This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Connie Garner.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I’m a fun loving person who is dedicated and gives 110% to anything I do! I’m naturally very passionate and self motivated. I’m a natural athlete, I’ve always played many different sports; netball, basketball, soccer, hockey, water polo, dance, gymnastics, skiing (snow & water).
I had a Physical Education teacher in High School who introduced me to Aerobics, I fell in love and became an instructor and then a Sports Aerobics State Champion which led me to Fitness Competitions and I spent 6 years competing, winning Miss World Fitness and Miss Fitness Australia twice.
You’re based in Australia, how do people perceive the fitness industry over there. Is it very different from the US?
The fitness industry has had rapid growth in Australia over the past 10 years, there are a lot more personal trainers and supplement stores now. Australian’s are very health conscious and quite an active nation, I was an Active Australia Ambassador for many years, it was a Government initiative to get more Australians involved in sport and focus on their health. The perception of the fitness industry is very positive.
On your website you state that you also love to help others achieve their fitness goals, what do you like most about helping others?
I love seeing people grow into themselves, being stronger, happier more confident as they change their bodies. The mental health benefits are the most underrated, it is essential for mind body balance that people move their bodies.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
That they will get “BIG”….. unfortunately people think getting big is that easy….. No, sorry to tell you it’s not for men or women. Naturally women have a harder time building muscle as we produce less testosterone. Even if you wanted to get big, lifting weights alone will not cause you to get big.
The best benefit of women lifting weights is that lifting weights continues to burns calories for up to an hour after you finish your workout.
Another misconception is you will start to look like a man…. Not so, how many beautiful fit women I know look nothing like a man, pick up any fitness magazine and see women who lift weights who are not manly.
You’re a big believer in education, how important is it for people to educate themselves on nutrition and fitness and where should they start?
Educating yourself is incredibly important, you want to be able to understand what works for you and how to get the most out of training and nutrition. Everybody is unique and what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone, so the more you learn and experiment yourself the better you know what works for you and your body.
Your motto is - Train with Desire, Desire to be better tomorrow than you are today! Tell us what you mean by that, and why this is so important for you?
It’s important to never settle, never be comfortable where you are, to keep growing and developing, to keep the passion for what you love.
Desire is something that you carry within you, how do you deal with external factors like negative people or difficult circumstances?
Negativity is an energy sucker, it drains your energy, your happiness and your passion, so I avoid negative people by distancing myself. I try to stay positive through seeing the good in people and things and being grateful everyday.
I live for goals and they keep me focussed and then I don’t have time to worry about the small stuff. Keeping yourself focused on goals helps you deal with negativity and difficult circumstances, everyone needs to find the system that works for them and I’m a visual person, so I like things to be in my face. It’s so important, because setting goals is a must, to keep yourself motivated and on track.
When it comes to the importance of exercise you’ve said - Exercise is just like eating, sleeping and breathing - it is necessary to your survival! How so?
Exercise is vital to our wellbeing, we need it to fight diseases and it’s a natural endorphin producer which gives you a natural state of happiness. Nutrition accounts for 70% of your results “you are what you eat”. If you’re not eating right, you’ll be at an automatic disadvantage.
I tell people who complain about not being able to lose weight that even if they don’t like exercise but have the correct nutrition that they can still lose fat. Exercise, of course, will bring tone and shape to your body but nutrition is the key.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?
Be yourself, it’s not a lesson I’ve learnt it’s just something I’ve always done, I see too many people lose themselves trying to emulate others and it doesn’t work, they come across fake
What are your biggest goals for this year?
I want to do an European holiday, visiting the Vatican and my family in Finland. I want to surround myself with inspirational women who help each other grow in business and personal life. I want to help my children succeed in their Education and in being the best they can be. I want to film some more movies and also take some time to enjoy life.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!