When your life is based around movement, in your body’s ability to change with change, to go with the flow, create your own flow in mobility and strength, and maybe inspire others while you’re doing all that, it makes sense to share my biggest move yet: back home.

I’ve said this to friends who were ‘but surely moving to the USA was your biggest move?’ And sure, I moved to the USA a year after life saving brain surgery. It was stressful, I even bought my apartment I’d lived in in Australia for the last eight years literally 5 hours before getting on that plane! My life was in flux and I was all go with the adventure. I was even mid-training for the Nyc marathon. I just changed run routes, sprint tracks and yoga classes and seamlessly kept on.

Even two and a half years after living in San Francisco, we moved to Chicago, in February, in -17f/-30c. When our last box was unloaded and we decided to go get brunch, my waters broke, 9 weeks early and Lachie was born the next day. Fast forward another two years and we moved back to San Francisco for yet another two years, a common cycle it seems!

And now my hub has taken all his great work in USA and found his dream job back in Australia. We’re on our way home, complete with our dream off the plane pretty much intact to the letter. It was what we decided we wanted to be doing and wanted our life be like (albeit the miraculous child!).

Suffice to say I’m getting the knack of this moving thing. Sorting, culling, letting go of things, rebuilding, renesting, rescheduling our days. In each place I’ve moved I’ve added new friends, starting with a local park, cafe, even the hospital where Lachie was born and all the wondrous nurses we came to know and love as our friends. Each place welcomed us and provided the sense of community and belonging I’ve felt in my own home in Australia.

Things have been stressful but I’ve found the more I move my body, the more I feel capable of dealing with change, and now specifically the big move itself. Not just in the feeling of having achieved something for myself by completing a workout, still adhering to my daily meditation and finding the most satiating best sourced foods each day, albeit not even in my home town anymore. We are now loving a week respite before embarking back home in Australia in beautiful Hawaii. Getting our daily dose of vitamin d, soaking surfing and sand castling in the sea, and time together just as a family and seeing that no matter what changes around us so often that we have and I hope always will have each other wherever we turn. I couldn’t be more grateful.

There’s so many parallels between body movement and physically moving countries. Flexibility: around decisions, letting go of physical and mental stuff. Strength: in remaining true to myself, my family and our dreams amidst all that must happen in this move, and our way. Mobility: in having both the flexibility and strength at the same time! Mindset: staying true to our dream, amidst outcomes outside our control and turning apparent failure into feedback. And Gratitude at the top: for the flexibility strength mobility and mindset capabilities to embark on all this, on our dream in the first place and now seeing it thru.

Now one chapter is about to close and blossom into a whole new chapter. And I feel it’s the biggest move yet. Firstly, home is a house with a heart. I would not have stayed in San Francisco if I hadn’t made my home there. As the song says so long ago, I’m leaving my heart in San Francisco…especially in Marin County hehe.

And then it’s about letting go. When you let go of things you really can’t control, freedom is born. It’s liberating to be honest and as a result feel happier and more content than ever.

And lastly, when you’ve achieved your dream, our dream off the plane as we have called it, it’s time to dream again. It’s time to step up again and look to where we want to be. Which is unending really. I want everything and I will go get that. Which is why this is my biggest move yet.

I’m leaving a life I have loved; I’m moving into a life I will love. And right now I’m trying not to move all that much and to sit and dream just where I’ll go.

Today I am celebrating just how far I’ve come.

On nov 4 2010 I had a brain tumor. A tennis ball sized one. It’s kinda a big deal to have something like that growing inside you you were unaware of, but also taken out of your brain. And to keep on living like nothing is any different. (Except for getting it checked and stress over it each year but that another story.) For now, it’s stopped. And it makes me more than grateful for all I have and can do.

As fate would have it surgery was 4 nov, which is the same day as the Nyc Marathon.

The same Nyc marathon I’d qualified to compete in October 2010 for November 2011, just three weeks before surgery. I told my neurosurgeon I’d be doing it the following year moments after surgery.

When my recovery was on track I began training. More miles, more sprints, more running shoes, more massages, more yoga. I did that marathon nov 4 2011. In 3.34. My neurosurgeon still keeps a photo of my hub and I crossing that finishing line.

We did it again in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 I did a marathon of surfing in Nicaragua.

And the last three with my son Lachie have been a different type of marathon altogether, but likewise made up of tiny things that come together. Like each km your watch beats; moving to Chicago, his birth, his milestones, moving back to San Francisco. I think I love most that I started bouldering with him at the base of the climb in my hubs arms when he was just four months old (and now he’s 3 I’ve just climbed my first v6!).

