Listen to my full interview with Australia’s #1 Body Transformation Expert click here. You can also read the transcript of our interview below.
Craig: Hey, this is Craig Ballantyne from Turbulence Training here with another amazing and I mean amazing and incredible Certified Turbulence Trainer call because we are with a very special person who is all the way down under in Australia. It is Ali Fox, our runner-up from our 2014 TT Trainer of the Year contest at the summit. So Ali, welcome to the call.
Ali: Thanks, Craig. Thanks for having me.
Craig: Yeah, so you can tell you have the Canadian-Australian accent. We’ll talk more about that in a moment but I just want to tell everyone about Ali. Again, it’s an incredible, inspirational success story that she has and that she is having with her clients down in Australia. You’re an inspirational trainer who specializes in 12-week transformations on the Redcliffe peninsula in Queensland, Australia. Now Queensland, where is that in Australia? Is that the southeast?
Ali: Yeah, the southeast. We’re on the coast just above Brisbane.
Craig: Oh, you’re up there? So you’re above Sydney?
Ali: Yeah, far above Sydney.
Craig: Okay, so is that a couple hours of flight to Sydney?
Ali: Yeah, it would be. It’s sort of in between Sydney and say like the Great Barrier Reef.
Craig: Okay, great and are you right on the coast?
Ali: We are right on the coast. Where I live, we’re on the peninsula so it’s a beautiful spot, sort of a club and a bridge that comes out onto the peninsula.
Craig: And are much of a surfer?
Ali: No, I’m not, one thing that I haven’t really gotten my head around in Australia.
Craig: Well, you’re still busy. When people listen to the rest of this intro, they’re going to be amazed. You were actually born in London, Ontario, Canada which is only about 45 minutes from where I am right now here on Stratford, Ontario, Canada but you moved to Australia in 2003 to become a lawyer and over the next ten years, you just did the corporate law thing. Then you pursued your passion of fitness while on maternity leave which is where it gets really amazing because you’re an awesome supermom, you returned to law fulltime and you have two young girls. I know you’ve done your own transformation and I think we’re going to talk about that, right?
Ali: Yeah, I think we will talk about that.
Craig: That’s going to be great. Most importantly to the TT world is you’ve built this highly successful fitness business called Ali Fox Transformations. In two years, you’ve helped hundreds moms, women and dads lose up 39 pounds over a 12-week transformation contest. Then you kind of combined those 12 weeks with TT contests which has really been a great synergy. It’s allowed them to have confidence to regain control of their lives.
Now one of your clients lost 88 pounds in a 12-week contest. That’s incredible. She won the Women’s Under 40 TT contest. Like I said at the start of the call, you were the first runner-up at the TT Trainer of the Year. That was when I went onstage and I read your submission so it would have been great to have you there. But over the past four contest, you’ve had 13 winners in the TT contest, 9 seconds and 6 thirds for a total of 28 prize winners. I’ve sent $19,000 cash down to Australia for all those folks. That’s really, really awesome.
You train men and women but your vision is really empowering women and helping them to step out of your comfort zone and that’s what led to another facet of your life, which is Ali Fox Activewear. You’re designing bright and bold compression pants—that was new to me; that’s fantastic—that allows women to step out of black and unleash their inner fox. That’s very cool. So you’re selling your designs in Australia, New Zealand, North America and the UK already?
Ali: Yeah, so that spread pretty fast. It sort of just started with my clients and was creating designs for them. Especially some of my bigger girls, they couldn’t fit into any of the big name brands out here. So I just started doing that just as a complete side for the weekend business and it just grew. It took off with my clients and then started spreading around in Australia just through some of the running forums. From there, it kind of spread out to a few different countries. Yeah, so we’ll see where that takes me in 2015.
Craig: Sorry, Ali, my call got dropped. You’re still there, I hope?
Ali: Yes, I’m still here.
Craig: Okay, sorry about that. So that’s really wonderful and congratulations on the Activewear stuff. Now your boot camp has been around two years, is that correct?
Ali: That’s correct. It’s been two years now. We just started to hit my two-year anniversary.
Craig: That is amazing. Every time I read this intro, I’m just more and more amazed at what you’ve accomplished, considering this is like your after-hours job so it’s really great. So you kicked off another 12-week transformation in a new territory. Do you mean outside of where you live? Is that what you meant or are you talking about your online?
Ali: No, so we just launched a new 12-week challenge this week and that’s just across the bridge out in an area called so it’s still within Moreton Bay but it’s just a different council. That was actually launched. The council approached me and asked me to run one of their programs so I set that up and I had different providers but with the Fox spin. It was the number one program to sell out and that sold out in 38 minutes.
