My name is Liz Nelson and I am a forty something exercise physiologist who loves nothing more than inspiring the world to fitness.
My fitness “career” began at the tender age of fifteen when Jane Fonda’s Workout, Jamie-Lee Curtis’ “Perfect”, aerobics and leg warmers were de-rigeur.
Finding the combination of music and movement intoxicating, I started teaching group fitness classes, then known as “aerobics” in 1988 whilst studying for my Pharmacy degree at the University of Queensland.
Once I had graduated as a pharmacist, I quickly realized that my career and I weren’t going to be a perfect match, even believing twenty years ago that drugs to manage illness were too readily prescribed and that there was not enough focus on preventative health or initial management of disease states through simple lifestyle changes.
Still inspired by the effect that exercise had on my own well being, I re-entered University and undertook a degree in Science, majoring in Human Movement Studies and Exercise Management. During this time I continued to teach group fitness classes and even managed a bit of a “world tour”, travelling and teaching classes overseas.
In the mid nineties I married and established a personal training business on the Sunshine Coast called “Living Fit Exercise Management”, taught classes and established a “Healthy Heart” walking program for seniors in the major shopping centre. It was an amazing experience witnessing the positive benefits that getting together three mornings a week to walk had on my senior clients. The simple act of walking created many magic moments, such as providing a nurturing social structure for those on their own (widowed) as well as celebrating many clients reducing or eliminating certain medications for their health conditions (eg high blood pressure). Naturally, this happened with their treating doctor’s consent. A large group of us even caught the bus to the the Gold Coast and participated in the Half Marathon and 10k walk. Needless to say I was “sold” on the magic that fitness can create!
However, life isn’t always smooth sailing and when I became pregnant and had my two beautiful children, I started to “live” the challenges many of my previous clients faced – it seemed to take forever to lose the weight I gained during my first pregnancy where I did limited amounts of exercise and after my second pregnancy where I remained really fit and trim I contracted a nasty case of glandular fever and the blues and tipped the scales at 87kg.
What made it hard to “start” to lose the weight was (of course) my own thinking – I was embarrassed to be an overweight fitness professional and I “hid” behind my weight for a long time. What “flipped the switch” for me was realizing that I could make a big difference with small changes and to celebrate every achievement in the right direction, rather than beating myself up because I was “still fat”.
I lost weight using the knowledge I gained whilst studying exercise physiology and nutrition at University and the principles of David Greenwalt’s Leanness Lifestyle and still use the principles covered in his program to this day. Despite having a ten and a half pound baby and loose tummy skin, I took up the challenge of competing in Figure competitions. One thing I wasn’t prepared to do, however, was go on some strange and unsustainable nutrition plan to get me into tip top condition.
Competing in Figure helped me to realize that if you can achieve any goal if you really put your mind to it. I decided to combine my exercise expertise with my own experience competing in Figure and in 2007, I started coaching other girls who wanted to compete in the sport and who wanted a more holistic approach to competing than the no carb, boiled chicken and broccoli horror stories I hear about in some bodybuilding circles.
During my physique transformation, I became interested in teaching the Indoor Cycling program, RPM. I trained and certified in the program and have been teaching RPM for Fitness First since 2005. I also teach Bodystep, Fitness First Core, freestyle cycling or “spin” and have just recently certified in Pilates Matwork for exercise physiologists and physiotherapists.
I love being a group fitness instructor – during the time that I’ve been teaching classes, I have been privileged to witness the transformative power of exercise in my participants lives – from recovery from illness, healing relationships and changing careers. The benefits that exercise brings aren’t always physical.
I love to write and educate others about fitness and health and had my work featured in Ultrafit and Oxygen magazines in 2009.
This year I have dealt with my first ever exercise related injury and underwent a distal clavicle resection surgery in July. I’m slowly getting better and being a good girl and doing my rehab – injuries definitely help you to become thankful for the good movement you do have!
It is my mission to make fitness accessible to everyone through simple tips and techniques that anyone can learn to master. If being fitter, faster and full of energy (I call it “firing on all cylinders”) sounds like it could be good fun, then please stick around, or better still, come and say “hello”. If I can encourage you to create positive change, and you in turn can influence someone else by the positive changes you make, then together we’ll be on our way to creating a beautiful revolution!