It’s hard not to just look at today, the survival day, the finishing line, as all there is. But it’s not until I look back on all the things that I’ve achieved that I realize exactly how far I’ve come: living in USA for six years, running my business in nutrition and fitness both online and in person, having a baby (oh yeah that biggy!), skiing and surfing so many places I’ve only ever dreamed of visiting. Oh and learning to skateboard and drop in this year!

After years of surviving when no one thought I would, I see my body isn’t broken after all. It’s still moving and grooving and keeping up with my three year old, so I’m calling that winning at life.

So how am I spending this nov 4? Sitting on top of a mountain I love, surrounded by people I love, watching the sun set, about to embark on another huge adventure.

If meditation is understanding the mind then movement is understanding the body.

Even simply walking you can feel how your big toe reaches for the ground, your foot rolls through to your heel. As you lift a leg you can feel it’s quad engage, and the opposite glute (very important for getting a gluteus minimums, sorry my mums joke in defiance she has a maximus anything related to her butt haha!). Your hips are held stable by rock solid core and spine, in turn stabilizing your ribs as they breath and move in and out in completely different directions to your walking motion. Your arms counter nutate with their opposite legs and your neck holds all that weight of your head steady and strong as you smile your cheeks off enjoying this ability we so take for granted!
My purpose for working-out is strengthening, connection and shifting energy not exercising just to get it done, frustration and giving all my energy away. Move-out don’t work-out and you’ll find a habit you (and your body) actually like. 
Move into each movement, simple or complex, and find the connections through your body as a whole. In climbing and bouldering for instance, our hands only pull us to the wall; the movement is propelled upwards from our toes and butt. In our beach move-out today, we trained barefoot, and whilst step jumping onto a bench and driving our knee upward as we jumped yet again, the feeling of returning our whole foot to its full use in both driving and landing is eye opening. The first few I found myself landing on the outside on my right foot, over balancing a little. Using my arms in opposition to my legs gave me greater balance, rhythm and drive.
Even sitting reading this right now, how far forward is your head reaching, your eyes lowering to read, your shoulders slumping and coming together to bring your hands in to hold and scroll this phone. Just looking up you can feel your body straighten. Now sit on the edge of your chair on your sitting bones (apt name right?!), and without letting go of the phone, roll your shoulders down and back and push your chin back to aligned your head a bit further back. You’ve just moved to understand your body a bit better. Congrats.
Like meditation, we can observe our body openly and honestly, through movement. We can find a freer sense of ease and develop empathy for ourselves (and others around us) to create a greater sense of connection
I’m humbled by this body. It’s not just the skin sac that keeps all my bits together. It’s my frickn body and look what it allows me to do. 

As a child and teenage gymnast I remember many tears. Ankle weighted toe shoe walks, bouncing splits pushed from above, hollow back pulses. And then I’d go home and try and replicate them each day until next practice, each time with the same tears.

Funnily enough I’m not that into pain anymore ha. But I am into the notion my body is telling me stuff thru symptoms and trying to listening to those. Which can be really difficult for most of us living in such highly inflamed bodies, where inflammation becomes a barrier to our ability to feel. And not just from physical overuse or poor food choices or even the best food choices we can from poorly nourished soil. We just live in so much stress, which alone is enough to inflame us all.

So if we can’t hear what our body’s saying to us how do we learn to listen to it?

One of the simplest ways is to turn your attention to the way your body is feeling right now. Take a few deep breaths and relax each part of your body starting from the top of your head and working your way down to the bottom of your feet. Once you’ve checked into your physical state, take stock of your surroundings using all your senses. Notice the breeze on your skin. The beauty of a nearby tree or flower. Your kid’s sweet voice echoing from his play room. And say a silent prayer of gratitude for all that’s happening around you that you can experience by simply being still.

We spend so much time swapping from one activity to the next we seldom stop to ‘live’ in our bodies. Frequent check-ins help me relax and in turn applied to movement help me improve. Try it. Be bodyful!

What if I fall? oh, my darling, but what if you fly?

-Erin Hansen

I love this quote. It reminds me of a commercial I used to watch as a kid if a little boy on top of his garage in mask and cape scanning the sky around him. When do we lose this feeling of the potential to fly and replace it instead with a fear of falling and failing?

And thanks even more to the internet it can feel beyond overwhelming to jump headfirst into trying something new. The online world offers easy access to people who have already gone thru the paces of discovering what they’re passionate about, so we forget how much work, waiting, heartbreak, and starting over had to happen to get them there.