Craig: Very cool. Now you’re going into another territory which is you’re going online with your virtual transformations. That’s going to be fantastic. You’re going to be able to reach out and help so many people and so many women achieve their fitness goals and cross finish lines. That is fantastic. You are super dedicated. Ali, let’s start with your story. How did you end up going from Canada to Australia, becoming a busy lawyer and just dominating these transformation contests and the camp in just two years of moving into the fitness world?
Ali: Starting back if I look at some of my legal history, like you said I grew up in London, Ontario and went to the University of Ottawa. I did Psychology and Criminology there. During that time, I traveled over and was accepted for an exchange to Australia so I came over and did a semester over here and got hacked around the world. But going to back to Canada, I was weighing up law school and travel and decided I’d combine the two and applied in Australia and got a scholarship over here.
So I moved over here in 2003 and did a fast-track through a doctorate degree over here. So when I finished that, sort of every lawyer’s path, I just started climbing the corporate ladder. I combined the Criminology with the law and I’ve been working in law enforcement, sort of intelligence investigation so a different side than just your private practice.
But my passion and dream has always been fitness and helping other people. I love transformations. So my goal was that on maternity leave, I would study for my personal training certification and finished that during that time. I think upon that way with that, I fell pregnant again right after with my second daughter and returning to work full time so there was only a 15-month gap between them. So I sort of had to fast-track myself through my training, my certification and return to work full time. I think it was about four months after my second daughter.
But following both their births, I sort of used myself as a transformational guinea pig because I realized what I different world it is for moms to not only put on the weight and have healthy, sort of exercising pregnancies and the benefits that had for women throughout their pregnancy and beyond was such an experience for me. It was just I had to put on the weight the way and do it in a healthy way but then being able to put that weight off afterwards. So I used myself as a guinea pig and afterwards, I think I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 12 weeks. For the second one, I entered into Women’s Health & Fitness magazine. I entered and won one of their transformation pages and spreads so I was featured in their magazine. I think it was in that moment that my mission was born to help other moms on their journey.
Since that time, I returned to work but I’ve just started building out Fox Transformations up on the side. Like you said, it’s been two years since I launched my first 12-week transformation challenge. I think in that first challenge, I had a grand total of five clients and I think three of those were men. I’d normally would train from 5:45 in the morning down in the beach before I’d commute into the city. On a pretty good day, I have one client show up but it was a passion for me so I never let that alter my vision.
When my friends and family would say, “Ali, you’re crazy. Go back to your job. You’re doing well. You’re full-time. You don’t need to be doing this on the side.” But for me, it was just the enjoyment and just building that vision. I think what I did most successfully then was narrowed my vision to what I was passionate about which was women and moms. By narrowing my vision, I grew my business so much faster. So I think that’s sort of the turning point.
Craig: That’s really awesome. While you’ve been talking, I’ve been looking on Google at Redcliffe and it looks so lovely and amazing there. Speaking of the internet, you posted one of your own transformations on the TT Facebook page recently. When was that transformation done?
Ali: I believe that was the one after my second daughter. That was exactly two years ago. With that transformation, that was the one that was entered to Women’s Health & Fitness but the workout I did for that, I’d completely cut my cardio on that. I only did the Buff Dudes and Hot Chicks workout. So I was fortunate enough that my gym had excellent childcare so I could go in. I was working out three days a week sort of 35 to 45 minutes doing the Buff Dudes and Hot Chicks and that was just my best transformation. It was the least amount that I had put in with the biggest return.
Craig: Sorry, I got cut off again. So what did you learn from your own transformation that you’ve taken to your transformation clients?
Ali: The main thing that I’ve taken is in my focus for moms, it has been balancing your lifestyle because as people, especially moms, we are so busy. We’ve got our children. If we’re working our job, we’re commuting. There are so many things that you’re trying to balance. The women that are out there, they’re putting the of doing the cardio and they’re not getting the results. The more they run and the more cardio they do, they’re becoming a skinnier version of themselves but they’re not transforming.
So it’s creating the workouts and the workouts that you’ve created, the Turbulence Training workouts that are short, fast and efficient and they can fit into any sort of lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you have gym equipment or if you’re down the beach, you can actually schedule those into your day and in such a short period of time, you’ll have such a great transformation.
Craig: So what was the breakthrough in the business again? You went from the five clients in the first transformation you did. How did that grow into the second and third? Was it word of mouth or did you find some other way to start getting more of those moms into those transformation contests?
Ali: For me, at the end of that first transformation contest they had great results. My top client, I believe, lost sort of 30 to 35 pounds. The smartest thing did at point business-wise was I narrowed down my vision to what I was passionate about, which were moms. So I cut down on my market and I worked with that niche market. I think when some people start out, they’re so desperate for clients that they’ll take anybody on board and it sort of damages your business and your reputation more than putting it forward.
