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For most people, starting the day at 4.30am seems completely abhorrent. If it were me, I’d need to set about twelve alarms and pre-emptively rig up a light, brighter than my teachers thought my future would be, to turn on at that time even just to crack an eyelid.
But that’s the everyday experience for fitness queen and boxing guru Ellice Whichello, who rises at 4.30am and goes to bed by 8.30pm. It’s all part of her balanced lifestyle, and it’s how she has grown her empire to the place it is now.
Ellice is the co-founder, marketing lead and trainer for Hustle Boxing, a high-tempo boxing studio based out of Potts Point, as well as a qualified nutritionist and veritable Instagram queen with over 60K followers.
We caught up with Ellice to pick her brain and chat about how she’s gotten to where she is now — and how she stays on top.
On the beginning of her fitness journey
It might be hard to believe, but Ellice wasn’t always the boxing beast she is now. At the very beginning of her fitness journey, she experienced the same struggles and challenges that many of us face (though there was no word on whether she also experienced the extreme tomato-coloured sheen my face goes whenever I have to go faster than a walk).
“I couldn’t even make one kilometre without stopping,” she said. “But I started to get a little bit addicted to the feeling of feeling well.”
So running became her forte, and cardio became a part of her regular routine. Then one day she came to a spinning class and realised that the spinning instructor hadn’t shown up. Instead? The boxing instructor was there, and a seed was planted.
“I fell in love with the idea of hitting something,” she joked. Having grown up with older brothers, she was no stranger to embracing her more aggressive side — in a healthy, channelled way.
And so, boxing became a huge part of her life. Now it’s her livelihood, too.
On how she tracks her health and wellness
With so much going on each day, from teaching classes to taking meetings and keeping up with her own fitness routine, keeping track of things is of paramount importance for Ellice. So how does she do it?
“Having wearables that are easy to use makes a huge difference,” she said. “I love using the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 — it looks quite nice whether you’re in a dress or your gym gear, and that’s important for me when I’m in three different sets of gym gear a day.”
But it’s the specifics that make all the difference. Wearables nowadays have a lot of scope for what they can track, and when you’re someone who needs to maintain that measurement and tracking across all aspects of fitness, that scope is vital.
“I really like to look at heart rate,” said Ellice. “As well, for me, the sleep tracking and the stress tracking are important. Being able to measure those things, because it’s all about exerting the right amount at the right time.”
On how important goal setting is for people wanting to improve their overall health and fitness
Look, between you and I, goal setting was never my forte. Unless my goal was ‘sourcing snacks’ then it was hard to keep my focus on anything. But that’s not a problem for Ellice, who taught herself to focus on the right things.
She said, “If you’re not thinking about your goal, you’re putting your energy in the wrong place. When it comes to health and wellness, it’s something we tend to leave out when we get busy.”
And it’s true — we keep up with work and friends, and trying to sleep enough (let alone waking up at 4.30am), but we put off things like fitness. Ellice has a secret weapon for dealing with that, too.
“Working in a time-efficient manner is key,” she said. “Prioritising my time is crucial. I deal with something right then and there instead of putting it off until later, so having tech that allows me to tap into phone calls, messages, even Instagram posts then and there before moving on, is super important.”
Everything is kept in her Galaxy Note10 — appointments, measurements and tracked fitness automatically transferred from her watch. As a self-confessed planner, it’s integral to the continued balance of her hectic lifestyle.
On how she motivates herself and others to exercise regularly
If there’s one thing that people lack, and that Ellice has in spades, it’s motivation. While other people struggle to get themselves off the couch on their days off, Ellice is constantly striving for more, with the help of her two accountability partners.
“Having a fitness buddy is not something to be overlooked,” she said. “I have two buddies. One would be Dan and the other would be my Samsung watch, so there’s double the accountability for my fitness goals —we set weekly challenges like step counts, I can see what he’s doing, he can see what I’m doing.”
And it’s not because she wants to be better than other people, though she admits to being fiercely competitive.
“I’m super competitive with myself, not with other people,” she said. “I hate to think that I’m not getting better at a skill, that I’m not improving.”
It comes down to ensuring that other people have that mentality of striving for better. Striving not only to improve on your yesterday, but to keep improving the day after that too, and remembering that you don’t have to compete with anyone other than yourself.
So if that means getting up a little earlier each day, measuring your heart rate on a Galaxy Watch Active2, finding a fitness buddy or setting definitive goals to make sure you’re hitting your targets (boxing or otherwise), give it a crack.
Rest assured, nobody’s asking you to get up at 4.30am — yet.
Instagram / @ellicewhichello