Have you ever had the chance to meet someone you admired but had only ever read about or watched on TV? I can now say that I have! And to say that I was grateful for the opportunity would be an understatement.
Last week I got to talk to fitness entrepreneur Anna Renderer about motherhood, personal development, fitness, family life, favorite products, and her humble beginnings.
My hope is to recreate the amazing interview we shared so you can get a taste of Anna’s brilliance like I did. The benefit of reading about our conversation instead of listening to it is that you don’t have to hear my periodic awkward laughter and wonder what’s so funny.
The truth of the matter is that I got a kick out of how animated Anna was about everything we discussed. I’ll try not to let her words look flat in print because I want to pay proper tribute to how vibrant and genuine she is. But you really have to hear her speak and to get a feel for her amazing energy. But I’ll do my best to capture her zest!
A Brief Bio
Before I tell you about the interview we shared the other day, I want to make sure my readers have a clear idea of who Anna Renderer is and what she’s all about.
I suspect that most of you would recognize this beautiful woman with an incredible smile who developed and starred in over 100 fitness videos on YouTube. I am one of the millions of people who watch these videos every month because they are phenomenal workouts which can be done at home with little to no equipment.
As the fitness TV host of POPSUGAR, Anna shares her expertise and interviews celebrity trainers. With her team, she produces new workout videos each week for POPSUGAR’s 650k subscribers.
Anna is highly qualified for her role with POPSUGAR. She earned Bachelor and Master degrees in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Northeastern University.
Additionally, she is a Certified Personal Trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and a Certified Youth Fitness Specialist with the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA). Anna also works as a High Performance coach and a 1-Star Diamond coach for Team Beachbody.
Over the years Anna has created several successful fitness-related programs. She co-founded KFIT Health which educates children about nutrition and fitness.
Other programs she’s founded include 7 Day Fat Furnace, Ultimate Reset, and the Sexy Confident Woman Formula. Through these platforms, she has helped countless women lose weight and gain confidence.
In addition to all of that, she and her husband Vito La Fata host Vision in the Vineyards retreats at their vineyard in California. The couple invites other entrepreneurs to a two and a half day retreat and offers their services to launch or refresh their online businesses.
Our chat started with a topic that many people discuss when first meeting: the weather. Anna was sitting outside since work was being done inside her house. She was bundled up in a big jacket, a cute beanie, and gloves because it was raining and chilly in California.
When I commented that I was near Park City, Utah she said that whenever she takes a ski trip she’s reminded that what’s considered cold in California is much different than what’s considered cold elsewhere. As someone who grew up on the East coast, she’s gotten used to sunny California and says she’s been “wussified.”
I then opened up to her and confessed that I had butterflies. I was trying to manage my nerves, but it was so unreal to casually talk to someone I’ve looked up to for years. I guess you’d say I was star-struck. She put me at ease by saying, “If you met any of my family they’d be like, ‘Oh, you got nothing to worry about!’ I am a small town girl and I come from humble beginnings.” Anna then explained that she doesn’t feel famous; she sees herself just like any other mom out there.
Feeling much more comfortable, I gathered my wits and asked her why she moved away from the East coast to live in California. In hindsight, I probably could have guessed the answer but she graciously told me about that part of her life. Life on the East coast had been “hard core” for Anna.
Not only was it exceptionally cold there, but she grew up on welfare as one of six kids to a single mom. After high school she went on to work her way through college. Upon earning her degrees, she decided to move West in 2005. She explained, “It felt like the grind so much in my life growing up that I just wanted to go to sunny California.”
Apparently she didn’t plan on staying, she just wanted a break from the hard-edged East coast hustle and to “live a free, sunny life for a little bit.” But she fell in love with the area and has lived there ever since. Although it was difficult to have that much distance from her family, she blossomed in California.
“I felt almost like I was meant to live in this place. I felt at home immediately. Almost like my spiritual animal was here. And when I came to California everything just started to feel simple, easy,” Anna said.
Anna’s Mentor Brendon Burchard
Within the first few minutes of our Zoom call, Anna told me about a time she had been in my shoes as the nervous interviewer. One of her biggest mentors is Brendon Burchard, and when she first met him in person she was so happy she just smiled the whole time. When he told her “You have great energy!” (which she does) she said she almost died!