So I think what I did successfully to transition from the first challenge to the second challenge was to narrow it down and just focus on the moms. Get those moms in. By doing that, it was just word of mouth, just friends in nail salons and the few clients that I did have advertised for me within their small community. That challenge grew from 5 to I think 40 in the next challenge, my second one.
The other resource that we had is your fantastic TT contest. I aligned my contest so they would run with yours so that we would have our own contests. Within it, we had graduation parties where they all get dressed up and we have awards. It’s fun and it’s rewarding for them. But on top of that, they’ve got your added bonus of the Turbulence Training contest which is just that extra incentive and something for them to work for. That was the second challenge.
From then, I think by narrowing into my own niche market, I didn’t even need to market or advertise because my clients were doing it for me. They were so proud of their transformations that they were pumping their own workouts on Facebook and in moms’ groups and forums. All their friends were moms and having kids so they started coming along and the word just spread. So I think I jumped from 40 to about 60 on my third challenge and from them where my challenge number, from five since I’ve started, our current challenge, we’re at about 75 along with the new territory which has 30 new clients out in that one as well.
Craig: So are you running all of the training sessions yourself?
Ali: I have been, which has been my biggest challenge. It’s time for me. The first step forward was I cut out TV about two and a half years ago. That was the first transition. What I started doing at the beginning was incorporating my own exercise into my session. One of the sessions was called Train Like a Fox, which was my session and the women would come out and just do the session with me. So I’ve been incorporating my own exercise into my boot camps as well, which was easier when they were smaller.
But as they grew, I’ve had to transition my sessions to what worked into my lifestyle. At that point, I had a one and two year-old so I changed my sessions so they all ran at 7:30 at night. When I set that time, the other trainers, friends and clients thought I was insane. They said you’re not going to have a market at 7:30 at night down the beach where it’s cold, it’s windy and it’s dark. Then the most amazing thing happened. It just started growing and growing because what works for me works for my clients. So they are all moms that were either working in the city or were home all day with the children and when the guys came home, they packed up their kids and they were out the door. It didn’t matter how tired or how exhausted. The thing with me, I’d be exhausted if I did with your own time that you could actually just go and have that time on your own.
So the numbers started to grow then as well but in regards to training, I run very limited sessions. I don’t operate like a gym. I’ve got a studio. We’ve got Fox Studio but we mainly use that was just weigh-ins with measurements, just sort of their space. There are only four boot camps I run during the week, which is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and then Saturday morning because I needed to create a schedule that when I’d have to travel for court or work or legal conferences, it wouldn’t interrupt my training.
But as we’ve grown over this last challenge, I’ve got three other clients, good friends that are going through their certification right now so I’m slowly building up that team around me which has helped enormously. I want to go forward because I’m in the state I couldn’t actually going forward without stepping back from law or having some other sort of help to grow.
Craig: And what you’re doing is so amazing and it begs to grow because you are getting the results and you’ve got so much proof that I’m sure the demand as it already is, it’s getting from across the bridge and wherever, must just be increasing exponentially. So tell us what you’ve learned from your successful clients. What sets apart the person who wins the contest? I would imagine you’ve had people who have entered a contest and maybe didn’t do very well. Then the next time they did really because there was some type of mindset shift. What can you tell us about that?
Ali: I think a lot of clients that come in my door, I call it breaking point. It’s your rock bottom. There’s the lowest point that they’ve been. Either they’ve had children and they have put on 80 or 90 pounds, they’ve put on so much weight, they haven’t kept active through their pregnancy so they’re starting at the breaking point and the ground zero. I think that the first step into their transformation, you need to know where you’re currently at but also where you’re going. Beyond that, you need to have your reason why because if you don’t have that reason why, you’re never going to get there. Something is going to happen. You’re going to get injured. Work’s going to get busy. It’s going to get to hard and you’re going to quit.
But with all my girls, I worked on the mental aspect first because if you can break that mental barrier and change that mindset, you can get them on such an amazing journey. So for me, it’s the reason I’m just working with the client, finding that mindset, one of the things that I do is create a private forum. Most people do that. They have that private forum that everyone should engage. I think my transformation challenges are a little bit different in the fact that the majority of the people are moms so it’s a very inspirational group. When I kick off the challenge, I have everybody introduce themselves on a forum, talking about their goals, their setbacks and their obstacles so right away you’ve got a team of 60 to 70 women working with you to pick you up. So when you’ve had a bad week or your knee injury is flaring up, you can post on that forum and right away you’ll get from me and ten other women, you’re going to get them saying, “You can do it. Let’s go for a walk. Let’s go down to the beach and do a sand walk.” You’ve got such a supportive team.
But the most successful people I think started at that ground zero, that breaking point but they hit it in the middle as well. They set such big expectations and instead of focusing on how far they’ve come, they just focus on how far they haven’t come or where they’re not at yet. So it’s that lost zone so when people get lost in the middle of a contest and that’s when we lose the majority of people, it’s in that lost zone. So if you can identify that lost zone and get into the mindset at that critical point, you can transition them to move forward and to get past that and to use that to fuel them to the finish.
