Straight from university, Alexandra Pizzoni started what could have been a stellar career in marketing; however, she soon felt that a sense of belonging, direction or purpose was missing. This led to her next brave move: She promptly resigned and committed herself to finding her own path. And it was through fitness that she re-discovered her true purpose.
Where it all began
Growing up, Alexandra had always loved training and doing sports. It became a lifestyle. She never fit the body ideal that was prevalent at the time, instead bearing strong legs and defined abs. When other young girls were focusing on the unobtainable size-zero, she decided to aim for ‘strong’.
Alexandra adopted a more relaxed and self-accepting attitude, which soon started to inspire other young girls in her local community and at the gym who started turning to her for advice. Her purpose soon became clear.
Sharing experience with others
Fast forward to the present and today Alexandra now runs her own company – Sustainable Shapes – as a trainer, self-care blogger and author, as well as acting as an ambassador for adidas.
While Alexandra is committed to training and self-care, that doesn’t mean she’s overly zealous; in fact, she embraces flexibility from routine.
The stricter you are, the more likely it is you’ll drift from your plan. That’s a mindset you can apply to any area of your life.
Her first book, written together with colleague Anja Forsnor, is called ‘Self-Care’ and contains tips and guides on how to find a sustainable YOU. The you that feels good and stays ‘healthyish’ as she calls it. She encourages everyone to follow their gut, to skip all diets and not to be condemning of yourself or others.
When did health become equal to training five times a week, following a diet schedule and giving up all good things in life?
Want to make sure you stick to your fitness regime? Here are six tips I took away from Alexandra:
1. Don’t weigh or measure your body
Numbers can’t decide whether you have found a successful routine. Never let body measurements decide whether you are successful in your training or not.
To just let go of the numbers and focus on finding the routine seems like a gamechanger and personally this would be my biggest challenge. I guess we have all been taught to look at measurements to find motivation and direction in our lives. But I think we all know deep down that those can lead us astray and make us feel even worse about ourselves.
2. Focus on how your training makes you feel – not how it makes you look
Alexandra suggests avoiding mirrors and taking photographs when you practice. How you look is not the focus here. Let the thumping music in your ears give you that extra energy, feel the power in your body. Be in the now. This will make you long for the next opportunity to practice and your brain will remember how you felt.
3. Stop putting yourself down
Put your focus on what you are proud of and what you think is beautiful. Don’t despise your own body. You are beautiful because you are you. Work with you and not with an enemy ideal that doesn’t fit you. That will always make you feel less than who you are. This is a struggle too. It’s so engrained in us to find things we need to fix. I think as a routine and a way forward it would be great to start every practice with affirmations. Mine could be: I am strong, I am beautiful, I have healthy lungs to breathe deeply with and legs to take me anywhere I like! What would be your affirmations?
4. Stop comparing yourself with others
“Find what inspires you to feel good. Be it the shower or sauna afterwards or the feeling of rush when you’ve finished that lap around the block,” says Alexandra.
My takeaway from this is to think about what’s unique with my own progress. To remember those practices that made me dance in the shower afterwards or those that made me feel really, really relaxed and happy. My aim would be to repeat the circumstances that made them successful.
5. Take care of your body on all levels
You can enjoy the food you love, or a drink with friends, while knowing that you stay ‘healthyish’ as Alexandra puts it.
To me this is an easy one. I need to have those days when I don’t even think about whether I’m being healthy or not. But for many this can be a huge struggle and a long road to success. I guess one key to being at ease with just being ‘healthyish’ is that you have a set training routine to fall back on. And that makes tip no. 2 above so important.
6. Skip before and after pictures
Pictures say nothing about how you and your body feel, and they are not a testament to lasting results. Note down in a diary instead how you felt during your last practice. Was it fun, challenging, and did it make you want to do it again and again – then you have succeeded.
This advice is easy to misinterpret. No pictures, got it?! But note that Alexandra does not want us to write down numbers either – only feelings. Huge difference. Perhaps I’ll start a real training diary from now on where numbers are banned. Would you also try that?
To enjoy the food you eat and feel how the food affects you. To use your senses more. To focus on how your training makes you feel and not look. To know what recovery is for YOU. That is part of Alexandra’s successful recipe in times when many young women strive for perfection and are ridden with anxiety and self-doubt.