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Meet Trailblazer Annastoshia Dutko

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annastoshia Dutko.

Annastoshia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Five years ago, I stopped doing everything I thought I SHOULD be doing.

In 2014, I was working a corporate job when my entire division got shut down, laying everyone in the department off, except me. Barely hanging on by a string to keep my job (and paycheck) coming, I got creative and pitched a new job position for myself within the company and kept my comfortable 9-5 job. Looking back at this situation and others, I can see as clearly the tenancy, perseverance and “think outside the box” mentality I have always had inside me.

The day finally came when I was laid off. I was now a jobless, single mom with a new baby at home and a new mortgage for the house I had just bought for us a few months prior.

I was nauseous thinking about putting out resumes and interviewing. I didn’t want to do it.

I thought to myself, “There’s got to be more. There’s got to be another way. There’s got to be another path.”

One of my favorite quotes is from “The Road Not Taken” poem by Robert Frost.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

I felt like I was at a crossroad as I stood in my garage one afternoon. As I paced back and forth that day, I decided I was going to take the road less traveled. I wanted to take a step into the unknown and do the opposite of what I “should” do.

Within a day, I had hired a life/business coach and told him I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but the only thing that had been consistent in my life was fitness and we started there.

I have always been passionate about the intensity that is involved in athletic training and seeing what the body is capable of. And when I found boxing in my 20’s, I immediately fell in love with the sport. I had found my “thing.” My thing that lights me on fire and makes me come alive.

But we didn’t just start there because fitness is a passion of mine. I also had encountered a problem of my own and pain point that I wanted to find a solution to.

Like most parents come to realize after having a child, life changed dramatically for me after I had my daughter. Not only could I barely find time to shower, I no longer could spend hours in the gym, let alone make it to the gym at all. I was used to working out with my friends at the gym and was training for my first amateur boxing fight when I found out I was pregnant. That dream was put on hold and I had my daughter on my own. It’s been just us since.

With a toddler attached to me 24/7 and no family living close by, the only options I could see to keep working out were – pay a babysitter for a couple of hours to train at a studio gym that didn’t have childcare or go to a corporate gym so I could put her in childcare there. Neither option was appealing to me. I loved boxing and I wanted a tribe of like-minded people to work out with. The gym was my happy place and I slowly felt it slipping away. Even though I was working out at home, it was unmotivating and I never pushed myself or got satisfaction out of it.

Once again, I thought to myself, there’s got to be a better way.

Round 2 was born.

I said, if you can’t go to the gym, then the gym should come to you! If you have children at home or work from home, you should still have accessibility to great personal trainers AND be able to box!

So I stocked my car with gym equipment and boxing gear and got to work spreading the word of my new venture!

Round 2 was founded on the principle that you always have a second chance. There’s always a second choice, another way. And you can always go another round. Round 2 signifies new beginnings and the next chapter of your life. You can always pivot in life. You can leave the 1st Round of life and go into your 2nd Round like the champion you are!

Round 2 was my second chance at life and one of my chapters I would find out that would ultimately feed my soul and tap into gifts I had no idea I had. I pushed myself every day to learn new traits and skills. I learned how to become an expert in my field and have the right mindset to flourish in the exciting world of entrepreneurship.

I never really knew the word “Entrepreneurship” till I started my company, but I can tell you I’ve been an entrepreneur at heart since I was a little kid. At a young age, I figured out there were many ways to make money. I was always creating opportunities for myself. I have always had a natural “hustle” attitude and believed I could do anything with hard work and the right attitude.

However, I had no real experience and knowledge of how to run a small business. But I went all-in anyway. 100%. In two short years, I went from free boot camps in my driveway to now being one of the top fitness trainers to leaders and entrepreneurs of Tampa Bay.

After I built my skills as a personal trainer in my driveway, I started going into people’s homes and training clients 1-on-1. As I gained more clients, the business model was failing and didn’t allow for much growth. I was spending too much time traveling from house to house, schlepping gym equipment around to add additional streams of revenue to grow.