And like you said, the way that I organize my contests because there are so many clients, I don’t want to enter all 70 of them into Turbulence Training so we limit them to sort of our top two results per category and enter those. So it gives them a little bit of something and a little bit of motive to work out a bit harder for the Turbulence Training contests because they’ve got to get the results to be entered into it. That’s a little bit of the motivation. And like you said, some of the best results out of that are the ones that have entered and didn’t win. They might have and didn’t get the votes and didn’t win but it fuels them for the next time. They know what they need to do and they know where they fell apart.
Like you said in the intro, one of my top girls, Rene, she joined me early in 2014 and did three challenges with me 2014. She had just had a new baby and had two other young girls so three girls at home. She had put on a significant amount of weight during her pregnancy and was starting at her breaking point, ground zero. We took a video of her back then and when I looked back today, it’s amazing to see the transformation of a person. But she went on. She won one of the first 2014 contests and then came back to the third contest in 2014 and won the pro. Over the years, she has lost 88 pounds.
But it’s not even the weight loss. It’s the fact that she wasn’t exercising. She wasn’t doing anything and during 2014, she ran a half marathon in just over two hours. She was just behind me. And she entered a 50-kilometer mountain event. It was trail walking with running and she finished that. At the end of the year, she won a prize called Year of the Fox. She won that and we designed a pair of pants after her, a pair of compression pants and we called it the Unstoppable pants. So she has her own Unstoppable pants and it’s on the range now that you can buy those. There’s a bit of story behind it. But like you said, they’re the ones that have fallen down and get back up and use that to learn and to move forward.
Craig: Yes, she is. She seems like a real firecracker, that Rene. She’s wonderful and really she goes the extra effort to support the other people in the contest so I imagine that she’s a really asset to have in the camps as well. That’s fantastic. Would you also say that the people who share the most on the forum, on the online forum, is often the person who gets great results?
Ali: Absolutely. I always say at the beginning of a challenge if you want to guarantee your success, post your before photos in that forum and anyone who’s taken that advice and who has posted their before photos in the forum has gone on to win because you put yourself out there and you make that public commitment. Once you make that commitment, you don’t back down but you also get the support of other people because you’ve put your goals on the table. But I think those that are the most interactive, they’re the ones that are trying to pick other people up when they’re down, they don’t only find satisfaction in their own transformation. They find satisfaction in helping others. If they have that day, they are the ones that will go out of their way to help somebody else because that picks them up as well.
But I think there’s definitely a correlation between being engaged and using that community to not only put your own goals, obstacles and everything out for everyone to see but to give that to the community as well. They’re the first people that at the end of the day, they’re posting on the forum, “Going down to the beach. Who wants to go for a jog or a walk?” They’re always out to help others and they are the successful ones that go that extra mile. I also think those people are very important in transitioning transformation contests for me because every transformation contest, I always have new people come in but if I’ve got that those that have been through the process before that then are in the forum and engaged, they become such motivation and inspiration for other women.
Craig: Yeah, absolutely. You said so many things that I’ve found as well. The people who put their stuff out there, it’s the exact opposite of what a person worries about. They worry that they’re going to be made fun of or that people are going to judge but when you’re in an environment where everyone is supportive and wants to achieve the same thing, putting yourself out there actually brings more people into your world and people will go out of their way to help you. They’ll go out of their way to say, “Hey, this is what works for me.” But if you don’t do that then you don’t get that type of benefit and feedback from other people.
Then in addition to that, like you said, these people are out there bringing other people up and when you teach, share and help other people, that’s when you learn the best for yourself. I really recommend to anybody who wants to do anything in life is to make sure that they’re out there and trying to help other people even if they don’t feel they know everything about it because it really will make them feel better. The more you teach, the better you get. That’s fantastic. Any other big lessons that you’ve learned from your transformation clients?
Ali: I think I’ve learned so much from them every time and every time they surprise me with something new. I think with my clients, it’s learning about mindset. I‘m probably pretty lucky I did some psychology in university because an actual transformation is nothing about the fitness. It is about the mindset, the nutrition, everything else that needs to be in place before you are on the right path and the right journey. I think for my clients, it’s constantly learning on my side as well as theirs. They’re learning to train, exercise, nutrition but I’m learning about how to be a better coach and how to take their lessons to make it easier for those down the track and to come up with a better system and a better transformation program for them.
Craig: You must have been into fitness or working out in one or another maybe in Canada, maybe as an athlete or something?
Ali: When I was in London, I played volleyball. I was there for the national team. I played volleyball.
Craig: Oh wow.