This sparked my curiosity so I looked into him afterwards. After doing a quick Google search, I found Brendon Burchard’s website and learned that he is “the world’s leading high performance coach, a 3-time New York Times bestselling author, and one of the most-watched, quoted, and followed personal development trainers in history.”
Anna met him through her husband Vito at a High Performance Academy event which changed her life. According to Anna, High Performance is all about “developing who you are to your greatest potential.” Brendon’s message really opened her eyes to the importance of personal development and tapping into your potential. She experienced a “lightbulb moment” and learned to “intentionally try to grow as a person so my life would grow.”
This two and a half day event with Brendon really shaped Anna. She went on to get certified as a High Performance coach as I mentioned earlier. It led her to develop her Sexy Confident Woman formula course, which “helps women not only just like try to get fitness and nutrition in their life but to try to develop confidence in themselves, to develop their own plan for living their best life.”
Later Anna invested in Brendon’s Mastermind program with her husband. This event fueled their ambition for growth. It was there that they came up with their “Vision in the Vineyard” retreats.
These have been hugely successful and an effective way to help “people build their brand, build their message, their story, their signature programs.” She even told me that it’s made them over six figures in the last two years. And it’s something that they enjoy since they “love working with people, building brands, doing online business”.
Anna credits Brendon’s guidance to her success because he gave her the “feeling like we could tap into the best of who we are.” This is an idea she said is critical for more of us to invest in if we want any kind of growth. In her words, “If you want to be a better mom, become a better you.”
Anna Renderer’s Family
Anxious to hear more about her family, who I’d seen pictured on social media, I led the conversation to her husband Vito La Fata. Like Anna, Vito is from the East coast. When they met in 2012 at a fitness conference, Anna thought he was cute but assumed he was married with kids since he looked older than her.
But she ended up connecting with him after the conference in LA and described it as “boom-boom-boom fireworks!” Shortly afterward they started dating and building their life together.
While Vito is only seven years older than Anna, she found his maturity attractive. Previously she’d dated guys her age and described them as “such boys.” She decided she needed someone who “had his crap together and knows what he wants in life.” And that was Vito! She says, “He was my champion for sure.”
The couple really wanted a family even though they met later in life. Three years after they got married they got pregnant. Anna told me about the “interesting type of treatment you get in hospital settings when you’re older and pregnant.”
Although she was “like a strong ox, healthier than most of the 25 year olds out there” they treated her like she was “so vulnerable to everything.” Despite this annoyance, Anna and Vito were thrilled to be bringing a baby into their family.
Little Lucca, who is two and a half now, was born on Anna’s 38th birthday. I read on her blog that before her water broke, she had a home birth plan all set up. However, after laboring at home for eighteen hours she still wasn’t fully dilated so she ended up in the hospital to make sure her baby arrived safely.
She said “out of all the extreme activities I’ve done in the past, nothing compared to this. Triathlons, hiking 22 miles up and down Mt. Whitney in a day, running a marathon, running 13 miles of mountain range in Malibu…nothing compared.” Now that’s saying something!
While she described Lucca as “our little blessing,” Anna confessed that she wasn’t always sure it was her “destiny to be a mom.” She explained that she wasn’t willing to “sacrifice my career or the things I wanted for myself.”
As a child, Anna watched her mom who was willing to give up all of her wants in life for her children. But Anna decided that wasn’t the life for herself. She wanted to wait to bring a baby into the world until she had created the life she wanted and met the guy she wanted.
Lessons Learned From Motherhood
We then talked about being selfish as a mom. We both agreed on the importance of pursuing your own happiness and sanity while raising children. Anna told me, “I’d like more women to be selfish. It’s not a bad word, it’s a good word. Take the time, have the space, create the things that you need. If you don’t, no one else is going to do it for you.”
Shortly after having Lucca, Anna found herself surprised by how difficult mothering was with the “sleep training, breast feeding, and going through the whole emotional roller coaster of dealing with your body healing.”
At this point in the conversation she got animated and said, “No mother tells you! I don’t know if it’s just this thing where no mom wants to really tell you because you’re not going to be prepared no matter what. But I tell every mother who’s going to have their first child, ‘I don’t want to scare you, but it’s the hardest thing that you’ll ever do. Just telling you, because no one ever told me!’”
I absolutely concur with this. When my kids were newborns I couldn’t believe that so many women before me had done what felt so overwhelming and impossible.
