She took out 10th place this month at Spartan Race in Sydney and she’s looking and feeling stronger than ever. This week we talk to Danette Elliott about her love of obstacle racing, her foray into fitness studies and her ability to keep balls in the air (or, at least, bouncing).
Names and ages of children:
Luella Elliott and she is 3, nearly 4.
Regional Manager for L’Occitane Australia (NSW, SA and WA).
Tell us about your early Body Beyond Baby experience and your first 8 week challenge:
I still distinctly remember my first 8-week challenge. I was standing in the park telling Jen that I wasn’t sure why I was doing it. I told her that I didn’t want to lose any weight, I just wanted to be fitter. Jen gave me a questioning look and said, “Uh huh… you do what you feel is right”. I ended up losing nearly 7kg and discovered a love of running that I never had before. As a family we went to Port Douglas just before Christmas in 2011 and I trained every day. It was then I discovered that I could do it on my own and I loved it. Training became an amazing drug and I’m hooked.
How long have you been training with Jen and her team?
I have been training with Jen and her team since Luella was 12 weeks’ old, so just over 3 and ½ years
What were your early goals?
Mainly to tone up and to be able to run again. I had multiple rounds of IVF to have Lu and put on 7/8kg even before falling pregnant with all the hormones I was injecting. I was the largest I had ever been and I wasn’t feeling good.
Did you ever think you would stay with this training group this long?
Oh no! I was the worst client to begin with! I’m amazed that Jen even let me stay…. Burpees hurt; my knees hurt; my back hurt…. I was one of those complainers!
What has kept you coming back?
I think the diversity and the amazing friends that I have met and kept! I love training with such amazing women. They constantly challenge me and get me up on those very early mornings (we are a competitive bunch and I love it!).
Jen and the team have evolved as well, I was getting fitter and it almost got to the point where I needed to leave to be challenged further but Tough Mums came up and now the challenges keep coming.
Have you found any other benefits aside from the fitness aspect?
I’m amazed by how good I feel everyday. I have the energy to run around after Lu and my team at work are often inspired by what I can fit in most days. They also love hearing about the races and how dirty I got. It makes a novel change from the cosmetics world.
You are one of the ‘original’ Tough Mums – how did that come about?
My first obstacle race was Tough Bloke in 2012. We had all been training so hard for it. I was really sick beforehand and I told my husband that I was going for moral support and to take pictures, but there was NO WAY I was not doing it. The feeling of completing it was just amazing! I went home with a bronchial infection but I was instantly hooked on the sport.
We hear you have recently began doing your own fitness qualifications – tell us about that:
For a long time I wanted to learn more about training and the fitness industry. I kept thinking I’d do it when I wasn’t as busy with work or my husband wasn’t as busy but, really, that was never going to happen. Last Christmas I just decided to get on with it! I love the learning aspect and want to involve myself more with the obstacle racing side of it, as it is such a new sport and it presents so many opportunities. There are some people in my course who have never even heard of a Spartan Race… I know, crazy!
How do you juggle work, training, children and family life?
Ummmmmmm… I’ll be honest, it’s a constant juggle. Like all mums there are many balls up in the air and you just hope you don’t drop one or, if you do, it will bounce. I’ve learnt not to be so hard on myself as well. I can only do what I can only do. We have a saying at L’Occitane, which is: ‘Be here now’. I apply this to every aspect of my life. Wherever I am, I am 100% there. If it’s family, training or work you get all of my attention while I am with there and then I think about the next thing when I move onto that. I am lucky to have a great job that lets me leave everyday at 5pm to pick up Luella and then I am all hers. When she goes to bed I continue with my work and now I fit in study as well.
What keeps you motivated?
Learning everyday, being constantly challenged; surrounding myself with most amazing women all of the time that I learn so much from. I have amazing friends who pick me up when I’m low and having a bad day. I have a great husband who doesn’t understand why I like racing but likes that I love something that makes me happy (he can’t stand the mud!). Seeing Luella get excited when I bring home another race medal and her interest in ‘training’ me is motivating. I want to set a good example for her. I want her to love a lot of things in life, but I really want her to love fitness… and maybe not take as many years to discover what she loves like I did.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Not sure… When I get some I’ll let you know… I think it might be sleep!