Elle’s World


With gyms set to re-open in NSW on the 13th June, Elle Effect sits down with personal trainer Esther Hesse who has previously trained Founder, Elle Ferguson for her collaboration and photoshoot with BILLABONG.  After working in the fashion industry for 10 years, Esther left to pursue a career in health after her own health issues forced her to reassess what she was passionate about in life.

For the last 6 years, Esther has been working as a personal trainer at a private studio in Bondi, as well as being a mum to her 15 month old daughter.

Over the years it has become very clear to Esther that she truly loves educating and empowering women to feel strong and confident in their own bodies so we are so excited to have her as part of Boss Babes.  Esther will be back training clients from Saturday 13th June in Bondi Junction and Icebergs Gym in Bondi.

What made you start a career in the fitness industry?

I had been working in the fashion industry in wholesale when at 27 I started experiencing horrific pain in my right hand. It is a pain I can't even properly explain to you but it was like my hand was being burned from the inside by dry ice. I suffered like this for 3 years taking a cocktail of Oxycontin, Endone, Lyrica & Antidepressants before being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It took another 2 years of being on heavy medication, not being allowed to work more than 10 hours per week and falling into a pretty deep hole of depression that I went to my doctor and told her I can’t keep taking all these medications, what can I do? She recommended coming off the anti-depressants and to try some exercise to help with my mental health. And that is what I did; I joined a gym and was lucky to meet a Personal trainer (PT) who was invested in helping me feel stronger physically and mentally. It didn’t take long to see the benefits of exercise and it helped me feel like I had control over part of my life, which at the time seemed like it was spirally out of control. For me it was medicine to manage my mental health, but most importantly it was alleviating my pain symptoms. They became less frequent and then less intense eventually, to a point where I could function at 95% of my full life capacity without medication or debilitating pain. The undeniable proof I had that exercise was medicine, and my PT’s commitment and kindness are what inspired me to want to do the same thing for other people. So at 31 I left my career in fashion and went to study to be a PT and have never looked back.

What are your top tips for staying motivated with fitness and in life?

Goals!!! I am a goal-oriented person, I try not to have too many long term goals with fitness or in life as things change so quickly and you need to be able to adjust, so I prefer to plan for a goal I can reach in a year. Then I fill the year with short term goals, things I can work towards over 3 - 6 months. Setting goals is a great way to keep yourself accountable.

Another great tip to stay motivated for fitness is to do activities you find fun, nothing is more motivating to keep yourself moving than being excited to do it.

How do you balance the demands of running a fitness business, with being a mother?

Ha, I am not sure I do! It is such a constant battle of your own ambition wanting to be a great mum. I am not sure balance really exists, it’s more a juggle, one that I can't do on my own. My partner is amazing, he really goes out of his way to make sure I feel like my career and finishing my degree is just as important as his so we work our schedules together, there is no way I could commit the hours to my business if it wasn’t for his help.

What advice would you give to any pregnant/ new mums out there about fitness?

If you're pregnant I would advise to keep moving, listen to your body and exercise as much as you can to your own capacity given you have been cleared of any complications by your doctor in your pregnancy. Even if you have never exercised in your life, the current guidelines from ACSM and ACOG advise that the benefits from starting exercise far out-weigh not being active at all. This doesn’t mean I suggest you go do CrossFit for the first time, but you can get out and walk, do some pilates, see a PT or join a prenatal class.

And if you are a new mum, I would say be patient. Your body has housed a human being for 40 weeks, given birth and now you are trying to keep your baby alive and happy with little sleep. The process of getting your body back is more about function than composition so go at your own pace not that of women you see on social media.  I have seen a few things of late on social media that worry me as they are blanket statements given out as advice. Remember every woman is different, every pregnancy and the postpartum journey is different. If you have questions or concerns, speak with your doctor, OB, Physio or qualified PT.

As a business owner and mother, what is your version of self-care?

For me self care is having some time to myself, I don't have a lot of time these days so i try to allocate 30-60 mins five days per week.  This usually involves being active like getting out for a run, training, playing tennis, getting to a class. Being able to have some time to myself means i feel like i can have a moment to reset, it's my meditation.

If you could have any five women sitting around a dinner table with you, who would they be and why?

Gosh my table would be such a mixed bag.

  1. Michelle Obama - I just watched her netflix doco and the women is a real inspiration not just because of her intelligence but her commitment to inspire change
  2. Kylie Jenner because she is 22 years old and a billionaire. I mean hats off to her.
  3. Beyoncé - she is the ultimate BOSS BABE

For the 4th and 5th seat I would ask some of my clients to join. I am very privileged to train some pretty amazing women who are leaders in their field, head of corporate companies, creatives, artists, entrepreneurs. They are so diverse, so strong and each come with amazing stories.

Elle Effect creates the feeling of summer all year round - what does summer mean for you?

I live for summer!!! Summer means being outdoors, the ocean and spending time with family and friends. It is a vibe, there is such a different atmosphere and energy in Sydney during summer. If I need to work on my tan, I apply the Elle Effect which I find helps to even out my skin tone.

What three things would we always find in your beauty bag? 

Hourglass bronzer - this is the best piece of makeup I have ever bought. I often just wear this without anything else on.

Hourglass Mascara

Rationale Immunologist Ultra Cream

What's the last song you listened to?

Versailles by Christian Löffler

Parting words of advice for being a #bossbabe in work and in life?

Be passionate, about your work and your life. Be adaptable, having plans and goals are great but life or business rarely runs in a linear path. And if you can’t adapt you will struggle to navigate through the curve balls that get thrown at you. And love, let it in, give it out, spread it everywhere.