ANNA LIPTAK – Smashing stereotypes and running marathons all over the world

Anna Liptak takes us on a journey of becoming fit and successful despite all the obstacles. Her incredible journey starts with 2 babies, the pursuit of passion, a humiliating stereotype, sexist remarks and a whole lotta drive to shove it to the doubters. Having built an incredibly successful health and fitness business, she has not only helped women and men achieves their goals, but also helped them to smash their doubts, fears and conquer one of the biggest fitness pursuits one could set out to achieve. Running a marathon.

With 2 successful businesses; His and Her Time Health and Fitness and Adventure Time Travel, Anna has taken on yet another challenge. Documenting the incredible stories of 5 women’s journey to training and running the New York marathon. I am Not A Runner is an ode to every person who has ever thought about running a marathon but has let their doubts get the better of them.

Jackie: Anna Liptak thank you so much for chatting with me today, for those who don’t know you and your incredible businesses, can you give us a bit of background on you?

Anna: Sure hi Jackie, well, my background originally is in business management and events management marketing and this is what I did prior to commencing in the fitness industry so before I moved into that I work for the company called Augment Communications and we’ve worked on events all around the country and prior to the birth of my second baby I worked on the Adelaide airport opening events and one of those was the prime minister’s dinner  which was John Howard’s dinner…

Jackie: Oh wow

Anna: That was about 9 days before I gave birth to my second child

Jackie: haha no pressure haha,

Anna: I thought I might upstage John Howard but ah it didn’t happen. And then I gave birth to my 2nd baby and after that my husband said to me why don’t you go on study something that you’re interested in, which was fitness, that was my passion, but I was quite, I was a little bit miffed at the time because I had done a lot of study before but then I thought about it. My first, my first child I actually breastfed for 3 years, and I couldn’t go out or anything.  He was very attached to me and then on the birth of my second baby I thought, you know what, this could be two nights out a week that I study something that I’m really interested in, I can leave the house, my husband’s encouraging me to do it and so I did it and it was the the turning point of my career. The first night that I went into this course, I was with, you know, young beautiful personal trainers, wannabe personal trainers, and I was carrying a lot of weight after my 2nd baby and they actually made an example of me as a breastfeeding woman and showed how I was carrying weight, which, it was an example but it was quite humiliating for me at that time. But what it did for me, it gave me a lot of motivation because I, it really drove me to want to be, get the best results in the fitness test in that class at the end of the course. But it also made me understand how hard it was for women after having babies and you know the pressure that society places on us about weight and how humiliating it was so when I would go to the the course two nights a week I would actually instead of having a break I’d jog around the block, you know,  ‘cause I wanted to get fit and use the time because people with babies and children understand it we have limited time. And on one of those jogs I actually got yelled at from a man who said “give it up jiggalong” and ah yeah it was really, it really took my breath away. Inside me, I know I’m a really fit and healthy person but if I didn’t I would never have gone back on that street again! So he also motivated me because I thought, right, I could actually use this course to actually then at the end of it, you know, work with women who are at home with babies and empower them through exercise because I know the strength and power of what exercise can do for your life fundamentally. So both of those incidents were really instrumental to me starting my own business which I wasn’t actually doing the course in the first place and so I came up with the name “Her Time” at first so, within about,  so I finish the course I got the highest in the fitness test. Tick. Tick. Sent out a little flyer, and within about two weeks I had 40 women signed up with me so I realize that there were lots of women around who really could relate to my story; that being “Her Time”, you know we only had very limited time, so everyone was out for the hour, we were there together. We’re a little community and it wasn’t like we concentrated on weight specifically it was about being healthy. About being a community, also our mental health, physical health, emotional health. From there in another 2 weeks later I had another 40 people signed up so within 4 weeks I think I had 80 people signed up so I said to my husband you know I’m gonna have to get some equipment here and pretend that I know what I’m doing! And that was 15 years ago and it’s been going ever since, and I’d  say 70% of the people that I’ve had started with are still with me today. So it’s been an incredible journey after about 3 to 4 years, a lot of the husbands got jealous ‘cause the women were getting so fit, so I then transfer it to “His and Her Time”, which has been fabulous because I actually thought men would be harder to train but they’re actually easier ‘cause they don’t talk as much as women .. and now I know why, why we’re actually called birds because it is a lot of chirping, which is wonderful, but it’s been a fantastic journey, am for me for the last 15 years and then in amongst that, uh, sorry  I’m just gonna keep talking!

Jackie: Keep going. I love it!

