Creating a fitness brand in the pandemic

(Image courtesy of Tatum Mandy)

27th January 2021

By Elle Summers

As we now enter 2021, the search for a way to fill our long days as we drift in and out of lockdown continues. Though the last year has been hard for many and the lack of things to do has led to many pyjama days and Netflix binging, many people have tried to use this time to focus on their fitness. Many have endlessly trawled the internet looking for workout videos and nutrition advice. But has anyone stopped to think about the other side of the coin? Whilst we search for those to motivate us, how are those creating their fitness brands remaining inspired to help others on their journey?

With this in mind, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Tatum Mandy, owner of the small business Tone with Tatum. During the first lockdown, Tatum decided to use Instagram to track her own progress as she embarked on her latest fitness journey. Due to the waves of positive response she gained from this experience, Tatum decided to change the primary use of her page to help others. Reflecting on this, Tatum told me how she spent the first lockdown ‘focusing on my physical and mental health as well as focusing on self-development and educating myself. I read lots of books and started my online fitness trainer course, and that’s when Tone with Tatum really started to transition from an Instagram username to a brand.’

I was intrigued to learn more about Tatum’s motivation for wanting to help others. She responded that ‘this primarily came from my own journey, as before the first lockdown, I was depressed, unhealthy physically and mentally and lacking any motivation or direction in my life. I was very insecure, and my self-esteem had hit rock bottom. So, in May 2020 I decided that in 75 days I was going to be in the best physical shape of my life but what I didn’t realise was that along the way I would start to be in the best mental shape too! I decided that if fitness could lead to such a huge transformation in my life and make me happy and healthy, then I owed it to myself to help others do the same. A quote that really resonates with me now is “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”, and I wholeheartedly believe that my purpose is to help people to become the best versions of themselves!’

With anyone trying to stay healthy and fit, motivation to continue when you don’t initially see results is always a massive hurdle. Yet if you are coaching others, staying upbeat and positive to help your clients must be an even harder challenge. I asked Tatum to comment on this in regard to her own experiences and her responses were very insightful. ‘Many people ask me how I stay motivated, it’s always one of the things people comment on, but the truth is I am only human, and I am not motivated all the time. The thing about motivation is it comes and goes. People think they have to be motivated all the time to be successful but that is not the case. When it comes to exercise you may be super motivated and excited for the first 2 weeks or so but it’s what happens when that motivation dwindles that is most important. It’s about creating habits in your life. Statistically it takes 21 days to form or break a habit. Make exercise a habit by doing 21 days of exercise (this includes going for a walk).’ Once you are in the habit of exercising, it will be much easier to continue on your journey. Tatum also enlightened me about putting too much pressure on the concept of motivation when it comes to achieving your goals. She advises that ‘you need to figure out your ‘why’, the thing that you want so much that it’s almost a burning desire from the very core of your being. For example, my goal for my 75 day challenge was to feel comfortable in a bikini on my holiday, I had never felt confident about my body and I was at such a low point, that my biggest drive was wanting to not hate my body, because that hatred had been so taxing on my mental health for such a long time. Your ‘why’ needs to be something that enables you to overcome any obstacle.’

One challenge for those wanting to increase their fitness and workout more can usually be time restrictions due to a busy schedule. Although lockdown has removed this boundary somewhat, many of us are still trying to balance huge workloads with the stress of not being in the best environment to concentrate. Therefore, it can be difficult to agree to put your mind to something new, especially with the time it takes to work-out every day. Tatum’s main advice for this is ‘quality over quantity. You do not need to be at the gym for hours or exercise every day, fitness and exercise shouldn’t be a chore, it instead should fit into your lifestyle. So firstly: plan. Failure to plan is planning to fail, so ensure you schedule exercise into your day or set a reminder on your phone. Secondly, if something is important to you, you will make time. If you really want to make a change, then you will make time. Sometimes you need to sacrifice other things to achieve your goals. For example, in 2021 I have made it my mission to get up at 6am every day and this allows me to be so much more productive. When people say they don’t have enough time, then I know that they do not want their goal badly enough and this links back to finding your ‘why’. When your ‘why’ is strong enough, your ‘how’ is revealed.’

