Lizzie learns to… LIFT

Written by Lizzie Macaulay

This month, I’ve been embarking on the final (and biggest) stage of what has been a sort of
renaissance year for me. My health and fitness. And fair warning, I’m going to get a little raw
and vulnerable here, so go easy on me. I’m a pretty private person, but I’m hopeful that if I can
share my experiences, just maybe I’ll be able to help someone else. So here goes… Consider
this my confession…

Clearly, I’m overweight now. But that hasn’t always been the case. I was fit enough to run 5k
in under 30 minutes for a long time there. I played tennis up to 5 times a week right up until I
was 28 weeks pregnant with my first daughter. I loved movement and eating well and being

I’d say I still like those things, but I definitely don’t do any of them anywhere near as much.
As the external demands of my life increased – kids, husband, a new business – my focus
on myself diminished. I’d simply vanished from my own attention and I hadn’t noticed it

Many of you reading this will be mums as well, and so it might be a familiar story for you:

  1. Bring these beautiful beings into the world
  2. Do everything you can to make sure they are fed, clothed, warm, clean, loved, entertained,
    (and all the things)
  3. Forget to look after yourself in the process

Now, I’m not blaming the kids for this, or anyone else. No one asked me to set my needs aside.
In fact, I’d say all the advice says the opposite – the ‘oxygen mask theory’ is a common trope
in mummy blogs across the world. But here we are…nearly four years on from kid #1 and 20+
kilos overweight. (Or 10+ kilos per kid, if we’re being mathematical about it) I may have been oblivious to my own internal struggles at this point, but I wasn’t blind. My weight had spiralled out of control.

So when I discovered this month’s magazine was going to be on strength, I thought it would
be the perfect opportunity to get back into the gym. It was a pretty literal understanding of
the word ‘strength’, but I’d heard such great legends of our fitness columnist, Josh Hoodless,
that I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

I phoned Josh to set the session up for the column, expecting him simply to say “Yup just
come along to a class,” but nope. What we had a was a long conversation about his approach,
training and ethos for his training studio, LIFT (all exceptional) followed by not one, but two
sessions to uncover my abilities, hindrances, likes, dislikes and, realistically, my starting point.
I have trained with a lot of coaches over the years (even was one for a hot minute), and I
have literally never encountered anyone as highly trained as Josh, with such passionate, laserfocused attention to detail.

I rocked up for my first session, which was unexpected for a multitude of reasons – the first was
simply that for a column about lifting, I did none that day. Josh took the time to understand
the mechanics of my body specifically before we put any load onto joints and muscles that I’d
forgotten were even a part of me for so long.

And that’s when it hit me. I’m still here.

I have this body – these muscles, joints and even organs – that I have almost masterfully tuned out for years now, that are suffering from severe neglect.

While we continued the session, I am flooded with feelings of shame and embarrassment and, honestly, bewilderment at myself for letting things slip so far.

I must have been lost in my own thoughts for a while, as Josh messaged me after the session and apologised for boring me. Although I wasn’t bored at all. I was in the midst of a massive reawakening right there in the studio and I was processing the weight of it (no pun intended).

By the time session two came around, just two days later, I was in a very different headspace, and ready to work. This is my only body and it needs more. So that I can live a long life without health complications. So that I can keep up with the tots in the way that they deserve. So that they have a solid example to follow of health and wellbeing. So that they can look at mum and be proud and inspired.

We tried a few sets of moves that were familiar to me from years of training, and a genuine fascination with the big Olympic lifts (not that we did any of those – simple is best when you’re starting out). As familiar as squats, deadlifts and push-ups were to me, my own body was not, so Josh spent a lot of time adjusting my positioning to make sure what I was doing was safe
and injury-free.

Throughout the session I was faced with some interesting contrasts – I knew I would be weak, but I was stronger than I had given myself credit. I knew what I was doing, and simultaneously knew nothing. I was embarrassed for my own lack of health and strength but inspired to fix it.

I think the thing that fascinated me most about being in the LIFT studio was simply the variety of clientele. You might look at the kit, and at a burly guy like Josh and think, ‘Well I guess that’s just for burly guys like Josh’. But you’d be so wrong. Every sort of person goes to LIFT. Their clients range from octogenarians training to maintain their muscle tone and bone density to firefighters keeping fit for the job (and everything else). LIFT is for everyone, and the tailored approach they take to training is smart, safe and effective.

I’ve witnessed the transformation of friends, and now, with any luck, comes my own transformation…
So here it is… my big, public declaration. I am determined to turn things around for myself. To never again forget my own existence. To be strong. And yes, to shift some of the weight that crept up on me while I was sleepwalking for a few years there. I will be working with Josh and the LIFT team to keep this wake-up rolling, and I invite you all along to follow my story… For the next 12 weeks, I’ll be documenting my progress and sharing it with you on the Alive Mag socials. With any luck, someone out there might just be inspired to reignite their own health journey.

My encounter with Josh, his lovely wife, Dawn, and the entire LIFT team was a revelation, and a total privilege. Did I learn to lift weights in a safe, supported environment? Absolutely, but the true lift was in my awareness and expectations of myself. I feel like I’m back from no-man’s-land and really, truly ready to enjoy not just my fitness, but my whole life. It’s amazing how just one encounter with the right person can completely redirect everything…

With huge thanks to Josh, Dawn and the LIFT team. You can find the LIFT training studio at 2/143 Old Maryborough Road Hervey Bay (Corner of Liuzzi Street and Old Maryborough Road).