Interview - Alexa Towersey (Action Alexa)

Interview: Alexa Towersey (Action Alexa). Coach, 98 Gym - March 2021


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When, how and why did you become Action Alexa? ... was there a tipping point or a moment of clarity, where you knew this was your calling?

I was bullied at school for being too skinny – my nickname was Alexa Anorexia– so my fitness journey began at 15 when I started going to the gym on a mission for muscles. But it wasn’t until I was 17, and I intervened in my Mum’s suicide attempt, that I truly began to understand the connection between physical strength, and the mental toughness that goes with it.

The gym was my sanctuary, my safe place, the first place I felt like I had any control over my life and this gift of empowerment that I found early on, is something I want to pay forward every single day.

Why is it so important to maintain health across the board, as in mentally, spiritually, diet and in all other holistic ways?

We live in a busy world. The number one excuse I hear from people in regards to anything health & fitness related, is that they don't have time. BUT if you don't have time to take care of yourself, do you have time to get sick? Do you have time to get injured? The next time that excuses rears it's ugly head, instead of saying "I don't have time", say "it's not a priority", and see how that feels for you.

Describe your typical workout day, and do you ever manage a "cheat day"?

The way my body responded to training in my 20’s is totally different to how it responds now. Back in those days I loved “yang” style high volume and high intensity. These days I’m much healthier, happier AND LEANER when I’m combining “yin” style training with stress management techniques (yoga, pilates, calisthenics, power walking, infra red saunas). In my 30’s I was diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritis in my left hip and over the space of 8 months, I went from being an athlete to someone who couldn’t even get out of bed unassisted or walk across a room without crutches. I was advised by 5 orthopaedic surgeons that I had no alternative but to get a full hip replacement or I wouldn’t walk again. On August 12th 2017 I went in for surgery, had an anaphylactic reaction to my antibiotics, and flatlined. I had to be resuscitated 4 times. I spent a week in ICU on a breathing tube. 3 months later, I got my new hip, but my injury changed the way I looked at my training. These days my training is focused more on recovery and stress management. I do structured strength training 2 x week, pilates 3-4 x week and I walk every day. Movement is my number 1 self care strategy.

I don't call them "cheat days" as it has a negative connotation. They're treat days. And rather than have a whole day, I have a treat every day. A packet of snakes a day keeps the doctor away lol.

Who have been some of your mentors, both in Australia and overseas?

I've been really fortunate to learn from some of the best in their fields - from training to mental health to business development. Training wise, my biggest influences have been Charles Poliquin, Keegan Smith and both the crew from Gym Jones and 98 Training. Mental Health wise, I got to open as a speaker in the US for Kevin Hines who is an incredible suicide prevention warrior and storyteller. As a human being, Trent Robinson is an absolute legend.

Your work as a sports model is impressive. Do you create all of your own shoots, and what media has your work attracted over the years?

To be honest, my nickname is #awkwardalexa, as I am actually really awkward when it comes to posing. All of my shoots have been action oriented. Just as with the type of clientele I attract, my training philosophies are consistent across the board, so I've worked with and been featured in a wide variety of magazines from Women's Health and Fitness through to Men's Health, Harpers Bazaar and Maxim Magazine. I'm currently the head trainer for Strong magazine Australia and the fitness guru for Maxim Australia and NZ.

How did the 98 Gym deal come about?

When I was in HK, I was competing in Half Ironman. I would travel to Gym Jones (an elite and invite only facility in Utah) every year for a month. I met Chris Feather, the founder of 98, at an advanced internship, and he offered me a job in Sydney. I packed up my stuff 3 months later and moved here - I've been with that crew for 9 years now.

Who have been your main supporters, advertisers and sponsors?

I've never actually done a paid post so I don't really have any advertisers or sponsors - my social media is more of an educational platform. It probably sounds really cliched, but I don't have any family so my biggest supporter has always been myself.

What gives you the edge?

I think for me, I've been challenged by so many huge and significant and traumatic events throughout the course of my life, that I'm now just resilient AF. I know that no matter what happens, whether it be training or work or mental health related, that I'll always find a way to be ok. And I don't think you can teach that stuff, it's all experiential.

What's a few of the biggest challenges you have ever faced, and how did you turn those challenges into an advantage for your career and your overall life?

Your adversity doesn't define you, it's the decisions you make in those moments of adversity that will define you. When I was bullied for being too skinny at school, I chose to go to the gym on a mission for muscles. When my Mum was diagnosed with manic depression and attempted suicide, I decided to become an ambassador for a mental health charity so I could share my story and help others. When my Dad died of alcoholism, I chose to stop drinking and I've now been sober for 13 years. When I died on the operating table, I woke up and chose the type of person I wanted to be and the type of energy I wanted to bring to the people and places around me.

How do you gauge your success and progress, be it bench press, squats, cardio, measurements, enjoyment factor etc? We see you smile and laugh alot which is awesome.

This is an interesting question for me. I think my definition of success would have been very different when I was younger. When I lived in HK, I wrote in a gratitude journal that I wanted to be on the cover of a magazine, and then I came to Australia and made 2 covers - Women's Health & Fitness and Strong Magazine. I thought I'd made it. NOW, the mere fact that I get up every day and get to do a job I love with people I love being around - you don't really get much more successful than that.

What's your motto?

My mantra, “When I feel physically strong, I think strong thoughts”, drives everything I do. For me as a PT, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone become empowered in their training and then watching how this translates into their attitude towards the rest of their life.

What's your star sign?


Other than gym and working out, what's your other favourite sports and hobbies?

I'm an adrenaline junkie, so I'm always trying to find something crazy to do - so far I've skydived twice, bungy jumped 5 times, gone river surfing and paragliding. Next on my list is Cage Diving with Sharks. But in my free time, you'll find me reading tween sci fi novels, watching horror movies, cuddling puppies and eating caramel koalas.

Do you see other career goals and plans after working out and gym business, or have your dedicated your whole life to what you do?

Absolutely. As much as I love being a strength coach, I'm not planning on being a full time trainer forever. I'd love to do more mental health presentations in schools, and I'm currently making the transition to the speakers circuit. In addition, one of my best mates Jenna Douros and I, will be releasing a high performance podcast with Podcast One.

Other than us here at the Media Man Group, have other people and organisations ever said they could picture you in the movies, be it Xena Warrior Princess, Wonder-Woman, Tomb Raider or Conan type roles?

I've had a couple of fans draw me as a comic book hero lol, but so far I've trained all the heroines for the movies so I'm the BTS superhero.

Do you network with the file and television sector, or do you remain totally hardcore to the gym and sometimes sports model sector?

I'm pretty lucky to have built up a diverse network of contacts throughout the modeling industry, the stunt world, TV and film, professional athletes and high performing individuals within the business and finance sector. I think that being consistent with my methodology and philosophies, I'm better able to adapt my training to any goal irrespective of the person with the goal.

Words of advice to ladies thinking of reaching highs in the professional sports sector?

Be so confident in who you are and what you want to achieve that no one's opinion or rejection can ever rock you.


Editor: Wow. What an incredible interview and lady. This is going to motivate ladies and men across Australia and around the world. Alexa continues to make wise life choices, and her strength, both physical and mental, continues to pay dividends for both herself, and those who she connects with. Talk about inspirational and overcoming the odds. The interview of the week, month and beyond!


Alexa Towersey (social media)