HER body strains and her muscles ripple as Lisa Tratt elevates herself high above her fellow gym-goers to complete half a dozen chin-ups in quick succession.
Observing her highly-toned physique and amazing strength and ability is like watching poetry in motion. Lisa is super-fit, and would certainly be among the fittest women in Dubbo, with sport and training consuming both her personal and working life.
A fitness instructor at Dubbo RSL Health Club, Lisa is accustomed to pushing her body’s boundaries. In fact, it’s her belief that everyone is capable of achieving their exercise goals if they put the effort in.
“The message I want to get out to people is that there is no easy fix,” she said.
“There are six words to remember. Hard work, consistent effort, with balance. That is the key.”
But Lisa wasn’t always Mrs Fitness. The shift came after the birth of her fourth child 18 years ago.
“I had three children in a year,” Lisa said, explaining that the birth of her youngest Jacob followed that of Ashleigh, and then twins Madeline and Hannah.
“I needed stress release!” she said with a laugh.
Sport seemed a safer option than drinking or drugs. But what started as an outlet quickly became Lisa’s obsession.
“I have an addictive personality,” the bubbly 50-year-old said, her broad smile as dazzling as her toned figure.
Starting with aerobics, Lisa quickly became hooked on workouts, which then led to more.
“I started here in the gym, within the year I was an instructor,” she said.
Another six months down the track and Lisa was competing in triathlons.
Describing what to many would seem to be extreme, Lisa explained that through fitness, she found her ‘thing.’
“I had never been really good at anything,” she said.
“You need to have a passion in your life. Because I found a passion, I wanted to do it. So I became good at it.”
Behind Lisa, a large picture frame houses images and signatures of famous athletes and bears the words ‘Human endeavour is the essence to humanity.’
The mother of four is a fine example of what a person can do when they try hard enough.
Using her own experience, Lisa said it was a case of mind over matter.
“I couldn’t do chin-ups,” she said.
“For 10 years, I thought I couldn’t do chin-ups. I couldn’t do them because I thought I couldn’t do them. About six months ago, my training partner convinced me that it was possible. I had to make myself do it.
“But when I learned how to do the chin-up was my proudest moment. That kind of self-reward can’t be matched.”
Lisa has trained thousands of people in all areas of fitness but she firmly believes that the brain is the biggest obstacle preventing many from achieving success in this area.
“It’s telling yourself that it’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do,” she said.
“If you try to do things, at some stage you should be able to do it.
“Who cares how long it takes you – you have to have something to get up for each day.”
Of her clients, Lisa said it is a huge buzz to see them finding success. She teaches aqua, core and strength, boxing and seniors’ classes.
“The biggest reward is seeing someone have that moment,” she said. “Seeing them achieve and when the penny drops is great. You can’t get that feeling from anything else.”
Lisa believes looking after your body by keeping fit will help to prevent issues.
“You have to choose to exercise,” she said. “Keeping our bodies healthy keeps away illness, injury and depression. There are so many possibilities if exercise becomes your best friend. It doesn’t matter what your age or ability is or if you are female or male. When you exercise, you are increasing your muscle strength which protects your bones.”
Personally, Lisa said it’s ‘got me through the hard stuff.’
“Everyone needs something to get out of bed for.”
But fitness is not something that happens overnight.
“If you want it, you have to work at it,” she said. “I can be your guide and motivator but if you don’t give me your heart, then there’s no point. You have to need it and want it – make the goals and get from here to there.
“People ask me where I get my mojo from, I am doing this seven days a week.
“But the fear of not being able to do this stuff scares me more than doing it.”
Lisa’s intensity was proven when she attended the Sydney Fitness Expo last year and ended up in a contest against Bondi strong man Marcus Bottay to win a piece of exercise equipment she was keen to have. While Marcus pipped her by just three seconds, what she didn’t know at the time was that he is the official Guinness World Record for a five metre rope climb, achieving 27.8 metres in 60 seconds. He also holds records for one-arm chin-ups and muscle ups.
While he was the winner, Marcus was so impressed with his rival that he insisted that she was also deserving of a machine, and invited her to work out with him when she goes to Sydney.
She’ll be heading there soon for a life coaching course, which fits perfectly with her motivating outlook on life. Fabulously fit, she’s a long way from the frazzled mother of 18 years ago. But in Lisa’s eyes, it’s all about turning up at the gym each and every day.
“Consistent effort is the key to reaching your true potential.”