How Willpower Led Celeb Trainer Autumn Calabrese Of Beachbody’s ’21 Day Fix’ To Become A Fitness Mogul – Forbes
Whether you recognize Autumn Calabrese from the wildly popular on-demand Beachbody program 21 Day Fix, have read her Fixate cookbook, or caught her as a regular on shows like the Today Show or Dr. Oz, Calabrese proves that it takes grit and vision to build an empire from your passion.
A single mother who worked as a personal trainer at Equinox earlier on in her career, Calabrese was always thinking of ways to scale her business. The streaming fitness program Beachbody proved to be that solution: since joining Beachbody in 2013, Calabrese has revolutionized the Beachbody business model with her simple container-based approach to portion control and her breakthrough fitness program, 21 Day Fix.
The self-made fitness mogul started out as a dancer, before pivoting to fitness. She headed to California after college to attend dance and acting auditions. “I eventually saw that being a professional dancer or actress was not proving to be stable,” Calabrese explains, “So I was waiting tables. That’s when I decided to get my first personal training certification.”
Fast forward more than a decade later, and Calabrese has built a net worth of close to $8 million, thanks primarily to the six years (and counting) that she’s been with Beachbody.
The numbers say it all: 21 Day Fix and its follow-up, 21 Day Fix Extreme, have been Beachbody’s top-selling franchise for the past two years, while her Fixate cookbooks have sold over 600K copies to date. This past spring, Calabrese launched her Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition program on Beachbody, and it has been viewed over one million times in its first three months. She has also cultivated an Instagram following of over 730K people, a testament to her authenticity and realness.
Now Calabrese will be known to an even wider mainstream audience, with her role on Season 3 of E!’s Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian. (The episode featuring Calabrese airs on Sunday, August 18.)
But the road to becoming a fitness mogul wasn’t always clear: “I was lost. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I started with a small company doing in-home personal training and from there it started to build. I also specialized in pre- and post-natal fitness, so for a while I had a division of my company where I worked with pregnant women and women who had just had babies. After that came the crash of 2008. I lost a lot of my clients and needed a second burst of income, so I started working as a personal trainer at Equinox, seeing private clients. It’s been a long journey and I’ve been in the business a long time, but there was never a super clear-cut path,” Calabrese shares.
What was clear to Calabrese was that she wanted to reach a grand audience; after all, as a personal trainer, there are only so many hours in the day to meet with clients.
“What I did know was that I wanted to help people on a grand scale, so I was always looking for the opportunity to allow me to keep doing what I was doing in fitness, but to reach more people while doing it. Whether that was going to be putting out my own DVDs, signing on with a company like Beachbody, or being on The Biggest Loser — these were all possibilities. As for The Biggest Loser, that didn’t happen. It was me and Anna Kournikova at one point and they went with Anna Kournikova! I was always looking for the next opportunity and working towards it, but there was no set direction. There was no ‘here is A, here is B, here’s how to get there.'”
What was helped her get there and reach celebrity status goes deeper than her dance and fitness qualifications (Calabrese has certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals & Associates): she is armed with determination, something she cites as a key trait for aspiring female entrepreneurs:
“You have to be determined. If you ask me what the number one thing is that got me to where I am, it’s determination. It’s just this unwavering sense of knowing what I wanted and not letting anyone else tell me whether or not I could have it. You can’t be one foot in and one foot out, you have to be all in, going for it and knowing that’s the goal. And I think you can have fear, but you can’t let fear stop you. So dream big enough that it scares you a little bit, but be able to look at that fear and work past it. Because so many people get caught up in that, or they might be right there, about to accomplish something, but then there’s fear that creeps in — Well what if I do accomplish it, what does that mean? You have to keep going, so that you don’t self-sabotage.”