For that reason it’s so easy to stop trying when we don’t find immediate success.

Sadly it’s even more common to not try at all.

And we teach what we need ourself. Starting over seems something I’m made for. I first started Fitbynature in 2004. In 2010, brain tumor surgery stopped me in my tracks as I spent the next few months learning to walk again. Perhaps more so was the severe dip I felt in my confidence which, despite those around me not really seeing anything different in me, had been zapped. Everything I knew about health, movement and nutrition seemed wrong, especially if someone apparently so fit and healthy could be so unknowingly sick and dying.

Fast forward to 2012 and starting over by moving to the USA. A new country, a new city, a new culture, new friends, new lifestyle, new habits, new thoughts.

Fast forward again to 2015 and the birth of my beautiful boy, in yet another city, Chicago. Never mind I wasn’t to know until I was 5 months pregnant despite tests, not so dissimilar to my brain tumor discovery days before surgery. How did these things keeping jumping up on me?!

After nearly four years, this August I made the decision to start over with my business. I have never stopped learning, studying and working whilst in the states, though had stopped charging without a work visa with Lachie’s birth. I have loved teaching for free, being with likeminded people who just loved what I did. I’ve written blogs about what we’ve been learning and what they’ve taught me. Sometimes what we teach we so appropriately need ourself: the confidence to start over.

And now we’re moving back to oz. I think I’m all ready. In fact I feel drawn to it like a magnet, starting over, and helping others do the same. Because this time it’s different. I am open to this next adventure, I am choosing it, not being lead.

Nearly everyone can name something they’re drawn to like a magnet. I’m buzzing again with all the feels about what I’m passionate about, but not so much I’ve forgotten how much work, waiting and heartbreak awaits to get me where I want to go. But knowing where it is I want to go and realizing where I am, I’m excited to pull all the details together to head toward my desires in this adventure.

Come with me? Cos you know that you you desire to be? That one who can climb mountains, run and crawl thru tunnels with your kids, surf for the first of many times, listen to your own body and move it thru ailments you previously sought help for when it got too bad. It’s the same you, just where you’re going!

Don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Let’s make it one. Remember, you’ve just the same (if not more!) potential to fly than anyone!

Sign up for online group coaching (begins January) and the waitlist is now open!

A lot of the time we take our body for granted. It’s just taking us thru each day and we don’t pay attention until something’s wrong or hurt or we get an injury. Look down at your knees and realize the hips above and the ankles below carry us around all day. So they’re probably something we gotta be appreciative for on a daily basis not just when something goes wrong.

This week I experienced my first climbing injury. Ever.

I went thru the range of emotions. Of course the usual ones anger, sadness, disappointment… but then something unexpected happened, I felt happy.

Happy in the realization that I’d achieved my goals climbing a V6, dropping in at the skatepark. How come we forget to celebrate stuff like that?!

Happy that new goals and adventures are ahead. So what can i do with a cast? Running. That’s right I love running! I’ve run three nyc marathons to celebrate getting my life back and how far I’ve come. Sounds perfect for now, no? I’ve managed to run twice already this week, once from Ocean Beach over the Golden Gate bridge home another thru the beautiful trails of mt tam. Not a bad second option!

And happy that I got to see a great doctor. Here in Marin, so close to the home of ski-bumming and Tahoe, and then also the home of mountain biking, she recognized my injury immediately. On the X-ray she saw the fracture – astounded my ligament was so strong it had actually broken the bone off my thumb instead of snapping. She said while I was getting away from quite a long recovery I wasn’t getting away without a cast. She then took the extra care to set my cast, in pink, and glitter, both of which Lachie is particularly happy with: ‘mummy, your hand looks so pretty!’. Deal = sealed.

Three things we can all easily take for granted are breathing, appreciating, and our ability to move this body moving you all week long. And we all know, if not family-wise, there are certainly others who don’t have this ability. But when do you ever stop to appreciate and focus: that everything I do have right now I get to move into. Our bodies are moving for us on a daily basis so focusing on what we do have, what you do have, is going to keep you moving. You’re so fortunate to have your body. Let’s not take it for granted.


– write three things you’re grateful for about your body each day this week. Post your most grateful in the comments

You don’t stop playing cos you grow old, you grow old cos you stop playing.

