How She Does It - Lisa Cox
Posted on February 13 2018
In our 'How She Does It' series we interview women about how they incorporate active and healthy habits into their lives. We believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness, so we aim to capture the variety of ways women choose to be active to give you ideas and inspiration on how to live your best active life.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m 37 years old from Brisbane, Australia. I’m an Author, Writer and Presenter. My background is in corporate advertising and media but now I have my own business. I love to travel with my husband and we’re currently planning a trip back to New Zealand then hopefully America.
What does active living mean to you?
It means taking a holistic approach to health from what you put on your plate to what you put in your mind. Do what’s right for you and your situation - not just what the latest #fitspo fad happens to be. I love staying active but I definitely don’t fit the health and wellness stereotype. My life is far from conventionally ‘perfect’ but it’s perfect for me and I still love it. I’ve found a way to stay active that works for me.
What do you like to do to stay active?
I’m at the gym a few times each week mixing weights with resistance training. I also see my trainer fortnightly to keep me on track. I love swimming for cardio when I can and I keep a decent stash of equipment in my apartment for the slower days.
Have you always been active and healthy?
I was very active in my pre-disability days. I played representative volleyball for a number of years, first at nationals and then training with the Australian squad before uni took over.
Rock climbing was a big part of my life for several years and I was grateful for the opportunity to backpack around different parts of the world with that.
When I first got very sick and they put me in a coma, the hospital staff said that it was because I was relatively fit and healthy that I survived at all. Technically I died twice and spent over a year in hospital the first time but that’s all in the past now. I still have plenty of permanent disabilities and daily challenges but we all do in our own different ways.
Anyway, sorry for rambling. You can read the long version of what happened on my website here if you want to.
What is your daily or weekly routine (if you have one)?
Every day is different but the one constant is waking up to see a little sign beside our bed that says ‘Do What You Love Every Day’ which is a nice way to start the day (apart from seeing my husband and drinking coffee).
I previously mentioned a holistic approach (I also studied integrative nutritional health coaching a few years ago) so each day I try and do something small in more than one area of my life (nutrition, mindset, movement etc). It doesn’t always happen but the intention’s there!
What daily habits keep you fit and healthy?
Mental fitness – it’s easy to think of fitness only in terms of physical fitness but good mental health is just as important (even more important in some situations). To stay mentally fit and healthy I try to surround myself with like-minded, loyal and reliable people who’ll be positive and uplifting but not go all Pollyanna on you!
My tolerance for BS is also exceptionally low – whether for work or personal matters – life is too short and too precious to bother with that.
What is your best active living hack?
If you need to make a change in any area of your life, know that it’s ok to start small. So often we’re told to dream big and aim high to reach our goals. While that’s great advice it can also set us up for burnout and failure. I wrote a whole blog on this here: Aim Low To Reach For The Stars.
Favourite healthy meal?
Salmon! Smoked salmon, cooked salmon or raw as sashimi. I love it.
What challenges do you need to overcome in order to achieve healthy and active living?
When I came out of hospital after that first year, my biggest challenge was adjusting to my new body. I was still the same person with a passion for active living but physically I looked very different. My body was scarred (it’s got even more surgery scars since then), I was missing a leg and other parts, plus I was in a wheelchair.
But active living in some capacity had always been my happy place to destress. Since I could no longer go outside for a run like I used to knew I wanted to go back to the gym.
I also knew everyone would look at me – and they did.
But I didn’t give a flying duck. I was doing it for me – and I did.
These days my biggest challenge is staying healthy and active while travelling (both for work and pleasure). I’ve done squats and lunges in a few hotel rooms over the years!
What is the best 'side effect' of staying healthy and active?
It makes me feel amazing and is the best way to manage stress and anxiety.
Also, while a lot of people get sore after exercising, I find everything I do to be the best method of pain management! I have daily chronic pain conditions (sorry for the overshare!) and where expensive medications have failed, good ol’ fashioned movement has helped.
What or who inspires and motivates you?
The idea of ‘being inspired by someone’ is something I’ve been speaking about for
It’s great to have external people to inspire us (for me that includes the likes of Oprah) but it’s also really important that we can look to ourselves for inspiration. I don’t mean that in an egotistical way but when the alarm goes off at 4am in the middle of winter and you have to get your butt to the gym, Oprah, Tony Robbins or whoever inspires you isn’t going to be there to encourage you – you have to do it for yourself.
The sort of person who inspires me - Anyone who is told they ‘couldn’t’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do something but has still done it and succeeded, regardless, really inspire me. I’ve personally been told that a lot over the years but have learnt not to give a duck!
How do you overcome negative thoughts?
Firstly, I’m not too hard on myself for having them in the first place! It’s completely healthy and normal ☺ But after that I’ll organise a coffee with a friend in person or on Skype.
Otherwise a gym session can also help – especially a little boxing if there’s a bit of pent up aggression!
How do you manage days or periods where you are not as motivated?
I’ve had plenty of these but the trick is not to let them derail your efforts for when you’re back in the drivers seat of your life. I just keep reminding myself that ‘this too shall pass’ – and it always does.
Last time I had one I used it as a ‘planning day’ for all the things I wanted to do once my slump had passed.
What do you do to treat yourself?
If we’re talking about food, anything with peanut paste! Otherwise, get a facial.
Top 3 songs on your workout playlist?
Beyonce – Run The World,
Missy Elliot – Get Ur Freak On,
Puretone - Addicted To Bass
Love Lisa as much as we do? You can connect with her via
Lisa is also a proud Brain Health Ambassador for Synapse (The Brain Injury Association) supporting over 1.6 million Australians with an Acquired Brain Injury - https://www.synapse.org.au