Ouch… my back hurts!

I hear this all too often. What starts off as a dull ache, then soon becomes an accepted part of our day-to-day lifestyles… until finally the pain becomes unbearable. This should never be the case!

Our backs are one of the most important components of the human body. So when I hear of clients who are struggling with back pain, I really want to stress the importance of looking after our bodies – hence today’s blog.

What are the main causes of lower back pain?

  • Daily lifestyles – picking up kids, moving heavy objects, physical labour (lifting, pushing, pulling, etc.)
  • Sedentary lifestyle – lack of movement to strengthen & nourish the spine, soft tissues and ligaments
  • Poor posture – slouching in a chair over-stretches the spinal ligaments
  • Stress – poor sleep, diet and little exercise causes muscle tightness
  • Poor training techniques – performing exercises incorrectly will affect your lower back

By the time we reach middle age (40yr+), our bone strength, muscle elasticity and muscle tone have started to decline. The discs in our spine become drier and less flexible, making them less able to cushion our vertebrae. Which makes it all the more important to take greater care of our backs and nourish their wellbeing.

How should we relieve our lower back pain?

  • Prevention – by avoiding placing undue pressure/weight on our backs
  • Regular exercise – to strengthen and nourish our spine, soft tissues and ligaments
  • Foam rolling – our thoracic spine, glutes, hamstrings (avoid lower back)
  • Pilates/yoga – to improve strength, flexibility and suppleness

I’ve included a few simple stretches and strength-building moves designed to support your back and help relieve pain. These exercises should be part of a regular program to help strengthen our backs. We’ve got one body and a whole lot of living to do — let’s look after ourselves.

Nurture, nourish, exercise and strengthen our bodies – it will love you for a very long time.

Debbie Solms
Run Coach | Personal Trainer

Lower Back Exercises and Stretches

Spinal twist Hip Flexor Knee to chest
Plank Cobra Back Exercises

November Challenge

Would you like to feel amazing this summer?

This summer is going to be hot and full of fun!  Come join us on our 30-day November Challenge and let us help you feel FANTASTIC this summer.

Who is this program for?

  • anyone who would like to get energised for summer
  • anyone wanting to lose some weight
  • anyone who is lacking in motivation
  • anyone looking for accountability
  • anyone who is intimidated by large training groups

How does it work?

Each week you will be presented with a program of activities which include fitness, nutrition and motivation. We will set you weekly challenges (which are manageable and achievable) and hold you accountable for achieving these challenges.

Our 30-day November Challenge is not about exercising every day and counting calories. It is about fun, fitness, friendship, support and accountability. We will start off with small, achievable challenges and progress each week. There will even be prizes at the end of it all!

What is included in the weekly program?

–  1 x group exercise class
–  1 x home workout
–  5 x breakfast and dinner meal plans
–  Healthy snack recipes
–  1 x wildcard challenge
– Supportive on-line community

What do you need to do?

  • Sign up to the 30-day November Challenge
  • Commit to the weekly challenges
  • Post updates on our private Facebook page

What will we do?

  • Provide you with weekly intentions
  • Provide you with exercise classes and plans
  • Provide you with healthy meal plans
  • Provide you with inspiration and motivation
  • Provide you with support to keep you accountable

What happens at the end?

Your peers will nominate those members who have delivered on the challenge and achieved their goals. There will also be a ‘Coach’s Choice’ for those who have inspired/motivated the group and worked really hard to succeed.

How much does it cost?

Only $45 (normal value $290) – jump on it now!

Current Beauty of Exercise members who have committed to a Summer training programs, will automatically be included.

When does it start/end?

Starts Mon 2 Nov and finishes Mon 30 Nov 2015

What prizes are up for grabs?

  • Hair & Beauty treatment
  • Magazine subscription
  • Health store voucher
  • Meal voucher
  • Much more…

Register on-line and we’ll get you feeling fantastic!

Kelly’s ‘Meaning of Life’ Marathon

A marathon is HUGE! So when Kelly Therkelsen set her sights on the Melbourne Marathon, she knew she was in for a big journey…


I joined Beauty of Exercise back in April 2015 (after seeing them in force at the Sun Run in Feb). The BEXI group had just started training for the Gold Coast Half-Marathon, which I soon committed to. Training for me was up and down – a combination of work pressures, bad eating and illness. My race was disappointing (2:06), but that was enough to spur me on! I knew I had it in me to do better, so I committed to training for a full marathon and decided to make drastic improvements to my self-discipline.