Imagine if we all replaced the word ‘exercise’ with ‘play’. You’d do it every day!
I do. I love to climb and skate. Slack line and surf. Trail run. Ride bikes. Play tennis. Sup. And that was just this weekend.
I love to move my body. I love moving it around itself. Feeling how it works, and doesn’t. I love working out how my joints should work, if they feel the same or different each side. And suddenly half and hour or a whole hour has passed just playing around. No gym. No reps or sets. Just moving. Play, exercise, mobility, moving: it’s what you make it. Finding what your body needs is key.

And most of us know what our body needs. We eat our vegetables, meditate (or if you’re like me at least try), get good sleep (again I try!) but exercise, probably the most important habit change anyone can make, still leaves most people struggling with making it a lasting habit.

The solution is to replace the ‘exercise’ habit with play. Think about kids: they don’t care about what they “should” do … all they want to do is have fun. And so they play. Building sand castles and tunnel slides really are fun at any age!

That’s why I’m never stopping playing. It’s in my dna and part of who I am as a person and my happiness. Don’t move it to avoid losing it, move it to move more!
Never stop playing, never stop (and get old).
It’s a year since last years comp. I loved it. It took me to greater heights (excise the pun) in bouldering than I’d ever thought possible. By the time results were out my previous bests of v4 were superseded to not one but three v5s in the comp.
So it only follows I want more this year. V6! But even trying to start them, get off the floor even eeek. It’s freaking hard. But bouldering and in a comp where v grades are replaced with numbers 1-80, I love taking out preempting my ability and instead taking ‘I might’ to the wall.
We live in a world constantly telling us we’re not good enough. Heck I even tell myself. So I’m telling myself I might be. And today I surpassed my own expectations. I tried harder than I thought I would. Nearly 10 numbers higher! Warmed up on a 2,12,16. I looked around and thought I’ll try to get in the 40s. Then just tried a 36, 48 then 49 (no go), 44, 35, 47 (no go) 36, 43. Most of my best climbs were on the second page for scoring and flashed first go (you get less points for making it up to a fifth attempt). Pretty much stoked to the max right now.
And while rushing to leave for my son’s nap, wondering if I could’ve done more, I feel I liked the pressure to finish and get out what I could in the time i had. (And I’ve just had a nap too!).
The raw rarrrrr of competing with other chicks and not preempting your ability and just taking it to the wall. Whoa. Look at all I am. And that goes for you too, you’re more than enough. You’re unique, you’re incredible. Own it.
I want to inspire other women to be strong mind body and spirit no matter their life stage, age or where they’ve been. Just where they’re going. And I’m starting out coaching myself the same way.
Oh and until comp results release next week, I actually have no idea what grades I climbed today. I’m feeling V6. Don’t you think?!
note: while these pics weren’t the hardest climb I did it was immediately after! And you can see in the first pic there’s an almost horizontal yellow piece and a grey bit below that on the left. You have to run and jump for it by jumping off the grey one. But then you have to jump both hands to the first yellow trunk kinda one. Scary. And exhilarating. Haven’t dyno-ed in years!
Growing up I always thought, ‘go to university, get a job, earn money and you’ll live well’. I loved uni, but dotcoms dotbombed, three times in a row for me, and a brain tumor stopped me more than a little in my tracks. I ended up just exercising the way I loved, in parks and beaches, and my movement and nutrition business began. And I’ve never run it like a personal training business. It’s a lifestyle within your work day, your home day, your daily life. So much of the fitness industry is aesthetics based but more and more I came to see it as a sense of fulfillment and feel good. I was training confidence and happiness.
Because in an aesthetics based industry it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. I know I still do it. Even in the ways I constantly try to take my own movement and mindset.
When I started skateboarding I constantly thought about how I would never be as good as other skaters out there, especially girls 30 years younger than me, not to mention the crazy dudes out there who are almost as inspiring (ha), so pursuing it often felt a bit ridiculous.
And I’m not sure that it’s a feeling of lack or jealousy. Instead I decided to celebrate with them, realizing I have just as much an opportunity to get out there too. Their success is not my failure or that they get some means I get less. I’ve come to see all of them as confirmation – if they can, I can. And so can you!
I think of Mikhail Baryshnikov when he said, ‘I do not try to dance better than anyone else, I only try to dance better than myself’. Everyone is unique in their talent and abilities so you can’t share another persons benchmarks. But the reverse is also true. It doesn’t matter how many people do what you do. No one else can do it like you. Even I have strengthens in skateboarding! You need to focus on your strengths and talents.
I love my skateboarding. I’m not good in skateboarding standards but I’m so freaking happy doing it, getting new lines, connecting things I never dreamed I’d get.
Let’s face it. No one else is you. No one else is me. So let’s stop comparing ourselves to others. Looking to others is a great way to get motivated. Using their achievements for inspiration and the sheer fact it’s possible is much needed gumption. But using other people as a standard for judging yourself is pointless. If you spend your life trying to imitate other people you will not have time to discover what makes you unique.
Which in itself can be difficult especially if you’re stuck in the trap of comparison. And you live with yourself all day long, so everything you do probably feels so normal to you. But it’s not normal, it’s you. You do things no one else does. You have thoughts and dreams and abilities that packaged together are highly unusual. The trick is to find your uniqueness and embrace it.
Focus on what you love cos it makes you feel alive and happy.

