Q and A with Lisa Marshall

Lisa Marshall is the Director of Wild Women On Top and Event Director of the popular Sydney and Melbourne Coastreks.  Lisa coaches teams of women to take on challenging treks in the wild, and inspires them to eat real food, train hard, and contribute to a community of supportive, inspiring, fun loving friends. 

What/who inspires you?
My Mum and Dad firstly, at the age of 82 and 72 they continue to try new ways of exercising, take on challenges such as climbing mountains, swimming a mile or trying out the latest HIIT class at the gym! They eat super healthy foods, they love and cherish those around them and they’re never grumpy!

Di Westaway, my business partner, who lives truthfully by her motto of Never, Never, Never give up. She continues to look for BHAG’s that inspire the team around her. She is strong in both body and mind and her boundless energy infuses those around her.

As a young working mother, how do you manage to balance health & fitness, work, family and adventure?
I have learnt from many mentors and other business women that there’s no such thing as balance, and as soon as I accepted that I felt so much better about the craziness that often pervades my weekly schedule. I do put my health and fitness first. I have to pack all my bags for the following day the night before to make it happen: my little boys school gear, lunch, breakfast and uniform, and my gym gear, work clothes etc., so that early in the morning we can jump out of bed and get to the gym for a morning workout before school drop off and then to the office. That way I know I’ll get it done before all sorts of other things get in the way by the end of the day. I call on family and friends to help me when I have a trip away, and plan ahead so my husband knows what’s in place when I take on my next adventure. I spend Sundays cooking up good, healthy food from the Organic market for the week as I know I can’t do this during the week. And I’ve learnt that sleep is sacred, and I can’t do without it, so I forego TV and read a book at night, and am in bed between 8.30 and 9.15 to get as much sleep as possible. Adventure and fitness goals keep me focussed on prioritising my training, nutrition and sleep, so I continue to take on goals that excite me, especially when they involve walking in nature, as it rejuvenates me.

What is the most exciting adventure you’ve ever been on?
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru was a highlight for me, because I was born in Africa, and had dreamed of climbing those peaks for many years. It was exciting because I summited the highest peak in Africa alongside my Mum, at the age of 69 and my elder sister. But I also loved trekking 180kms across Corsica on the famous GR20: Europe’s Toughest Long Distance Trek, as each day brought new challenges, beautiful scenery, wild mountain storms, swims in icy rivers and beautiful quaint towns nestled in the mountains with Corsican faire and culture.

What advice would you give to young mums who feel like they can’t prioritise adventures?
Adventure makes me a better person. It teaches me lessons every time I go out in to the wilderness that I apply to my everyday life. I believe in not waiting for that “one day” we all talk about when we think about places we want to visit or things we want to do in the future. I huddled on the runway at Kathmandu airport this year as the earthquake rocked our world, and what went through my mind is that you never know how long you have left here to do the things that inspire you to be a better person, train harder, find your inner strength and appreciate being in nature. I want my little boy to see the wonders of the natural world and how fulfilling it is to climb to the top of a snow covered mountain, to be exhilarated by a day of walking which ends with a plunge in to an icy stream. I’ve seen the way an adventure can change a woman’s belief in herself, time and time again. I love seeing the delight and the exhilaration of a team who have shared in a challenging experience in the wild. There is so much to be gained from adventure, and it doesn’t have to be a huge trip overseas. It can be a mini adventure in a day. We can adventure in to the wild in many places close to home in Australia, as we are blessed to live surrounded by National Parks.
My advice would be to work out what you can get rid of in your life that takes up your time and energy. Give up watching TV, spend less time on your mobile devices and plan ME time in nature. Find people like to share time with and enjoy being with, who appreciate physical activity and want to enjoy walks out in nature. No one else can do it for you.

What do you do to prepare your family before heading off on big adventures?
I make lists, I reassure them, I stay calm and don’t get flustered or they’ll never want me to go again! I call in support from family and friends as back up, leave meals, and then I walk out the door and I let them manage without me. Because they can and they will and I believe it’s important for them to do that every now and again!

Come and meet Lisa at our Wild Adventure Workshop! 

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