We chat to Elise Carver, owner and sole trainer of Surf Style Training for Little Bantam Health and Fitness to get an insight into her journey so far, her training and nutrition.
On the road so far
I studied to be a master trainer through the Australian Institute of Fitness about nine years ago and worked part time at a gym in South Yarra with some fantastic mentors who showed me the value of quality training. Shortly after, I began to fall in love with surfing. When I decided to make the shift to Torquay, I was already on my way to changing my body shape to suit surfing and so the Surf Style Training method was born and developed organically. I soon realised the mainstream way of training wasn’t for me and I have now run a successful business out of my own studio for three years.
On body type
Your natural body shape is what you make it. I’ve been through so many variations of my ‘natural’ body shape in my lifetime – I just happen to love the one I have now. When I was a gymnast I was a young, skinny springy ball of energy. When I started rock climbing, I began to develop a very strong upper body, which explains my shoulder definition. There was dancing, which helped to develop my strong core and then, as I got older, I got stuck right into gym and stacked on a solid five to six kilos of muscle – this was probably my least favourite body shape. When I got into surfing, I turned my bulk into lean, pliable muscle fit for surfing and have never looked back.
On body love
I really like my core and posture! It’s the one thing that stays strong despite the fact that I have scoliosis. It’s switched on all the time – it’s like doing an ab workout while you breathe.
I’m trying to improve my body all the time! You can always be stronger, fitter, faster, more flexible or agile. I just work on a little bit every week. I also have injuries that I have to manage, such as my torn meniscus in my knee and my lumbar scoliosis.
I have my Dad’s ability to build strong muscles, but my relatively petite frame is courtesy of my mother. That said, my mother is overweight and my dad fluctuates depending on what he is eating or how much he is working. Genetics gives you the blank canvas you have to work with but you decide what the painting looks like.
The best way to train your body and get results is to challenge it with something new as often as possible. I do three to four sessions a week and every workout I do is different. On a good week, I also surf three to five times, jump on a bike or the cross trainer three times, walk my dog on the beach every morning and stretch every day.
I have chronic gastritis, so my stomach is very touchy, but it’s like a blessing because I now eat to support my digestive system. I avoid dairy, gluten, refined sugars, caffeine, legumes and meat after 3pm. It seems like a tough meal plan at first but it actually opened up a whole new way of being for me. I’m trialling the meal plan with my clients at the moment, and I’m hoping to release the plan and a recipe book soon.
On body image
Everyone is hard on themselves at one time or another. You need to understand the difference between wanting to be better and beating yourself up. If we didn’t expect more from ourselves then we would all be slobs, so use that motivation to get off your ass! But if you’re beating yourself up, that’s just pointless.
On summer motivation
Make a two-week plan with two to three tasks or goals that are within reason. Every two weeks, add a few more tasks until you have reached your goal. You slowly build healthy habits instead of doing a full overhaul, only to crash and burn shortly after. I suggest starting with eight to nine hours sleep every night, a healthy breakfast every morning and a stretch every day.