can lead to injury.
Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com
Schimri Yoyo: Now, I’m going to give you an opportunity to brag about yourself and your OTF team in the Channelside. What makes you guys unique? You know, why go to the Channelside gym as opposed to somewhere else?
Ally Diamond: There are a lot of Orangetheory options. First of all, I think our customer service is outstanding. My coworkers that I have here are really next to none. Working in an environment with a bunch of high performers I think pushes you and holds you accountable, and I really learn from them.
Our coaching staff, we all have very, very different backgrounds in the fitness industry. So, you know, variety is the spice of life, right? Every trainer is going to deliver you the Orangetheory workout, but every trainer is going to deliver it with their little flair, which is really cool.
Schimri Yoyo: Okay.
Ally Diamond: So I think that’s definitely something that makes our studio exceptional. Our trainers have a lot of experience.
Schimri Yoyo: So variety and diversity. Awesome.
Ally Diamond: Yeah, yeah. It’s necessary. And you can learn something different from everyone. It’s really important.
Schimri Yoyo: What ways do you utilize social media and technology to promote your business, if at all?
Ally Diamond: I use my personal pages to try to educate as much as possible, but I also have the privilege of being the social media strategist for the Channelside location. So I get to create the content for our Facebook and our Instagram page.
And I just think that there’s so much to look at on social media, so I think that we’re able to stand out and promote a little bit better because we provide education in our content. And I think it’s a good way, too, to connect with our community and our members. Because that’s part of it too, the relationships.
Schimri Yoyo: Good. And what do you consider has been the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur in the fitness realm?
Ally Diamond: Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say as far as challenges, it’s definitely an industry that’s quite saturated, right? Especially on social media.
So I think, in the beginning, it was developing my own unique personality and discovering what Ally brings to the table. Why am I different? You can go to any trainer, but why would you come to me?
And once I learned to develop that, I think that actually became my standout trait. I think my relatability and my ability to connect with a lot of different walks of life because of things I’ve been through in my life, I think make me an excellent choice.
Schimri Yoyo: Well, that’s good. And so, on the flip side of that card, what has been your greatest reward as an entrepreneur?
Ally Diamond: Oh gosh, it goes right hand in hand with that. I mean, I had worked so many jobs for so many years, and I call them jobs because I didn’t like them. I would say the greatest reward is, I know it sounds cheesy, but waking up every single day and not only getting to live my passion but to work within the field of my passion.
I never believed people who said, “Oh, I love my job.” You don’t love your job, you know? But I live it and it’s real, and you can live a passionate career. And every single day I go home and I lay my head down on the pillow and I’m so fulfilled because I’m doing what I love to do.
Schimri Yoyo: What’s next for you in the fitness space? Do you think that you’d ever expand? Or I’ll leave it open-ended. What’s next for you?
Ally Diamond: Currently, right now, I’m always looking to grow and learn. Right now, I’m kind of focused on ramping up my education a little bit, so I’m kind of getting certified within the next few months as a corrective exercise specialist, just so I can expand upon my knowledge. It’s easy to get in a rut and not advance. So, education is my way of keeping myself accountable.
Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. That professional development needs to be ongoing. I want to say thank you again for your time. I don’t want to hog up all of your time.
Ally Diamond: Not at all.
Schimri Yoyo: Your energy is contagious and infectious, and so I want you to be able to share that with others. So thank you again for spending your time with us today. But I just have one final question for you, Ally.
I want to know: Are there any resources that you would personally recommend for our audience? Whether it is books, magazines, podcasts. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be just about fitness either.
Ally Diamond: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I like self-help books, and the one most recently that I’ve really liked and enjoyed listening to—I do the audiobooks a lot—is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. Highly recommend. Yeah. That was excellent.
Schimri Yoyo: I’ll definitely have to check that one out.
Ally Diamond: Yeah.
Schimri Yoyo: Thank you, Ally, again for your time, and much continued success there in Florida.
Ally Diamond: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking with you.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.
Schimri Yoyo is a writer for Exercise.com and a financial advisor with active life and health insurance licenses. In a past life, he covered Villanova Men’s Basketball and Big East Football for Examiner.com. Schimri has also produced freelance copywriting, editing, and proofreading for various websites and online publications for over a decade. He is an avid sports fan, possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco 49ers. Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to stay financially and physically fit.