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Inspirational women

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to some inspirational and goal-kicking women to glean insight into how they do what they do and to encourage others in our community to dream bigger, reach further, celebrate their wins and back themselves.

Meet the three women we celebrate and are inspired by today:

Emma Barry is a Kiwi living in California commuting to Amsterdam. She is a published author, speaker and advisor to the fitness industry, contributing to international business forums, trend panels, women’s events and serves on a number of boards. Emma was a founding member of Les Mills, a former director of Equinox and is now an advisor serving the Innovative Edge of Fitness: Boutique Studios, Budget Clubs, Digital Workouts, Fit-Tech Start-ups.

The amazing Amy Francis co-owns five Western Australian Gold’s Gym clubs, and is a driven competitor in a number of fitness fields. You’ll see her lifting the energy in the clubs as well as lifting heavy weights in strongman competitions.

Michelle Resic, owner of Gold’s Gym Miranda is powerfully positive, full of energy and ideas for her club, community and young family, and on top of all she does with the many hats she wears, she’s also studying to become a sports nutritionist. 

Here’s what these women had to share on the topics of motivation, self-care, accountability and what the future holds for women in fitness.

Q: Tell me how you manage to stay motivated throughout the year.

A: I like to set several goals throughout the year based on upcoming events. I’ll literally sit down with a calendar and look at all of the local events I want to do in the year and make a plan for how I am going to be ready for each event. At the moment I’m doing a trail series and I travel every couple of weeks to compete. I also recently did the Rottnest Swim so I trained hard to achieve that goal and now I’ll work towards the next one. 

M: Somedays I wonder myself! I’m a glass half full kind of person and I am always dedicated to people. Motivation wanes but staying dedicated to things that I’m passionate about keeps me going. I’ve found in all things we do, the  ‘why’ needs to be strong enough to overcome waning motivation. I’m always dedicated to my family, my business and members and seeing others’ results helps fuel me on, other people’s wins give me inspiration, and I also want to be a good example for others.

E: I stay in service. As soon as COVID hit I realized everyone was confused, a lot lost their jobs, many slipped into sedentary lifestyles and so I went online with daily “Badass Bullets” – a daily dose of love on Instagram and Facebook. I tried to be what people needed each week – funny, informative, supportive, educative.

Q: How do you practise self-care?

A: I practise self care by making sure I have time to myself every week and that could mean either going for a run or just a walk along the beach. Self-care doesn’t mean you have to take up meditation or start doing yoga, that kind of stuff isn’t for everyone. Some people are really time poor and want to make the most of the limited time that they have to themselves and so they want to sweat it out, but I think we all just need to set aside some time for ourselves and give something back to your body. For me, I like to get a massage once a week. Because I train a lot it really is a nice relaxing time for me but also has the added benefit of loosening my muscles. I also love to read and I believe that eating healthy is a form of self-care too. 

M: I train at least once a day, 6 days a week. Sometimes twice. Food is a big part of my self-care and we get all our food from a local company that does our meal prep with really healthy food so it makes it easy for us to make healthy food choices when it’s all ready to go.  I know I don’t get enough sleep, I’m working on that, but I also have a 2.5-year-old that likes to wake me up a lot!  On the other hand, spending time with my family and having a no-work-policy for Sundays gives me great balance and grounding. I also keep positive, don’t take anything too seriously and always reflect on choices and actions knowing I’ve done the best I can.

E: Fitness is my ‘bread and butter’ so I connect with my family in that way. I do a Les Mills Sprint every second day with my husband. I train hill sprints with our son when he is doing extra soccer training for LA Galaxy and I practice a Booty class I choreograph for the biggest value-based chain in Europe, with my daughters. 