My inspiration. Ok, so the deal is, ‘if he goes, I go!’

As a climber I’m aware daily how much my body prefers upper body strength. But one of the coolest thing about that is that upper body strength requires middle and lower body strength, which requires a suppleness in all body tissues. So it goes without saying, I’m gonna keep loving climbing.
But how can you do the same, aside from taking up climbing of course (which is really fun and you should so try it!)?
Hanging from our hands. We all need to move ourselves toward more ideal upper body strength.
Here’s where you normally hear the whole rant about the fact you’ve years of shoulder, neck and arm tension which have created patterns of wear on your ligaments and left you with major muscle atrophy. And it’s undeniable that aesthetics is still the main driver of the fitness industry, so let’s just put here how our upper body holds up our torso (read: our abs). What about the fact that upper body suppleness holds up our head (& our pride!). And consider how much is housed in your upper body – your heart, lungs and all the connections to your brain. Pretty major.
And hanging from your hands is one of the best incidental ways to get your upper body strength back to neutral, if not kickass, daily.
One of the main reasons, and it’s not your arm strength or probable weakness in your hands (we all are to start), is to lengthen and strengthen your lats.
A classic example of the effect weak or undertrained lats can have is being hunched over, which if you drive a car, ride a bike, or sit on a bus train or ferry to work then a desk to repeat the transport posture coming home, eat dinner at the table sitting, relax watching some tv before curling up foetally in bed to sleep, that’s exactly what yours are. They’re always pulled down and shortened so hanging will lengthen and lighten them, back to your infant self. Slumping forward weakly without suppleness will inhibit your body’s efficiency to be well.
You don’t need to start like macho man in the photo holding onto rings with both legs off the floor (helmet necessary of course!). In fact you should try first with your feet on the ground! Start in your own home. A skirting board. Even a railing in the bathroom or the sink in the kitchen. Because our living room is exactly that, a room for living in, we’ve a set of pull up bars in the doorway entrance to the kitchen. (We’ve also rings hanging from a central rafter but that’s another blog post!). It makes hanging a central part of every day, or every time you remember!
Start just holding on. Lean away if you’re on a railing or at the sink. If you’re on a skirting board or pull-up bar and you’re too short like me, have a chair nearby. You want to keep your feet in contact with the ground (or chair) so you can start by introducing a load that is much less than your weight. Try hanging standing on both feet then one foot then the other, then each arm by itself and then both. You can change your grip position to palm over to palm up, one of each, narrow and wide.
As you hang, go through this check list:
*Start in your own home, hanging from a kitchen or bathroom sink or railing, or from a skirting board or pull up bar in you have one, feet on the floor. Try both feet, then one then the other, and both hands, then one and the other.
*Your shoulders do not belong near your ears. Think about relaxing them down, have someone touch your shoulder blades on your back and think about moving them down. This is the biggest anti hunching pointers you could give yourself
*Your ribs might be splaying or thrusting up to the sky. Think about relaxing and lowering them too. Think about your abs pulling them down, your breath relaxing them downward.
*arm hanging stretches one of the biggest muscle groups in your body, your lats. They link your shoulders and your hips and are more a part of core aesthetics and reflexive working than just mincing out sets and reps of crunching abs (including your back). They connect at five different points including the spine, pelvis, ribs, scapula, and upper arm so are involved in a LOT of different functions.
Good for:
Opening your chest and back
Lengthening your spine between each vertebrae (yup, you’re gonna get taller, or so I tell myself)
Pretty much reverses sitting posture
Open up slumped muscles atop lungs, heart, stomach
Entertaining you and your baby!
Get you some long strong lats, not only for developing strength, but keeping your back and shoulders healthy as well. Focus on long strong lats, and everything else will follow.
We all need to hang and swing in order to optimize our upper body’s strength to weight ratio. I’m not talking pull-ups but gradual increases in upper body usage incidentally to increase the use of more of our body parts. Spread the love I reckon; go hang from your hands on something right now.