Family and friends rallied around me to support me with the kids, I ditched the processed foods and started making all my own healthy meals (thanks to the help of a thermo!)

Training went well and I followed my training plan religiously. Throughout the 12 week program, I only missed 1 x running session and 1 x strength training session.

The weeks progressed fast and soon it was race day! I woke up just before my alarm at 4.30am, followed my normal breakfast routine and was then picked up by a driver. (I was paranoid about missing the race or turning up stressed.)

The intensity of it all was overwhelming. I had a little moment of being sick and had a little cry. This helped ease the pressure and make me feel much better. By the time I got to the start line I felt unusually relaxed, I just kept telling myself that I just had to run at a 6:00min pace – easy!

At 16km I finally found my groove and noticed the groups had spread out and people started chatting amongst themselves. I was pretty happy. Around 32km I noticed a lot of people slowing down and walking – that made me feel even stronger. I thought maybe the wall had eluded me.

My plan was to pick up the pace at 40km and cruise into the MCG. But the race had other ideas! The last 2km really put me to the test. Every step hurt. I could not wait to finish and just lie down on the ground.

When we rounded into the MCG, I tried to kick in and sprint, but had nothing in the tank! I heard my brother-in-law cheering for me with 100m to go – somehow (not sure how?!), I managed to pick up the pace and sprint to the finish with a pace of 4.07. I crossed the finished line, Inger grabbed me and I held onto her for dear life. I was so happy to see her!

I am really happy with what I achieved on the day. I could not have given any more or done any more preparation for it. I can honestly say that throughout the hardest moments I kept true to my mantra of ‘if you’re not going to die, you have enough to keep running, just keep moving forward’. I gave every ounce of myself to sprint across the finish line. I finished knowing utter and complete physical exhaustion and I loved it!

I am now itching to get back to improve my time. My new life mantra (which I picked up from all my book reading) is: ‘What can I do today to improve on yesterday?’, and to take every opportunity you can to achieve your goals because you never know if you’ll get another.

After speaking to my husband and Debbie about my experience, I have likened this whole process to going through labour and giving birth. I love feeling the extremes in life, it really makes you feel alive. Although it pains me to say this, but I would put my marathon experience on par with the mental stamina you need to get through labour and the pure joy you have when you cross the line. My husband said to me on Monday night when I got home ‘it’s like you have had an awakening and discovered the meaning of life’. I know it sounds cheesy, but in a way I feel like I have.

Click here to read Kelly’s full story of her marathon journey.

Kelly Therkelsen
4.18 Marathoner

Melbourne Marathon







Huge congratulations to Kelly on an absolutely awesome marathon. It was close to text book perfect! You’re an inspiration to all of us.

Debbie Solms
Run Coach

5 BEXI tips to be the best version of yourself

What an awesome weekend!  Sunny skies, warmer temps and Australia beats England in the world rugby club. Happy days!

We love this time of year – we’re happier, energised, motivated and inspired to get things done. Tick those boxes. Set new goals. Achieve new challenges.

I recently ticked a goal off my bucket list – the Sunny Coast 70.3 Half-Ironman. An awesome event and achievement. It was tough, it was hard – but the reason for sharing this is that there were some pretty important lessons I learnt along the way. I’ve summarized them below:

  • Use the energy that the universe offers you (summer is great!)
  • Set a goal that truly inspires you
  • Engage a coach/trainer who inspires you
  • Make yourself accountable to your coach/trainer
  • Surround yourself with a community of like-minded friends
If you’re looking to get active, change your body, learn to run or train for a specific event – then check out our summer timetable.

SPECIAL OFFER: Register for any of our training programs and you’ll receive our amazing Summer Gift Package (valued $150).  Our new 10-week term starts this Tues, 06 Oct. Seize the day. Commit today!

Debbie Solms
Run Coach | Personal Trainer
Beauty of Exercise

This Girl is not for Quitting!

Felicity Douglas is one very gutsy and determine lady! A mother of 4 x very active teens, a wife, a business owner, an  inspirational BEXI (Beauty of Exercise) runner… and also someone who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Her world was rocked 10yrs ago when she was diagnosed, but with the support of her family, friends and a fiercely ‘I-will-succeed’ attitude – Felicity has gone on to accomplish a huge number achievements in her life.

