For Elle Nielsen, living a balanced life is an essential part of being her best self.
As a mother, business founder and health and fitness coach, it's what keeps her going when life gets busy... which, you probably won't be surprised to hear, is fairly often.
Thankfully for us, it's also her lived experience that makes her the perfect voice of wisdom for other busy women looking to prioritise their health.
You see, Elle is the co-founder with her partner Scott, of wellness brand FWD FORM Nutrition.
It's an Aussie lady startup that creates science-backed supplements with the help of Australia’s leading naturopaths, clinical nutritionists and supplement formulation experts.
And it's thanks to her involvement in her several health and wellness businesses that Elle has found many convenient ways to make sustainable differences to people's health.
That's why we've picked her brain to hear what advice she gives all her clients when it comes to keeping fit and healthy.
Here's exactly what she said.
1. Weight training is just as important as cardio.
According to Elle, changing up your fitness routine to incorporate more strength training (and less HIIT days a week) could be the answer to changing your body composition.
"You definitely DO NOT need to train in the gym every single day for hours on end to get results, in fact just 3-4 days a week for 45 minutes is absolutely perfect," she tells Mamamia.
"To ensure I get a good session in, I always use my FWD FORM Pre Workout as I find this really helps me to focus, perform better and make the most of those 45 minutes. My favourite way to train is by starting with a heavy compound movement, followed with strength supersets and finishing with a conditioning burner – something that gets me sweaty and my heart rate up even more. Hellooo endorphins!"
2. Stop Striving for perfection.
Good news! Perfection is out, and the 80/20 rule is in.
"Striving to be 100 per cent perfect is a recipe for failure," Elle says.
"Life happens, gym sessions will be missed, the ‘right’ foods won’t be available, kids will be sick – the list goes on. But consistency will always win and it’s better to be 80 per cent consistent all of the time than 100 per cent for one week, fall off the bandwagon, be hard on yourself and ultimately give up."
You can take her word for it — it's something Elle practices in her own life.
"For me, choosing to live an 80/20 lifestyle means that 80 per cent of the time I’ll be eating wholefoods and training hard, and 20 per cent of the time I’ll be eating soul foods, having a wine with the girls, and fish and chips on the beach with my family.
"Appreciate that working towards your health and fitness goals is a journey and not a quick fix solution. It's all about building healthy habits which is part of the reason we worked so closely with a naturopath and clinical nutritionist to create our Daily Super Greens, which is a blend of 32 different veggies, herbs and fruits. I always tell my clients, If you can’t maintain what you are currently doing in five years time, then re-evaluate, readjust and make it work in a way that you can stay consistent and enjoy the process," Elle says.
3. Find your why.
If you're anything like me, chances are, when setting health and fitness goals you've got some big intentions that fade oh so quickly.
But according to Elle, once you've found your why, you can reach your dreams with ease.
"Your mindset plays a bigger part in your health and fitness journey than you think. Honing in on your why will help you stay in routine, even on the days where you can't be bothered," Elle tells Mamamia.
"Act like the person you want to become. Take a moment to think how it would look and feel to live your healthiest and fittest life. What are you doing? How are you moving? What conversations are you having? What does your morning and nighttime routine look like? It all starts from the inside out – focus on FEELING better, and everything will fall into place from there."
Elle is a big advocate for romanticising your life in whatever way feels best. Maybe it's starting your day with a brain-boosting FWD FORM protein smoothie or putting your favourite playlist on for an extra long afternoon walk.
4. Find movement that makes you feel good.
While we're at it, Elle suggests finding movement that's sustainable. If you hate running, please, just don't put yourself through it.
"Choosing how you move and nourish your body will also play a huge part in creating a routine you can stick to. Working on your fitness doesn’t mean you need to always be in the gym – get outdoors and involve your friends and family in the process of feeling fitter and healthier."
5. Carbs are your body's fuel.
We've got great news. Carbs are a great fuel for reaching health and fitness goals, so stop avoiding them.
"Consuming carbohydrates will actually help you to achieve your health and fitness goals. You’ll be able to train harder, feel energised, sleep better, recover faster and by consuming complex sources, this will help regulate your appetite, keep you fuller for longer and stabilise your blood sugar levels so you can keep cravings at bay. Be sure to pair your carb source with a protein for an energising and satiating snack on the go."
6. Create a routine.
Yep, a routine changes everything. But if I know one thing to be true, it's that starting one can be a bit... challenging.
So I asked Elle for her tips on getting one down pat and sticking to health and fitness goals. Here's what she said:
- Schedule your week ahead – add your workouts, groceries, meal prep and rest days.
- Prepare the night before – set aside your activewear and FWD FORM Pre-Workout.
- Join a gym with classes and a community feel you love.
- Find inspiration in people around you or online who are living their healthiest life.
- Catch up with friends with a walk and coffee in a nice location.
- Continuously work on yourself – build a strong mindset through books, podcasts and journaling.
- Cook double portions of your healthy dinner so lunch is sorted for the following day.
"Even if it feels hard or uncomfortable, continue to show up and put the effort in. The results you’ll feel and see will make it all worth it because you are most certainly worth it."