Wellness Warrior: Lee-Anne Wann
Welcome to our latest interview series, where we hear from some of New Zealand’s most inspiring wellness personalities to learn more about their journey to a healthier lifestyle, and find out their top tips for living well.
We caught up with performance nutritionist and fitness trainer Lee-Anne Wann to talk about how she developed a passion for exercise, the relationship between food and mood, and why it’s important to prioritise ourselves.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I am hugely passionate about performance nutrition and how this can influence health and well-being – I get to do things I love every day with regards to helping people achieve health, fitness and performance results through changing food choices, providing lifestyle tips and advice and offering support and encouragement in creating habits of a lifetime.
I am totally a self-confessed gym lover but definitely was not born one. It took a few years in a gym before I started to realise that I felt really good after exercise and that it was the one thing that made me feel better and stronger and more resilient to what life was throwing at me at the time.
I also love a KitKat and glass of bubbles on occasion and a really good laugh with the girls – life is very much about balance and enjoying oneself. I wanted to wake up every day excited to get up and go to work and make a difference in someone’s life.
What was the ‘ah-ha’ moment that encouraged you to get involved in fitness and nutrition?
One day I was in the Middle East working in telecommunications as a forecasting and logistics analyst and I was earning exceptionally good money and I thought to myself, wow, I am super unhappy. Clearly money is not my driver for happiness - so I went looking for my passion and found it in health and fitness, in particular how food can influence how we feel, what we think, how we heal and recover and how we look. There is so much more to food than just calories in and calories out. The more we customise nutrition and treat every person as an individual and provide that person with the right advice for them, the sooner we will have a healthier and happier population.
What have been your highlights since you started working in the wellness industry?
There have been so many when I look back on my clients and seeing them achieve their goals and start to believe in themselves again but my most exciting would be being given the opportunity to work with the Vodafone New Zealand Warriors league team. It is so rewarding being able to support and help the players be the best they can be – they are amazing to work with and watching them succeed is such a huge buzz – I love being able to bring new ideas and help lead the way in performance nutrition.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up every day super grateful that I don’t have a typical day – they are all so different which I love. One day I can be at the Vodafone Warriors working with the players on their testing results and performance nutrition or managing the team’s travel menus - and another day I can be in my clinic working with clients one on one, helping them achieve their personal health and fitness goals. On another day I might be out helping promote awareness for New Zealand’s Men’s Health Trust, which I am an Ambassador for, or promoting Steptember (www.steptember.org.nz) the take 10,000 steps a day campaign that helps get Kiwis active and supports cerebral palsy. Other days I get to spend time training in the gym with friends or just taking some time out to enjoy the moment.
How do you maintain balance and keep your wellbeing a priority when life gets busy?
I have learnt after a long time that it is important to prioritise yourself and that we are the most important person in our lives because if we are not strong, healthy and well we cannot help those around us or enjoy what life has to offer us.
I always ensure I have time in my day to do my own training which is important for me to feel good and I take time to plan and prepare most of my meals so I can choose great food and not be caught short and have to eat something that ultimately does not make me feel good.
It’s all about balance and being able to indulge and relax when you want and need to but being able to keep the good things happening when life gets busy and hectic.
What are your top three tips for staying fit and healthy?
Always remember that small things make for great changes and by this I mean it’s the little things that we do on a consistent basis that form who we are, what we think and how we feel so ensure those little habits that make us feel good are always in your day like drinking water or getting a good night’s sleep or taking time to move or exercise.
My favourite nutrition tip is to add a little coconut oil to my black coffee or green teas throughout the day. This natural fat may help burn fat, improve energy, curb sugar cravings, and help manage stress levels. It’s super easy to do and can be so effective for achieving great health and vitality.
My third tip is to focus on reducing the toxic load on the body wherever we can – as someone who had mercury poisoning I understand too well how detrimental toxins can be on the body and how terrible they can make us feel not to mention the potential harm they can do so I am a big one for swapping out all those things we don’t really think too much about to chemical free versions like body soap, body lotion, shampoo, condition, laundry powder – again it’s the small things that really do make for great changes.
Do you have a life motto or mantra you live by?
Always float downstream – there are no coincidences in life so choose your best thought in any situation and let the rest take care of itself.