Today we are super excited to introduce Co Founder of Soul Fit Woonona, Alita Ashcroft, as our At Health Australia 'Fit Foodie of the Month'!
Alita is our inspiring 'Fit Foodie' for so many reasons, she recently completed her first half IRON MAN (OMG!!) not to mention juggling business, training and a family with 3 children!!
We hope you enjoying reading Alita's journey to good health, everything from her career aspirations to her training schedule.
Enjoy your lil slice of healthy inspo for today :-) Xx
Wow... Co Founder of Soul Fit in Woonona… that's amazing! Tell us about your career, how did you get started in the fitness industry?
I worked at a big fitness club in Sydney whilst at university which I absolutely loved. I worked with an awesome team with amazing business owners who really looked after me including one, who has become both a friend and business mentor.
When I finished university, I was offered my dream job at a school in Sydney as a Year 7-12 PDHPE teacher. After years of teaching, my friend who was also my business mentor, was the CEO of a new fitness franchise that him and a team had brought out from America and they asked me to work with them as their business development manager.
I was quite hesitant at first about leaving my teaching job I loved, but I was encouraged by my Principal to go out and give it a go. Her advice to me was if you ever wanted to climb the ladder in private schools “business world experience was invaluable”. She gave me a year’s leave so I could return after the year if I wanted too.
After 3 months into my new job, I decided I hated the office world so I asked the CEO’s to expose me to every aspect of the business so I could learn as much as possible because I was planning to return to teaching as the office world was not for me. So for the next 9 months I worked hard to learn as much as possible.
With health and fitness being a passion of mine coupled with education, I realised I now had enough experience to open my own gym and decided to give it a go. I had also recently met my partners best mates girlfriend, Alex, who at the time, was the marketing and publicity manager of WIIN TV who also was looking for her next challenge. We thought with our different skill sets that we would make a great partnership and here we are,11 years later, both loving helping women of the northern suburbs make health and fitness a part of their life. We are both super proud of the community we have created with the assistance of our amazing team.
What are your 3 favourite things about working at / running Soul Fit Woonona?
Have you always been this fit and active? What has your fitness journey been like?
I grew up loving all sports and trying anything that challenged me (or anything I could get a day off school to play sport for and wear my sports uniform haha!!) I was also a ballet dancer for 16 years which has given me great discipline in so many areas of my life.
In my first year at uni I snapped my ACL in my right knee playing netball, I then snapped my left knee ACL which sadly ended my netball career. 2 years later I tore my right knee meniscus, not once, but twice playing touch football! I then needed another 2 operations, so needless to say my team sport days ended after my 4th knee operation!!
So from this point I started to get into strength training at the gym, running (in straight lines haha) and swimming. Initially it was quite hard to change how I was used to exercising but there is always a way to make movement a part of your life depending on your circumstances, you just need to find what works for you and your body. Since then and after having my 3 kids, I have also got into doing some triathlons.
What is your biggest personal challenge when it comes to staying fit or healthy eating, and how do you combat it?
I would probably have to say not overeating, so meal size portions after I finish training for a event. When I am training for an event my meal sizes increase as I need the energy but once the event is passed I find it hard to revert to my normal meal size portions.
One of the main things I do to help me overcome this is using kids size plates so I don’t pile my plate up!
How would you describe your diet?
Probably the best way to describe my diet is BALANCED. In life you have to balance/juggle/plan and your food is no different.
We know it's important to have health & fitness goals... What's your current fitness goal or challenge?
I just completed my first half ironman which required some big training so my current goal is to go back to my normal training (min of 30 mins a day) and keep myself fit, healthy and strong while also supporting my husband who has picked up his training schedule to try and qualify for the world champs next year in the Olympic Distance Triathlon.
How many times a week do you work out, and how long do you typically train for?
When keeping myself fit and healthy and not training for a event, I probably average 30-45mins a day, 7 days a week.
These training sessions are a real mix from stretching, swimming, classes at Soul Fit, strength at Soul Fit, running and riding .
What are your 3 favourite ways to work out?
Soul Fit classes for good variety
What is your favourite healthy treat?
Protein balls from Raw Obsession! YUM!
What are your favourite Protein Smoothie ingredients?
At Health Australia Naturally Cacao protein powder
½ frozen banana
Handful of frozen berries
Hand full of chia seeds
Splash of honey
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
I go through stages I either have;
Who inspires you and why?
I have been lucky in my life during my teaching career and whilst running a business to have met so many amazing women in business / workforce or clients of mine who have taught me so much. I am a real people person and I love learning from those around me who inspire me.
Best advice you've ever been given?
As I was just starting out running our business, I knew from day one our gym had to encompass the 5 elements of health and not just physical health.
I asked a client once how she juggled her life so well (I was only 23 at the time and she had a family and work etc…) her response to me was:
"your health is the number one priority, then your relationship with your husband and then your kids. If you don’t look after your own health first, you have no chance of having a great relationship with your husband and then looking after your kids!!"
From that day I never forgot her words it really stuck with me being in the health industry and she was so right, now 3 kids later my husband pushes me out the door when he can see I need to train and have some quiet time
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
NEVER EVER GIVE UP (this was in mine and my sisters study when we were growing up )
On that note Alita, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us ... we're so grateful for your time to share you journey to good health.
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