We’ve recently launched an interview series, aimed at digging a little deeper into how childhood experiences shape the way we feel about exercise in later life. Part research, part entertainment. And also, we just like speaking to interesting people.
This week we’re interviewing someone with quite the opposite exercise relationship compared to our previous interviewee, Kathryn Rossiter from Becoming You Blog. As a mom who has built a life and a business around her love for exercise, Ashleigh Iovino‘s passion for helping women to build a healthy and fulfilling active lifestyle is so inspiring.
What I found most interesting about interviewing Ash, is that physical fitness has always been a happy place for her. From parents who made being active a normal part of everyday life, to supportive and inspiring coaches, Ash has been lucky enough to have a ‘perfect’ exercise childhood, leading to a very healthy relationship with exercise in her adult life.
As you’ll know if you follow this blog, we’re convinced that through Fit Kids we have the opportunity to shape the way the next generation feel about moving their body every day. We do this by showing them that physical activity is something to do for yourself and to feel great about, no matter what your sporting ability might be. Ash shares this same philosophy through FitMom, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading what she has to say.
Tell us about your relationship with exercise today. What kind of exercise do you do? Do you love it? Hate it? Somewhere in-between? How important is it to you?
I am absolutely passionate about exercise and make sure that I train 5-6 times per week. I am a personal trainer so I am also lucky enough to do what I LOVE.
I am a very keen runner so I spend a lot of time on the road/trails. I also love high intensity interval training (HIIT) at SWEAT1000, as well as Barre Body. When my body is feeling tired and in need of some nurturing then I head to yoga. This is as much for my mind as for my body. I also have my owner personal trainer who beats me up regularly and pushes me out of my comfort zone!!!
Exercise is incredibly important to me. It is my form of therapy, my endorphin rush and time that I always set aside just for me. Being a busy mom of two (with another one on the way) I find it balances me and keeps me sane!
What is your earliest exercise memory?
Going for a “run” with my dad in my pram wearing my pink North Star takkies at about age 4.
Do you remember a specific teacher or coach who helped shape how you feel about exercise today?
My family is very active so I think that definitely made me view exercise in a positive light and it normalised making exercise a part of everyday. My parents were always incredibly supportive of my sporting achievements at school and they never missed an athletics meeting or hockey match. They taught me how to be a “good sport” but at the same time, how to have a healthy level of competitiveness.
At junior school I made my first provincial hockey team. I had an incredible hockey coach who really believed in me. Her knowledge, passion, support and enthusiasm definitely paved the way for a very successful hockey career for many years to come.
What is your opinion on the way schools and teachers present exercise to children?
I can only speak from my own experience at school (and things may have changed a lot since then) but I think that exercise is often portrayed as being something you can only do if you are good at it. The “fun” element is often missing and therefore people who aren’t naturally drawn to it will immediately never want to take part again.
The key with exercise is that it isn’t a “one shoe fits all” type scenario. EVERYBODY is different and what may appeal to me might be someone else’s worst nightmare. There is so much focus on the competitive sports at schools (rugby, hockey, athletics, swimming) and I just wish that the enjoyment element could be focused on a little bit more. There really is something for everyone, you just have to find out what makes you tick!
What do you want your children to feel or believe when it comes to exercise, fitness and sport?
I want my children to have a healthy relationship with exercise and I want them to find their sport/activity which they really love. It’s all about the enjoyment factor and I hope that they never feel forced or pressurized to do something that they’re not keen on. I also want them to value the importance of exercise from a health point of view but hopefully, through role modelling off my husband (who is also a keen sportsman) and me, it will rub off on them.
I will try to expose them to as many different sports as possible.
I will teach them about believing in themselves.
I will teach them about good sportsmanship.
I will teach them about the benefits of exercise.
I will teach them to above all, have fun!
To find out more about Ashleigh and her work as a personal trainer, SWEAT1000 and Barre Body instructor, please visit her website www.fitmomsa.co.za. Also take a look at the her Facebook and Instagram feeds.
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