So, I did what any normal person would do…
I turned my dining & living room area into a gym!
I laid down gym flooring, got a big gym mirror and started building my new gym!
It didn’t take long to realize turning my living room into my office/gym was a terrible idea. After it wreaked havoc on my home life, I moved my home gym and opened up shop at local gym facility that catered to fitness businesses. I now had overhead and it was time to ramp it up! I had a good run renting space in West Tampa for a year and now train clients at a new space in downtown Tampa.

My journey started with begging my neighbors and friends to let me train them for free in my driveway to gain experience. A couple of months later, I signed my first client. After some negotiation, we agreed on $18 for an hour of training. I immersed myself in growing my business and gaining expertise. My client base grew, my rates kept increasing and my niche became solidified.

But it wasn’t just about the money. It’s about the clients I now serve. I have found clients who I serve best, the kind of like-minded people I was looking for. This has allowed me to give my best to my clients because I’m at my best.

They are vulnerable and come with an attitude of wanting to be better. That’s what lights me up. Not the numbers on the scale. I teach the mindset of loving yourself for who you are today at this moment, but wanting to be better tomorrow.

Although the name Round 2 is in the process of being faded out with the birth of my new brand, Annastoshia, the Fit by Annastoshia brand embodies the same values and concept.

My new program is an experience designed to help busy entrepreneurs and leaders stay fit and healthy so they can achieve their life goals and crush their business goals.

I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and busy executives overcome obstacles in the gym first – so they can kick ass and overcome obstacles in life and business.

I am devoted to providing personal training, in-person and online, for Entrepreneurs and Leaders who want to get fit and push the limits. I help type-A, go-getters get a satisfying, time-efficient workout in less than an hour that not only feeds the mind, body, and soul but keeps them fit and active.

The Round 2 journey has tapped into a part of me that has always been wanting to come out. It’s led me to new ventures online that fuels my creativity and keeps me going. I have learned how much I love writing, public speaking, blogging, making videos, graphic design, content creation, and showing others the positive sides of social media marketing.

I have also started a side hustle, start-up pilot program called Kreative Kids. Kreative Kids USA is an affordable enrichment program dedicated to play. This new program focuses on creativity, active PLAY and lets kid’s imagination run wild! The pilot program has been a success with kids and parents thus far with exceptional feedback. We have plans to move forward with the program within the year and introduce it to more martial art schools in the area.

My next chapter has begun as I move onto new ventures that will enable me to grow further in learning new traits and mastering my skills. The first step is closing my Round 2 Fit brand and moving all personal training 100% online under the new brand-umbrella of “Annastoshia.” This shift will allow me to reach more entrepreneurs with video workout programs, mindset coaching, virtual group training, motivational videos, entrepreneur talk, a brand-new blog, T-shirt line, and so much more cool sh*t to come!

I’m excited about my new Round 2 of life as I begin building a new brand, continuing my journey and all the adventure it will bring!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were some of the struggles along the way? Any advice for other women, particularly young women who are just starting their journey?
I’ll tell you the truth. It was a smooth road in the beginning because I was fueled with excitement and passion. It was shiny and new and I was eager to work. I worked REALLY, really hard. But it didn’t feel like hard work because I was working towards something with focus and determination. I had a goal and I was having fun! Don’t forget to have fun!

Unfortunately, the fuel that is driving you, can die. The fire dies. It’s not because you lose your passion, but because you begin to learn the amount of massive work it takes and grasp the understanding of the sacrifices you will have to make. You realize that motivation dies and you have to replace it with self-discipline, habits, and work that you don’t always want to do. But in my opinion, it’s all worth it. I can’t imagine it any other way for myself. Yes, it is still work… but it’s work worth doing and it’s YOURS!

The biggest struggle I have had is twofold. I built a new life for myself on my own terms so I could spend more time with my daughter and have the flexibility to do so. But depending on your long-term goals, what you’ll find is you’re creating more work for your life and less time for your family (again, this is based on your goals. You absolutely can create your own life and make more time for your family).

