Meet Alexz, our new Byron Bay fitness coach and mentor!
This inspiring woman leads vibrantly, empowering individuals around her through exercise and mental health awareness.
Her approach towards health and fitness is innovative, and we love having her in the Bare Blends family (and making us sweat in her F45 classes!)
Tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a Pilates Teacher, Fitness Instructor and Swim Coach and also the writer of a mental health blog called Bare Balance. At the moment I am taking the summer off from the pool and just working as a Pilates Teacher and Fitness Instructor. On my time off from instructing I host regular mental health awareness events around Byron Bay and the Gold Coast incorporating my passion for fitness and emotional wellbeing.
Why is exercise and fitness so important to you?
For as long as I can remember fitness has been a passion for me, when I was younger I loved the athletic side of it all and now as I get older I notice the other benefits it brings to my life, everything you put into a workout your body benefits from both physically and mentally. Fitness is everything to me, it makes me feel empowered, accomplished, and it lets me create goals and achieve them.
What do you love about living in Byron Bay?
I am originally from Canada and moved here when I was 18 with my twin sister. We grew up in an extremely small town, so something about Byron just kind of resonated with us, obviously since then things have change here a bit but it’s still such a wonderful place. I haven't lived in a town before where there is such a strong work and lifestyle balance, where so many people live by the beach and also work their dream jobs. People work seriously hard to sustain a normal life here, but once you get into the groove of things, you can’t imagine living anywhere else.
a while ago I made a little promise to myself, that I would no longer settle for second best. that I would create everything in my life exactly how I dreamt it could be. they say if you share your promises they don’t come true, so maybe I should just call this a subconscious intention for whatever reason I wish to share with you x . ? @will_hartl
How do you prioritise exercise and healthy eating?
This is a question I get asked all the time, my answer is always the same, I don’t prioritise them, I just genuinely want to do them. I exercise every single day for my job and then personally for myself. When I have a day off, I still like to workout whether it’s going for walks, runs or random workouts here and there. If you make exercise fun, then naturally you’re going to want to do it. As soon as it becomes a chore or a priority, it takes away the novelty. As for healthy eating, I fill my fridge with healthy food, I prepare my weekly meals and I don’t keep lollies are bad food in my house. If I want to have a treat I can go out and buy one but I don’t keep them around. Food is fuel, and whenever I eat I always try to think about how it’s going to make my body feel and if it’s not good then I try not to eat it.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Anyone who knows me knows that I love doughnuts, in fact I think love would be an understatement, I am infatuated. Doughnuts are everywhere back home but over here they are not really a thing which I think just leaves me forever craving them. I can easily eat 6 doughnuts in one sitting and have no regrets, they are the purpose to my life.
Favourite Bare Blends product?
From doughnuts to protein, life in balance right? My favourite Bare Blends product would have to be the Vanilla Bean WPI, I have been using this protein now for over two years and I will never switch. I have tried so many different protein powders and supplements and Bare Blends have really just nailed this one on the head. Since I am running around all day, this has been my go to and absolute life saver. I put 2 tablespoons of the WPI Protein, half a frozen banana and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries with 2 cups of almond milk in the blender and have this two to three times a day, almost every day.
You have been quite vocal about your personal struggle with mental illness on your blog. Tell us a little bit about Bare Balance.
Bare Balance is pretty much my open story of living life with mental illness. I suffered with my mental health for a good six years and I just remember feeling and suffering entirely alone because no one else spoke openly about their struggles. When I started feeling better and my mental health became more stable, I decided as a secret promise to myself that I would share my personal struggles so other people wouldn't have to feel so alone about theirs. I was of course nervous to share everything I did because people normally don't, but now I am glad I did.
How has your personal journey shaped who you are today?
Ironically, I genuinely believe that people who struggle with mental illness are the most mentally strong people I know. They have to convince themselves everyday they are going to be okay, when everything in their mind convinces them they are not. I have suffered from anxiety for six years. It was severe crippling anxiety and I can honestly say (..in the most non-conceited way), it has made me one of the most motivated, independent and driven people I know. In some of the worst ways possible I had to learn the scary power of my mind and the utter nonsense of my thoughts.
Throughout my struggle I slowly began surprising myself with my mental strength. Since it has passed, I do have to say I am grateful for what it has taught me, for my will power and my perseverance. I am forever setting goals for myself and participating in crazy challenges. Whenever I feel like I can't do something I look back on it, on the mental madness I lived through, the six years of internal chaos, the struggles I overcame and when I go back there, to that place, every single issue in my life today doesn't seem like such a big deal, I know I can do it.
What advice would you give to someone who is also battling with mental health?
There are so many things I could and want to say here but I'll keep it short. If you are having a hard time, please talk about it. To anyone or everyone. Every single person at some stage in their life will go through this. You’re not alone, so you don’t need to feel that way. Sit with your emotions, whatever they are, for whatever reason, they need to be felt and the more you feel them the quicker they will go away. For whatever reason you are going through this right now, I can promise you it’s not going to be like this forever, it will get better, it always does. Please know that you are not alone, because I am here for you and anyone else you decide to open up to, they are here for you too.
What can we do to help others who we think may be struggling?
Take them fucking seriously (...pardon my language) but if someone comes to you, if they say they feel depressed, anxious, if they feel low and out of place. Take them seriously. They are crying for help, not attention. Of course their are the attention seekers and the drama makers, but I promise you, you will know the difference, acknowledge it. When people are going through this they don't want to be alone so be there for them in whatever way you know how. Show you care, if they don’t speak up about it, it’s your job to acknowledge it, ask questions, make observations. If you see something is not okay you have the power to make it better, people don’t have to go through this alone if you show that you are there for them. If they know we are all there for them.
from day one they taught me, what i believe in my life, is what i will achieve in my life. my mom & dad took the time to teach me a lot of things, this one kind of just taught itself. your mind is a magnet. you have to believe in yourself baby, so everyone else can. your person, is your purpose. you gotta own that to achieve it ✨