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How this woman went from broken to thriving

EMMA Miller was tired. Really tired. But she had to keep going. Her fatigue was so extreme it was making her sick, but she had to keep going. The founder and owner of EmPowerFX training had just signed 70 clients for the 2017 IRONMAN Cairns race. She had four staff working for her. They all needed her. Or so she thought.

Emma Miller’s fatigue was so extreme it was making her sick, but she had to keep going. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Emma Miller’s fatigue was so extreme it was making her sick, but she had to keep going. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Emma was fit, but she wasn't healthy.

"My business was big, I was speaking at events - I just had so many things happening. I was still trying to train, as well as keep the business together and train everybody else. I wasn't paying attention to the signs that I wasn't well. I thought that it was all in my head. I always had a mentality to make it happen - keep pushing, don't give up. That was my train of thought, just get it done."

Former owner of EmPowerFX, triathlon coach Emma Miller is now taking yoga classes at Trinity Beach Yoga. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Former owner of EmPowerFX, triathlon coach Emma Miller is now taking yoga classes at Trinity Beach Yoga. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

So Emma kept on pushing her body. By the start of 2017, Emma's lifestyle had become too much for her body to handle.

"I had been getting up at 2am to do a bike ride on the trainer and I had finished work at midnight. It was ridiculous. I was getting two to four hours' sleep. I don't know how I was doing that while I was sick, but that's what I was doing. It was stupid.

"I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. I was really run down. After about three months of putting up with it, I went to the doctor. She did all these tests and it came back that I had glandular fever. Apparently, I had been training and competing with glandular fever."

Through the tests the doctor had ordered, it was revealed that Emma had suffered from ongoing stress for two years, resulting in glandular fever, chronic fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue. Her doctor ordered Emma to take six months off her training and coaching immediately.

Finding balance. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Finding balance. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"At that stage I had 30 athletes; signed up to do the IRONMAN, ready to go and we had just started the new season. These people had committed to me. I felt like I couldn't just walk out and leave them."

Emma tried her best to work out a plan.

"I started cutting back on work, thinking things would be OK. But I didn't get any better. I just got worse," she says.

"It was devastating. I had spent nearly 20 years building up this business, it was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to help people to chase their goals, to believe in themselves - all of a sudden I felt like I was letting them down. I felt I had lost my strength to support people.

"It was devastating to me, because I thought that's what my purpose was.

"I was completely broken".

Emma didn't want to see anybody.

She became totally withdrawn.

"When you are that sick, it's pretty depressing," she says.

"She (the doctor) could see that my stress was so high that I was at high risk for breast cancer - I didn't even realise that you could see that in a blood sample.

"Stress can cause these issues in your body. We think that exercising and eating healthy and staying strong mentally is health. But to rest is health, recovery is health, listening to your body is health. All those signs of what you should do for your body - that's more important than go, go, go.

Extreme fatigue overwhelmed Emma. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Extreme fatigue overwhelmed Emma. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"The hardest thing for me was that I didn't want to catch up with people, because I was so used to being the one that could brighten people up. I was so used to being the one that could help people. I didn't want to catch up with people because I was the one that needed help, and I had never been in that situation before.

"I turned to yoga for the entire 18 months of being sick to try and clear my head. I went through a lot of meditation, a lot of gentle movement, a lot of journaling. That was helping me clear my mind. I started to realise there are a lot of people in that situation, that go through what I went through."

Looking back on her illness, Emma is now grateful for the lessons she has learnt - and the lessons she can now help others learn.

"If you don't look after yourself first, you are not going to be able to help anybody. That was my biggest lesson. I need to make sure that I'm in the best health - the best physical health, the best mental health - so that I can help other people.

"It's also put me in a position now where I can really understand when people let their health fall and they put everybody else first.

"When I was walking away from my business, I had in my mind that I would be coming back to what I was doing. I was also devastated that I had to walk away from something that I worked so hard to build. I was working day in, day out for years to build it up and I thought if I stepped away it would completely fall apart, and everything that I ever worked for would fall to pieces.

"Now I am so grateful for the lessons, so grateful for what's happened, because now I'm shifting into a position where I'm creating more space for myself. I'm creating more space to learn and I'm creating more ease. In turn, I can share that with other people - that they can have time and space for themselves. It's really important to nurture your body, not punish your body.

"Through love and acceptance for yourself healing happens at a cellular level.

"Everything you practise on the mat, the stillness, mindfulness, movement and awareness, you can take that off the mat and into your life."

Emma created Trinity Beach Yoga, and is now holding classes three times a week, along with special full moon and new moon classes. She focuses on self care yoga, meditation and journaling. She says she feels calmer, more relaxed.

"Wonderful opportunities occur when you create space for miracles to happen," she says.

"I thought: What are the three most important things to me? I want to live by the beach, I want to teach people yoga and self-care, and I want to have a family. I keep bringing myself back to those three key things."

Trinity Beach Yoga classes are at 9.15am Tuesdays and Thursdays at The Beach Shack, Kewarra Beach, and 6.15am Friday at Vue Apartments, Trinity Beach, with signature classes on the full moon and new moon at Vue Apartments.

 

Cairns' 15 Fittest series. Emma Miller.
Cairns' 15 Fittest series. Emma Miller.


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