Fit, fab and full of bounce – Parkhurst’s Lisa Raleigh is fuelled by encouraging people to live their healthiest lives.
This nutrition and life coach, personal trainer and rebounding instructor is a cup-half-full type of person with a self-proclaimed ‘zest for life’ and ‘passion for helping people’ – especially when it comes to wellness and fitness.
‘True wellness to me means feeling healthy and happy in all aspects of your life. When I talk to clients about wellness, we look at their emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being and see where we can improve in all these areas,’ says Lisa, who, with 20 years of experience, is one of the longest-standing entrepreneurs in the country’s fitness space.
Her rebounding classes aren’t only effective – they’ve revolutionised exercise for many. ‘Rebounding has so many benefits – not just for weight loss and fitness. It boosts mood, strengthens the immune system, helps with detoxification and is great for anti-ageing. It’s truly a miracle exercise you should be doing daily.’
You may remember Lisa from the 2008 reality transformation show, The Biggest Loser – which she says took her personal training to the next level and paved the way for her to create holistic wellness programmes. If you’re one of Lisa’s 24500-odd followers on Instagram, you’ll know her for her energetic fitness videos as she bounces on a rebounder and the charismatic way she lets us into her world and teaches us a thing or two. ‘I love to use videos to teach, demonstrate or educate – whether it’s how to make a chocolate smoothie or how to perform a lunge or squat correctly. I love to give people a window into my life – and build relationships that way too.’ In short, Lisa’s social media presence is genuine. ‘For me it’s about staying true to who I am, speaking with authority, using my experience and know-how and staying authentic and true.’
Lisa’s authenticity shines through in all aspects of her business. The rebounding classes she teaches are the same exercises she practises daily. She encourages others to write in a gratitude journal every morning, and she does the same. And, when it comes to her hugely successful e-store, she only stocks items which have her stamp of approval – including some local products. ‘The good news is, with the online space and e-commerce, the world is your oyster!’
It’s unsurprising, then, that while many floundered in the face of Covid-19, Lisa saw the lockdown restrictions and raised her business to help many continue – or even to begin – to reach their health and fitness goals. ‘Lockdown was a huge pivotal point for that. We sold rebounders to many people who wouldn’t have even considered it before, and those same people have been signing up to my beginners’ programme to learn how to go from five minutes to 55 minutes in eight weeks.’
Along with her team, Lisa created live rebounding and strength classes via video streaming and launched programmes to inspire and motivate people to train throughout lockdown.
The at-home workout trend is cost- and time-effective, which is why Lisa believes it’ll linger beyond lockdown but she cautions that Wi-Fi speed, a lack of uncapped data and load-shedding can make it tricky in a South African setting. ‘Having things like online programmes, workshops and webinars and downloadable workouts are still going to be popular for a long time – but when it comes to fitness, I think people are a little “over” training online for now. Some of my clients are enjoying a hybrid system of online and personal face-to-face classes or sessions in a gym.’
It’s in this vein that Lisa will open her very own Lisa Raleigh studio in Parktown North this month as a safe wellness space where people can shop, test and try her products. ‘I’ll also use the studio to host wellness talks, fitness workshops and cooking demos, and I’ll teach my rebounding classes from this location too. This is a big step for the Lisa Raleigh brand – as we will also work from the same location and have team meetings there too.’
Lisa recognises there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone, which is why she focuses on holistic wellness and encourages her clients to ensure they get necessities right such as sleep, digestion, stress, work-life balance, exercise and a healthy diet. ‘Health is wealth – and it’s the biggest investment you can possibly make in your life. If you neglect yourself and choose not to focus on your physical, mental and emotional health, how can you be the best friend, parent, boss and colleague? I always talk about being a little selfish to be selfless – which simply means it’s okay to put yourself first and prioritise your own well-being before meeting others’ needs.’
Lisa’s well aware of her own needs. Being prone to anxiety, she struggles to switch off from work and needs to prioritise rest, exercise and family time. This is why on weekends, you’ll find her enjoying a long family hike – especially in the Magaliesberg mountains. Spending time with her close-knit family is among the things that make her the happiest, so when she takes some downtime, she’s often baking, cooking, travelling and watching movies with her husband and three girls. As the lockdown restrictions lift, Lisa advises for others to also build small things into each day as mood boosters.
She may have a killer body, a desirable work ethic and magnetic positivity, but Lisa’s super-relatable too. She’s an advocate for moderation over extreme – and even Lisa can’t resist sweet indulgences like freshly-baked vanilla cake with caramel or chocolate cake. Being lucky enough to live within walking distance of Parkhurst’s 4th Avenue coffee shops, you may even spot her there during the week, enjoying one of her favourite treats and talking business. In fact, Parkhurst has made this Durbanite feel right at home in Joburg over the past four years, and, contrary to many Joburgers’ experiences of our bustling city, most days Lisa doesn’t even get into her car as all she needs is on her doorstep.
As Lisa and her team push ahead, creating new content for readers and even more programmes for people to live their healthiest lives – something which many need post-lockdown – Lisa aims to expand her business to reach a global market and help even more people reach their goals.
‘Getting fit is about so much more than just losing weight. It’s also about feeling good in your skin, having the confidence to achieve your goals in other areas of your life – such as your career, as a parent, partner, etcetera, and just believing in yourself and your abilities. For many of my clients, getting fit also means overcoming a victim mentality – and I love seeing the inner strength of people come out.’