The Block winner and fashion model Elyse Knowles is a role model for generations of high-achieving women who want to do it all. We spoke to her recently to see how she manages her busy, high-octane life.
Check Elyse Knowles’ personal Instagram page at @elyseknowlzy and you quickly learn why she’s regarded as oneof Australia’s top models. She manages to make everything, from gym sweats to simple shorts and T-shirt to haute couture, look stunning every time.
You also learn that she travels a lot, as a presenter on the Nine travel show Postcards, and that she loves being active on weekends.
Flick across to the other Instagram page she shares with her carpenter boyfriend Josh at @joshandelyse and you’ll discover the main source of her fame in heartland Australia: her skills with home renovations. Elyse and Josh were the winning couple on Nine’s The Block last year, and continue to buy, renovate and sell.
Elyse is one busy super-achiever who also happens to look fit and toned in every social media post, no matter what she’s doing. In many of the shots you can spot some serious abs, strong arms and defined shoulders. She clearly trains, and seriously, too.
But there are no booty selfies or overtly sexualised fitness poses anywhere on her Instagram. Elyse is as fit, if not fitter than most Instagram queens, but she’s not posting perfect body selfies. What’s going on?
It’s simple, says Elyse, in her kind of easy-going, relatable girl-next-door manner that wins you over because you don’t expect it from a glamorous model and television presenter. For her, fitness is about mental strength as much as shaping her body for the catwalk. To talk about fitness to her 800K Instagram audience via booty shots would be to sell it short, she says.
“When I’m fit and healthy and toned, that’s when I’m mentally strong,” she says. “That’s when I’m prepared for the day and I know I’m going to have a positive attitude. It’s why I go to the gym: to protect the brain, to keep it in a positive frame.”
Fitness for Elyse has always been like this, even in high school. At lunch time, when teachers weren’t looking, she’d sneak out of school to a gym across the road to do 45-minute to one-hour workouts.
“I thought that was more valuable than sitting around a table eating crap food from a canteen,” she says.
“I just didn’t see the benefit in that. I saw the benefit in me going to the gym. I didn’t care if I was going to get in trouble from the teachers for going to the gym, I knew it was benefiting me.”
And of course, she keeps fit also because she loves the process. You can enjoy training, she says, with out having to post pictures of you training.
Even DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after a particularly hard workout delights her. “Two or three days after a session, I’m still feeling the burn in my muscles and you tense your bum or your legs and you’re walking around the house going ‘oh my god, I did a leg session two days ago and I’m still feeling it’.
“That gives you the motivation to go back the next day and work either on that sore lower half of your body, or you might do upper body or core. It just keeps me motivated to keep going.”
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
The other reason — perhaps the most important one — that you don’t see too many skimpy fitness posts on Elyse’s Instagram is that she believes it sends the wrong message to her young followers.
“I want them to see that I’m working hard for what I’ve got,” she explains. Her appearance on The Block won her a massive following, not just from young women but from mothers too, who loved her as a role model for their daughters. Elyse feels a responsibility to them. As a result, her social media focuses on showcasing her work, featuring her modelling shoots, events and travel segments for Nine and fit and healthy sponsor promotions.
There’s a big difference between Elyse’s modelling poses (such as on this page) and the kind of crazy hypersexualisation that’s happening in the fitness industry, and she worries that women feel pressured to emulate what’s on social media.
“If I can portray to those girls growing up that everyone’s different, that you don’t need to compare yourself to people on Instagram, I might motivate them to say, ‘let’s go to the gym because I want to feel empowered’, rather than because they want to look like someone else.”
You can see why her message resonates, and why Australia’s wellness brands love her. Her latest sponsor, Vital ALL-IN-ONE, must be delighted by the blanket coverage she’s got the company. In an appearance on Nine’s
Today show recently she had the hosts raving about the supplement. However, her love of this antioxidant and probiotic-packed product seems genuine, since it appears to be a perfect fit for her busy lifestyle.
When we asked Elyse for her strategy on staying motivated for training, her answer is surprisingly mundane and business-like, similar to that of many fitness pros who have demystified motivation.
“When I train, I always have in my head a big job that’s coming up. I will literally say that job in my head over and over when doing my workouts. If I gave up then I would feel like I’ve given up for the job,” she says.
Her other trick to ensure she attends her training sessions is to book any fitness classes before she goes to bed at night.
If you want to train like Elyse, check out the custom 7-step workout we developed exclusively for her, to help keep her lean and strong for her high-octane life!