The Strength of Lita Lewis

4 years ago by

Photos Kate Berry

Lita Lewis juggles a variety of roles, both professional and personal, with the common denominator being that she is a woman who can be counted on to show up, do “the work” and demonstrate a life lived with intention.

Raised in Sydney and now based in Los Angeles, she is the bonus mom to 4 young boys with her partner, professional stuntman Guy Fernandez. Under the moniker Follow the Lita, she has amassed a global following as a personal trainer, life coach and retreat leader. Her intuitive methodology pulls from her personal experience – both the highs and the lows – combining self-love, affirmations and intense training, always emphasizing mental, physical and emotional growth.

What are the main themes in your life right now?
The theme of my life is balance. Actually, it’s not just a theme. It’s a goal, as well as a struggle. Several years ago, balance was something completely different than what it is to me today.

Right now, I’m in some type of transition, both personally and professionally, and have yet to fully define it. I’m still trying to figure out where I am, and how best to navigate it.

You are a personal trainer, life coach, retreat leader, “bonus mom” and in a relationship with a professional stuntman (Guy Fernandez Jr.). How do you keep up?
Before my new role as bonus mom to 4 boys, balance was a juggling act between work, social life and self-care. Nowadays, it is as if somebody threw me 10 more balls to keep up in the air. I’m balancing a career, being a supportive partner, learning how to best parent our boys, finding time to prioritize quality time with my partner, and time for myself.

The “how” is a constant choice to show up and do my best. I’ve learned that I do not have to be perfect. I do, however, need to show up and give my best effort towards every moving part in front of me, each and every day. Do I have “off” days? Absolutely, but family and a thriving career mean too much to me to stay off for too long.

How do you stay “on”?
To be able to “keep up” and stay “on” in a successful and manageable way, I acknowledge that many things are out of my control. I’m learning to roll with the punches and adapt when needed. I think it’s this realization that allows me to relinquish the need to be 10 steps in front of everything, and instead go with the tide, not fight against it.

What about care taking. How do you balance your relationships with others with taking care of yourself?
I have a loving and supportive partner. He understands me because I am and always have been very vocal about how I feel and what I need. The relationships I have at home – with Guy and his children – are paramount to me. I’ve learned that it is absolutely necessary to dedicate quality time to the kids. This entails making myself available when the kids want to talk, helping them with homework and school projects, shooting hoops and playing catch, attending their sporting events, joining Guy at parent-teacher meetings and giving head rubs before bed, because it helps them fall asleep! I’m learning that I am also a source of information and guidance for the children, specifically for the eldest child who is a pre-teen. It brings me so much joy to know he feels comfortable coming to me for advice. Balance is time management. Making time so I am available to meet their needs and support their father.

And yes, because I prioritize Guy and the kids I sometimes lack the energy to care for myself the way I know I deserve. For me, self-care usually involves being physically active, I love to be outdoors moving my body, but after a full schedule, being active can also be the last thing on my mind. Lately, I enjoy the simple things like spending quiet time alone, whether at home or visiting my local park where I can find a big oak tree to lay beneath while reading a book.

In my house we have what’s called “Ms. Lita Time” and when Ms. Lita needs to meditate or needs to take herself out to lunch, nobody judges me for it. I can thank Guy for supporting this and making the boys understand that sometimes I need to just dip out alone.

How do you navigate fear and work with it, so that it works for you not against you?
I don’t know if I fully subscribe to fear. When I think of what fear is I can’t truly relate to its definition. I certainly get nervous at times, feel anxious, become doubtful. But to fear things, people, situations – it just does not put me in a state of fear. From a young age I’ve been raised to reject fear, taught that it only exists if you believe that it does. Perhaps as a result of that I have time and time again chosen not to acknowledge fear. More importantly, I have consciously not made decisions out of fear. I think it’s safe to say that I navigate fear by rejecting it, but should it creep up on me I know it’s something I cannot ignore, instead run directly to. After all, I know better than to hide from fear – it’ll haunt you until you face it.

