How’s it going Train Loco readers! Today we have an awesome interview with the genius founder of My Oatmeal, Anthony Collova. My Oatmeal has 22 billion combinations of healthy oatmeal customized to your taste buds. Its not only the delicious oats, but its the world class service and experience that My Oatmeal and Anthony take you through when you visit the site and customize your oats. We are all about world class customer service so we knew this would be a great fit for our readers and our site. Without further ado, let us introduce to you Anthony Collova.
-Eric and Chris
DDT: Could you give us a little background info on who Anthony Collova is?
AC: I’d have to say that I am a pretty simple guy. I am 38 years old and grew up in Phoenix Arizona and I am the CEO of MyOatmeal.com and the founder of IIFYM.com. I live in Scottsdale AZ with my fiancé Kathy and our dog Mamma.
I did not go to college and I have no formal training . If I were to adopt a title or two, I’d probably identify myself as a business man, an amateur bodybuilder (men’s physique) and an animal lover. I have been in recovery for just over 15 years and try to live a life of purpose and love. Really I am just a regular dude that likes to stay in shape and challenge my mind.
DDT: What got you started or inspired to get into the (Health, Fit, Athletic, Bodybuilding) Lifestyle?
AC: Fitness started for me back in high school. At 5’11” I graduated weighing 110 lbs. All this while eating as much food as I could manage, taking weight gainers and working out 5 days per week. No matter what I did, I could not seem to gain weight. Years later I found myself married, depressed and not working out at all. I weighed about 140, and looked like garbage. My doctor put my on an anti-depressant that helped with the depression, but as a side effect, I packed on about 60 lbs of pure fat. It was the worst I ever felt!
It wasn’t soon after that my wife came home 5 hours late, woke me up and told me she was leaving. I was devastated. It took about 2 months but finally I picked myself up and started taking care of myself again. I knew that I needed to work on my emotional health and my physical healthy so going back to the gym was a natural fit. It had been about 10 years since I had touched a dumbbell but the moment I started working out again, I knew I was home. 6 month later I dropped 40 lbs and packed on a little bit of muscle too. I was still skinny but at least I felt good about myself and my future. I stopped taking the medication and started working on myself in as many ways as you can imagine. That was over 10 years ago.
DDT: What inspired you to want to open a business that deals with customized Oatmeal?
I was actually already in the process of starting a new company that sold all kinds of carbs. I had not yet put the entire plan together and truth be told I felt a bit lost.
AC: One night I had a dream where I was packing oatmeal in a warehouse type of a setting.
The next day I ordered a custom pair of Converse online and something clicked. I told Kathy about my idea and she loved it. We were supposed to move to Chicago 6 months later and I knew that would not happen if we started this customized oatmeal company. We talked about it for a bit and decided to do it! I started looking in to oats and how profitable they were, and once I knew that we could make a living at it, we jumped in, holding hands.
DDT: How did you come up with the name My Oatmeal for your business?
AC: The first name of the business was actually going to be CarbUp.com. I bought the domain and intended on starting a website that sold all kinds of carbs (I was dieting for a show at the time and the hunger started to affect my creativity in the business world). Once I had the dream about packing oatmeal, I knew that carbup.com would not work for a name. The next name I came up with was LOLoatmeal.com. I thought it was fun, but nobody seemed to get it. Another domain name sitting there collecting dust.
Then, once night Kathy and I were driving home from dinner talking about the name of the company and how that LOLoatmeal was less than desirable. We started brainstorming in the car and both of us just kept spitting out names. One of us said MyOamteal.com and right there we knew that was it! It made the most sense for the idea of customizing oatmeal and was easy to remember.
I looked in to it and the domain name was owned by someone already. I hired a broker, made an offer and got the name. We celebrated that day!!
DDT: What is your Go To Oatmeal blend?
AC: Honestly, I am allergic to oats. I found out about 3 months in to the formation of the company. I was eating oats every day trying to nail down the formula for the flavors and sweetener systems. Every day I was bloated, doubled over in pain. I sent off for a food allergy test and oats were the number one thing I am allergic to.
I still eat a small amount every now and as a measure of quality control, but not as much as I’d like. My current favorite is Amaretto mixed with Cake Batter. My favorite fruit is our cherries. When it comes to the oats, I love our smash blend. This is a combination of steel cut oats, five grain with flax, and quick oats. The texture is amazing!! Thick, hearty, and very earthy tasting.
For sweeteners I like our brown sugar or our new calorie free plant based sweetener, monk fruit.
Both are incredible!
DDT: You also are the owner of IIFYM.com, can you tell us a little bit about this website and how you got this started as well?
AC: I have always followed a macro based nutrition program and I used to spend a lot of time on the bodybuilding forums and early on when IIFYM started gaining a lot of popularity, I picked up the domain name. I also grabbed broscience.com and a few other popular terms. It took a while for the site to get some traffic, but once I launched the IIFYM calculator, we went from 200 unique visitors per day, to 8k. That happened overnight.
Now we average about 12k unique visitors per day. That site is actually more profitable than another one I own that gets over 2 million page views per month. It is amazing how hungry people are for good nutrition info without all the hype and false promises.
DDT: There is a ton of bad mainstream information when it comes to the health and fitness industry, how do you differentiate IIFYM.com from all of the other quote on quote GURU information and bad websites?
AC: This is a tough one to answer actually. I’d like to say we differ quite a bit!