Ali: Yeah, I’ve always been sporty like cross country, track, volleyball but once I hit university and was studying, it transitioned more into just a passion. I sort of lost that competitive edge with other people and became a bit more competitive with myself which is what I find I encourage in a lot of my clients. It’s just that competitiveness with yourself to always be a better person and to always try new things.
Since coming to Ontario, I’ve done Tough Mudder and half-marathons. I’m looking at a half-marathon up at Whitehaven Beach this Sunday. So I’m always just trying something different and putting myself out there. Yeah, it’s just an experience because we have an adventure race next weekend. I’m just keeping active, happy and healthy.
Craig: So what did you notice are the differences between, if any I suppose, between the Australian clients and the North American way of fitness? Did you notice any differences at all? You described the same sort of obstacles for most moms as universal but is there anything that sticks out that you would think it would be worthwhile telling people about as the difference between Australian and the North American fitness world?
Ali: I think one of the main difference is it comes down to lifestyle. In North America, especially sort of Toronto and Ontario, you’re living in two different extremes. It’s either -35, -40 or +35, +40 with humidity. You’re always operating at complete different extremes. So your outdoor fitness is just not the same, unless you’re skiing or yeah, you’re do pretty much skating and cross pressure skiing. So you’ve got those sort of activities but otherwise you’re more confined to a gym and different activities whereas I find the lifestyle in Australia is so different. What has made me passionate about Australia as well is everyone is always happy. The weather is fantastic all the time in Queensland. If it rains, fantastic, it’s raining.
So there’s so much more outdoor activity here where the difference in my clients that—I didn’t train when I was in Canada but training here—you can really get into their heads just with incidental exercise, taking the kids to childcare on their bike or hopping in a kayak on the weekend. There’s so much that you can be doing with your family and your kids that are active. I find that a major difference.
If you can get your client enjoy doing that a little bit more because you can find what they love to do and get them outdoors. I think that’s the success of the boot camps as well over here. You’re down the beach. The middle of winter, it might be 15 degrees and the only one complaining is me. It’s just so different. So there are really no excuses. If it’s raining, we’re still down at the beach. I’ll still get 30 people out in the rain.
Craig: Wow. But there’s still an obesity problem in the country in general, right, in Australia?
Ali: Huge. We’re still one of the top of the world along with North America. So absolutely there is such a problem. I was listening to the radio on my commute to work yesterday and they were talking about how sitting is the new smoking. And it is. Even myself, I look at my day. I’m in my office on my chair for up to ten hours a day where I don’t move. I think that’s a problem around the world. So many people are transitioning to you’ve got your office jobs and health and activity is not promoted. I’m the active officer at my work and I can’t even get any sort of program through to just the commonwealth government because of all health safety.
So I think there are still some sort of hindrances there. Even though we have the weather, we have the outdoors, we also struggle with daylight savings. In Queensland they don’t have daylight savings so it’s dark by 5:00 or 6:00 even in the middle of summer whereas in Canada, you can come home from work. You can go for a ride. Here you can’t. It’s not safe. This is also the success of my boot camp kind of late because at 7:30 at night, there’s no way you’d be out on your own. But in the boot camp, you can still get out. You can still exercise at that time of the night.
Craig: Wait, so it’s dark at 5:00 the entire year?
Ali: It’s about 6:00, 6:30 in the summer. Yeah.
Ali: Queensland doesn’t have daylight savings. The rest of the states do so it’s a little bit different but it’s still fairly early over here. It’s completely different than North America.
Craig: And what time does the sun rise?
Ali: Early, about 4:30.
Craig: Oh really?
Ali: All my children get up about 4:30.
Craig: That is a little bit much different. Then obviously the same nutrition pitfalls in Australia as they have anywhere else in the world, right?
Ali: And it’s the same. I’m currently studying my Precision Nutrition. I’m doing that Work and Exercise Nutrition certification. That has been good and that will be good to incorporate into my business as well.
Craig: Yeah, that’s fantastic. So what are the biggest nutrition changes that most of your clients have to make? What are the mistakes that they’re making and where are some of your favourite recommendations for beginners to get started and then to help them advance?
Ali: I think one of the biggest problems is always just what you are eating. People are so focused on calories and fat diets and not on the actual nutritional value of food. So I think once you can start to get them to recognize that a calorie isn’t just a calorie and the main thing I try to teach and then still in my clients is that food is fuel, that you need it and you need your macronutrients to fuel the exercises that you’re doing and to help you lose that weight. So I think such a problem is just your nutrient deficiency. That leads to all your different ailments, your immune system, your headaches, your depression, anxiety, everything.
So once I can get my clients to start eating more quality food and more frequent meals then they start to nourish their body, they’ve got that energy and they feel satisfied, which makes them happier. When they’re happier, they will feel like exercising and moving. One of the main things I try to teach them is that the restricted diet won’t work and you might see that short term loss but you’re never going to sustain it and the damage that you’re doing your body is huge. So if I can get that into their heads and change sort of their view, I think that’s the first step.