Who or what supports you?
I keep a close-knit tribe of people in my life that I can lean and depend on. Outside of Guy, I have dear friends that show up – even when I haven’t asked them to! My closest girlfriends have stepped in to assist, help, advise and support when I’ve needed it most. And my mother – who lives abroad – is always just a Facetime click away. She has been my longest, most constant and reliable source of support and wisdom. I am so blessed to have her and her support of the life I’ve chosen.

How do you keep everything together … or do you?
I wouldn’t say I keep it together 100% of the time. Given the way my life moves it would feel seemingly impossible! However, I do my absolute best to keep my chin above the water. My intention with finding and maintaining a balance is all geared towards happiness, and not just for myself, but for everyone in my household. I know that I cannot expect the kids to be anything I am not. I want them to be great, so I must be great. I want them to be honest and vocal about their feelings, so I must do the same. I want them to be compassionate, so I must show them compassion and be soft in nature. In other words, I try to lead by example.

You talk a lot about “doing the work,” intention and accountability. What is the work?
“The work” is in reference to recognizing you could be doing better, taking full accountability for why you’re not doing better and actively pursuing whatever it takes to be better. I’m constantly telling folks that complain about their circumstances to stop blaming others for why you’re not this, or doing that. You cannot change what you do not own. Own up to your laziness, your procrastination, your lacking work ethic and shift your perspective.

How can women choose themselves first?
I’m a perfect example of a women trying to juggle many things and still striving to be on top! I’d like to encourage women to consciously choose themselves first, not from a narcissistic advantage or purely selfish reasons, but because as women, who do so much, we need not feel guilty for making ourselves a top priority. To me these are simple self-preservation skills, without them, we would have a breakdown of the foundation that supports our livelihood. Women must choose themselves first, because neglecting to do so will eventually result in the collapse of the world she holds up.

How can we love ourselves more?
Love yourself more by recognizing that your personal priorities need to remain just that, the priority.

How can we live life more intentionally?
Living more intentionally is living consciously. Being fully conscious of your decisions, behaviors, who you choose to surround yourself with, in which environments you place yourself in and with whom you cultivate relationships. If we were more mindful of all these decisions, we would see that our conscious choices builds healthier, happier and supportive relationships.

Tell me about your retreats. Who are they for and what keeps people enrolled? What’s your goal for people with them?
I’m exceptionally fond of leading my retreats. I host the My Freedom Retreat annually, and in previous years we’ve gone to Mexico, Indonesia, Jamaica and this year we adventure to Costa Rica. The MFR is for anyone of any gender, race and religion looking for a unique experience shared with like-minded individuals. MFR is a wellness experience that promotes movement of the body, expansion of the mind and openness of the heart. My goal in this adventure is to encourage all of my guests to develop new friendships, accept new challenges and rediscover their own superpowers. MFR is my love child, merging my passion for travel, fitness, meditation and forging new friendships into one 4-day-and-5-night experience that each guest will remember as the first step to a new beginning.

You have told me that no matter how difficult things get, it doesn’t stop you from pursuing the idea that you can “have it all.” What is the “all” for you right now?
Nothing should ever stop us from pursuing all that the heart desires. Personally, I can’t even imagine a life of choosing not to. I’m always trying to stretch myself to betterment, always finding new ways to get uncomfortable and endlessly trying to be a better version of myself on a daily basis. The “all” for me in this current day is finding a healthy balance between my work, family and time for self-care. It certainly has changed over the years because having a family has changed the way I move and how I prioritize. I am no longer a sole entity, I make decisions and choices based on being part of a unit. Because the pursuit of “having it all” has changed, so has my approach.

Do you ever lose faith? If so, what does that feel like? And what do you do when that happens?
I think it’s only natural to lose faith from time to time. Losing faith feels like defeat – it prevents us from seeing an obvious way out of an unhealthy situation. I’ve lost faith in myself, and in my ability to think and act clearly. I have questioned God and His intent for my life, and I have hated myself, mainly for feeling so weak. In the past I’ve allowed myself to hit rock bottom before being able to pull myself together. For me losing faith has been closely linked to depression. I had to learn that I either, pull myself together, or give away my talent, dreams and goals to depression. For me, the only way out is to muster up strength and courage.

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