Anna: In amongst that, after about 5 years I realized that people needed purpose and motivation and really that’s what drove us towards goals so I started setting these very high benchmark goals, which were, you know off the chart for me too, which were like the Great Wall of China marathon and we started doing marathons all around the world and and it was one of the trailblazers actually, that I was on, with one of our clients and she said to me do you think I could run a marathon? I’m like, yeah of course you could run a marathon you know you can do anything! And then I realized the, the importance of believing in people and giving them belief and transferring that belief ‘cause if you can believe in someone then they can believe in themselves so then over the years I think, I’ve seen hundreds of people achieve dreams and goals and and assisted them with it, through, through marathons, half marathons, we’ve done plenty of events all around the world as relays. People walking. You know my mom’s 73 she did the New York marathon with me, so it’s not all just about, you know, these past people, it’s all about just empowering people and changing people’s lives through through exercise

Jackie: That’s sensational I mean if people, this is, this is gonna go on the podcast obviously but if people could see my face like during that whole time!  That’s such a sensational story and you’re so right that the whole belief system I mean, when someone else believes in you, that’s that’s incredibly powerful.

Let’s get into you a bit more.

What are your achievements in terms of marathons. What’s been the biggest memory? Or most,  yeah most exciting memory for you in terms of fitness achievements? It doesn’t have to be a marathon…

Anna: Ok well it would definitely, definitely, the pinnacle for me was, the Boston marathon because that’s one you actually have to qualify for so that was, that was a fantastic achievement for me and I knew it was a one off. At the time my client, running partner, bestfriend, Chantel said to me we’ve qualified, let’s do Boston. So um, it was really out of the picture for me ‘cause I really couldn’t afford it so I would sell my clothes at markets and things like that just to try and get to Boston that year. We managed to get there and we finished, but that was the year of the bombing. So that was in 2013 so that’s a pretty significant event in itself. So one side it was a huge achievement but on the other side it was quickly, ah, ravaged from that achievement to try and get home and get out of the city so, uh,  it would still sit there as, a fantastic achievement but it, it also finished with much sadness and confusion and everything else but in terms of an achievement for me athletically, that would have to be, sit up there um and in the same year I did New York marathon and I got my best time so um so they’re, they’re two of my pinnacle runs.

Jackie: And have you ever thought about going back to Boston?

Anna: Yes, after New York last year so right now as you said I, I run another company called “Adventure Time Travel” and we specialize in the New York marathon so I am very fortunate that I get to travel to New York every year. Let’s see what happens this year! Um but Um last year after the marathon I run it last year with my mum and we then went on to Boston  because I wanted to see Boston because there was so many sites that I didn’t get to see when I was there, so I did go back and it did, bring back a lot of memory but I was yeah, seeing the city, was yeah pretty, had very many mix emotions for me but the one thing that I will always hold dear is that all of those am people in Boston am were amazing that community in terms of their support for us.

Jackie: Yeah, my next question was actually what’s being the toughest experience? I don’t know if you’ve just answered that all in one but has there been an experience that has been tough in terms of am during a marathon or the lead up to a marathon?

Anna: Definitely ah the toughest was the Great Wall of China marathon

Jackie: Yeah

Anna: Yeah so that starts am in a little town and I can’t even remember the name of the town but you basically start and you’ve got the first incline as a mountain you’ve gotta climb the mountain. So you’re running up a mountain and then you get to the Great Wall and you’ve gotta run, I think it’s 5000 stairs back down into a square and then you run right through another 3 or 4 mountains. So in terms of um I guess the strength that it has on your body um, it was pretty strenuous and at one stage at the 21K mark.. I actually thought I was gonna go into a wheel, wheelchair ‘cause my quads actually felt like they will going to explode am and luckily someone else who was in our team came up behind me and she had some salt tablets and they did work for me so it was really hot the Great Wall of China marathon. It was like a 100% humidity plus 34 degrees. It was so hot so humid. No clean toilets, you know, it was everything was against you, um and so that was that was tough really tough and that took 5 and a half hours, usually it takes me 3 and a half hours, so in talking to other people it’s comparable to a 76K road road race. So that was definitely the hardest marathon I’ve ever, ever done absolutely without a doubt. But once again it was ah ah you know a huge achievement and I took 28 people, from from Adelaide with me, um, and that was just wonderful to be able to celebrate, with all of them as well and I think on that one, that was, you know for me, ah ah I think I was the first Australian that crossed the line so you know, that was pretty amazing too so..

Listen to the complete interview on the podcast.

Where to find Anna Liptak


Instagram : @HisandHerTimeHealthandFitness

Instagram: @adventuretimetravelau

Instagram: @iamnotarunnerau

Facebook: @itstimeforyou

Facebook: @adventuretimetravelau

Get in touch:  |  @jackietann_rmt

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