This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EachForEqual, honouring all women in all walks of life, raising awareness against stereotypes and biases, because “an equal world is an enabled world.”
In celebration of the women who are a part of the ION community, we’re taking a moment to shine a light on a few of these ladies and their contribution to the world by asking them…
Why do you do what you do? And what do you love most about it?
Entrepreneur, High School Teacher, Health & Fitness Influencer
Throughout most of my twenties, I had a very warped perception of what constituted ‘health and fitness’. My concept of health was dictated by a particular dress size or a number on the scale. I would do an insane amount of cardio training, and avoided weights through fear of looking bulky. Furthermore, my diet was far too restrictive and regimented as my main priority was staying thin, without any concern or consideration for the affect it may have on my physical or mental health.
Shortly before turning thirty, I decided there was a need to adopt a healthier lifestyle in order to combat a range of health issues including IBS and recurrent back injuries. I began journaling my progress on my Instagram account as a means of staying accountable. The main reason I share details relating to my own training, nutrition, self-care practices and other aspects of my life is to demonstrate that the implementation of a few simple, sustainable strategies can have demonstrable benefits on one’s health. Adopting a more holistic attitude to health, training more sensibly and making a wiser decisions pertaining to nutrition has enabled me to become a significantly more healthy person in mind, mood and body. If sharing my experiences can help even one person achieve their goals or take a step towards them, then that is exactly why I do what I do!
Five years ago, I never could have anticipated the amazing people I have met along this journey, or the amazing relationships and sense of community I’ve been able to cultivate, simply by documenting my own experiences. While it’s incredibly heart-warming and validating, I still pause with surprise when I receive messages from women saying that I’ve helped them in some way, or I get an outpouring of support on one of my posts, because it was never my intention or expectation that sharing my experiences would yield such reach. The part I love most about it all, is the huge number of like-minded women I’ve been able to engage with throughout this journey. Seeing their efforts and successes provides a constant source of inspiration for me as I continue to strive toward my own goals. I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing women online and have met a number of people face-to-face as a result that have since become life-long friends. I hope to continue sharing and connecting into the future.
Find Katie on Instagram here.
Accredited Practising Dietitian & Online Nutrition Business Owner
I do what I do because I want women to live their healthiest, happiest life, free from comparison, confusion and overwhelm.
Women often feel enormous pressure to do it all and have it all, the career, the family, the body, the life. My passion is helping women understand that taking care of themselves, putting themselves first, does not need to be overwhelming, confusing or come at the cost of other priorities and that it can be done with simple strategies. I do what I do because I want women to eat in a way that fuels their body and life and so they can feel confident in their skin and focus their energy into their passions rather than worrying over health, diets, symptoms, body shape or weight.
The thing I love most about what I do is getting to see people make incredible changes to their health and their life. Watching people going from feeling lost, unwell, confused and lacking confidence to being their healthiest version of themselves.
Visit Marika on Instagram here.
Personal Trainer & Online Fitness Business Owner
I do what I do not to be “toned or lean”, not because I want a ‘bikini body’ and not even to lift the heaviest or run the fastest. I do what I do because I want to live and move freely until I’m old and grey.
As a trainer I became very tired of the same old messaging targeted towards women and fitness; ‘tone your muffin top’, sculpt those bat wings’ ‘get lean in 15’ – phrases that are hardly empowering but are all too common.
Instead of using movement to preach aesthetic ideals I want to bring the conversation back to health, fitness and longevity.
I love what I do because now I get less women asking me how to melt belly fat and more women asking me how to improve their push-up which I think is pretty awesome.
Find Tanya on Instagram here.
ION Community Manager and Senior Performance Coach
I do what I do because I want to inspire other women (and men!) to discover the self-belief that they are capable of doing really difficult stuff, as I have learnt through my own journey!
I have experienced firsthand the amazing mental effects that difficult physical training has given me. I was extremely shy growing up and even into my mid 20’s. I lacked confidence, didn’t want to take up too much space in the world, and could not for the life of me open a jar. I battled with my body to get “skinny” in an attempt to “look better” to increase my confidence. The positive is that this taught me discipline and consistency, but still it was a “battle” that became tiresome.
It took one frustrated moment for me to decide “why not try getting stronger instead?” to where the love began. Slowly I got a little stronger with each session and without realising it I became a little more confident in myself. I started to feel more driven, more focused, and found myself setting small short-term goals as I realised that consistency was getting me results.
It took me 3 years of consistent strength training to get my first full push-up. 3 LONG years struggling with my weak arms and I was finally able to PUSH MYSELF up off the ground – this was my pivotal moment. Another 2 years and I was able to PULL myself up to a bar (3rd of Feb 2014 to be exact!).
Aside from the physical achievements, strength training has taught me a lot about setting goals, working hard for them and following through, accountability, allowing space for trial and error, learning from failures, consistency, ambition. Such powerful traits that didn’t quite mesh with my previously aloof and defeatist tendencies. But bit by bit these new traits showed up in my work and how I conducted myself, even before entering the fitness industry.
As cliché as the whole “strength in the gym equals mental strength outside the gym” thing is, it really does stand as a metaphor for human capabilities. It stands for putting in the hard work consistently. It stands for being rewarded with personal achievements to encourage you to keep going. It stands for sparking a positive mindset based on the idea of “possibility”. And who knows how this improved mindset will snowball out of the gym and into your professional and personal life? This is why I do what I do.
I am now no longer afraid to take up MY space in the world, and want to guide my clients and friends to do the same.
Check out Ellen on Instagram here.
Personal Trainer & Strength Coach
From a young age, sport and fitness have always been something close to my heart. A lifetime of competing in sports & studying the science behind so, it seemed an easy transition to turn this into a career for me. I love that I’m now in a position to help people from any walks of life and help to improve their strength and confidence, both physically and mentally.
Helping people and being able to bring a little joy into their day to day lives is a passion of mine. So now I coach people in both a class environment and 1-1. I genuinely want to make peoples lives a little better, from the inside out. Being able to do something I LOVE every day is just benefit 😊 Whether it be complete newbies to the gym, advanced athletes or someone just needing someone speak to, it is my absolute privilege to be able to provide something so meaningful to them. As long as they walk out of a session smiling, I’m smiling 😊
Follow Beth on Instagram here.
ION Marketing Manager
I’m a working Mum, that’s what I do. And I do what I do out of love for my family, a passion for my profession, my desire for a creative outlet, and my inner need to be my own person.
Over the years my motivations have changed significantly. My career in marketing was a big focus in my twenties alongside a full social life of course! Having finished university and aiming for a future in the corporate world, I began the climb and enjoyed (pretty much) all of it. Until I met my now husband, and my focus shifted. We married after 18 fun-filled months and have since been blessed with 3 beautiful kids. My family is now the centre of my world and my motivation. There was a period of feeling as though I went from being me to being us and not having my own identity. Terms which I’ve since learnt co-exist.
As the saying goes “I want to have my cake, and eat it too”, and I believe I am living that way right now. What that looks like though is completely individual, and feeling that you can’t have it all is simply not true. Sometimes you just can’t have it all at the same time, but that’s just compromise.
What do I love most about what I do? The ability to have my own business while still fulfilling my greatest roles of all – to nurture my family as a loving and present wife, mother, sister and daughter. To find balance that allows these aspects of my life to flow together is pretty amazing, and a big achievement for me.