I created a life that pulled me more and more away from my daughter and at one point, didn’t feel like I had any freedom at all. There was a period of time I felt less in control of my schedule than at a 9-5. You have to set boundaries for yourself and those you’re working with. Know your value and your priorities. Don’t let your mission and personal values get out of whack. Remember why you started because it’s a slow drip if you let things slide and go unnoticed. Don’t let people take advantage of your talent. Stay firm in your worth. Otherwise, one day, it will all come forward and you’ll be forced to make the hard changes.

It’s a give and take. Accept the seasons of life, of your business, of your goals, your personal life and most importantly, YOU.

I have a lot of advice to give and you can take some or take none! It’s all advice based on MY personal experience. Always keep that in mind when taking advice from others.

Learn about yourself. Learn what is driving you. Understand your WHY. Why are you doing all this? Why do you do what you do? Why are you willing to sacrifice? Know that your WHY will change and it’s ok to pivot.

My advice to other women, particularly young women who are just starting their journey is to first, work hard at work worth doing and keep your head down for the first year or two. Learn your industry and develop your craft. Find out what makes you unique in your industry. Listen to those you trust here and there but ultimately double-down on YOU and what makes you different.

Next, ignore all the advice out there and don’t take every “how to” course. You already know how to do more than you think you do. Trust yourself and your skills. (this is general advice based on my experience and mostly for those in the service industry, personal branding, and products that fall under your expertise. Most often, it IS best to seek advice and a mentor when starting a new business. But if you are building something based on YOUR vision and brand, be careful not to get lost and caught up in what everyone else is doing and their opinions of you).

Then, work diligently and create systems. Master self-discipline and habits because sh*t will GET REALLY HARD and you will want to quit. Your vision, determination, grit, self-mastery, systems, and habits will keep you going when you don’t want to. Know your WHY and your BIG RIDICULOUS GOAL. Have a big ridiculous fucking goal that you think people would laugh at. Believe in it. Write it down, read it every day and ingrain it in you so you can tap into it whenever you need to… to reach for that goal.

Don’t wing it all the time and fly by the seat of your pants with all your great ideas. Yes, take the risks and don’t be afraid to fail, but also have a plan for all your great ideas.

As you learn and grow, remember you will change and the things that are important to you can change too, so enjoy the now. Pause and try to be content with yourself and your life. Be grateful for the small things and what you have now. This will help you set the intention and habit to be thankful and happy with your life no matter where you are in your journey.

Lastly, take care of yourself. I have been working with entrepreneurs for years now and the #1 thing I see is, the lack of self-care. The business becomes the most important thing in their life and they dismiss taking time for themselves because of the never-ending list of important things to do. Walk away for an hour, a day, a week, a month. Take time to get your head straight and make sure you’re on the right path. Don’t forget about you, your health, your family and friends. Your business is important, but without your health and people who care about you, there’ll be no business without you here. And if you are here, you’ll be too unhealthy and unhappy to run it and live a fulfilling life filled with purpose and love.

One last thing, be careful with passion. Just because you are passionate about something and love it, doesn’t always mean you should turn it into a business. Sometimes that hobby or thing you do that makes you happy is just for YOU. It’s YOUR thing and your happy place. I don’t care what Gary V says. When you turn a passion into a business, at the end of the day, you could be turning it into work that you’ll end up hating and a life you dread. Be sure to keep things in your life that make you happy and free… don’t get caught up that everything should be a business or should make you money. Test your passion out and see if you really enjoy it when it becomes how you make a living.

Oh, and READ! Never stop learning. Trust yourself and love yourself for who you are today, but demand more of yourself tomorrow.

Please tell us about Fit by Annastoshia – what should we know?
Through my entrepreneurial journey, I have identified two strengths that light me on fire — CREATION and MOTIVATION. I love to bring ideas and dreams to life and help people gain momentum by creating a vision, visuals, and content. Seeing this happen in the gym has made me realize it can be done in other areas of life.

