I am an exercise & nutrition specialist; farm wife and mom of 2
Having moved to a small coastal town after university, not knowing anyone or having any activities to keep me busy, I decided to join the local gym. A morning workout quickly became a morning and afternoon workout, and before I knew it I was spending so much time there that the owner of the gym started asking me to show new members around. This was the start (that little light bulb moment), this was where I realised I could see myself teaching people how to use their bodies optimally!
I spent an entire year training like a machine, watching, learning and absorbing the gym scene and following someone else’s horrible ‘fat loss’ diet and the same torturous training program for the entire year (yes, one regime for 12 months – shoot me!). Instead of morphing into a sleek, mean machine, my body was changing into something completely different to what I had envisioned, this was not ideal, considering that that wasn’t the picture I had formulated in my mind. I had spent all that time working so hard and I hadn’t achieved my goal body.
I became obsessed with calories; eating precisely according to my diet (because that is exactly what it was, a DIET), no room for error. No workouts missed; no room to slack off! My own Mother wouldn’t even take me grocery shopping with her because I was so neurotic about what went into the trolley!
This was the turning point, I decided that having put in an entire year’s worth of work, every ounce of energy I had and I wasn’t happy with the end result – it wasn’t what I wanted. I realised there and then that I needed to be in control of how I did things, I needed to know how to help someone (including myself) get to where THEY wanted to go and achieve the goal THEY had set out for themselves.
I sold my car (yes, I sold my car) and used the money to enroll myself in my first Certificate and Diploma (Exercise Science) course. I spent the next four (4) years studying; working and absorbing info, from everywhere! All the while basically living in the gym, eating, sleeping, breathing exercise and dieting (my least favourite word)! I worked at a local gym for 2 years, seeing clients and giving group classes (aerobics, tae bo, spinning, pilates and stability ball) and then decided to head off on my own and open my own studio.
Training Edge was ‘born’ and for the first few months, it was run from a 2 bedroom apartment, what fun! After a year, we moved to a house and set up a home-based studio. The first two years were tough, I won’t lie, and I am not a firm believer in advertising so I relied on word of mouth, it takes so much longer but the reward is far greater. The studio grew from strength to strength, and I’ve never been sorry I made that move!
After my 4th year and my final thesis completed I promised myself, and my husband, I wouldn’t study for a while (that didn’t last). I trained clients during the day and every waking second I had free I studied (the poor boy). Courses just rolled on, one to the next. I switched over to an American based association to study my Specialist in fitness nutrition. I craved info, I needed to know more, I needed to know everything there was to know about what made the body tick. One course led to the next and I found myself addicted to learning, I couldn’t get enough. Aquatics Instructor, pre & post natal, myofascial compression therapy, medical nutrition. I was fascinated, the body is incredible and how it responds to changes and tweaks in training and nutrition is phenomenal. Every person has similar DNA and yet so different. My trusty clients became my willing ‘guinea pigs’ and they loved it as much as I did (I might have paid them to say that if someone asked).
I’ve spent the greater part of 14 years studying and I will never stop, there is always more to learn. I have a passion for teaching and derive no greater pleasure than helping my clients learn to love their bodies first and foremost, and to treat their bodies well. Proving every time that after you have done this, the results come that much easier!
My greatest passion is working with children, teaching them to love movement and to eat well. I especially get a kick out of helping children diagnosed with ADHD or diabetes and teaching them (and their parents) that healthy nutrition can be delicious and very effective, as an alternative to medication.
Allergies and special considerations are very close to home. Wholesome foods heal, I am proof of that! Born with eczema (which I did not outgrow at the age of 2, like most do) and chronic allergies, I struggled most of my life, red itchy eyes and skin, blocked nose, hay fever, rashes, fever blisters and constant illnesses. I realised 12 years ago that my biggest trigger was hidden toxins in foods. I trained like a machine and was so strict with what I ate and yet I didn’t feel or look like it. I made some drastic changes! Set my mind to it and decided that I was worth the effort! The first two weeks were rough, it always gets a bit worse before it gets better as your body has a way of expelling all toxins and making you feel so much worse before the turn around comes And Eureka! Improvement! Not only my eczema, my hayfever and allergies but over time my fat percentage dropped, my performance and energy improved!!
So this was what healthy felt like! For this reason, I believe that we need to eat what the earth provides us with; putting nutrients into our body that help the body thrive and heal whilst removing toxins that block your body from performing optimally! I focused on natural foods. My golden rules became: ‘if it looks like it does in nature’ or ‘if it grows in a garden or on a plant – eat it!’ I still teach this to all my clients.
It really is easier than it sounds. Clean, wholesome eating, the way I believe it should be defined, is providing your body with a broad spectrum of earth given nutrients from different sources with the idea that no natural food group should ever be excluded, only used either in moderation or correctly timed!
Foods that are not tampered with and left to grow as nature intended them to, are little powerhouses for our bodies!
Remember this golden rule: if it grows on a plant eat it…if it’s made in a plant don’t touch it!
Sports specific training is incredible too, because I get to thoroughly ‘annihilate’ (not really, or do I…) the athletes and watch them come to the realisation that the body actually can perform as well, if not BETTER, by using natural foods instead of synthetic supplements, shakes, replacements, bars etc.
Preggy fairies became an even greater passion after I fell pregnant for the first time. I finally understood the physical and mental intricacies, of the being that is the amazing ‘baby vessel’. The joy, excitement and thrill as well as the sheer terror of the possibility of turning into an inactive orca (which doesn’t need to happen, trust me). Helping and guiding a woman through the pre-pregnancy preparation, the wondrous 9month build up to the birth. I am a strong advocate of natural birth with no medical intervention, wherever possible of course, as this offers the body the opportunity to heal perfectly and the baby gets the best start in life. And then of course the post-natal road back to recovery and to ‘mommy machine’ status.
My life, love & kids
Since having kiddies of my own, I have become even more aware of how important a solid foundation is, to cultivate the love of movement and wellness through sound nutrition.
I have been blessed with two very active children, who have grown up in my studio surrounded by my clients. My daughter unfortunately HATES fruit and vegetables! HATES! Forcing me to become the sneakiest nutritionist and chef around, for example: Spinach is ‘herbs’ when asked. My hubby falls for this too, as he feels that by eating meat he is eating the grass that the animal fed on and this is considered a salad. Sure!
There are ways and means, I have learnt them and I am not ashamed to use them!
My husband and I, our two young children, our beefy Staffie ‘Butch” and our crazy feline ‘Scrappy’ now live on our family farm, completely off the grid. We farm with bees and have the most amazing organic honey. We grow our own organic fruit and veg, have our own chickens and will be adding aquaponics to the mix soon, for fresh fish. Soon a dairy cow, a donkey, a goat and and and….
The future looks bright
Boot camps, adventure races, multi stage mountain biking, wellness workshops, my book and all our own organic products are on the cards for me, as well as stalking people online with their nutrition and exercise plans.
I am a wife, a mom and a business woman, which makes me human. I understand that life happens but I want to be the person that helps individuals realise that they are a priority and there is always a solution to those life situations.
You are worth the effort.
I will never not be in the exercise and wellness industry, I live what I teach and if I can spend the rest of my days teaching people what it feels like to feel and look your best, and how to achieve that, then I will be happy!
‘Never let a weak moment take away from you all the strong ones you have had!’