Angi Greene Fletcher doesn't think twice when it comes to sharing life's major ups and downs with us. Once a model in Milan, now a triathlete and trainer residing on the West Coast, Fletcher uses Instagram as a fearless line of communication with her followers. Her mission? To remain utterly honest and open when discussing her truth – whether it's about divorce, depression, new love, the loss of a parent, or expecting her second child. No topic is too far, because Fletcher wants women to know that they're not alone, and that they are certainly understood. She's become a touchstone for her fans because her professional and personal experiences are valued. What's semi-relieving is that she's the first to tell us she's not perfect. Then again, none of us are - thankfully! Because perfect can be so damn boring. Get to know her advice on living a healthy lifestyle, being your best self, and the alternatives to reach for when you're craving a bag of potato chips.
This is your second pregnancy and you got back in amazing shape after your first. What advice can you share with moms who are trying to lose their baby weight?
My first piece of advice would be to take a long hard look at what your focus is. Before you start "getting your body back," it's best to come to the realization that you will never have the same body you had before you got pregnant. We are all constantly growing and changing and ageing, and to keep the "same" body is impossible. That said, you can have a stronger body than before, you can be leaner than before and you can have more energy than before. It saddens me when women are afraid to get pregnant or are so eager to get their body back that they lose all sense of purpose and passion for this new life they've created. Losing baby weight is similar to losing body weight; if you have a reason to lose the weight, then you will. If you have the discipline required to lose the weight, then you will. If you have the commitment to losing weight, then you will. I would say learn to love yourself and be kind to yourself, and stay committed to a lifestyle of fitness, health and wellness that works within your schedule. The weight will come off a lot faster than stressing about it and wasting precious time away from your baby that you will never get back. Start with small goals that won't overwhelm you and spin you into a hormonal mess. Drink more water. Stay hydrated. Go for a walk with your baby and a friend. Make sure you are eating 80% real (alive) food, and only 10-20 % "pantry" food. Be active every single day. There are many resources to follow for a post-natal workout program. Soon (I always say within 6 months to a year) you will feel more like yourself. Your sleep will increase, your energy will increase, and your hormones will balance out. Be kind to yourself and cherish this time!
You're currently working on your own lifestyle website! This is the perfect platform for your audience to gain your advice on everything from personal loss, to diet and workouts. What can you share with us about this new endeavor?
This has been a passion of mine for years, and it has taken years! I have had many setbacks, but I'm continuing to forge ahead with this dream of mine; to be able to have somewhere to go for women who email me every day asking me how I got through my divorce, or how I overcame depression, or how I quit smoking or being a sugar addict, or how I managed to live through losing practically all of my material possessions and both parents and still have a positive outlook on life. It would be a full-time job for me to answer every one of these emails, and with every one that I read, my heart breaks for women who continue to imprison themselves with low self-worth or family heartache or health issues. I can't give a date for when this will be live, but I try my best with the social media platforms I have to share as much as I can to help others.
You're always refreshingly open and honest with your followers on Instagram. Has that always been your character, even pre-social media?
Yes, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve... to a fault. I always thought everyone was like me and told the truth all the time and shared everything with everybody. But later in life, I found out most people have secrets. Closets and tombs where they lie to themselves so much that they don't even know what the truth is anymore. I have learned to guard my heart. Especially when it comes to protecting or respecting other people's privacy. I married a very private man and as much as I share on social media, I am always aware that I do not have to share everything with everybody.
As a personal trainer, your job is to build women's strength (inside and out). What are some of the most inspiring things you've taken from your career?
Every day is inspiring. Every email, every client, every "follower" who thanks me for my honesty, for motivating them in a certain way or who has resonated with me. We are all fighting a battle that no one knows about and it takes so much courage just to get out of bed sometimes. I've been depressed. I've had social anxiety so debilitating that I lost most of my friends and went from being a social butterfly to a hermit. I know the struggles this life has to offer - paralyzing fear, crippling comparison and heart-racing anxiety. So whenever I am able to help women "re-train" their brain and their bodies to fight for themselves and recover and overcome things they never thought possible, that's a huge victory for me.
“Find out what you love, what makes your heart happy, what makes you want to get outside, and make time for it. Put yourself on your schedule."
It seems like we are all so pressed for personal time these days. What is the most effective workout for women on the go?
