Interview: Lee-Anne Wann

Lee-Anne Wann is renowned for her “no excuses” approach to exercise. Having made the leap off the corporate ladder she found her passion lay in helping others to realise their health potential. As a business graduate (who is also fluent in Japanese) with an extensive list of accreditations in health and fitness it was a real pleasure to place a round of questions in front of Lee-Anne

What made you choose personal training and fitness as a career?

I realized while working in the Middle East in International Business & Marketing, that  money was not my primary driver and if I was ever going to be truly happy I needed to do something that I was passionate about.  While struggling with my own body weight and body shape issues, I decided to learn all I could about nutrition, health and fitness so I could achieve my goals and along the way I realized I was able to help others who had also lost belief in themselves. 

Have you ever met anyone beyond help?

Never – if there is desire, there is the means.

Do you think Kiwi women look after themselves enough?

I believe most women look after everyone else before they look after themselves.  Women in general tend to be givers and care more about the people around them than they do about their own needs.  I just really wish we women would see the importance of taking care of ourselves and truly understand that by being healthy, fit and well, we can do so much more for others.

What has been your biggest challenge on the road to your own optimal health and wellness? 

Understanding  that ‘balance’ in life is truly the key to being healthy and fit because when you are stressed, push yourself to extremes and do not take time to recover and heal, you will pay the ultimate price.  

What do you eat?

I love eating salmon as is such a filling food and is beautiful when served with a fresh salad and some slices of lemon and lime.  I eat mostly fresh foods such as nuts, seeds, lots of fresh vegetables and love poached eggs with a side of avocado, side of mushrooms and sliced tomato when out for brunch.  I am a big, big protein fan so all of my 6 meals a day start with a protein of some kind and then a low GI vegetable or some nuts to keep my blood sugars low and my energy constant. If I need a snack, I’ll grab a handful of Special K, it ticks the high protein, low GI boxes and tastes great- who says cereal is just for breakfast!  I also  have a weakness for scorched almonds  - I wish they came in very tiny bags instead of the large boxes!!

What do you say to someone who says ‘’I just can’t squeeze exercise into my busy day”?

You don’t have to! It’s not about changing your life to fit an unrealistic routine, it’s about looking at your schedule and your day and seeing what is possible based on what you have to work with and what you want to achieve.  As I say it’s the small things that make for great changes so you could eat more protein rich foods throughout the day which will make you feel more energetic so you may start adding in a brief lunchtime window shop for exercise or catch up with friends after work for a gossip walk.

If you could say one thing to people who want to get fit and be healthy but have tried everything and nothing seems to work – what would it be?

It’s not their fault!  People so often blame themselves for not being able to achieve their health, fitness and body shape goals when in reality it is not themselves they should be blaming.  We waste so much time on feelings of guilt, of embarrassment and of failure; time that is better spent looking at what we do want and how we want to feel.  Sometimes we need to ask for help and guidance and not to be afraid to keep asking and keep trying until you find something that works for you.  We are all unique and we all require our own personal blueprint for success so what works for someone else may not work for you but there is something out there – keep going, keep believing and you will find it but most of all do not blame yourself for not succeeding so far – you only fail when you stop trying!

What is the most important thing you have learnt about health, fitness and vitality?

Definitely has to be that it is the small things that make for great changes.  This is something I say every single day to every single client.  I remind myself of this constantly as well.  We always think we have to do some huge task or start some daunting program or stick strictly to some terrible diet if we are ever going to achieve our health, fitness and body shape goals when the truth is – we just have to do the little things on a regular basis and we will see huge changes.  As a friend of mine once said to me when I was struggling ‘it’s about baby steps, any faster and you will fall over and get skinned knees’.  Some of the top ‘little things’ I share with my clients are;

  1. Drink water – sounds far too simple to really work but I will say to my clients that if they cannot drink enough water, there is no point in doing anything else. 
  2. Eat a diet high protein – this is my fundamental in feeling great and looking great
  3. Follow your bliss – do what makes you happy because when you are happy you make great choices for yourself.
  4. The best exercise in the world is the one you do! So find something you love to do rather than force yourself to do something you hate.
 
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  • ama2008 says
    Great interview! would love to see more interviews with inspirational kiwi women :-)
  • joey0045 says
    "The best exercise in the world is the one you do! "
    I told my partner that I wanted to start a particular excercise. He is a work-out freak and started to say that wasn't going to get the weight off...blah...blah. I said, but if I don't start on something I enjoy I won't continue excercising!
  • flowery3 says
    wow, what a brilliant article - inspired! Now to start taking some baby steps - fish for tea, then dance class!
  • KH says
    Sounds like a good start!
  • Roz says
    Really looking forward to meeting Lee-Anne next week.

    I'm hoping I can learn heaps from her to help me keep on my fitness / lifestyle change with maximum efficiency.
  • Cinty says
    Wish I could have the opportunity to meet Le-Anne, would be fantastic! Must take the advice and get my a in to g
  • coco says
    I would love the opportunity to meet Lee-Anne that would be so awesome to find out what Im doing wrong
  • Anna says
    she would be so great to meet... to get real advise!!
  • KH says
    Yeah, there are some great points here.
  • Starlite5 says
    Lee-Ann Wann has been a source of inspiration ever since she burst onto to our TV screens with Down Size Me...her no nonsense approach to exercise and the "don't give me any excuses crap" attitude is a real winning combo for pushing forward and wanting to achieve all that you can in your life.

    The real light bulb moment for me personally though was she revealed her struggles with depression. It was eye opening to see that even someone who is a high achiever can sucumb to this illness and that with sheer determination and love and support can come out through that dark tunnel into the light on the other side.

    Thanks for sharing your story...I know that my own struggles has been partly because I haven't been true to myself in wanting to get involved with my true passions of helping people within the community especially the youth and moreso for thinking that money was my main motivator. I now know that I am my own motivator and that reaching out to ask for help has made me find the life I have always wanted and the happiness I 've always deserved!

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