327/308 Wattle St, Ultimo, New South Wales 2007

Sometimes, we don't recommend exercise

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Sometimes, we don't recommend exercise

What’s the first thing you hear when someone’s trying to get healthy?

I should really do more exercise.

It’s how we’ve been wired: more exercise = better for your body.

But the truth is, we overstate the importance of exercise when it’s just one piece of a bigger picture of good health, requiring strong foundations to be beneficial and effective. Breathing, nutrition, sleep, hydration and thoughts are all just as essential to ‘getting healthy’ as exercise - but how often do you hear: I should really clean up my thoughts?

Exercising on shaky foundations

Up for some time travel? Let’s go back to when I was in my early 20s. I won’t comment on my amazing fashion sense back then.

As a young personal trainer, I mainly ‘did’ exercise to look good. My diet and lifestyle were pretty poor, and I’d prioritise working out over everything else - including sleep, nourishing food, and even relaxation - like spending time with friends. I should have known better, but I thought if I exercised enough, the other pillars of healthy living would figure themselves out… or just not matter.


Sure, I looked fit. But I was relying on pre-workout stimulants and a bunch of artificial supplements to fuel me… and by the time I was 25, what once kept me trim was starting to fail.

Nothing worked like it used to and I felt my health unravelling. I started gaining weight, feeling fatigued and getting sick, physically unable to keep up my workout routines because I didn’t have the energy, or would be battling an injury.

I had been masking the warning signs from my body with stimulants, fake pep and motivation, but the warning signs started to get louder until my unhealthiness was stopping me from being the best version of me.

There was nothing else for me to do but to ‘give up’ my exercise addiction and get back to basics, building a new foundation from which I could move my body (and live!) with ease and energy.

Yes, it was scary.

Yes, it was worth it.

That’s why we go on like an old battered record about ‘getting the foundations right’ before embarking on a hardcore fitness regime. Sure, losing weight fast feels good, but it’s never going to last if you’re not in an optimum state of health. In fact, it’ll cause more problems down the track.

We refuse to play the ego card and promise an instant six-pack. It makes our approach sound ‘less sexy’, but we don’t mind if it gets our members lifelong results.

So… what’s the deal with Foundations?

We’ll cover the Enliven foundations in much greater detail in subsequent blog posts, workshops and events, but here’s an example of why proper breathing comes before working out:

There’s no life without breath, but how many of us take the time to do it right? Breathing is everything; we do it 15000 times per day (or double that if we’re taking short, shallow breaths).

Our breathing is affected by stress, posture, diet, thoughts… the whole lot. If you’re not breathing properly, your body will be in a constant state of stress undermining your efforts in all areas - including fitness. To exercise like a crazy person on top of poor breathing patterns is like trying to empty a sinking boat with a colander. Futile. Breathe properly first, exercise later.

Putting it all together

Exercise isn’t always the first step in ‘getting healthy’. It’s only beneficial if it’s coming from a place of energy, vitality and strength - not depletion.


At Enliven, we challenge the prescription of ‘exercise at all costs’, and instead ask our members to play the long game, build their health from the foundations up, and emerge with a beautiful, truly healthy body because of it.

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