Then the second step is to clean up your environment. That includes everything. It’s your house, your kitchen, your workplace and your office. It’s the people that you associate with. Everything that you do is either going to work for or against you. So if you can clean all of that up, that’s going to influence you, your behaviour and your health. That’s going to be the energy and the mood. So I think when I can get them to make that commitment to actually change what they’re eating and their environment, then that’s the first step to making them move forward.
Craig: Yeah, that’s fantastic and that’s so much of what we teach in Turbulence Training and what we believe in in our contests as well obviously. So let’s talk training now. Take us through one of your workouts. I know they’re inspired by Turbulence Training but what do you love to put as the foxy twist on these types of workouts for your clients?
Ali: The foxy twist in my workout I think with the Turbulence Training workouts, a lot like your Buff Dudes and Hot Chicks, your core programs, you’ll have sort of your super fit and high intensity interval training for the end. What I like to do is mix it all throughout. An example, we have the punisher on Thursday nights and I’m very fortunate where we train we’ve got three different sets of staircases with a decent running space in between. We’ve got a ramp with three different levels. There’s rotunda in the middle with steps all around it that you can use for bodyweight. You’ve got the beach so you’ve got sort of some of your sand runs.
For example the punisher, I’ve set it up so you’ve got your high intensity interval training throughout the session. You might have a ramp run and when you come down there’s bell at the bottom so if you make it in for the bell, you’re in for the next station. If you miss that bell, you’re waiting for the next one but you’re doing squats until you transition in. So you’re off that ramp, you get that high intensity interval training on the way up. You get a little bit of recovery on the way down but as soon as you’re down, you’re in for the weight circuit. So it will be a timed circuit going through on average sort of seven different exercises. You’ll have your kettlebells and take my medicine balls. I’ve got a trailer so I load that up from Fox studio and take everything down, your kettleballs, your medicine balls. I’ve got my tires, your battle ropes.
So you’ll have each station that then they’ll have probably a 60-second exercise and then I’ll transition on. Once they’ve worked their way through, they’re back up the ramp. There’s just that high intensity interval training again. So you’ve got that high intensity broken up throughout the whole session. So every time they recover, boom, they’re back in and they’re doing their weight. By the time their arms are going oh my goodness, then they’re going again and they’re up the ramp. And we fluff it around from a hop and ab punisher and then the next we get like these arm punishers then leg punisher and then then a whole body punisher. So they transition through.
Another thing I’ve designed which is taking off of Turbulence Training is sort of adapting the boot camp session but only every four weeks. So there are new elements every week but it’s still the basic core workout because I find a lot of personal trainers are trying so hard to make it fun. They advertise that each session is different but I don’t think that they’re actually getting the results because they’re not actually working those muscle groups and using the actual theory behind the exercises. It’s just a boot camp. So I think the mixture of the Turbulence Training style with the boot camp is phenomenal.
Craig: Yeah, that really sounds fantastic. Now how long are your sessions?
Ali: The sessions are booked for an hour but by the time we get down, we do our warm-up time, sign in, the actual sessions only run sort of 40 minutes. With punisher and train like a fox, the actual core session is only 35 minutes. It’s a great session in that it’s more of a circuit so everyone can work at their own level and I can with work injuries, do substitutions easily but everyone’s working at their max. So your fitter clients that are on the third challenge, they might be getting through the circuits and do levels upstairs. They might get to level seven on that session whereas someone new who are working on technique might only get through two. But each at the end are equally as so it’s being able to cater to as many people as you can at their level.
Craig: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Now let’s transition into your original transformation and how you went from doing stuff after work or whatever, you’re really focused on the corporate legal ladder and then you had your first child and then that’s when you got into this, I think. So tell us your story and then what you learned, what you learned in terms of mental challenges that you had to do to overcome so that you could then become an amazing trainer like you are now.
Ali: My story is a bit of a different one. So after having my first daughter Ash, that’s when I started to study and started on my three and four. We moved back to Canada for three months, which around then and it was great so I just flew towards so much of my certification while we were there. Following that, I was back to work fulltime when she was size months old.
I’ve always been corporated. I’ve been very fortunate in that my boss at work, my manager is a fitness fanatic and he understands the benefit that exercise has on stress and anxiety, everything. So whenever I have a big court case and I’m back and forth, I’m exhausted, he just comes in and says, “Ali, go for a run.” So I’m fortunate in that I’ve always exercised on my lunch break. We have showers and it’s easy for me to do. There’s a ramp and a bridge where I can find me some stairs and so I can do some of that high intensity stuff in a very quick time period.
