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Lizzy Williamson is a certified Personal Trainer, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Presenter, Speaker and contributor to contributor to MindBodyGreen, BubHub, BellaMumma and more. Her workouts have been featured in Lorna Jane’s YouTube channel, news.com.au, as well as many other popular online publications, programs and blogs. Her Two Minute Workouts are shared each week for free to thousands of women who have become part of her ever-growing community. She has also appeared on stage to speak and encourage audience to get out of their chairs and start moving, at Mum Society, Golden Door, Mama Creatives and Team Women Australia.
Tell us a little about your journey and how Two Minute Moves came to be.
When I became a mum, exercise or any sort of self-care, seemed way too hard to get into my day. There was no way I could leave the house whenever I wanted to do my 90 minutes Pilates class or have a jog for an hour. I always had my kids with me and one of them didn't sleep so I was exhausted. It was also at this time I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. When I finally went and saw my doctor to get some help, she gave me the words of advice to, ‘put my oxygen mask on first before assisting others’. Yes, I thought, that’s what I need to do not only for myself, but for my kids as well. But what could this oxygen mask be?
What about exercise, I thought? That always used to make me feel good. So despite all my excuses that I didn’t have the time, energy or motivation to get moving, the next day I put on a TV show for my kids, went into my kitchen, put my hands on the kitchen bench and pretended I was back at my ballet barre from my days as a dancer. I started doing some ‘plies’ which are bending of the knees, some raising up and down of my leg at the back, then I started doing a few push ups. It was only a couple of minutes until one of my girls called out to me and the moment was over but it was in that moment that I realised that I had found a way to do something for me. It didn't have to be an hour or even thirty minutes which felt too hard. Two Minutes felt doable, sustainable and gave me such a great sense of achievement that I had done something for me. That was the birth of Two Minute Moves. I started sending out workouts to friends I knew that were feeling depressed, stressed out, felt like they didn't have any time to exercise or were travelling a lot. From there my business grew and I get the opportunity to spread the message that there are so many moments you can take in your day to do something for you. Two Minute Moves is about embracing the mindset that each moment counts and that it’s the little things that make the big difference
What does a typical day look like for you?
I set my alarm at 5:30 am and I never press snooze. Too dangerous! I do the usual little battle with the voice in my head telling me to ‘stay in bed, to not don't exercise, go tomorrow’ and I quickly get up, look out the window and say 3 things I'm grateful for. Then I sneak out of the house so quietly I don’t even wake up the cat (I don’t want to wake up my kids) and go and see my personal training clients. Once I’ve done a few hours of that I get home and it’s on! I become that nagging mum that I don’t want to be - ‘Get your shoes, have you got your homework, put your dirty clothes away, quick we got to get walking to school!!’ Breathe a sigh of relief after kids are dropped off and home to make myself a yummy Two Minute Smoothie. I’m starving so I pack this full of good healthy fats to fill me up and keep me full - avocado, some peanut butter, a date, lots of greens, a banana and some fruit. Then I film a workout to send out to my community of Two-Minute Movers plus film whatever collaboration I’ve got going on for other brands. I love Facebook Live so I’ll film one of those session, respond to emails and requests then before you know its 3:00 o’clock and its time to walk up to school to pick up the kids. Before I go I’ll quickly chop up some veggies to have out for when they arrive home STARVING. Afternoon is full of activities and then I always mean to get them in to bed by 7:30, but its normally more like 9:30pm now so gone are the days when hubby and I had catch up time at night. Now we book a babysitter and go on a date night at least once a month.
What does being fit and healthy mean to you?
Being fit and healthy means to me that I have given back to myself, and what this means is that I'm showing myself every time I do something that contributes to my fitness and health is that I am worthy, I am valuable, I am worth taking this time for me. And the word that really springs to mind is energy. When I'm fit and healthy I have energy so I can use my energy for my work which really fills me and I can really serve people in a way that doesn’t feel forced or fake. I have energy for my kids so that when they ask me to dance with them in the living room after dinner, I'm like Yeah, absolutely let’s do it! And it means that I am setting an example to my daughters of what is the norm. Nourishing yourself as an adult is the norm and is a wonderful way to put a smile on your face. It’s not about for me of having the perfect body. In fact, I make no mention of my body around the girls. It’s really about what it does to my mental health.
