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Whether you’re a painter, a musician, a teacher, a trainer or parent. The things that we “become” can be our source of pride and what we lean on to reinforce our presence here on earth. Take these things away, and many of us don’t really know who we are outside of what we are.

Back in February, plans came together to begin filming for the CLUTCH LIFE trainer on Bodybuilding.com. In my mind, I was so excited to finally get to show the world my athleticism. I have been a high performance athlete since I can remember and this was finally my chance to put all of my gifts and talents on display. I remember envisioning my performance on set and thinking to myself "wait till people see what I can do”.

A few days prior to shooting, I began to develop this itch in my throat. I ignored the possibility that I could have been coming down with the flu, surely, at a time like this, God would not allow me to become sick. The next morning, I woke up stiff, with a burning fever, body aches and congestion. I had still had a couple days to recover so I still wasn’t too worried. Days of endless amounts of Ginger, colloidal silver, vitamin C, tea, essential oils, 10 hours of sleep and total rest go by, yet my condition continues to worsen.

My first day of shooting arrives and I am unable to walk across the hotel room without feeling as though I’m going to pass out. Every ounce of conditioning and athleticism that I have worked for is now gone. Showing up to set that day is still quite blurry but I do remember the moment that I stepped under those bright lights I determined that as long as I kept my mind right, I would make it through. Barely into the first HIIT circuit, I felt my body begin to fail.

I was humiliated, I was exhausted and then, I broke.

As I turned to walk off set to hide the fact that emotions haas taken over, I realized that I’m not at all equipped to stand as anything outside of being an athlete. My athletic ability had actually become the definition of who I am and without it, I feel like nobody.  

I had one of those moments with myself where I wiped the tears from my cheeks and said “Dodzweit, suck it up, you have to make this happen”. Quivering and ashamed I returned back to set to finish what I had set out to do.

With immense struggle, frustration and every emotion you can imagine I somehow completed 3 days of insane workouts for this trainer. The flu never relented until filming was completely finished. In fact, the very next day after I was done I began to feel better. Such irony!!!

We returned back to LA and one morning I sat down to my computer to answer some emails. There had been a few things that I had looming overhead that had been put off for months, if not years, out of self-doubt. You know, the sorts of things that you think you should be doing but you’re too afraid to step into the unknown and make happen? Well this particular day, one by one, I took those things head on and stepped into action leaving all that worry and doubt behind me. It was as if something inside of me realized that essentially, my biggest fear had already come true. Not only was my identity as an athlete stripped from me but millions of people were going to get to watch my “failure” online. Yet, I was still standing and the World hadn’t ended.

Sometimes, we can’t see our struggle as a gift. I sure couldn’t but on the other side of all that disappointment was an opportunity, a chance that I would have missed without the experience of my struggle.

You are not defined by what you are but who you are. I hope that this trainer constantly reminds you that every failure is a chance to lay down your fear and step into greater opportunity.


Jun 06, 2015 • Posted by Rebecca

COME ON. *snaps
Your honesty, realness and rawness are incredibly inspiring. Love your posts!

May 28, 2015 • Posted by Sarah

I recently found your videos on Pinterest. Awesome! Thank you for being so inspirational & optimistic! Growing up a Tom boy and playing every sport imaginable, I can relate & identify with your article. Thank you for sharing your gifts & talents with the world!

Apr 26, 2015 • Posted by Diana

Brutally honest. I love being convicted by your words and the truth you share.

Apr 26, 2015 • Posted by Katie Mederer

Dearest Amber
Your humility, courage, openness and ability to share your heart with us outweighs your incredible talent and skill you have as an athlete. You, from our perspective, are so much more than your God-given talents. You share yourself and your true struggles, highs and lows with such authenticity that you are so much more than a leader and inspiration… You are truly a courageous energy that gives so many of us hope, believe and insight into what it is to live your life by setting yourself apart. By believing you can. By learning from all of lives challenges. Thank you for sharing this. From the deepest part of my heart you have NO idea how much your inspire me and encourage me. You are the sole reason that I know I can get through some of the hardest struggles I’ve ever faced. You are the reason why I love my fitness so much. I wish I could sit and chat to you one day… Big wish! All my love

Apr 25, 2015 • Posted by omar

I have to say wow ..you are such an inspiration the first time I saw you was on the cover of oxygen magazine and you struck me right away.. as a warrior , a survivor. and very humble , someone to emulate … Thank you for keeping it real and honest .

Apr 25, 2015 • Posted by Rebekah

I have no words. Im completely speechless! As a young adult wanting to become an incredible athlete like yourself, i think that you guys never go through struggles like normal people. Sometimes i go on rants saying things like, “they have no idea what its like to balance school/work and train hard”. But thats not true. You guys are just as normal as me, but with super cool jobs :p basically i just want to say Thank You for being so open and honest <3

Apr 25, 2015 • Posted by Jennifer Vitiello

Amber you always show us and the rest of the #ATEAM that victory can always be accomplished when you put self doubt aside. As someone who is going thru so much you just have to stay focused and keep moving forward…..NO MATTER WHAT and you will persevere. Thank you for being such an AWESOME role model .

Apr 25, 2015 • Posted by Steve Williams

You are as CLUTCH as it gets. I aspire…

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