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Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Helping people of all abilities to improve their quality of life

When Aleksandra Boltadzija started working in the disability sector, she was so impressed by its people that, 14 years later, she is still there. She also credits its people for inspiring her to start a business.

“Being a personal trainer and a nutrition coach is far from where I imagined I’d be in my career, but it is so rewarding,” Aleksandra said. “I grew up in Croatia, and when I was younger, I wanted to work for the United Nations. After we migrated to Australia, I studied English, community welfare and international social development, and then I got a job at Disability Services Australia.”

“I was amazed by the people with disabilities working there, and it opened my eyes to the challenges they face. They’d say to me, ‘I don’t like the gym because people look at me, and it’s hard to find someone to train with.’ When I tried helping them find a trainer, I realised how limited the options were,” Aleksandra explained. “I was already going to a gym, so I decided to complete my Cert III and IV in fitness.”

Aleksandra’s hobby evolved into a business, and in 2016, she established SESA Fitness. “Physical activity has such a huge potential to improve our physical wellbeing, mental health and self-esteem,” she said. “I love seeing the individual success of my clients.”

To offer her clients more, Aleksandra decided to upskill in nutrition. “I’d met Sophie Scott and her team at a fitness expo and learnt about their nutrition courses. A year later, I enrolled. I was still working full-time at Disability Services, but I was determined to devote more time to my business.”

“The nutrition course really interested me. I appreciated the amount of detail in every subject, and it was so well-presented that it stuck in my head. I have used the knowledge for my family and business,” Aleksandra enjoyed the course so much that she would like to do the nutrition degree one day. “As a degree-qualified nutritionist, I could also receive payment through the NDIS,” she said.

For now, Aleksandra creates individual meal plans and food diaries for her clients and helps them understand healthy choices through private shopping tours. “They like these tours. We walk the supermarket aisles together and talk about different food labels. My clients are often shocked at the amount of sugar in products. I have created handouts to remind them about what we talk about.”

While COVID-19 has slowed her progress, Aleksandra aims to work full-time in her business, helping more people of all abilities to improve their quality of life through fitness and nutrition.

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