So that transition, my first weight loss after my first daughter was a lot of times it had to be sort of running once I was given the go clear. With her, I ran up until 33 weeks pregnant so it was really easy to transition back into exercise after birth. I was back in at sort of three weeks afterwards. Focusing on the weights, the result that you can get with the weights is necessary, I think because you’re getting greater results in such a short amount of time. Both transformations after my daughters, I was only exercising three or four times a week at the most and the results I was getting was phenomenal.
So after having my second child, I did the Women’s Health & Fitness and won that spread and that feature in a magazine and finished my certification then. I would try to work a little bit about four months after she was born. I think the biggest turning point in my life and in my career, which a lot of people don’t know, was late one Friday night when both my girls were very little and Summer was only four months, I went to the doctor on. I was feverish, sick and she sent me right away to emergency. I went into emergency with suspected viral meningitis.
So my husband was home with the kids and I had to go in on my own. At that point, they rushed me right through, they put me to sleep and then they did a lumber puncture. I woke up about four or five hours later and I couldn’t support my head so something had gone wrong in the lumber puncture. It was just cerebral fluid combined with the post-dural lumbar puncture headache and damage to the back of this joint on my neck. At that point, I ended up in the hospital for two weeks. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t support my head. I was probably at that time at one of the peak points of my fitness. I was strong. I had been doing my weights, everything so I was at a very healthy point.
From that experience, two weeks later, I walked into that hospital and I left. I was wheeled out in a wheel chair. From that, I saw every single professional that I could. I saw a doctor, massage, chiro, physio. You name it, I’ve tried it. They told me it was going to be at least a year of recovery before I was doing any exercise again. I had finished my certification and just launched my business but not started any challenges or anything. That wasn’t at all my vision at that point.
So that was such a transitioning point in my life to actually deal with an injury and pain and the mental setback to work through that and say I’m going to get better. It was interesting. It was during that time that I first started meditation because I thought well maybe it’s all in my head. So I was going to meditation and it was during that meditation that I found my spiritual animal which was the fox and that’s how the fox would get introduced. That fox just sort of taught me to overcome the obstacles and to follow my passion. So I started to build that little community around me and started doing the training. At that point, it was just part of my recovery. I was using what I knew and what I had learned in my personal training on myself because even with the professionals and doctors saying it was going to be a year before I was exercising again, I didn’t believe that. So by strengthening up my neck again and getting those muscles back and operating, I fast-tracked that so I was probably out for about three or four months.
That was really the kick-off of my business. For me, it’s teaching people being able to overcome their obstacles and that sometimes injuries, as horrible as they are, they teach a lesson. For me, that was just a part of my journey that I needed to go through and it helped me build to where I am now.
Craig: Wow, that is quite the life-changing story. Yeah, we’ve never heard that one before. So how long a period was that between when you got rushed to the hospital and when you started your boot camps with the five clients?
Ali: Oh was rushed to the hospital on July in 2012 and d I kicked off my very first transformation challenge in January 2013. So I sort of used that transition period to July till January, that was focusing on myself and getting better and getting stronger. At that time I was doing smaller, just drop-in boot camps and then that’s what’s transitioned over.
Craig: It’s very similar to my anxiety stuff. Like you, I looked for every single possible avenue to recovery. I tried qi gong. I bought a dog. That was my spiritual animal, buying a choco lab. I’ve tried yoga, meditation, this type of therapy and that type of therapy, this book and that book. People that are listening, no matter what they’re going through, that’s the attitude that you have to have and that’s the attitude that we want our clients to have. We ask our clients to have that when they’re starting to lose weight so we’ve got to have it, too.
That really leads to the next question which is what advice will you give to a trainer who’s just starting out, who is maybe just getting into the fitness industry, just getting a new job or just trying to get new clients after moving in from the big box gym to their boot camps or something? What encouragement and practical advice would you share with them Ali?
Ali: I think the number one always is you’ve got believe yourself and you’ve got to back yourself because it can be a very lonely industry. You’re helping your clients but all of that has got to come from you. You’re putting that out into everybody else but you’ve got to put some of that into yourself and you’ve got to believe in what you want to build because that’s what’s going to get you there in the end. You’ve got to have that game plan.
I think the next thing is passion. If you’ve got a passion, you’re unstoppable. Use that passion to fuel anything. For me, people have asked how I had done it. For me, this hasn’t been work. This is my fun. This is what I enjoy. I don’t watch TV. I’m talking to my clients on social media. I’m getting in their heads. It’s got to be something you love. If you love it then it will work. It might take a bit of time and it’s going to take a lot of effort.
The next step I would say is take that passion to define our niche because by defining a niche, you’re already creating that community and from that community are going to grow referrals and you’re going to have your own walking billboards that are your referral system and they’re going to be doing the marketing and advertising. So if you can narrow it down and it’s one of the hardest things I think to grasp starting out as a trainer because you just want any client, anyone. Any Joe Blow that walks in the door, you want to sign up right away. The hardest thing I ever did was to start turning men away. I’m not big enough to be doing this but to define my niche, I needed to do it.