(Image courtesy of Tatum Mandy)

Wanting to know more about starting a new business in the pandemic, I turned the conversation towards Tatum’s brand itself and what it means to her. Tatum told me that ‘Tone with Tatum is much more than a business as it represents me. It represents a huge transformation in my life, I was at the lowest I had ever been and now here I am in January 2021, the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. I have just officially launched my new fitness and mindset coaching business and created a new website. Tone with Tatum represents so much growth for me, but it also represents the progress and transformation I hope my clients can achieve.’

Starting a small business can be scary at the best of times, but with the added pressure that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought to society, launching a brand can result in many different challenges. Tatum reflected upon how her initial problems with Tone with Tatum stemmed from insecurity. ‘Honestly, my biggest problem at first was what other people thought. But when you finally realise you need to stop letting other people’s opinions dictate what you do, you become free. When I finally realised that by letting other people’s opinions of what I was doing matter, I was depriving people of a service they could really need in their life. So I made it my mission to stop caring what people thought because obesity has become a huge problem in the UK and depression went up 300% in 2020, so there has never been a greater need for fitness and mindset coaching and it would be selfish if I didn’t do everything I could to help people.’ Through Tatum allowing her wish to help others drive her, she has been able to overcome these challenges and fight for her brand to be successful and has many hopes for the future. ‘2021 will be a year of growth for me. I officially launched my website on the 19th January, I now have people subscribe to my weekly emails, I started a blog and am currently reaching out to friends who have inspirational stories to share from starting their own business; doing charity work abroad; overcoming traumatic events and dealing with life threating illnesses. My business has expanded from fitness to mindset coaching as I realised that mindset is the most important thing for having a happy and successful life so I want to help people unlock their full potential. Once I graduate from UEA this year, I want to make Tone with Tatum my full time focus so that I can help more people. I know how valuable my services can be, so I want to overdeliver in my coaching and make Tone with Tatum a platform for helping as many people as possible live a life that they are happy and proud to be living.’

Tatum’s inspirational story about her brand has shown that despite the current situation with the pandemic, we can still use this time effectively and look to help others. Whether that be through creating your own brand, volunteering or being community support for those who live around you, there are many ways in which people can alter their mindset to use this time for the best. Tone with Tatum has already helped so many people begin their fitness journey throughout 2020 and 2021, myself included. And with such a dedicated and thoughtful coach as Tatum, I couldn’t recommend her brand more! Its humbling to reflect upon how though we all face challenges, people can push through boundaries to create services to help others.

To conclude our interview, Tatum gave me her top five fitness tips which I share with you here. Have a look and see if they inspire you on your own fitness journey!

1 - Food is fuel: don’t eat because you burnt calories or because you did a workout, eat because you deserve to eat, eat because you are human.

2 - You will never be ready so just start: if you waited for the perfect time to start your fitness journey, you would never start because there will never be a perfect time, so stop waiting & starting doing.

3 - Ask yourself “Is what I am doing right now getting me closer to my goal?” If the answer is no stop doing it. For example, if you want to go to the gym first thing in the morning and you leave your room a mess when you go to bed and have a really late night then you are already putting yourself in a worse position. But if you go to bed 30 mins earlier and get your gym clothes ready before you go to sleep then you are taking positive steps to help you achieve your goal.

4 - Hydration is key! From increased energy, to aiding digestion. The list of benefits for hydration is endless. (I always recommend my clients to aim for 3 litres for ladies, 4 litres for men)

5 - It’s a waiting game. One of the hardest things about fitness is that it’s a waiting game, if you’re as impatient as me, not seeing instant results at first can often be demoralising. But that’s when you have to start learning to appreciate and enjoy the journey not just the end result.

If you check Tone with Tatum out on Instagram (@tatummandy) or on her website or have any other stories about fitness coaches, drop us a comment to let us know about your experiences!

(Image courtesy of Tatum Mandy)