That depends on your goals. What I have found that works the best is figuring out your goals for your body. Is it losing weight? What kind of weight? Is it gaining strength? Muscle? Endurance? Happiness? Energy? There are specific workouts for specific goals and the more you can dial that in, the less energy and time you will waste. The most effective way to gain results is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This combines several muscle groups at one time and keeps your heart rate higher for a shorter amount of time, but keeps on burning calories long after you're finished your workout by increasing oxygen levels in your system. But most importantly, find out what you love, what makes your heart happy, what makes you want to get outside, and make time for it. Put yourself on your schedule and don't miss your own appointment with yourself.
You have had so many professional and personal accomplishments. What can you say to those that are overcoming their own personal hurdles?
Keep going. Life doesn't stop unless you do. Life is constantly changing. Don't give up. Remember there are seasons for everything! You might be in a season of grieving, a season of making a baby, a season of divorce, a season of financial hardship... this too shall pass. It's a hard sentence not to get mad at when you're in the middle of it, but I've found it to be so very true. Everything passes if you allow yourself to grow through it. You don't have to be stuck.
How do you like to get your day started, and what's your nighttime ritual?
Well, now that I'm in a season of being very pregnant, I start my day off by peeing. My alarm is set for 5:45am to get my son to the bus on time. I make myself fresh grapefruit and orange juice - because I've craved citrus for my entire pregnancy - and share it with my son while we make breakfast and pack his lunch together. After I drop him off, I usually make myself a butter coffee and breakfast and shortly after that I workout/move. If I don't make time for it first thing in the AM, I don't do it because inevitably something else takes precedence. This all happens before 8am so I have plenty of time left in my day for the rest of my work. My nighttime ritual is brushing my teeth, flossing and if I'm lucky I'll wash my face. I tend to push so hard during the day that I collapse into bed and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I would love to say I read every night, but that usually only happens once or twice a week.
Everyone is created differently, but what are some universal changes that women can take to improve their health?
Stop emotionally attaching yourself to food. This is probably the hardest thing of our generation when it comes to health. The instant gratification of sugar, pantry food and fast food is the cause of most of our serious health issues. Not only cancer, heart disease and diabetes, but serious gut health issues, depression, low sex drive, ADHD, bloating and brain fog. If you change your diet you will change your life.
What are some go-to songs that get you through a workout?
Beyoncé, Imagine Dragons, Sia, I listen to a lot of soundtracks like anything by Hans Zimmer.
We all can't be perfect. What is one of your guilty pleasures that most wouldn't expect?
Ha! I'm the farthest from perfect! Trying to be perfect is a disease that will eat at you and make you sick and paralyzed. I've taken the guilt out of pleasure and just enjoy myself when I know my body is feeling extra hormonal or vulnerable. Women were created with amazing cycles and instead of using them as an excuse to over indulge in moodiness, lashing out and emotional eating, I try to find strength in my femininity and celebrate it. My favorite thing in the world is chips. I used to eat them by the family size bag. But now I am able to do most things in moderation, so if I feel like chips, I'll have some chips. I just make a mental note that my body is craving sodium and my mouth is craving something crunchy so I usually end up with a "life-giving" alternative like chilled cucumber slices with sea salt or cold crisp apple slices with homemade Himalayan sea salt almond butter.
If you could stand on a platform and send a positive message to all women, what would you say and why?
I think I already answered this question, but in short I would say "you are worth it". You are worth fighting for (especially fighting for yourself). Stop comparing yourself to anyone else and put your energy into loving yourself and being kind to yourself, and then you will truly be able to love others. It's not selfish to take time for yourself, it is imperative.
What are your favorite hidden gems of L.A.?
I would say Topanga is still pretty hidden. It's where I live and I wake up every day thanking God for the gift of nature and stillness and peace.
Who’s your main MISSBISH – the one that’s stuck with you through and through?
My main MISSBISH is my best friend, Erin. I met her when I first moved to LA after I had my baby, and before my entire world turned upside down and inside out. She not only stuck with me and stood by me, she lifted me up when I couldn't stand on my own. She has been my partner in crime. She has the key to my safe so when I die, the first thing she will do is go and burn my external hard drives. She wrote down words on paper for me to recite, wrote emails and immaculately thought-through texts when my brain, mouth and heart were numb. She organized birthday parties for my son when I was so depressed I couldn't get out of bed. She spent countless hours counselling me, and talking face to face or on the phone with my ex husband and boyfriends. I would not be married to my current husband if it wasn't for her. She has paid for countless lunches, dinners, given me the clothes off her back and straight up cash when I couldn't even afford gas for my car. In fact, I'm not being overly dramatic when I say I would not be alive today if it wasn't for her. She is the most selfless, generous, beautiful, strong woman I know.