How I Fell In Love With Fitness & Keep The Spark Alive
You know the feeling when you’re dripping in sweat and your heartbeat is exploding through every part of your body — you’re convinced you physically cannot do any more?
And then you do. You get up and you do it again. This time it hurts more. It’s harder. But you grit your teeth and get it done. You smash it.
And you know that feeling of pure elation that consumes you when you know you just worked harder than you ever thought possible? That’s why I fell in love with fitness and started my FIERCE program.
I found my fierce through my love of competition
Fitness hasn’t always been a passion of mine. But proving people wrong has. If you had asked 10-year-old Chontel if she could jump as high as the boys, or run as fast, she would have stared you in the eyes, deadpan, and told you no. Then she’d go jump higher and run faster than the lot of them.
All these years later, I’m still that competitive girl, but now my main competition is the person I was yesterday. I may not be the fastest or the strongest in the gym, but I get it done. I’m not afraid to throw weights around or sprint until I collapse. I’m all about being the best version of myself and training affords me that.
I want women to feel physically fierce and mentally strong. To be able to handle the shots life fires and get back up more resilient than ever. To break the stereotype, be the unexpected, and show the world who’s boss. Fitness to me is about unleashing the FIERCE.
It’s a far cry from the old me who only trained for sport. As a child and teenager this was what I loved to do, so once I got older I really had to find a way to integrate training into my lifestyle.
How I discovered the types of training I love
Like so many of my clients, I started with some basic cardio like running around the block. I called it ‘exercise’ and put it on my to-do list which made it feel like a chore, like something I had to do, not wanted to do. But, then I found YouTube, and that was a big source of motivation.
I started watching kickboxing videos and followed a girl who really inspired me. She didn’t care that she didn’t have the best technique or wasn’t perfect, but she smashed every workout and would have pure elation in her face afterwards, even though she was drenched in sweat and almost falling over.
I wanted that. I wanted to feel what she felt. So I joined a boxing gym and quickly learned what it felt like to unleash. I thought, ‘This is more like it!’
I felt like I was training for something again — not just literally running around in circles, and this really changed my mindset. I was no longer working out because I had to, I was training my body to move better, feel better, be better; engaging my mind and my body, building strength in both.
I later fell in love with Muay Thai, which is such a good, high-energy sport for me, and such a fun way to keep fit. From there it was a love for fitness that just kept growing stronger as I did.
I knew I wanted to inspire and help others on their own fitness journey, just like that kickboxing girl did for me all those years ago.
My fitness philosophy
Visualise your highest, best self, then start showing up as her. The minute I started applying that mentality to my training, it changed the game.
I’m a busy mum and business owner, so my workouts are maximising results — making the most of the time you have. Get in, work hard, get out.
People often ask me ‘don’t you get sick of working out or eating healthy foods?’ and the answer is yes, sometimes. It takes discipline.
If you take the emotion out of it, stop thinking of it as a chore and more of a lifestyle choice, you quickly realise you don’t want the alternative. Being fit and healthy should fit into your everyday routine, just like brushing your teeth.
Building strength, decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass is at the core of what my training aims to do physically, but if you’re not engaged mentally, or if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not sustainable.
That’s why fitness — for me — has to be fun, unpredictable, ever-changing and exciting. Love it, live it, and it will love you back.
How to learn lessons and make change
Changing your health behaviours is not easy, no matter what anyone says. It takes time, you’re going to want to quit more than once and you’ll realise relapse is real.
But with the right support network and mindset, you can accomplish anything.
Here are a few key things I’ve learned throughout my own health and fitness journey:
Progress takes time
Don’t expect to become a new person overnight. Changing your habits takes time. Some researchers say it takes 66 days for something to become a habit, so buckle up and commit to the journey. It WILL be worth it.
Don’t quit, even when you want to
Setbacks are what keep us hungry. At first they knock us down, they kick us in the guts and they make us want to throw the towel straight into the too-hard basket, along with our vision for a happier, healthier life.
I get it. But every time you get back up and try again it will get easier.
As you build resilience, you’ll discover pillars of strength you never knew you had. Think of your setbacks as a way to draw out those pockets of intrinsic power.
Support is key
My husband is my number one fan in everything I do. He’s absolutely the rock that keeps me grounded when things get tough and keeps me on track when I feel like derailing.
My community are also an incredible support network for me. They inspire me every day to keep doing what I do.
It’s so important to find your cheerleaders, your teammates and your pit crew, and lean on them when you need to. Ask them to make you accountable, or join the journey with you.
Relapse is real — don’t let it halt your growth
Let’s be real. When making a dramatic lifestyle change, and sustaining it, chances are you’re not going to nail it first go.
You’re going to fall back into bad habits every now and then, which is why balance is key.
I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule, where you’re ‘good’ at least 80 per cent of the time, allowing 20 per cent for those little indulgences you don’t want to give up (like eating out or chocolate — in moderation, of course).
Don’t starve yourself from the things you love, or you’ll likely end up binging or going too far in the wrong direction. Once you’re in the flow, healthy habits become second nature.
Don’t make it a quick fix, make a lifestyle change. And don’t beat yourself up about falling off the wagon, just get straight back on.
My inspiration trifecta
My community, my friends and my husband — they’re a trio of constant inspiration! Every day I am in awe of the FIERCE community. Hearing their stories and knowing they’re turning up for themselves each and every session fuels me and keeps me wanting to push myself and work hard because I know they’re in this with me.
The individual transformations and personal growth I see is heartwarming and enough to keep me motivated and energised in so many facets of my life.
My friend Dimity also inspires me on so many levels, both personally and professionally. Her approach to life as a mum, wife, business owner, fitness expert and friend is almost indescribable. She makes a difference to every life she touches and makes us all believe we are unstoppable. Her zest for life and belief in herself and everyone around her is truly special.
And of course my husband — he continues to surprise me with his tenacity, bravery and passion for life. He’s there to hear my wild dreams and crazy ideas and encourages me to chase them. And he gives me the courage to do so, because I know he’s by my side.
My goal is to inspire women to be FIERCE!
It doesn’t matter where you pull your inspiration from — your loved ones, your favourite athletes or health professionals, your kids or even that stranger at the gym who you see working their butt off every day.
If I can be half as inspiring as those who inspire me, then I’m doing exactly what I was put here to do. How will you keep the spark alive on your fitness journey?
* Results from FIERCE may vary. Strict adherence to the program is required for best results.