Although Anna sees motherhood as the most challenging role a woman will ever play, she also strongly believes that women are built for it. She eloquently explained this by saying, “It’s amazing because our capacity just grows. You just become this rock that is capable of anything coming your way.” Being a mom is the hardest role out there, Anna said, because it’s not just one role but many: you need to be the nurturer, the feeder, the parent, the teacher, the mentor, everything!
Anna’s advice to moms struggling to keep up is this: “Take a breath. It’s ok. Kids don’t need everything to be just perfect.” Also, she’s learned there’s “no point in comparing yourself to anyone else. Doing that is the best way to stress yourself out and kind of lose your head.”
She urges mom’s to filter the advice of doctors, friends, and well-meaning family members. In other words, decide what works for you and your family. She says, “So many people, and moms especially, go through this anxiety about doing everything the right way. There’s no right way: it’s your way.”
Embracing this perspective in her life helps things flow smoother and frees her from pressure and stress. The trick for her is to “breathe through it and just allow myself to run my life the way I needed to.” It’s like they say: there’s no one way to be a perfect mom but a million ways to be a good mom.
One way Anna found her own way as a mother related to breastfeeding. Even before she had Lucca, she knew she “wasn’t going to be a natural breast feeder because [she has] flat nipples.” Her mother suggested preparing her nipples beforehand, a practice she had done before having her babies. Anna said she tried it once and quickly decided it wasn’t for her.
Then she discovered nipple guards which made latching so much easier. She told me that even though the nipple guards could be cumbersome at times, “It was this miracle for me because I really wanted to breastfeed.”
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing Anna shared came next. “For me,” Anna said, “being able to navigate and figure it out is what motherhood is all about.” The word navigating seems like a perfect verb to describe mothering. It’s not as if we’re following a specific, well-defined path on our quest to be good mothers to our children.
Anna’s “Can’t Do Without” Items
When I saw that my time with Anna was coming to a close, I knew I needed to fit in one more question. I wanted to know about some of her favorite products, whether related to motherhood, fitness, or just in general. She seemed prepared for this question and gave me some awesome answers.
First, Anna told me about a few self-care products she said “I just can’t imagine my life without”: a foam roller and hyper volt . Everyone who works out with her in her fitness club and other programs know all about the benefits they offer and how good they feel. Anna described them as “natural, cheap ways to give yourself a self-massage.”
She uses them on her hips and low back and noted that if she didn’t have them during pregnancy she never would have slept. It didn’t matter how much she stretched; she was still tight. If you can relate to this, be sure to follow the links above to give them a try.
Next, Anna offered a nutrition tip that moms out there will appreciate, especially considering it’s coming from a fitness and nutrition expert. She said, “I live by Shakeology daily.” Shakeology has supported her for the last seven years, before, during, and after her pregnancy.
When little Lucca got older, he watched her drink her shakes regularly and wanted to try them. She wasn’t sure if it was suitable for him, so she found Daily Sunshine which is specifically designed for children.
Now he drinks it every day, which makes Anna feel good because she struggles to get him to eat any vegetables besides peas and tomatoes. With Daily Sunshine she can rest assured that her sweet son is getting the vitamins and nutrients his growing body needs. But she wouldn’t be able to make these daily shakes without her beloved NutriBullet.
She told me, “I don’t even think I could go anywhere without those things.” I so appreciated her recommendations and put a lot of stock into her expert opinion.
Learn More About Anna
As you can tell after reading this, I can’t say enough good things about Anna Renderer. She is very a special person and I felt incredibly fortunate to spend a few minutes with her. Do yourself a favor and check her out online to learn more about her.
You can find her on social media where she shares her secret weapons and mentors mom who want high levels of fitness, energy, and success. She’s on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. I also highly recommend finding her on YouTube for some awesome workouts!
It’s also worth your time to visit her website which is bursting with resources and help. She offers a free Small Steps Planner where you can get daily nutritious tips, fun exercises that get results, and tools to boost confidence.
You can also learn about her prenatal workout program there to help you stay strong, pain-free, and mobile during pregnancy. I can’t imagine a better coach than Anna and you can read all about her High Performance coaching program on her website. Anna describes her website best: “If you’re looking to gain optimal energy, a healthy body and high performance mindset, then you’re in the right spot!”