So Why Be You: Meet Soybu Ambassador Amanda Barnes-Tolson

November 11, 2019 7:22 pm by

We all do it. It has been ingrained in our socio-speak. We are at a networking event or wedding reception (with people we don’t know) or at the gym or at a bar.


“So, what do you do for a living?”

This is one of those questions that most of us (especially the ones asking) generally feel is quite benign. And, I would like to believe that most of us asking it aren’t intending for it to be weaponized or used to pry. It also assumes that we are only what we do.

We are so much more.

I’m answering the question before it is asked. I am excited to introduce myself to you. I am excited to tell you who I am and what I enjoy and how I spend the hours of my days. I am excited to share with you who I want to be (rather than merely what I do).

My name is Amanda Barnes-Tolson. My CV will tell you that I am a:

·        Certified Personal Trainer (ACE)

·        Certified Health Coach (ACE)

·        Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist (CETI)

·        Certified Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist (PRONatal Fitness)

·        Certified TPI Fitness Level 2 (Titleist Performance Institute)

·        Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (Biomechanics Method)

·        Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist (ACE)

·        Certified Senior Fitness Specialist (ACE)

I spend my life helping people get healthy (or healthier). I try to help people feel less pain. I try to motivate people to want to make positive health changes. I try to inspire people to want to do more and be more than their chronic, health-condition diagnosis. I want my tribe of “awesomes” to live the lives they want for themselves.

I know what I am… but who do I want to be?

This can be a much tougher question to answer. It requires reflection and discovering hidden nuggets in every nook and cranny of my person. I sometimes feel that, as women, we tend to put everyone else’s needs in front of our own. I watched my mother (a registered nurse and caregiver to my younger brother who had cerebral palsy) do this. I believe that being selfless is both a born and learned behavior. I don’t think that this is a bad thing – being selfless. But I do think that it can lead us to not make time for our own needs and desires. Throw being a mom on top of it? Whew! Girl, it can be rough! (I’m not even a mom but many of my tribe members are and, as you know, training sessions become therapy sessions with a quickness. So maybe throw “uncertified therapist” onto my CV.)

As I’ve gotten older (at 47, slowly creeping towards 50), I have found that the things that mattered to me when I was in my 20s and 30s have lost their importance. The number or letter on the tag of my clothing isn’t as important. Making sure my hair is perfectly coiffed before heading out for dinner, maybe a messy bun is just fine. Do I need to do full-face make-up? I think tinted moisturizer, mascara and a swipe of gloss is just fine. Does this mean that I’m not making an effort? From my perspective, not necessarily. For me, it means that I am prioritizing things differently to make time for me to be me.

I want to be strong. I need to get my own workout in (I spend my days making sure my clients get their workouts. Gotta practice what I preach).

I want to be mindful. I have to carve some time to meditate.

I want to be flexible. I make time to practice yoga regularly.

I want to be healthy. I schedule my mammograms and annual physicals. I watch my nutrition. I am mindful of sleep (generally I go to bed between 8 – 8:30pm).

I want to be happy. Spending time with my husband and friends brings me joy, so I need to find the time to do this regularly.

I want to be a role model. I do all of these things while (hopefully) quietly encouraging my clients and friends and family members to follow my lead.

The word “be” is a powerful one. I established my personal training business in 2010 and called it Be By Barnes Personal Training. The dictionary definition of “be” is “to exist.” But it’s so much more than this. And we can constantly evolve and change what our “be” can be. 

Who do you want to be?

Amanda Barnes-Tolson, CPT, CHC, CES &

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