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How She Does It - Liz Dawson

Kate Middleton

Posted on April 12 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

My name is Liz Dawson, I am 35 years old and an Exercise Physiologist. I have two companies that I own and run, Northside Allied Health & Kids Heart Pilates. I am based in Brisbane but both of my companies are nation wide and I manage them mostly from my home office in Ashgrove, Brisbane. I have a wonderful husband and a boy named Flinders who is about to turn one. My husband supports my dreams and is constantly amazed by my "crazy" motivation. My life is about working with kids and mums to empower them with knowledge to help them lead a life full of opportunity and vitality.

What does active living mean to you? 

Being active is a lifestyle choice. It is 100% a way of life for me. I see movement as a gift, an opportunity to explore and it provides independence to do whatever I wish. I dedicate myself to moving, whether that's having an adventure in nature or working hard in a studio. You can't take movement for granted.

I suffered a stroke in 2015 and temporarily lost the function of my entire left side. I was very unbalanced at the time, training for triathlons, working around the clock and not having any down time. Being active to me has now evolved into not just training but doing things for my health, both mentally and physically. It’s a non negotiable, it’s a priority, it keeps me calm, gives my brain a break, breaks the cycle of whatever I am doing and is like hitting the refresh button. It nourishes me completely inside and out. (To read more about Liz's stroke story click here)

What do you like to do to stay active? 

I walk daily, run twice a week, do lots of pilates and yoga but mostly go on adventures to fulfil my soul.

What is your definition of healthy?

Healthy is being able to do what you love to do and feeling good about yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. It is independence, clarity, motivation and the freedom to participate in whatever drives you be it a yoga class or a marathon. Healthy is getting up each day excited for the day and the dreams you are chasing. It is vitality.

Have you always been active and healthy?

Yes I have always been active! I used to run laps in the back yard and swim laps in the pool just for fun. I have always loved a challenge. There are times where I have pushed the boundaries of my health due to that desire to achieve goals and then end up being quite sick. However, as I age and evolve I am learning that being active is not just about going hard, it is also about slowing down, listening to your body and moving gently.

What is your daily or weekly routine?

A typical day for me looks like : a 5am wake up, tea, read, meditate and then get outside for 30mins every morning either running (twice a week) or walking (non negotiable). I then do 20mins of yoga in my morning tea break, a short walk in nature at lunch and a walk with my family in the evenings. I do my own Pilates minimum 3 times a week, 1 yin session of yoga and 1 power session of yoga a week. On the weekends we try and fit in a bush walk as a family or a walk somewhere new to feed my craving for adventure.

What daily habits keep you fit and healthy?

The habits that save me are getting up 90mins before my son wakes up, (so up early), having a daily routine so I don’t skip out on my meditation, a schedule with my husband so we both get our exercise in, making sure our family time is often active and making sure that exercise is the first thing I do each day so it doesn’t get skipped.

What is your best active living hack? 

Follow a routine and get your exercise done first thing! If you make it a priority you will get it in, whether it is mediation or movement.

Favourite healthy meal?

My Breakfast! It is home made muesli full of seeds and nuts with berries and coconut yoga. I absolutely love it and often have it twice a day.

What health craze are you guilty of loving? 

Yoga and inversions. It is hard not to get caught up in it all from social media to class. I love playing around and seeing what my body can do.

What challenges do you need to overcome in order to achieve healthy and active living?

Time – I am always short on time with work and family life. I have to remember that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing and just do what is right for me. Find what you love and it will serve you and wont be a chore.

What is the best ‘side-effect’ of staying healthy and active?

Happiness, vitality, independence, freedom.. Everything!

What (or who) inspires and motivates you?

My husband. He is so disciplined. He never has any excuses he just gets in and gets it done. He is amazing with his diet and always up for a new adventure with Flinders and I.

How do you overcome negative thoughts?

I think of my future self and how good I will feel if I eat well and move. Break things into smaller chunks. If I am struggling I will move for 10 mins which gets me started and then I always continue.

How do you practice self care?

I have got a lot better at looking after myself and if in doubt, I speak to my husband. I make sure I meditate every day. That is a huge one for me otherwise I can just keep going a million miles an hour and become a stressed mess. 

How do you manage days or periods where you are not as motivated?

I do something I love with people I love. I make it a social catch up, get in nature be it the beach or the bush. I do what feeds my soul.

What do you do to treat yourself?

I have actually just written a reward system for a few habits I am trying to change (social media over-use, working too much and my morning work routine) and my reward is a lunch time yoga class. Ordinarily it would be a massage or day spa but we are saving!

Top 3 songs on your workout playlist?

For Yin/meditation – ‘A love Song’ Garth Stevenson
Everything - Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
Running – Turn Down for What - DJ Snake & Lil John

What are your top 3 Instagram/Facebook accounts that you follow?

Active Truth of course… and
Momentum Pilates, Lilley Rowe and That Pilates Passion.

Love Liz as much as we do? Here's how you can connect with her...

Live in Brisbane? Come along to her Mother's Day event. All information about it can be found here (Psst! If you mention Active Truth you'll get $10 off!) 

You can find out about her Mothers Group here, Mummy and Me Pilates here and about her businesses Kids Heart Pilates here and Northside Allied Health here.