The other day I was on a call with my business coach discussing 'My Story'. She asked me questions such as, "How did I get to where I am now?", "What challenges did I face on the way?", "How did I deal with stress, anxiety and fear?", "What did I do to overcome them?" After reviewing what I wrote I thought it made pretty good reading with several useful tips on how I run my life and business. So I’m delighted to share it with you here today. Enjoy!
Alex, why did you start your business?
I started Levitise to help senior and C level executives, in their 40s and 50s, with stress, anxiety, fatigue, poor sleep and who are physically and mentally out of shape. Levitise is a Holistic Lifestyle Centre that provides personal training (focused on corrective exercise and functional strength) and holistic lifestyle coaching. We’re a one-stop-shop solution that helps people make lifestyle changes to create optimal health, happiness and longevity.
What challenges have you faced in your life?
I smoked too much, drank too much, had a terrible diet and didn’t exercise. In my 30s I went to the doctors and he said I was overweight, had a high BMI, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and was pre diabetic. I also went to see a functional medical practitioner who said I had bacterial dysbiosis, a fungal overgrowth and 56 food allergies!
My doctor wanted to put me on a bunch of medical drugs. I was only in my mid 30s.
How did they make you feel?
This made me feel stressed, anxious and fearful about who would take care of my family, without me.
But then thinking about it maybe I always felt stressed and anxious and the beer/smokes/sugary foods were just ways to disguise those stresses to make me feel better in the short term whilst harming my health in the long term.
And that had let me to being unfit, out of shape physically and mentally, reliant on external stimulus to lift my mood, and now I had a bunch of numbers from the doctor saying that things were going wrong on the inside as well. This was pretty depressing.
My life had spiralled out of control. The only thing I thought I could control was my job. But was my job my life? Or was it costing me my life? All of a sudden nothing made sense and everything made sense!
How did you lead yourself to overcome them?
After realising that I'd actually let myself go for most of my life I decided to take action in the only way I knew how - by taking back control. And I did that through education. I started educating myself about health, happiness and commenced the long, but fun, transition from poor physical and mental health to something better.
I started exploring my health holistically. I worked with doctors, specialists, functional medical practitioners, lifestyle coaches and nutritionists to help rebuild my health. On the physical side of things I also tried many different exercise modalities to work out what was best for me (and what I enjoyed the best) including personal training, strength training, Pilates, yoga and gymnastics. Slowly I started regaining my health and I enjoyed this journey towards (hopefully!) becoming a better father, a better husband, a better friend and a better colleague at work.
However I worked with many different practitioners, often with conflicting ideas and different modalities. It was totally up to me to work out what to do and how to do it. Now I enjoy that planning and testing with my health. Many do not, or do not have the time and energy to do this on top of their own work and family commitments. Which is why I set up Levitise, to help people like me (bankers, lawyers, professionals) as a one-stop-stop solution to help them get more energy, reduce stress and anxiety, get back in shape and start sleeping like a baby.
What are your weaknesses?
- taking action rather than planning and focusing on what’s important
- procrastinating on things I don’t like doing
- and chocolate - ha ha!
How do you stay ahead of them?
So my business coach helps me stay on track - the support and accountability is really helpful and why not get help if I can! We’re not supposed to bash on through life on our own keeping all our anxious thoughts cluttering up our minds. Historically we always had access to tribes, relatives, wisened elders who would help us work through our problems. These days we don’t have that luxury any more. They have been replaced with coaches. Life coaches, business coaches and personal trainers have proved invaluable support to me.
And then with regards to chocolate I just make better choices. Rather than grabbing an unhealthy bar of sugary milk chocolate I would eat an 85% dark organic chocolate bar. And NOT beat myself up over it! This is how I deal with all challenges. Make the best choice that I can “handle” right now.
If I don’t feel like exercising maybe I’ll just do 20 minutes instead of 60 minutes.
No time to meditate? I’ll do 5 mins instead of 10 mins.
So it’s really about still committing to yourself and not feeling guilty if your solution is not the perfect one. Good is better than nothing!
I don't like endurance exercise so rather than forcing myself to do things I don't like I look for alternatives that are just as good if not better. Sprinting is one of those things and a 60 minute session normally involves 40 minutes of mobility (easy), 15 mins of sprinting (intense) and then 5 mins of stretching (easy). It's a proper holistic workout and is the ultimate way to convert "old" muscles to "young" muscles.
What have you learned from your journey?
Nothing truly gets “fixed” – we’re on a sliding scale from worse health to better health. As our health gets better there is less room for disease, stress and anxiety to thrive – they get squeezed out. The key is to want to strive for better health. And with the right goals in place for you, you can achieve it.
The starting point comes with awareness and willingness. Being aware that there’s something wrong, or something we want to improve. And then having the willingness to do something about it. With those two in place, and a little support, knowledge and accountability anything is possible.