Meet Elly

Hi there and Welcome!

I’m so glad that you’re ready to look at your physical health in a holistic way.  Before going any further you might want to learn a bit about me to see whether we’d work well together.

I have an absolute love for fitness, health and wellbeing.  For me it’s all about the way a healthy lifestyle makes me FEEL and the knock on positive effects that it has into all other areas of my life, and the lives of others.

I was always picked last for teams in school sports quite simply due to a lack of confidence, which was really just down to not having practiced or played those sports enough.  But once I gave myself permission to care less about what other people thought and get involved anyway I very quickly discovered the amazing FEELING that I got from any type of movement based activities (not just the ones I was good at) and releasing endorphins.

Since my teenage years I have wanted to help others to experience the incredible benefits of FEELING better through movement, which started with coaching gymnastics and aerobics at high school alongside and post my own competitive days in those sports.

Far right – as a gymnastics coach in 1995 – age 14!

A bit of a laugh for you – Competing in aerobics in a g-string leotard!! (me in the middle)

More high school aerobics – 1998. Me on the bottom

The love of the FEELING that comes from regular movement then led me to study a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in exercise prescription at the University of Otago.

At this time my understanding of health wasn’t very holistic.  I was fit (already teaching several group fitness classes per week) and I ate my vegetables, but I was binge drinking every weekend, if not more frequently, and also eating plenty of crappy food.  Antibiotics for various ailments and sleeping off a hangover for an entire day were the norm – a true ‘party girl’.

My love of hiking and fitness in the outdoors started at University – this is the 3 day Humpridge trail, Southland, year 2000

One of many now embarrassing not-so-healthy drinking photos – binge drinking University days – that’s me doing a keg stand (to be fair it was the last day of exams!) – University of Alberta, Canada

Somehow I finished two degrees, spent a couple of years working/travelling/studying abroad, and then landed my first full time role in fitness in the UK in 2004. Here I got a fitness qualification with ACSM (The American College of Sports Medicine) and it was around this time that I started to take more of an interest in nutrition. I started to understand the value of organic food, was introduced to Eastern medicine philosophy and the beginning of my holistic outlook was formed. Having already been a committed vegetarian for three years at this point (for ethical and environmental reasons) I then began to really embrace my food choices from a health perspective.

Still hiking for fitness, wellbeing and fun – this time in Daegu, South Korea 2003

I worked in roles including group fitness instruction, personal training, studio co-ordination, fitness management and developmental gymnastics for babies and children between 2004 and 2008. Then it was time for a short stint as a fitness trainer on board one of the largest cruise ships in the world. Deciding that this role didn’t fit my moral values I ‘jumped ship’ pretty quickly and travelled a bit more.

Working as a fitness trainer on the cruise ship – 2007

It was somewhere along the amazon river that the idea for Natural Balance Health and fitness was born – a business where I could work on my own terms and within my own set of values, to help people make improvements to their, health, fitness and lifestyle.

Things ticked along nicely for the next five years, during which time I offered personal training and group fitness classes, as well as outdoor sessions. I had stints working as a course tutor at both the New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness, and Southern Institute of Technology. I presented at the FITEX conference a couple of times and was a finalist in the New Zealand Fitness Awards for three consecutive years.

I LOVE the feeling that I get when running

Surfing with clients 2010

Biking with clients 2012

Hiking with clients 2013 (pregnant!)

At the beginning of 2013 my journey as a mum began I was committed to being a hands on mum and decided that personal training and group fitness needed to be put on hold while I formulated more of a working from home plan. As many mums can probably relate to, I found the adjustment to being a mum and trying to find a new path for my career to be very challenging. Before I knew it, months of majorly interrupted sleep patterns and the stress of trying to figure out this ‘new life’ had led me into a downward spiral of insomnia and post-natal depression.

Somehow in amongst all that I managed to write and publish my first book ‘Burning fat for Good’ in 2014. I was also into quite the exercise regime in an attempt to stop the depression, curb my insanity, and help me find my way in this ‘new life’. I put myself on the side that my clients are usually on by entering the ‘Catch Fitness 20 week challenge’ and subsequently won the ‘New Mums’ category. Ironically, the time when I probably looked great on the outside and appeared to have a lot going for me I was struggling the most to ‘find my way’ on the inside. I was vaguely aware at the time that this was the ‘wired and tired’ stage of adrenal fatigue but I knew there was no ‘quick fix’. My ability to do things in day to day life was not inhibited so I kept going. (Stay tuned for the story of my adrenal fatigue and how it progressed from here – blog to come).

One of many hikes post natal to help me with my sanity, regaining my fitness, and connecting with bubs

Winning the 20 week challenge ‘new mums’ award 2014

With my book 2014

In 2015 we took on a family business called ‘Just Organic’.  I loved it because it was purpose driven and fitted so well with my beliefs around health.  We took some big risks and gave up a lot.  As most business owners do, we worked our butts off…but 15 months later we called it a day.  Our health, wealth and relationships were all seriously suffering, ironically for a business that we originally anticipated would provide us with a desirable, family focused lifestyle!

With a desire to put our family and wellbeing first the business was closed in October 2016 and we packed up our life in Christchurch and drove up to Gisborne to spend time with family, having no idea what would be next.

In December 2016 Natural Balance Health and Fitness was re-birthed ready for re-launch in 2017.  It’s now just me, providing online skype coaching for busy people, wherever you may be and wherever I may be in the world.

These days I work very holistically and will address aspects of health such as exercise, nutrition, stress, sleep, the way you think and your relationships to help you along your path to optimal health.  I believe that food is medicine, prevention is very important, each person requires an individual approach, your results come from what you do most of the time (not ‘some’ of the time), and that you should do what you love.

Whilst I lean towards natural medicine I recognise that an integrative approach is often the most positive way forward.

Adrenal fatigue, depression, insomnia, stress, IBS and chronic fatigue are all conditions I can relate to, empathise with, and help you to take control of, alongside other related health practitioners.  I understand the challenges that come with balancing family, career and health.

Let me help you take the next step towards a stronger, fitter, healthier and happier version of you.  I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me to set up an appointment today.


Enjoying R&R – December 2016

Please allow me to stay in touch

I write for a number of publications and generally publish a blog once a week about finding ways to enjoy a more happy and healthy lifestyle.

I also come across a lot of useful healthy information all the time. If I find something of value, I'd love to share it with you.

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