So it will be the advice that I would give. Just narrow your market as to what you’re passionate about and what you believe it and what you know. Define yourself as that expert. If you are that expert, people are going to trust you and they’re going to believe in you and then they’re going to refer you. So if you can narrow it down, I think that’s key. For me, that’s the best thing I did.
But from that transitioning down the track, I’ve so many moms that come out and train but the partners their partners are going, “Wait a second, look at you. You’re looking fantastic. You’re fit. You’re running half marathons. What just happened?” So then they’re contacting me saying, “Ali, look. I know you specialize in moms but can I come along?” So we started introducing just some of the dads but only they’re basically there to support the moms.
Taking that to the next step forward, what I started to do is create a double system. So on a Tuesday night, for example, we have a mom session and then I have my other trainer who is running the dad session. So you’re all down at the same time but you’re separating it. Then you’re taking it that next step forward and you’re replicating what you’ve already made, which can have the potential of doubling your business without any sort of advertising. It’s just through the partner’s word of mouth. Plus I think if you can believe in your passion and follow that do define your niche, you’re going to build your business faster than you would.
Craig: That’s fantastic. So you’re actually running two sessions at the same time. The guys train separately and the moms train separately.
Ali: Yes and it just turned into such a success. So it started the same thing, small, same as where I was two years ago. One, two, three dads was a good session. And now the word has just spread from the partner saying, “Kelly’s partner was out last night. Why don’t you come down?” So a lot of them, if it’s just a couple, they come, they split, they do the work out and they go home. If it’s a mom and dad situation, a lot of the moms will come out on sort of a Wednesday night and then the dads will come on a Tuesday night so they can split it with the child care and they’re working together towards their goals, which is a huge aspect of transformation. If you can get them working with their partner and their family, you’re changing that family.
Craig: Oh that’s fantastic. That’s just wonderful, Ali. But we are out of time unfortunately, out of time here in Canada, out of time down there in Australia. So it’s been wonderful speaking with you. Now are you going to be at the fifth TT Summit this year? Are you going to be able to make it all the way up?
Ali: I am planning on it so I’m currently just trying to change around my court schedule. I’ve put in those applications and I’ve got a trainer that can take my boot camp, which was one of my biggest problems last year. We had a 12-week challenge running and I couldn’t leave that because I didn’t have a trainer. But now that my trainers are up and running, I will be on that plane.
Craig: Oh that’s fantastic. Well, we are going to make it extra special. We’re going to have birthday cake. We’re going to have Todd Durkin there. We’re going to great stuff going on all weekend. So Ali, thank you so much for the call. Thank you so much for coming all the way to the TT Summit in June. Is there anything else that you wanted to say that you’re looking forward to at the TT Summit or anything else that you wanted to share with our listeners today?
Ali: For me, I’m really looking forward to putting names to faces. I’ve loved the TT community. Like I said, being a trainer can be a lonely fight because everyone around you is a competitor but with the TT community, you’ve built a community of like-minded people that are picking you up. They’re complimenting you on your results and your clients’ result. I think that is just such an important thing that you can have. So for anyone who is on the fence, I would say get there because the contacts, the networking and the people you’re going to meet is going to accelerate your business tenfold. So you need to get there and I’m looking forward to getting there so that I can meet everybody and learn more just about growing my business.
Craig: Oh that’s fantastic. We’re so looking forward to seeing you there. Ali, thank you so much. Where can people check out your social media and any websites that you have that trainers could learn from or people could just browse around and see how you run your operation?
Ali: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got Ali Fox Transformations which is on Facebook where I post a lot of sort of our training sessions, just mine stuff. I’ve also got Ali Fox Activewear which is on Facebook, Instagram. There is a website as well which is IAmAFox.com.au. That’s got different activewear range and the compression pants. Ali Fox Transformation is a book online as well. That one is www.AliFoxTransformations.com.
Craig: And so whereabouts in North American are your compression pants available?
Ali: They’re not available at the moment. They’re just being purchased over there. So hopefully, we’ll be looking at Ohio in the near future, which will be great.
Craig: Okay cool. Well, we look forward to hearing about your growth in that, too. You’ve just got so much going on, it’s a real inspiration. Thank you so much, Ali, for being on the call tonight and thank you, everyone, for listening. Thank you, everybody, for stepping up like Ali said, you coming up to the TT Summit because she’s right. You’re going to change your training. You’re going to change your business. You’re going to grow personally and it’s going to be a lot of fun to meet you. So thank you, everybody, and I look forward to seeing you very, very soon in San Diego at our fifth Turbulence Training Summit. Bye-bye.