When IIFYM started out it had the best of intention and when followed as prescribed is an amazing approach to fat loss. In my opinion everyone is already following IIFYM whether they know it or not. We all have a set of macros we should be hitting to achieve our goals. Some of us know what those numbers are, some don’t. Some hit those numbers while others don’t. So regardless if we follow IIFYM or not, our bodies already do!
The problem that I see with IIFYM is the sudden growth and popularity. At no fault of the program, IIFYM itself has now become one of those mainstream diets that are looked down on. Part of the problems is within our own ranks we have a lot of supporters that are very knowledgeable and passionate about IIFYM, but we also have a lot of very loud and very wrong fans that seem more interested in arguing with others about how IIFYM is the only way to diet. While I do agree that IIFYM will work for 100% of the disease free population I also recognize that not everyone wants to count macros. Some people need more structure to keep stay on track, so while flexible dieting might work for them, it might not be the idea plan for them to follow to achieve their goals. Not everyone that follows IIFYM thinks this way.
The other part of the problem is all the haters who have even less of a clue as to what macro dieting and IIFYM is. They simply refuse to believe that anything other than what they know.
Put these two passionate groups together and you see the problems multiply by the dozen!
My goal with IIFYM.com to is not only provide solid information about healthy nutrition but also to shine some light on some of the more harmful practices out there. Dieting does not have to be painful. It does not have to be boring or mind numbing. The more people I can help get on the right track with their diet, the better I feel about myself. Not everyone will agree with me, but I am not trying to change everyone. I only want to present options to those that want a new way to diet.
DDT: We know life can throw certain curve balls at you at any given time. Can you tell us a life experience you have had in the past where you overcame adversity?
AC: This is a hard one. I actually finished the rest of the questions you asked me about two days ago. This one I have been sitting on. Thinking. Most of the curve balls in my life happened early on when I was younger. Looking back at my life as an adult, I see that my problems were really not the curve of the ball, but rather the swing of my bat. When I was young, I had certain expectation on how the world should work. On how people, places and things should be or behave. I had an arrogance about me that dictated that others bend around my rules or my life. Any time something did not go my way I pointed the finger. I looked for faults in others rather than reflecting on what my part in the situation was. I often found myself disappointed in the way things would turn out simply because of my outlook on life.
It took a lot of self-exploration and willingness to change, but after many years of working on ME, I eventually was able to alter my behavior and thus, my belief system. Now I take personal responsibility for everything I do in life. I have realistic expectations of others, and I give myself plenty of time and preparation to get things done that are important to me. What used to be curve balls are now challenges that present new opportunities. What used to upset me, now gives me motivation to adapt and overcome. It is all in how I look at things. Really, it comes down to choice. I can either choose to let things bother me, or I can chose to learn, adapt and grow.
DDT: Where do you see My Oatmeal.com and IIFYM.com in the next 5-10 years?
AC: I spend most of my time with MyOatmeal.com so as a result IIFYM.com does not get all of the attention it needs .I’d actually like to sell the site to someone that can actually devote the time to it that I am unable to. There are many people in the industry that can do a much better job with IIFYM.com than I am currently doing. If this site were put in the hands of the right person or company, they could not only spread the word faster, but also use it to further their client base. I get about 50 emails per day asking for nutrition help. I am not a diet coach and don’t want to spend my days coaching others. For the right person, IIFYM.com would be a gold mine!
For now, I simply plan on doing my interviews and promoting the site as much as I can with the time I have.
For MyOatmeal.com, my goal when I started was to sell 50 bags of oatmeal every day at our one year mark. We have been online 11 months now and average 60 bags per day. At the 2 year mark I want to be doing 150 bags of oatmeal per day.. Year 5, I hope to be automated, selling 500 bags per day.
Community service is also very big for both me and Kathy. We are putting together a community outreach program where we provide oatmeal to hungry children. We also have plans on building a disaster relief RV where we drive out to natural disaster areas and serve oatmeal to the relief workers, volunteers and displaced families. That is a big dream for both of us!
DDT: What does Anthony Collova like to do for fun? (Don’t hold back on us 😉
AC: My Idea of fun is taking Kathy on surprise trips and eating good food. We are in Arizona so Las Vegas is only an hour flight from here. One time right after I sold one of my companies, we took off to Vegas with nothing but my gym clothes and our tooth brushes. We bought a new wardrobe when we got there. And ate all kinds of great food.
Another time when we were in Rome, we were supposed to come home on a Monday. Instead, we took a week off and flew to Paris. Even though it rained most of the time we had a blast! Fun for me is making Kathy happy. Seeing her smile. Making her feel important and loved. Being the guy that gets to do that makes me the luckiest man in the world. Doing it with some good food on my plate makes it all that much more enjoyable!
DDT: Favorite food and choice of adult beverage?
AC: Favorite foods? I tend to go fat heavy when I eat what I want. I am Sicilian so I like salami, cheese, olives and bread with olive oil. When I am dieting I crave pizza, wings and cheesecake.
I actually started my prep today, but since I follow an IIFYM approach, I really don’t have too many cravings. Once the macros go poverty, I am sure I’ll start thinking about pizza again.
As far as adult beverages I cannot say. I have been in recovery for 15 years and haven’t had a drink since. Cherry Coke Zero with a squeeze of lime is about as wild as I get these days.
DDT: Thanks for taking the time to let us interview you Anthony.
AC: Thanks so much for having me on as a guest!! It was my pleasure.
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