I work with entrepreneurs who want to see what they are capable of. What differentiates myself from other trainers is the addition of MINDSET training I add to my fitness programs. I help people see the rewards after they really grasp the concept of mind over matter. So much of what we do is in our head and what we tell ourselves. We stay stuck because we believe something about ourselves that most often, is not true. I help pull the potential out of people they often can’t see in themselves.

Through fitness & mindset training, my clients are able to connect the dots and use the mentality they already have in business and apply it in the gym. We work on building a foundation that sticks so fitness isn’t something that fades in and out.

The goal is to begin training your mind and body to stay committed, disciplined and consistent. Setting an intention of a habit instead of making working out something you “have” to do and eventually quitting. You want working out to become something that becomes a part of your life!

My first new program under this new brand is my 30-day, 5-minute workout program! This program focuses on CONSISTENCY, HABIT, and ROUTINE! It will help you make time to consciously think about moving your body and working out every day, for just 5 minutes a day. The goal is to begin training your mind and body to stay committed, disciplined and consistent with exercise. For this program, you get a new workout video every single day where I’m there working out with you for 30 days to keep you motivated!

These mind and body exercises and programs helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their business with a new mindset and level of confidence. Whether it’s in the gym or starting a business, I am passionate about people breaking through the box they’ve put themselves in by showing them what they’re capable of, so they can overcome and come out stronger. I want to wake people up so they can push their limits and see their human potential.

In the near future, I will be sharing my story of how I’ve overcome many battles and struggles in my life in a book and begin speaking more. I want to offer the world something that is unique to me and has the impact to help people feel less alone and see the strength they have inside of them to overcome their battles if they are willing to fight for themselves.

Under this new brand umbrella, I will share my desire to help people in the space that I relate to the most and be vulnerable in the spaces people least expect of me to be. Showing there are struggles behind people you think have it all together so we can all connect on a larger scale. I am eager to share that beauty or a fit body won’t make you happy or fix anything if you haven’t looked at what’s going on inside yourself.

As a new brand, “Annastoshia,” I will be proud to blow up the idea that anyone can appear “put together” or “perfect” or “have their sh*t together.” I was one of those people and I was a mess inside. No one is perfectly put together and I want to share the many stories I have that show “proof” of disasters, failures, and struggles I’ve overcome in my life and how I did it on my own – Because I want others to also tap into their strength to breakthrough whatever is holding them back.

As I write more under the new brand name, I hope to inspire and help others not feel so alone in their hard times so one day, they too, will overcome and share their stories.

To sum it all up… it’s my life goal to be the leader and role model I’m looking for — so others will know they can be that for themselves too and will do the same for others. Creating a positive ripple effect that helps the world breed healthy leaders… one story at a time.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Great question. Honestly, I’m not sure, but if I had to connect the dots somehow, I would say it was probably the need to “prove” something that has driven me in my work. I didn’t excel in school and wasn’t a promising student that showed any signs of potential. After high school, I felt determined to prove everyone wrong. I didn’t see it at the time and no longer feel this way, but looking back I probably wanted to show my friends, teachers, and family that I was going to “be something.”

Even before starting my business, I was always driven to be successful in my business endeavors and careers. This need to “prove them wrong” can help drive you and stay motivated in the beginning. However, I took a look at that need and dealt with it because I don’t think it’s a good source of motivation as you move forward (in my opinion).

Other than that, I don’t feel like there was something about my experiences growing up that played an outside role in my “success” later in life. If anything, I think growing up squashed what I always knew was there. I always felt I had to conform to the norm. Until one day I realized I didn’t have to. We have the freedom to make different choices and create a life we want to live. I do believe a majority of what sets you up for success comes from personality traits and the grit to keep going… but you must cultivate those traits. Nothing comes easy and you have to double down on your gifts. I’ve always been a dreamer, hard worker and can see opportunities where others can’t. My determination, grit, and perseverance is something I feel I have engrained in myself because I have seen the results that come to fruition when I tap into those traits.

That’s an interesting question though! I’ll continue thinking about it. Thank you!


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Image Credit:
Audra Stroud Oden, David Bamber

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1 Comment

  1. Cameron Herold

    August 21, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    GREAT Press coverage – well deserved…

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