Dani Elsum

  • Aubin Grove
  • Banking and Finance (but being a mum is a priority at the moment)
  • 40's
  • November 2011
Dani pic

My Goals

When I started at Round 1 in 2011, I had barely exercised apart from the occasional walk in about 5 years. We have 2 gorgeous boys only 19 months apart, and I pretty much got caught up in taking care of them and neglecting myself. The trigger for me was seeing a photo of myself with the boys at the zoo. I’d fooled myself into thinking I was still doing ok; for some reason, something in that photo made me realise I was only kidding myself. I want to be around to see my kids grow; I want to be able to kick the footy and run around with them without sounding like I’m having an asthma attack. I want them to see that being healthy and strong and fit is a great choice; to model that food can be delicious and good for you too. More specifically I’d love to be able to deadlift 120kgs, do 10 GOOD chin-ups (instead of having to use my legs like I’m riding a bike just to do one), and not die when trying to hit targets on the bike.  Lets see what the year brings.


At the moment I mostly come to 9.15, after the kids are at school and before my day overtakes me.  I like to exercise in the mornings, it makes me feel great all day, and I tend to make better food choices if I’ve exercised – don’t want to undo all the good work with the wrong food!   I have been known to come to 6am when I’m working or the kids are on school holidays. I really love the early mornings – but I love my bed too ;) I try and do 3 classes and 3 weights sessions a week, with a few walks (my dog loves me again!) scattered in there when time permits.

First Class

I came with a few friends, we’d all got Scoopons and figured (stupidly as it turns out) how bad could it be?  I used to be reasonably fit when I was younger and had been doing a little running and some body weight based exercises at home and thought I’d be fine. HA! Thank goodness I did a beginners class first, that was bad enough. Some grumpy shouty bloke called Mike was running it and he was bloody tough! I seriously thought I was going to pass out, and I only actually did about half the class. And the next day I wanted a wheelchair.

Most memorable class

There was this one-minute rounds class where I was partnered with Amanda Dixon. She’d broken her toe and could only do a lot of stuff with one leg. We were meant to do burpees on the bell, but only when you changed to the next station. Of course we stuffed it up and got caught doing them on the middle bell – which Mike decided should continue for us for the rest of the class. I was nearly crippled by the end and just wanted to quit, but what kept me going was that Amanda did the whole lot ON ONE LEG. And never once looked like stopping.   The other one that sticks in my mind was the first time I did a “keep the sled moving” class. The punishment for two people running to the sled at the same time was that one had to push it with the other one on it. That was a hard, challenging, draining class, but having to co-ordinate and help each other built this incredible feeling of camaraderie. (I should add that I got it wrong on the very first sled push and ended up being a passenger – oops...)

Favourite exercise

Right now I’m in love with the weights we are doing for the 6 month life plan. The feeling of being able to lift something that weighs more than I do?  Its empowering beyond belief.  And I have a bad back and shoulder, and being stronger helps so much with keeping things from deteriorating. And sledgehammers. Whats not to love about bashing the crap out of something with a big heavy hammer? Better than any therapist I reckon.

Most hated exercise

All the bodyweight stuff. You would think being smaller they’d be easier, but no. Burpees, inch worms, multijumps – ugh.  Funnily enough tuck jumps are ok (no Mike that is NOT a suggestion to give me more of them.....) Oh – and bikes. Hate hate hate bikes. Does anyone actually NOT hate them?

Advice to share

Find something you enjoy (mostly) and make it a part of day-to-day life. And then just keep doing it.  I schedule my classes and weights sessions into my days like appointments, so there is always a plan.  Life means it doesn’t always GO to plan, but if I waited until I “felt like it” I pretty much guarantee I’d go maybe once a fortnight. Once I start I always love it. Well almost always. Unless there’s too many burpees ;)   My other advice would be to give it time.  It took a fair while for me to get to the state I was in when I started cleaning myself up; but for some reason I thought I could undo all that in a few months.  After some backsliding and stopping and starting I think I’m finally getting there. Its so hard to persevere when it seems like everything is happening so slowly, but when I think back 3 years ago I realise how much better I feel these days.