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Living Well With Sasha Exeter: The Power of Movement and Pushing Past Fear

Living Well With Sasha Exeter: The Power of Movement and Pushing Past Fear

This week in our interview series, Living Well With, we’re diving into the lifestyle and wellness habits of fitness guru, influencer and mom of one, Sasha Exeter.

FLAURA: Hi Sasha, what would you say you’re most grateful for right now?

Sasha: I am grateful for my daughter and for a career that has allowed me to pivot during these unprecedented times. I am also grateful for my health, and for the support of my inner circle of family and friends.

F: What’s the most important thing the lockdown period has taught you?

S: Hmmmm, well this lockdown period has taught me many things, so it’s going to be difficult to narrow it down to just one thing. How about I give my top three because I feel all three have been super important in my life:

  1. It has taught me to be much kinder to myself. For over three months it was just my child and I and I was still working full time. Actually, most days I was working longer hours that pre-COVID. As parents, what we were being expected to do was just not humanly possible. There’s a reason why we are a working parent, a stay-at-home parent or a part-time working parent. My nanny was no longer with us, so as a single mother I was expected to be EVERYTHING. Working, parenting and teaching are three very different jobs that cannot be done at the same time. At first I was so tough on myself. Mentally beating myself up for not being perfect. Getting overwhelmed with my to-do list everyday and around the end of May I realized that I was doing my very best and that I was no longer going to put the pressure on myself to be perfect 100% of the time. 
  2. You don’t need to be in a gym to get in a good workout. I spent the first months of isolation angry about not having access to my trainer and my condo gym. Even though I’ve trained and worked out for most of my life, I found it very difficult to stay motivated to do all my workouts in my condo. Once I came to the realization that this was our new normal, I knew that I needed to get a lot more creative with the exercises I do in a small space and without access to fancy gymmachines and heavy weights. Finding online workouts that would also get me to move in different ways. That made a huge difference and I am feeling more motivated now than I have been in a really long time.
  3. It’s taught me what is REALLY important in life. There haven’t been any industry events, fancy dinners, red carpets (which means less money spent on expensive clothes), or luxurious travel etc. After months of not seeing my family, I no longer take spending time with them for granted. It’s allowed me to appreciate a much slower pace and to enjoy every moment. The real silver lining of isolation is that as a parent, I have been able to be there for all my child’s development milestones. Things I would have typically missed had I been at work and meetings all day. We havedeveloped an even deeper bond during these months and I am thankful for all the quality time we have been able to spend with each other.

F: How do you incorporate this and your personal take on wellness into your life?

S: Wellness plays an integral role in my life every single day. From the minute I wake up, the choices and decisions I make are to enhance my physical and mental wellness. 

I like to wake up early every day and journal – get my thoughts down and speak into existence what I am grateful for. I sip warm water, lemon, honey and ACV before I do anything else to help with digestions and gut health. Movement and exercise are a big part of my life. It’s critical for me to be active to help with the chronic pain symptoms as a result of fibromyalgia. I eat healthy, I do yoga, I take much needed social media breaks, I don’t sleep with my phone in my bedroom at night and I meditate, which is one of the things that has helped my mental health during these last few months during COVID-19.

F: How would you say your approach to wellness has shifted after becoming a mother?

S: Motherhood has made me become much better at time management. Before having Maxwell, I had the luxury of working out twice a day, I had a lot more time on my hands and my level of stress was significantly lower. Now as a mom to an almost 3 year old, I’ve discovered that movement also counts as a workout or being active. Although I may get in one workout, Maxwell and I are still very active together in other ways – we walk 4km’s each morning, we have dance parties, and love playing soccer together. So, although the physical wellness may look a bit different than pre-baby, I think I may actually be more active now than I was before I had her.

In terms of my mental health and how it relates to my overall wellness, I’ve had to make more concerted efforts to protect my energy and space. I take necessary breaks from social media and sharing my life. For someone who lives so much of my life online, periodically going offline has been really good for me and has allowed me to take time to focus on Maxwell and be completely present. I notice a big difference with her behaviour and development when I am not distracted by emails and social media notifications on my phone. 

Image: Emma Whitehall

F: How important is it to incorporate a fitness routine into your lifestyle?

S: I do it daily and always recommend that people try to move once a day for at least 30 minutes. Consistency, just like with anything else, is key. I believe a pattern of behaviour is always easier to maintain when the activity is frequent…and it doesn’t need to be for long periods of time.

F: What’s your best workout tip?

S: Find a workout or type of movement that you love. That is the most important thing and what I suggest to everyone that asks me for advice when they first start working out. It’s best not to pay attention to the new “fad” workout or follow along with what’s trending. Just because other people enjoy something doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. If there’s a certain type of workout you love, the higher the probabilities are that you will continue to do it and will be consistent.

F: What’s your favourite type of exercise and why?

S: I personally like weight training a lot. I mean, I love all forms of exercise but weight training, specifically heavy weights, is so challenging so when I lift something I didn’t think was possible, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I also like feeling strong. Feeling strong physically also makes me feel strong mentally. Plus, there are so many other specific benefits for women who strength train.

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F: What’s your life mantra?

S: Everything you want and what’s worth having is on the other side of fear. My greatest successes in life have always come when I’ve been completely terrified but took the leap of faith anyways. I am living proof that it pays to push past your fears.

QUICKFIRE

The first thing I do when I wake up is drink warm water with lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar for my digestive health.

My one wellness tip is Carve out at least 30 minutes a day – JUST FOR YOU!

My favourite item of clothing is I love a good pair of sweatpants. Even before COVID. Athleisure is my vibe. I feel most comfortable in a dope pair of sweats. 

My go to meal is Steak and Jacobs Steakhouse if it’s outside of the house. At home, I love to make lasagne .

The one thing I can’t live without is my daughter Maxwell. I also can’t live without my iPhone 11.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten is Always be yourself, because “yourself” is good enough!

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