As we're celebrating 15 years of Elixr this month, we've decided to profile a member of our team: Elixr Personal Trainer and fitness model Esther Hesse. Esther knows all about the power exercise has to transform lives – her ongoing experience with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) has taken her from Elixr member to Elixr Personal Trainer, and from the fashion industry to the health industry. She is currently completing a degree in Exercise and Sport Science while training our members and helping them reach their goals.
We asked Esther to tell us about the physical and mental health regime that not only helps her to manage and prevent pain, but also gives her an unstoppable zest for life. Here's what she had to say.
Exercise is the most important part of managing and preventing pain from CRPS. Moving – and moving efficiently – increases my chances of being pain free, which is ultimately everyone's goal, right?
I spent five years in horrific pain, during which time I saw neurologists, neurosurgeons, physios, chiros and sports physicians. Some were great, others not so great. I was on so much medication that I felt like a walking pharmacy. Then one day I met a wonderful osteopath who taught me breathing techniques to help me try to manage pain episodes, rather than jumping straight to medication. It's one of the best things I've ever learned. Anxiety tends to heighten pain episodes for me, and controlling my breathing can often help to calm an episode before it really gets going.
3. State of mind
CRPS is more of a condition than an illness, and while it has no known cure, it has been known to get better by itself. The pain is debilitating, not only physically but also mentally. All of us have experienced some level of physical pain, but for me it was a daily occurrence – happening constantly throughout the day and lasting for up to an hour at a time. I had some pretty low lows. But I also had a great support network of doctors, family and friends and I couldn't have pushed through without them. I'm also a bit of a control freak, and at that point there was no aspect of my life that I felt in control of – so I joined Elixr, because 'exercise is medicine'. It might sound silly but I felt like this was one small part of my life where I could regain control, and that really helped my state of mind.
There's a quote I really love: 'Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire'. For me, that means that you never know what/ when life is going to throw curve balls your way, so you should never let fear hold you back from what makes you happy!
This or That
We managed to corner Esther for a game of This or That. Here are 20 rapid-fire facts about this personal trainer.
Dogs or cats? 100% dogs!
Beer or wine? Did you say Rosé?
Coffee or tea? Five coffees before 11am, please!
Cake or pie? Pie! I'm obsessed with pastry. As a I kid, I would get pies and toss the filling just so I could eat the pastry. The universe has a sick sense of humour, though, as I'm now allergic to wheat.
Dancing or singing? Dancing. And if you heard my singing voice, you'd understand why.
Board games or video games? Why no outdoor game options?
Smile or game face? Definitely smile
Truth or dare? Truth. I have no filter so I pretty much blurt the truth out anyway.
Sand or snow? Sand.
Binge watching or scheduled viewing? Binge watching.
Yoga or Pilates? Pilates.
Weights or body weight? Both!
Sydney or Melbourne? Sydney.
PJs or activewear? PJs.
Tattoo or piercing? (I think we know this one.) Well, considering I'm covered in tats…
Charlie Hunnam (Jax from Sons of Anarchy) or Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones)? I love this question. Everyone who knows me well knows that Charlie is actually my future husband.
Fashion or comfort? Fashion.
Book series or TV series? That's a tough one. I'll go for a tie.
Sneakers or heels? Sneakers, but I do love getting in my heels.
Home cooked or takeaway? – Home cooked, please! On that note, I'm looking for a full-time cook who is happy to be paid in hugs.