Lisa Parkes is our local fitness expert (and Ninja Warrior!).
Between owning and running multiple fitness studios, competing on national TV, being a mum, and running local events, you can find her at our smoothie bar refuelling every day with her favourite smoothie. She may be small in stature, but Lisa "Pocket Rocket Ninja" Parks has some of the biggest determination and drive we've encountered. Lisa shared her inspiring story with us.
Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I am a very busy person, being a full-time mum of three beautiful boys. Enjoying everything active and sporty, I have my own functional fitness and personal training studio here in Byron Bay (See Change Byron Bay) where I work with clients and conduct small group functional classes, and give nutritional guidance. I am also the founder and director of the annual community charity event the Byron Bay Lighthouse Run, which takes place each October and raises significant funds for local charities.
And most recently after my appearance in season one of Australian Ninja Warrior, and I am the joint founder of my latest business Ninja Play Academy Byron Bay, an exciting, functional and fun movement space. It’s a place to learn strength and stamina in both mind and body, feel empowered in overcoming obstacles, grow and believe in yourself. Ninja Play is a purpose-built indoor/outdoor training space for obstacle training similar to those in Ninja Warrior, Spartan, Tough Mudder, etc. It’s also a space to develop natural movement methods to help with this.
Why do you do what you do?
Health is your number one assist, and if you don’t have that then what do you have? So staying healthy in mind, body and spirit, inside and out, and living life to the fullest is why I do what I do, and I feel blessed to live where I do and be surrounded by so many amazing individuals daily.
Training with little ones is a possibility don't use it as an excuse go and make it happen! It can be fun , join us for yummy mummies Tuesdays at 11 am bring your kids and get fit have fun socialise. #seechange #yummymummy #fitness #fun #postbabybody #byronbay #health #kids #exercise @seechangebyronbay @drippleeffect @allthingspollyanna @divinegoddessyogaproducts
What challenges have you overcome to get where you are?
Wow, where to begin! I’ve always known what I wanted to do, however, the road to where I am now and what I’ve achieved has had its fair share of obstacles and challenges. One of the challenges I faced earlier in my life was a severe car accident where I broke my back, neck, ankle, and was paralysed. I’ve also had been very unwell and to the point of almost dying from a parasitic infection, and the list goes on. But who hasn’t faced obstacles in life? We all have them daily, and it’s our attitude and positivity and determination to get through it and see it as a lesson something to grow and draw strength from, that pushes us to achieve our goals.
You’ve created your own Ninja warrior course here in Byron Bay. Tell us a little bit about it. Is it for people of all fitness levels?
It’s so exciting! One of the only purpose-built training facilities of its kind on the east coast. It’s obviously Inspired by my time on the show, and it’s a training place for me going into next season. Anyone can be a ninja, and everyone has an inner ninja. It’s not about your physical strength or size, but more about your mental ability. The whole ethos of the business is mental empowerment as there’s something very powerful about overcoming obstacles and doing things you thought you couldn’t. The type of sessions we offer will have such a positive role to play in so many aspects of one’s life, so yes, Ninja Play is for everyone, and we offer many fundamental movement play sessions that are the building blocks to doing ninja based obstacles, and the best thing is that it’s fun, and it’s moving your body how it was meant to move.
How do you stay on top of healthy eating?
I could never do what I do if I didn’t fuel my body well, and staying on top of this is important and a priority for me, it’s a choice I make. I manage it by being prepared, meal planning, meal preparation, making healthy snacks using the Bare Blends protein blends, and while travelling, I take my Bare Greens and Bare Berries with me. I also have to ensure that I have the right nutrients and protein each day, which is why I have my daily Mango Matcha & Roasted Macadamia Smoothie from the Bare Blends Smoothie Bar every weekday.
How busy is your daily schedule?
I have a very busy life, between all of my businesses, events, children, their activities, and all my training and sporting competitions. I could do with an extra day in the week or a few more hours in a day sometimes, but I totally love what I do and the life I have. Totally blessed!
What do you do in your spare time?
I obviously love being active, so most free time is spent being active and with my kids. I also love walks in nature, music festivals, travelling, dancing, a good meal and lighthearted fun movie. There’s not much I don’t enjoy if it’s healthy, to be honest!
What’s your advice for someone starting their fitness journey?
Find something that’s fun, that you love, and that fits into your routine. There’s always time for fitness - don’t over complicate it, and make it convenient. In terms of results, variety and consistency are the most important factors.
What do you love most about Byron Bay?
What is there not to love about it? I think being a busy person living in a relaxed place is awesome. The clean air, beautiful beaches, awesome variety of amazing people, the outdoor lifestyle and healthy variety of foods available here are so important for healthy living, and what really what makes it an ideal home for me.
Where is your favourite place that you travelled to?
This is a very really hard question to answer as I have travelled extensively and lived and worked in many countries. Each place has beautiful aspects that I have loved. I do like Croatia as it was a beautiful and picturesque place, but I equally like the mountains of India. This one really is hard, these days I don’t travel and keep moving. Although I love to travel, I equally love to come home, so I think I live in a pretty magical place.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
I don’t like to feel guilty about the foods that are maybe not an everyday food but a treat, as long as it remains that way! I do love a really good dessert at a restaurant if I go out to dinner. I love a good ice cream and dark chocolate, although I make my own so I know it’s not a guilty pleasure but a healthy yummy daily treat!
Favourite Bare Blends product?
Well seeing as it’s my daily lunch, I would have to say the Japanese Matcha WPI.