Below is Felicity’s recent account of her awesome PB at the SMH Half-Marathon:

Early Sunday morning I lined up for the SMH Half Marathon. The race had been a long time coming! I had commenced training with the Canberra Race-Fit crew in January but had not traveled to Canberra.

Training had been a mixed bag, full commitment is hard with 4 kids and work, but you need to accept that you can only do what you can. I love the Race-Fit training and was very inspired by the other BEXI Runners. I lined up in the Blue (fast) start – this was ambitious, but starting in the slower group the previous year proved frustratingly slow.

After a fast start… I was feeling fantastic and confident of a great time until I hit about the 12-14km mark. The quick start and the hills then caught up with me. I was hitting the wall – and literally had to repeat my mantra “one foot after another”. I didn’t give up… much as I wanted to. Other runners were very encouraging.

About 2km to the finish I was almost at a crawl. I stopped to ‘reset’ – stretching my arms in the air. A fellow runner called out “go on you can do it”… I took off to finish my race on my terms. Stumbling across the line into the arms of 2 first-aiders… but not before stopping my watch at the credible 1:52 time (7:30min PB!). The poor fellows were dumbstruck that I was more interested in my PB than being able to stand up!

I want to remind you all that so much of your race is in your head. I was aiming for a pleasant sub-2hr half-marathon but went all-out when I felt great on the day. Thank you Debbie and my fellow BEXI Runners for all the support and training. Love the BEXI support network!

Now bring on Gold Coast Half-Marathon! They tell me it’s flat and I now have a sub 1:45 to chase.

Felicity Douglas
1:52 Half-Marathoner
Inspirational BEXI Runner

SMH Half-Marathon

SMH Half-Marathon


My first Half-Marathon

From nursing a broken fibula in 2014, to standing on the start-line for her first ever half-marathon on Sun 12 April. Amanda Green, our most humble and modest Beauty of Exercise (BEXI) runner, took to the start line of the half-marathon at the recent Australian Running Festival in Canberra. Forever shying away from races, Amanda was encouraged by her BEXI buddies to join them for the Canberra Half-Marathon. From the very start, Amanda committed 100% to her training program and soon started to shine as a star-runner. We proudly followed her every progress and could not wait to cheer her on come race day.

Below is Amanda’s account of her journey to the start-line of her first half-marathon:

As I awaited the sound of the horn to start this year’s Australian Running Festival, I could not help but wonder…. how did I end up here? This was my first ever half marathon, something I had never even considered doing this time last year, so how was it that I was standing at the start line and I actually felt good? The answer came easily, pure and simple, the support.

I recall the first training session Debbie organised for us. As always, she had brought together a lovely group of kind, funny, caring, supportive, interesting and entertaining people with whom it was a pleasure to spend time with.  From the moment I rocked up I felt welcome and at ease and knew the 12 week preparation would be comprehensive, professional and nurturing. Needless to say, as the weeks passed I was not disappointed with the level of commitment and support from the BEXI community.

Surprisingly, as the distances for the training increased so did the smiles, although they were more grimaces when it came to the interval training. Yes, how could we forget the gruelling interval sessions which challenged us each week yet somehow we all managed to dig deep and surpass what we thought were unachievable times. Despite having different goals the camaraderie grew stronger to the point we had to tone down our enthusiasm and vocal support for one another to avoid noise complaints.

Of course, injury did not escape us but was handled sensibly. Massage became a common word and the online discussions about nutrition, injury prevention and running accessories were both helpful and entertaining. Those in the group with previous experience in half marathons and marathons graciously gave their time to share their experiences, encourage others and manage anxiety.

So, by the time I found myself in Canberra enjoying dinner together as all of our families got to know one another more, I think we were all feeling good. Our families clapped and cheered as much as we did as Debbie showed the beautiful clip that she and Liza had so thoughtfully organised. The footage reinforced the important role our running buddies play, especially on the tougher days when we are challenged with injury, extreme weather conditions, illness, exhaustion and the myriad of daily life experiences that running lets us process.

So, as I awaited the start along with my BEXI buddies, I felt so grateful to be exactly where I was and thought of my BEXI buddies who were not able to race that day, but were with us in spirit and spurring us on from near and afar. Oh and who at that moment popped up in the crowded sideline, none other than the incredibly talented, supportive and stoical Liza. The woman is the epitome of BEXI!!!  I smile, wave and breathe as Debbie joins Liza to cheer us on and I think of all the BEXI community lining the streets today to cheer us Canberra BEXIs on, our families and of the marathoners already running. With a hoot of the horn the crowd surged forward and I smiled as I knew I could and I would.

