Kaytlin Neil is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, personal trainer and fitness influencer on Intellifluence. Currently, Kaytlin has a four and four professional MMA career record, having won three of her last four fights. Additionally, Kaytlin owns and operates Bad Athletics, which features challenges, fitness gear, apparel and supplements. For more information you can check out badathletics.com or follow Kaytlin on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
Can you give us a little bit about your background as well as how you got into MMA?
Yeah, so I’m a professional MMA fighter and I’m a personal trainer. And I grew up doing dance, gymnastics and cheerleading. But I went and tried out for the college team and I didn’t make the college team.
And so I didn’t really know what to do with my life. And then my first year of college, my friends took me some MMA fights and I thought they were cool. So I just started training and while I was going to college, I went to college to become a personal trainer. And so I did both at the same time. And that’s how I got into MMA and personal training.
At what point during that process did you realize or did you find influencer marketing and realize, “Hey, I’m doing this, I’m an influencer?”
I got my first sponsorship from my first Muay Thai fight. So my very first amateur fight ever. And the company just gave me a sports bra and they posted about it or whatever. And I thought that was awesome. I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. And then I had a friend who worked at a supplement company, and she reached out to me and she’s like, “Hey, we’re looking for females who do unique things.
Obviously MMA is pretty unique for a female to do, so can you come on and model for us?” So I was like, “Sure.” And then I started working for that company, and they developed me into an influencer. So they helped me become an influencer because that’s when influencing was just barely getting started, and when Instagram was getting big and when Facebook was getting big. And so they helped me build it that way.
So what would you say are a few of your favorite brand collaborations today?
Bad Athletics is a supplement company that I promote and I own. So I do that, and we also reach out to influencers through that company. And then also I love workout clothing. So any workout clothing companies that want to reach out, I will more than likely say yes, because I love workout clothes. I pretty much live in them. And I’m trying to think. That’s the main ones right now, the ones that I really like.
Can you tell us a little bit more, go ahead and shill a bit more. Can you tell us like the mission behind Bad Athletics?
Bad Athletics is, in short, a women combat and fitness brand. So what we do on our mission is to help women fight to become the best versions of themselves. So we help them through health, fitness and then we also are adding a little mental game in there. A lot of supplement companies aren’t really focusing on that.
They just give them what they need to change the way their body looks. And we don’t want to focus on the aesthetics at Bad Athletics. We want to more focus on the body as a whole. So we want you to be mentally strong as well as physically strong. And we’re not just a weight loss company. We want to help you become strong and develop healthy, sustainable habits.
And along those lines, there’s a lot of different philosophies when it comes to fitness nutrition. And so can you just list a few common misconceptions you’ve noticed that when it comes to nutrition?
There’s not one thing that’s going to work for everybody. And what I have noticed and what all the research says, is basically building small sustainable habits instead of just jumping into a crazy nutrition plan that’s cutting out carbs like the keto diet, or cutting out fats like the low fat phase that America went through for a while. It’s basically just finding a balance between healthy foods and also having treats in there as well. I think a lot of misconceptions that people have, especially with me, is they think I eat healthy 100% of the time, and I never have any treats and that’s my life. But really I have a donut or a cookie every single day, but I also eat eggs and healthy foods for you. So it’s basically just finding a balance and yeah, don’t cut out any main macro nutrient sources.
I want to ask about insecurity and fear. Obviously, you had to overcome both just to fight. And then you overcame both starting a business. I’m hoping that you can provide a couple of pointers for people that are following in footsteps similar to your own, whether they’re launching a business or they’re getting ready for their first fight. How should they prepare?
Everybody starts somewhere. I still have fear, I still have anxiety, I still have those things. But I use it to propel me forward, or I will write down how I felt in a journal leading up to a fight, so I can go back for my next fight camp and look at that. And be like, “Oh look, I won this fight. But I was still scared,” during the fight camp, but that’s something I came over. So basically no matter what you’re doing, if you have a big goal, if you’re starting a business, if you’re looking to be an MMA fighter, you will have fear, you’ll have insecurities. You’ll wonder if you even belong, if you are even a business woman or if you are an influencer or if you are an MMA fighter. You’ll have that imposter syndrome, but you have to just put those thoughts aside and feel them, let them come and go, but work hard and work through those emotions and work through those feelings.
Because when you can push through the fear and push through the anxiety, that’s where you will make progress and you’ll reached your goals, because a lot of people will just stop when one thing goes wrong, or if you do have some sort of a failure or whatnot. But if you push through those, that’s what I’ve noticed the big changes and the cool things happen. When I started my business there was a whirlwind of things happening.
I was in a fight camp and I had some family issues. There was just a whole bunch of things happening ,and there were so many reasons for me to be like, “Okay, do you know what? I’m just not going to do this business. I’m just going to focus on fighting and just do that.” Or I could have said something like, “Oh, I’m just going to drop out of this fight. It’s just too much. I’m watching my business right now.” So there’s never really going to be like a perfect plan or perfect time. You just have to work through and make it happen.