Former Australian pole vaulter turned fitness expert, Amanda Bisk, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to wellbeing.
Some of which she learnt the hard way – being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 2011. The experience spurred her to learn more about health and fitness, pick up (and learn to teach) yoga and share the knowledge she'd learned in her years of training to represent our country. We chat to the inspiring super-yogi (seriously, check her moves on Insta) about her squee-worthy fur babies, her best wellness advice and the food she chooses to fuel her.
How long have you had your adorable dachshunds?
I’ve had Charlie and little Willow for nearly a year, so it’s been a year of bliss! Ever since I was eight, I wanted a sausage dog but could never get one because we were renting and I was also super busy with sport, so this is a dream come true!
How do you incorporate them into your exercise routine?
I do a lot of training outdoors at the park so I always take them with me. I do plenty of sprinting sessions, so they either chase me around or I have a bit of a play with them when I am resting. They also love the warm up and cool down jog around the park! In summer, we always go to the beach after training for recovery so by the time we are done for the day they are exhausted!
Do you think it's easier to be healthy when you have a pooch, why?
Yes, definitely! When you have another life relying on you to exercise them, love them, and give them a good quality diet, its hard not to have that inspire you to do exactly the same for yourself! We definitely get our fair share of exercise, and I always want to make sure I give them a wonderfully natural and balanced diet to go with it (just like mine), which is one of the reasons I teamed up with Purina Beyond, a new nutritionally complete and wholesome natural dog food. We really encourage each other to stay on track, and I think that’s the wonderful thing about having a dog.
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You've been open with your battle with chronic fatigue, what's the biggest lesson you've gained from the experience?
Definitely to slow down and live in the moment. I used to get caught up in little things and just rush through life thinking I had a million things to do and not enough time to do them in. I was living in a stressful state. Now, I still have a million things to do but I’ve realised that I just have to be more present, take my time, and do these things in a more positive state of mind. I am more effective and, most importantly, I’m happier too. Living a happy life is one of the best things for your health, I also think having Willow and Charlie puts a lot of live in perspective too. They never dwell on things or stress about the future, they are just happy to have this moment!
What's your favourite way to work out?
Definitely outdoors, either sprint training, doing HIIT workouts, or working on gymnastic skills like handstands.
What's the best health or fitness tip anyone has ever given you?
My mum always told me that I should do everything with passion and have fun with it, and that includes getting active and eating well. If you don’t love it, you’re not nurturing your body and mind. When we are passionate about something, our body reacts in a much more positive way. That why I always change up my exercise routine and try to find new healthy recipes, it keeps things fun and interesting!
Did it take you long to pick up yoga? If I start now, when will I be able to copy your incredible poses haha...
I started yoga five years ago. I have learned so much over that time but I still have so much more to experience when it comes to my practise! Yes, you will definitely get more flexible and be able to do harder poses with practice (the more you practice the better you will get), but the most important thing about yoga is how it makes you feel.
Yoga is your time to be patient and caring towards yourself, whether you are doing a simple warrior or a headstand. It’s more about appreciating that mental state and being aware of how you think, rather than what your body is actually doing.
What's the most important thing yoga has taught you?
Everyday on the mat is different. Some days everything is a breeze and some days are a challenge even doing the simple stuff, and that’s ok. Life is so similar to this, so I think yoga has really helped me realise that it’s just about acceptance, appreciation for what the present moment is, and to know it can be completely different tomorrow. Just keep going
What does your day on a plate look like?
Breakfast: Two poached eggs on two slices of wholegrain toast with avocado and my morning coffee!
Lunch: Chia pudding made with coconut milk, then blueberries, strawberries, and walnuts mixed in.
Snack (if I feel like it): Fruit, a nut bar, or peanut butter on a slice of toast.
Dinner: Vegetable stir-fry with noodles and tofu.
Dessert: A couple of slices of dark chocolate and a plate of sliced fruit. Mango, pineapple and strawberries are my fave combination!
What is your go-to coffee order?
In winter, a decaf long black with a dash of soy. In summer, a decaf soy iced latte.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Wash my face with cool water and brush my teeth.
What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Do 30min – 1hr of stretching, sometimes I even just do it in front of the TV. It seriously helps my sleep. I fall asleep much easier and my whole night is much more restful!