Amanda Green
1:44 Half-Marathoner
(25th in age-group – top 8%)


Junior BEXI shines at Canberra

It was indeed a family-affair at the recent Australian Running Festival on 11/12 April. Dad Shawn running the marathon; twin-sister Kristine running the half-marathon; and mum Suzanne & son Austin (6yrs) running the 5km. An awesome event to do as a family. Young Austin had the time of his life – proving that you’re never to young to follow in your parents’ footsteps. We’re so proud of our Junior BEXI superstar.

Here’s how Mum Suzanne captured the moment…

Austin chose to run the 5km to participate in Canberra alongside his dad … and also to get a well earned running medal!

Austin and I trained for a couple of months leading up to the event, gradually increasing our distance.  He complained a bit, but he didn’t give up…and he got better and better each run.

With race day upon us, our goal was to run as much of the race as possible and to keep positive.  My target was to cross the finish line under 45 mins. Austin was very excited and took off from the start.  He ran a very consistent first km in 6.45 – not a bad pace.

We walked up the hill to Parliament House and then sprinted down the hill, approaching the last km of the race.  A few tears came at this point, but with the promise of a Rainbow Paddle Pop at the finish line, Austin found his second wind and ran home strongly.  He sprinted the final straight to the finish line and was thrilled to collect his medal!

Shawn and I are both so proud of Austin.  Our Junior BEXI is already chasing that elusive PB – next stop is the 4km Mothers Day Classic in May.

Suzanne Elliott
Mum to Junior BEXI | BEXI Half-Marathoner, April 2015

Camaraderie at the Fore

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Camaraderie as ‘the mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together’.

That is exactly what our community at Beauty of Exercise (BEXI) is all about. We support each other through the lo’s, celebrate the hi’s… or just have a good laugh with each other.  

A perfect example was at our interval training session earlier in the week. We had three groups training together – 1) Run-FIT; 2) Race-FIT half-marathoners; and  3) Race-FIT marathoners. It was a very tough session – 2km | 1.5km | 1km | 800m – all at fast tempo paces. The final 800m rep was intended for the marathon group only.  The other two groups were gloating that they had finished and didn’t have to do another rep… until they noticed their ‘buddies’ getting ready for the last rep. Not wanting to leave them unsupported, they jumped up and rallied around them for their final 800m rep.

This truly highlighted what an awesome Beauty of Exercise community we have fostered over the past 3yrs. One which is filled with a great sense of camaraderie, team support, motivation and inspiration. Our BEXI community are always there for each other – if someone needs a buddy to run with, we are there to support them. If someone is having a bad day, we are there to lift them up. If someone  is lacking motivation, we are there to inspire them. The true spirit of our BEXI community. That’s what makes us so special. That’s what we love so much!

Debbie Solms

Debbie Solms is an accredited Personal Trainer, Run Coach and founder of Beauty of Exercise – an inspiring women’s running group on Sydney’s Northern Beaches


The Road to Coastrek – friends, fitness and coffee!

In just two weeks, at 7am on Friday the 6th of March 2015, a small group of our Beauty of Exercise (BEXI) community will begin the final phase of an incredible Coastrek adventure that started almost exactly six months ago.

In September 2014, the call was put out among the BEXI community for any brave souls who would be interested in walking 55 kilometres from Palm Beach to Balmoral – to raise awareness about our gorgeous coastline and raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation. The BEXI-Trekkers was born.

With great excitement Lucia Hains, Liza Dukino, Lisa Bale and I (Kristin Prescott) signed up. We knew eachother, but with every kilometre of training it wasn’t only our fitness that grew, so did our friendship. The BEXI community rallied behind us, supporting us during walks and fundraising – but then came a crushing blow. An injury ended Liza’s walking journey. Gutted as she was, she embodied the BEXI spirit – shifting into the role of super support crew and we welcomed the lovely Kym Gray into the team.

Now with just one big training walk to go, The BEXI-Trekkers are nearing the end of this challenging but rewarding journey. But none of us will ever lose the bond that’s been forged along beaches, over headlands, boardwalks, ocean trails and through plenty of laughter … and coffee!