Burleigh girl Eliza Landgren has had a unique approach to business, distilling the essence of her huge global Instagram following for Elle Fit into a neighbourhood studio.
After struggling with scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine which causes chronic back pain and a constant feeling of being unwell – Eliza began doing basic daily stretches in her bedroom. To check her alignment, she would film and photograph herself on her phone and began sharing the photographs on her Instagram account. After gaining a steady following, she created @elle_fit – an Instagram account dedicated to her stretches, progress, lifestyle and fitness. Her next move was to establish Elle Fit Active, where her unique approach to holistic well-being and fitness is explained in a series of posters and e-books: Get Bendy, Get Split and Get Inverted.
“From the beginning, my mission with Elle Fit Active was to provide and share tools that can help others take charge of their lives,” Eliza says. “When people approach me to share their positive stories about coming off pain medication, managing their scoliosis, finding some light after being clouded by depression or the excitement of nailing their first headstand, it’s pretty cool and I am constantly inspired.”
Now with 197K followers, Eliza is focusing on the next step of her journey: Get Bendy Studios. “I have been online for three years and it’s been an amazing way to connect with people, but I guess I have been craving more human interaction and the ability to bring people together locally,” Eliza says. Located at Burleigh Heads, Get Bendy Studios uses the philosophy “Stretch Your Body, Stretch Your Mind”, and is designed as a sanctuary to help people negotiate their physical pain, and even anxiety, stress and depression.
Being so intrinsically linked to her brand, Eliza has managed to strike a happy medium of sharing her business online, while still being true to her experiences and growth. “We are all human, and although we live different lives, we all experience the same spectrum of emotions,” she says. “So when I am open about what I am going through, there are always others going through something similar in their own life.”
Read on to check out our full conversation with Elle!
How do you like to start the day?
Sunrise at Burleigh Hill, hands down. It’s magical every single morning. A little cosy winter sleep-in doesn’t go astray though. I like to kick off my days with exercise, too. It’s ridiculously easy to be active down here as there’s so many options: Ocean swims, surfing, skating, beach walks and plenty of epic lookouts to run up to.
Where do you go for R&R and to feel grounded?
I moved to Burleigh Heads at the beginning of this year, and it’s the first place I’ve lived where I don’t have postcode envy. The novelty of living here will never wear off, and I feel so calm and grounded. It’s a special spot on the Gold Coast and being close to the ocean is good for the soul! A swim, surf or walk around Burleigh Point is guaranteed to rejuvenate every cell in my body.
How would you describe the life-on-the-road experience you recently shared with your best friends?
First of all, I don’t know how it’s taken this long to embrace #vanlife. My best friend Emma and I recently became proud parents of a beautiful olive kombi named Ollie, and I’d say it’s almost the best decision either of us has ever made. We like to say a home isn’t four walls, it’s four wheels. Waking up in new seaside towns and exploring all of the hidden gems Australia has to offer is quite unbeatable – my desire to venture overseas now is quite minimal. We recently conquered the Great Ocean Road, and if the Gold Coast didn’t offer some of the best weather in Australia, I could happily call the Victorian Surf Coast home. Being on the road quickly makes you realise what’s important and it mirrors my minimal life. Falling asleep with the sound of waves crashing, a clear view of the Milky Way out the window and being woken up by first light is better than any five-star hotel.
What’s the best thing about being an auntie?
Hearing his laugh. I feel like children come into the picture when we need a reminder to stay present and laugh things off. Rex is a bundle of joy, and seeing the love he has for Dana melts my heart.
You are so intrinsically linked to your brand – do you ever find it suffocating to share your personal life online?
The best thing about Elle Fit Active is that I get to be 100 per cent myself. I get to share as much or as little as I like. I’m very transparent online but if/when I am going through a rough patch, rather than sharing my specific problems, I like to share the experience in such a way that everyone can relate to it. We are all human, and although we live different lives, we all experience the same spectrum of emotions. So, when I am open about what I am going through, there are always others going through something similar in their own life.
I went straight from school, to Law, to diving into Elle Fit Active (a rather full-on eight years), so when I moved to the Gold Coast in January, I took some time to really slow down, disconnect and figure out where I was heading. I told friends I was retiring and I think it was clear to Instagram that I was taking a bit of a hiatus. I read lots of books (lots of motivational author Wayne Dyer) and only made decisions based on whether they felt good. It was extremely refreshing, and the idea for Get Bendy Studios came from this quiet time, so I’m very glad I took the time to slow down.
Do you have a personal mantra?
My personal mantra for 2017 is “only do things that feel good”. Turns out I’m quite intuitive (something I’ve always blocked) so it’s refreshing to feel as though I have all the answers I need without constantly seeking outside validation.
We hear you’re opening a studio at Burleigh Heads – what are your plans for the space and what prompted you to take this big step?
I have been online for three years, and it’s been an amazing way to connect with people all around the world. But I guess I have been craving more human interaction and the ability to bring people together locally. I’m in love with Burleigh and would happily call this place home for a very long time, so I am excited to create some fun community vibes down here. The philosophy for both online and Get Bendy Studios is “Stretch Your Body, Stretch Your Mind”, so the plan is to offer fun classes centred around my Get Bendy, Get Split and Get Inverted programs but also delve into the Stretch Your Mind side of things. I am passionate about helping people deal with physical pain, but even more so the not-so-talked-about challenges like anxiety, stress and depression.
What is the most rewarding part about what you do?
From the beginning, my mission with Elle Fit Active is to provide and share tools that can help others take charge of their lives (physically, mentally, emotionally). So when I receive messages or have people approach me in person to share their positive stories about coming off pain medication, managing their scoliosis, reducing stress, finding some light after being clouded by depression or the excitement of nailing their first headstand – it’s pretty cool and I am constantly inspired.
What’s the next step for Elle Fit Active?
Get Bendy Studios! I’m not really one to plan, so I’m eager to see how it will unfold. I have a sneaky feeling it’s going to be better than anything I can foresee in my imagination.
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