Why do you think moving has such a great impact not just on the body, but also the mind?
You only have to look at the prevention and treatment lists of major mental health organisations like the Black Dog Institute or Beyond Blue and you'll see exercise right up near the top. It’s easy to forget that we’ve got these natural hormones like endorphins just waiting to come on out when your heart starts pumping and oxygen starts flowing into your body. Exercise is also something that you choose to do for yourself and therefore you get a nice little fill up of your self-worth bucket. You also get a great moment of mindfulness while you're exercising because when you're concentrating on doing some pushups at your kitchen bench or some squats while you're brushing your teeth, your mind can’t wander nearly as much. It means you're focusing in on the moment which can really help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.
Who’s your fitness inspiration and why?
Definitely my two daughters. They take a bite of dinner, do a cartwheel, cartwheel back, take another bite and repeat. They love to move, to dance, to run and I want to be just like them because they have so much joy inside them when they move. They do it because it’s fun, not because they want to fix or change their bodies or have smaller thighs or a flatter tummy. I just adore that and want to be them.
What’s your advice to those who find it hard to keep motivated in their fitness journey?
My advice if you're finding it hard to get motivated in your fitness journey is to first think of your why. Why do you want to exercise? If it is to lose weight or change your body, ask why is it that you want that? Go a bit deeper. Do you want to feel good about yourself? Do you want to feel confident? When it’s all about fixing your body and exercise doesn’t deliver those results in 10 days or however long you’ve given yourself, then it’s so easy to give up on it, and to think that exercise isn't worth it. What that means is you miss out on the deeper benefits exercise brings. You also want to make it easier for yourself so you’re not just relying on motivation. Put a post-it note on your toothbrush to remind yourself to do a Two Minute Move while you're brushing your teeth. If you love to walk or jog, organise to meet a friend - you're so much less likely to let someone else down. And remember that it’s actually action that drives motivation. So even if you only do 10 push ups at the kitchen bench or have a quick walk around the block, it’s those little things which will make it much easier for you to keep up exercise in your week.
What’s your favourite Two Minute Move?
So many to choose from! It’s got to be my wine bottle workout which I totally love because there's something about as soon as I pick up those bottles that puts such a big smile on face. It reminds me that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore or a punishment for how you’ve been eating, it can actually be a bit of fun. Plus you can usually find wine bottles to use as dumbbells wherever you are.
For our on-the-go readers, any travel fitness tips you can share?
When you're flying, get up every hour that you’re not sleeping. I love to find a little spot, whether its outside the bathroom or at the back of the plane and do some heel raises and some leg raises to the side and to the back. To keep your muscles in condition, when you’re out walking and see a park bench or similar, rock do 20 dips and some push ups. If you’re in a small hotel room, so some moves on your chair while watching TV. If you’re lying on a deck chair do some moves like these for your tummy - Doing a little thing every day when you're travelling will keep up any good habits you’ve got back home.
Whenever you’re out travelling the world, what are the things you’d never leave home without?
I always, always, take my own food for the journey. Nuts, yogurt, muesli, a yummy salad and my Two Minute Munchie Powerballs. I get off the plane feeling so much better than I would have if I’d had the plane food or skipped eating altogether.
What’s next for you?
I have a book coming out September 26th! It’s called Two Minute Moves: learn to love your body, keep your sanity and live with vitality - two minutes at a time. This is a dream come true. I get so many messages from women who are struggling to make exercise a part of their life. There are so many obstacles and ‘excuses’ we tel ourselves of why we can’t - too busy, working too much, never home, travelling! So I wrote the book that could bust through all these excuses and help people fall in love with exercise and want it part of their life no matter what.
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