Q: Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.
I live in Sydney, in Bondi Beach with my husband Jonathan and puppy Harley, and we are adding one more to our tribe with a baby arriving in January. I originally emigrated from England 7 years ago and haven’t looked back! I spend my time reading, walking, swimming and going around all the amazing cafes we have in the area.
Q: Your approach to health and wellness is a bit unconventional, compared to other personal trainers’ views on it. What’s your philosophy on fitness, and how did it come to be?
I’m a holistic personal trainer and created our signature Beachfit and Wellbeing Program. This came to life over several years, as I fought an autoimmune disease and infertility, and miscarriages. I wasn’t getting the answers or support from conventional medicine, and decided to take the matter into my own hands, and started looking at the food I was eating, how I was moving my body, the stories I was telling myself and how I was nourishing my mind. I treated it all as a big experiment. Over time I came to realize that fad diets and punishing myself in the gym wasn’t getting me the results I wanted. For 5 years I used myself and my personal training clients as guinea pigs and started creating what I didn’t realize then is now our signature education program for our clients.
Q: Sometimes it can be hard to completely break away from the “trendy” fad diets and exercise programs. How do you recommend women get past this and find a method that truly works for them?
Realizing that trendy fad diets and exercise programs are just that – trends. We are all individual and what works for many, might not work for you. Most people have tried several fad diets and may have got the results they were looking for, but found themselves unable to sustain the results or program as it didn’t fit in with their lifestyle, and gaining back the amount of weight they lost or in many cases more.
We expect everything quickly, but we need to understand that creating sustainable results and lifestyle changes take time, not weeks. And we need to be ok with that. To some extent, we are also trying to reprogram our minds, and we need to give ourselves the education on WHY we are making these changes so we can empower ourselves and make the right decisions for us.
Q: You also incorporate self-care practices with your clients. Can you share a bit about what that looks like, and why it’s important?
I truly believe that you need to nurture yourself before you can nurture others. Women, in particular, sacrifice their own needs to support others. But if you haven’t filled your own cup, you can’t fill others. I get my clients to try and assign themselves 10 minutes (or more if possible) a day to do something they love. Whether it’s making a cup of tea and enjoying it with the sun on their face, or curling up with a book on the couch.
Q: You’ve been quite open with your struggles with finding balance surrounding health and well-being (you’ve even been quoted saying that you don’t follow your own recommendations 100% of the time!). Why do you think it’s important for you to be so transparent, and do you worry about the backlash that you may receive from you not completely “walking your talk”?
I find social media so uninspiring and exhausting and think its time for us to lift the veil and show what life is really about. Exploring, making mistakes and sharing our journeys to empower others. I decided it was time for me to step into my own truth, and share my experiences with others and be transparent, as there is a definite lack of it in the fitness and wellness industry, and it’s what we need – honesty and to be reminded that it’s ok if we’re not perfect – none of us are, despite what our Instagram feeds say.
I also haven’t worried about any backlash, because my message is the same that I share with my clients – it’s all an experiment and life is messy. Don’t beat yourself up, and just commit to doing what feels good for you in the moment. If someone doesn’t agree with me, that’s completely fine, but we probably shouldn’t work together! Haha.
[Tweet “I decided it was time for me to step into my own truth, and share my experiences with others and be transparent, as there is a definite lack of it in the fitness and wellness industry, and it’s what we need – honesty and to be reminded that it’s ok if we’re not perfect – none of us are, despite what our Instagram feeds say. – Tanya Doherty”]
Q: What do you recommend if someone “falls off the wagon” when moving towards their own health goals?
There is no wagon in my eyes. It’s a journey and there’s occasionally going to be ice cream binges and the couch being chosen overtraining, and that’s ok. Just commit to doing what makes you feel amazing, check in with your why, and alter your course. You’ve got this!
Q: One of the most challenging things women face when trying to reach their fitness goals is consistent commitment. How can women stay consistent so they can achieve their fitness goals (even when they may not be currently feeling it)?
We encourage women to dig deeper. Too often people have vague goals of losing 20 pounds or running consistently for 30 minutes. These are both great goals, but what are you actually wanting to achieve? What will achieving this goal mean to you? Is it that you want to be able to take your kids to the park and run around with them? Will losing 20 pounds give you more confidence, and allow you to feel amazing on the beach this summer? Attaching feels to your desired goal is a great way to stay focused when the bed is looking more appealing than heading to the gym!
Also, do something that lights you up, and that you enjoy. We primarily run group fitness programs because the women all bring their energy and motivate and support each other. It’s not necessarily right for everyone, but if you need to be held accountable, a structured small group program or personal training regimen is a great option, as too often people drop off from gyms.
Q: What is one fitness myth that you’d like to debunk?
Lifting weights will not make you bulky! Lifting weights will give you the toned physique you desire. As women, we would have to work incredibly hard to bulk up from weights. It’s definitely possible, but like I said it would be incredibly hard. This is because we have less testosterone than men, and this helps them to build muscle faster.
Lifting weights also helps to boost your metabolism, meaning that you burn more calories than you would just by doing cardio. It also stays elevated for longer, meaning that you continue to burn calories as you go about your day. The more muscles you have as opposed to fat means your body has to use more calories to move you than it would if you had more fat. To give you an idea, a kilo of fat will burn 5 – 7 calories a day, whereas a kilo of muscle will burn 50 – 100 calories a day. As a bonus, muscle takes up less room than fat.
Lifting weights also helps you to increase your bone density. This might not be something that you’re concerned about now, but it will be as you age. A lack of bone density can be linked to osteoporosis when you get older
Q: What’s your favorite go-to workout?
My go-to workout is actually a yoga session or a training session at a HIIT session at an amazing small group training gym near me at home, or a swim at the best swimming pool in the world in my eyes – icebergs at Bondi. I don’t actually train myself because I find I get too distracted and don’t push myself hard enough. Even trainers need trainers!
Q: What is your favorite wellness habit or hack?
Breathing. Too often we are disconnected from our breath and breathe superficially. Taking 2 minutes to close my eyes and take deep breaths does amazing things for our nervous system, stress levels and refocusing. It can also be done anywhere, anytime!
Q: What does “Living Well” mean to you?
Living well to me means committing to filling your own cup, moving your body from a place of love, and nourishing your beautiful temple as a form of gratitude for everything it does for you.
Want to learn more about Tanya? You can find her at: Beach Fit & Wellbeing