Connect with Vanessa! Coaching available to help you overcome stress, rebalance your lifestyle, build a healthy body and heal adrenal fatigue and burn out.
Hey there! Thanks for checking out my website. If you are wanting to get fitter, healthier and bring back energy and balance to your life (without any hard-hitting, impact exercise or crazy regimes) then you are in the right place.
You see, I’ve always loved exercise, movement and been interested in health from a young age. In fact, I used to get up at 6am and tape Aerobics Oz Style at age 8 then do the workouts when I would get home from school! (True story, ask my parents who got our neighbour to build me a step instead of jumping up and down the phone books.)
I also remember learning about nutritional labels very young aswell, and being at my mum constantly to buy this instead of that because it had ‘less sugar’ or ‘better ingredients.’
As a youngster I did dancing, tennis, golf and swimming and loved it all. Although golf was not my calling so much. When I was 14 I joined the local gym and told them I was 15 just so I could start doing the classes.
Fast forward to my early twenties, I was teaching lots of fitness classes a week in gyms around Sydney and running a personal training business where I hired another five trainers to work for me. We traveled to people’s homes and did mobile personal training around Sydney.
This coupled with my own classes and clients and long hours started to take a toll on my health. I started to feel like I was getting so tired and began getting sick all the time. My immune system was low and I felt like everything was getting too much.
The worst was pushing myself to be able teach these classes and have great success with my clients achieving weight loss and great health, but I would need to go home and sleep for three hours a day, no matter how much I slept at night.
It got worse and went on for two years till finally a holistic doctor diagnosed me with ‘adrenal fatigue.’ That’s burnout at its worst.
(This is a debilitating condition that is becoming more widely recognised but still, not all doctors will diagnose it until it gets way worse unfortunately.)
It made sense though. Why I was feeling down, couldn’t cope, and getting sick all the time. My adrenal glands (which regulate energy metabolism in your body) were pushed to the max and needed a break.
So for the next couple of years I had to let go of everything I had been taught in fitness and learn new, better, more holistic and gentle ways to exercise where I could feel great after exercise, not like I had been hit by a truck. It was hard because I had to stop teaching many of the classes I loved, my colleagues and clients didn’t quite understand why I had to stop because there was no ‘visible’ sign of illness.
I knew I had to do things differently because I honestly felt like crap. I had anxiety creeping in, very low moods, no energy and even carried excess tummy fat that would not budge no matter what I ate or how I exercised.
The problems were: with normal exercise (like weights, aerobics, circuits, pretty much everything I was teaching) I could push through and do it, BUT I would pay the price and need to sleep for two to three hours after. It left me feeling awful, not energised like my clients!
Not only that – I started to notice certain foods would make me feel good for a short time, then my energy would crash back down soon after.
This prompted a few things I knew I needed to master:
I realised that all I had learned in the fitness industry all these years was to push yourself no matter what, no pain no gain, eat strict diets and you will lose weight, and to never be satisfied with yourself! Now if you look at that, they are messed up beliefs and not healthy at all, right?!
So I got to work on changing my beliefs and working on mastering those three pillars above.
I immersed myself in Pilates and Yoga and did many Pilates courses. I learned Meditation from different gurus. I did Reiki Healing and Pranic healing sessions with experts.
I learned that that you CAN in fact get the healthy, toned body you want WITHOUT having to jump and do explosive, high impact moves ever again. And in doing these slower, more gentle forms of movement I started to feel energised after those workouts and not needing that three hour sleep after! That was huge progress for me and certainly showed a light at the end of what was a dark tunnel for some time.
In my 9 Week Higher Living Program I cover this in detail, but you need to know this…
ONE VERY IMPORTANT DISCOVERY: If you have gone through high stress, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, emotional trauma or feeling tired or ‘burned out’, then the WORST thing you can do is high impact exercise like boxing, jumping, running, bootcamps, heavy weights and the like.
In fact – in this case your HEALTH WILL SUFFER, you will take steps backwards and you will wonder why you can’t lose that belly fat, feel like crap and can’t get through the day.
In going through all of this as you know I had to re-evaluate my eating habits and really learn the basis of good nutrition. Afterall, I just wanted to feel better, feel a bit more energy as I was so depleted. The belly fat was a second goal, not even the first at this point.
I let go of all the diet plans I’d learned form the gym industry and started doing my own research on foods that took little energy to digest, made me feel good inside and helped the strong savoury and sweet cravings I was getting. (Oh yep, I could also easily eat a bag of Doritos every couple of days due to strong cravings… not good!)
After all my research and personal experience in healing adrenal fatigue my food philosophy now consists of the following guidelines:
A journey of rediscovering health involves you learning about yourself and mental health too.
I realised that the missing parts to the ‘health’ equation from all those years at the gym were the ‘mind’ and ‘spirit’ components.
You see, you can’t build a healthy, strong body without your mind being focused but also kind to yourself!
You can’t achieve true health if your ‘spiritual’ self or higher level of yourself is unfulfilled.
Health, body, relationships, finances, career, social interactions and experiences….it’s all part of the whole you. And if one part is neglected, then other parts will suffer.
So being open to a HOLISTIC approach integrating your body, mind and spirit is the KEY in achieving a better quality of life all round.
It dawned on me that so many people who continue to look for the next quick fix or fitness fad will always yoyo diet and always reach a block.
The key? Work on all aspects of yourself and watch how your body, mindset and life transform.
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ou get the gist! My goal is to HELP YOU feel balanced and in control of your wellbeing and equip you with the tools to get back on track when life gets hard or you have suffered with your health. Exercise should be enjoyed. We should all treat our bodies and minds with respect for where you are at or what you have gone through in your life. Not everyone is set to do box-jumps and rope climbing. I’m certainly not, and am finally ok with approaching my fitness quite differently to my entire industry! If it means never having adrenal fatigue again, I am happy.
And I want the same for you! To discover your best, most balanced self without the pain and sacrifice that so many fitness regimes still practice and endorse.