Secrets from the Queen of Balance: Gabrielle Van Der Elst

I don’t know about you, but it seems to be harder and harder to strike a balance. We strive to balance work and play, being healthy but also treating ourselves, spending time with family, friends, your partner while also fitting in some ‘me’ time. It’s an eternal juggling act and one that only a few people get right. Gabrielle Van Der Elst is one of those people. She is an extremely well-rounded individual, managing to fit more in one day than most of us can do in a week!

I sat down with Gabby in a quest to find out her secret ingredient that makes her the queen of balance?

Gabs, what do you see as the importance of having a balanced lifestyle? Why is it something we should aim for?  Finding balance is an endless struggle but I think the key is to always be kind to yourself and take some pressure away - we have enough pressure from work, family and friends. We are so quick to judge our efforts if we haven’t made it to a class or have been a little naughty by eating too many sweet treats. Find balance day by day as each week is so different. Listen to your body and give it exactly what it needs for that particular day. If you aren’t feeling up to a sweaty class, opt for something that’s more gentle. If you have energy to burn, go for a high intensity workout and NEVER feel bad about not making it to a class. Rather, do a 10-15 minute glute and abdominal workout at home or simply stretch on your yoga mat as I guarantee you’ll feel so much better for it.

You are the queen of balance – you do it so well Gabs. What is your secret? Thank you!! Finding balance is tricky but I think it’s sometimes important to create a few boundaries. Each week, I plan to have some me time, girly time and quality time with my partner. I try and combine exercise with a catch up with friends – we might go for a class together or a run and a swim at the beach. I think it’s key to always make time for your girlfriends especially when in a relationship.

What are your thoughts on balance and exercising? For me personally, I love to exercise outside, especially as I live across the road from the beach. Ill often take my Yellow Willow travel yoga mat to the beach and exercise there. I also think it’s important to add cardio to the mix, perhaps only once a week and realistically about two Barre, Pilates or yoga classes per week if I’m teaching regularly. I honestly think a 40 minute class is sufficient.

To all those out there who are yoyo-ing in life, what is your advice for living a balanced, generally healthy life? It’s the small decisions and commitments that you make each day that count. I used to be all or nothing. In my eyes, if I was doing a good job and being healthy, I would be exercising like crazy and eating like a bird, which is not sustainable. Nowadays, it’s more about finding a few moments each day to move my body and to be conscious of the amount I eat. I don’t restrict myself when it comes to eating naughty food, I just try and eat a small amount of it. For example, if I’ve had a heavy carb breakfast, I’ll try and aim for something light for lunch or dinner. If I feel like a sweet treat, I’ll opt for a raw cake or dark chocolate. I’ll have the pizza and pasta, but won’t overindulge.

Gabrielle Van Der Elst is a former professional ballet dancer, qualified personal trainer and STOTT Pilates instructor and has also completed a 200 hour Yoga teacher qualification. She is currently the regional manager and Barre++ 150-hour program teacher trainer for Barre Body. She delivers training in Sydney, Perth and Bali.