I do more yoga these days and I need to move to meditate so my best thinking time is behind a vacuum cleaner – a two-for! I also adore girl time at the salon. I have a pre-departure routine I absolutely loved when I was commuting to Amsterdam each month because I’d leave Sunday 1.30pm but arrive Monday morning just 9 hours later and I needed to be on my game. I would under-sleep the night before so I was a little tired, get my nails done, then have champagne and inhale girly movies at blowout bar DryBar and I would hit the airport feeling like Beyonce. The one good thing about getting older is being kinder on yourself. Less gets to me now and I’m not in such a hurry to chase vanity goals. I have friends of all ages and races and there is no one in my life that is a Debbie downer or closed thinker. I eat well, have a huge friend network and leave voice messages for people every day, zoom with the family each week, do outdoor circuit training with friends each weekend, give to charity, write every day. I also work for myself now. I never was very good coloring in between the lines so I am happier with every project I choose to take on.

Woman sitting at free weights section in Gold's Gym
Q: Who or what keeps you accountable throughout the year?

A: Me. I participate in solo events like trail runs and Ironmans so I can only rely on myself and no one else can help me get through that but me. I have to make sure I’m ready to compete so I’m constantly testing myself to ensure I hit those milestones that I need to in the lead up to an event. This comes back to the goals I set myself throughout the year. I break down those big goals into smaller milestones so I know I’m going to be ready when the time comes. 

M: My community. Our club culture is so wonderful that it’s like a 2nd home for me and many of the members, some of whom we’ve had in the club for years and we’ve seen their kids grow up through the creche. They are my why in business and I always look for ways to give more and create more opportunities for them to achieve and at the same time push me along. 

My members give me inspiration for great community events, collaborations, challenges and initiatives. I like to do lots of little things throughout the year as I believe it’s the little things that are actually the big things when it comes to connection, community, accountability and success. I’m an action taker so as soon as I have a random idea, I like to get straight into putting it in action and my family and club members keep me going. 

E:  I am huge on accountability and my whole life has been structured around having coaches, personal development courses, masterminds, and accountability groups in place to stretch me. Life is not about doing it alone. We are capable of so much more than we think we are. We need others to help clear that way for us and we give back in kind. 

Personally, my family keeps me accountable. We work hard at sitting down each evening at family dinner and have real talks. We try to be honest and transparent and support whoever is not doing well. In a family of five, there’s always one or two with challenges.  

I also have an actual accountability partner in Canada – we both spoke at an event once and have been inseparable since. She is French-Canadian and a baller speaker and prolific author of 15 books. She is also a trained coach with a specialty in neuroscience. We set big goals together and are slightly scared of each other which helps us achieve them. There is no point having a pushover as a partner. I am also engaged in HALO Academy which is an investment school which runs short courses from time to time. I get my assets kicked by some heavy hitter investors and business owners out of New York which is petrifying and exhilarating all at once.

I have found it to be true that you are the average of the people you spend time with. 

I also use the Magic Mountain app for challenges with friends around the world like my sister in Australia and some of my friends in Europe and regularly enter the MyZone Challenges with global fitness whanau.

Q: What would you love to see in the future for women in fitness?
(working in the industry or as members of clubs)

A: I would love to see more women have the confidence to simply train. Although this has come a long way over the past decade, there are still a lot of women who wouldn’t have the confidence or self belief to join a team sport, take part in a group fitness class or train on the gym floor without feeling uncomfortable. I want every woman to be moving and not relating the gym or fitness to a negative experience.

M: I want everyone to know that we welcome and we support women in our club and it’s run by a strong and powerful woman (me!)! When I first opened the gym there was a huge amount of men that came in and asked for the man owner to talk about their goals. They were shocked when they found out I was the owner. We’ve come a long way to get the recognition deserved with many women who have to prove themselves and worked so hard in this industry to get where we are today. 

I’m proud to be part of Gold’s Gym as the longest running co-ed fitness company in the world. No other group rivals us in the duration, we’re still growing and still succeeding.The foundation was bodybuilding, the future is getting everyone into wellness and fitness. 

E: I would love to see the diversity and multi-dimensional thinking that women bring to business and life be represented at half the seats at the top tables of fitness and right through the organizational structure. And beyond to the broader agenda of diversity, inclusion and equity.

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