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Inspiring women all over the world

Saturday 18 June 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Features, Weekend


Inspiring women all over the world
Anjuli Mack shows off her toned body during a visit to the Gold Coast. SUPPLIED/22052724

New Zealander Anjuli Mack wants to inspire women on their weightloss and fitness journey.

The first thing you notice about Anjuli Mack is her irrepressibility. She talks a mile a minute bouncing from subject to subject, barely stopping for breath, during her 30-minute conversation at the Cook Islands News office.

Mack loves the Cook Islands. It’s her third time visiting the place, this time it’s for her wedding.

“I honestly think it’s the people that keep me coming back. Everyone is so friendly and open, they all remember your name, they treat you as someone, they’re so caring. But who wouldn’t want to be here, the beaches are amazing,” Mack says.

“I’m eating fresh fish here, I’m going paddle-boarding, I’m just loving life. It is better than you could ever imagine.”

Mack studied accounting and violin at Auckland University, but it was a bumpy journey into the world of fitness and weightloss.

“When I first lost weight, I shared my photos, it went viral. I had so many women reaching out to me. I realised there were a lot of women out there who were lost, and I wanted to do something about it,” Mack says.

She established Fit with Anjuli about three years ago, an online fitness coaching programme, reaching women all over the world.  

“It’s about feeling confident in your own skin, and I know that can be difficult, because I certainly wasn’t that confident when I started out my journey. It isn’t just what shows up on the scales.

Mack says when she started her journey, she had no idea what she was doing.

“I didn’t know what I should eat, how much I should work out. I thought I had to run all the time, and cut out all these foods that I love.

“For me, it was definitely understanding about moderation. You can eat foods you love – so I’m not going to eat my whole loaf of bread, but I can have my toast in the morning. It was about getting over the myths of the fitness industry.”

“For instance, yes running is good for cardiovascular fitness, but if you don’t like running, you’re not going to stick with it. What worked for me was weight training, because I could see it translate into simple things such as being able to pick up all the groceries by myself.”

Mack reckons she spent several years of her life “flipflopping” between various diets.

Anjuli Mack and her husband Ross Larsen pictured at Muri Beach Hotel before the wedding.

It was going to the gym, and meeting other women in the fitness industry that led to her becoming involved with World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (WBFF) contests. She’s competed in five so far.

“It’s about so much more than stepping out in a bikini. I just loved getting on stage, and I loved meeting all these people backstage. It’s been really inspiring.

“Ever since I was a kid, I was busking on the streets, or walking on stage to play the violin, so I had experience. The way I see it, the moment you step on stage it’s a celebration of what you’ve achieved. Anyone who competes in those things is incredible.”

From there, she built a social media brand, reaching more than 39,000 followers on Instagram, but she admits social media can have toxic effects if used the wrong way.

“There were a lot of people promoting quick-fixes, and products that I don’t think they really believed in. When I choose who to follow online, I ask if they’re actually doing something to help people, and whether they’re genuine,” Mack says.

“Teaching people is more inspirational for me than just appreciating someone for the way they look.”

Mack says she wished she had a coach starting out.

“It’s always easier to layer out your habits when you have someone alongside you. But you need to start small. Things like water, sleep, steps are really helpful at the start, and from there, I would really encourage weight training,” she says.

“But stop looking for a quick fix. Anyone who is telling you that you can get better in a few days or a few weeks is not selling you something genuine, and it’s not true.”

She says it’s important not to get too caught up in being “perfect” on social media.

“Comparison is the thief of all joy. Social media makes it super easy to compare yourself. But you’re comparing yourself to one perfect photo out of hundreds that they don’t put up. Honestly, if it’s starting to make you feel depressed, take some time out away from it,” Mack says.

“Social media is a really powerful tool but it can really set people back if they invest too much in it.”

She admits she’s a workaholic – getting up about 4.30am to start her workouts – and that Covid-19 interrupted her fitness habits. But she brushes it off. She has a goal of expanding her fitness coaching to reach even more women.

“My happiness comes from progress. Whether it’s being a better coach, a better wife, a better friend or family member. It’s okay to be happy where you are, and to still want more.”