There are so many inspiring fitness trainers and enthusiasts out there, some more well-known than others. While it’s easy to admire and support those famous trainers from afar, my biggest fitness inspiration is a little closer to home. For me, it doesn’t get more motivating than seeing people I know truly living a life they love. Enter Alita Ashcroft – a wife, mother of three, PTA Certified Personal Trainer, gym owner, athlete and super-fit human being.
Alita and her friend own a gym called EnVie Fitness just outside Wollongong on the NSW South Coast. I am always inspired by how fit she is, how much time she gives to others and how caring and involved she is in the lives’ of her clients. On top of this she is the mother of three young children and somehow makes it all look easy.
Why did you pursue a career in the fitness industry?
I loved sport from a really young age and knew that I wanted a career in “sport”. In year nine I had a great PE teacher who inspired me to follow that career path. I worked at a local gym while I was at university and I loved it. After I graduated I worked for a teacher for four years and during this time I was offered a job as the business development manager for a new female fitness brand that was starting in Australia. I took the job but after three months I knew it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like being in the office. So I decided to combine my passion for health, fitness and education and buy one of the new gyms with a friend. And the rest is history! It’s been ten years and I’ve never looked back. I love what I do.
How do you maintain your own level of fitness, when you’re so busy helping other people achieve their fitness goals?
It’s a habit, it’s non-negotiable and it’s part of my family’s lifestyle. It’s like brushing your teeth. People often ask me where we find our motivation every day but when it’s a habit you don’t wait for motivation because motivation won’t be there all the time.
You have a husband, three young children, manage a business and train for your own events (like Ironman), how do you balance it all?
I used to be really organised before I had children but once our first baby came along I realised I couldn’t control everything anymore. Which was really hard to accept. But by the time my third came along I was definitely more comfortable with the organised chaos. Don’t get me wrong you still have to be pretty organised to have a business, husband, three kids and to train for “crazy” events (plus make time for friends and family) but I think the key is to be adaptable when things don’t go to plan (I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was still hard sometimes).
Do you ever have down time? What do you do to relax or take a break?
I’m good at listening to my body and I know when I need to step back. I’m also aware of my family unit and realise when we all need to just relax and do nothing – which is usually on the weekend. I love sitting at the beach with the sun beaming down and watching the waves but it doesn’t happen much these days without my children with me. But even then it’s still quite relaxing – I’ve always said the beach is the best babysitter!
What is your favourite way to train/exercise?
I like to train for an event/goal so to stay focused I like to follow a program for about three months. Usually by the time the first even is done I’m ready to train with a little less structure and often only pick up one more event/goal for the year. My favourite training is cardio but I still make sure I incorporate stretch and strength training into my routine. I love the TRX for strength training and a lot of functional strength exercises. There is nothing better than challenging our bodies and working on our weaker areas – often transverse and frontal planes.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Watching clients work hard for what they want to achieve and seeing them change. I don’t just mean their physical appearance but seeing them find their ‘balance’ is wonderful. It’s important to remember that health is made up of your mental, social, emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s really hard when you get clients coming to you who are such beautiful people but they have lost themselves. It’s amazing to be part of their journey as they improve their overall health and well-being.
What advice do you have for aspiring personal trainers who want a long and successful career in the fitness industry?
You have to have a genuine passion for helping people achieve their health goals and you definitely have to have that healthy and balanced life yourself. Anyone can study to be a trainer but you have to have the right personality and attitude to be good at what you do.