Bek has a long-standing interest in human health and behaviour. As a young person she experienced and saw many examples of poor health and unproductive behaviours, and the suffering that followed. As a result, Bek became deeply motivated to create more positive patterns for herself, and inspire others to do the same.
Her first degree was a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide, majoring in the areas of psychology and physiology. She worked in research as a graduate before completing an Honours degree, and then a Graduate Entry Masters of Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia.
During this period Bek also joined a gym for the first time and fell in love with group classes. She became a fitness instructor in 2003, and after graduating as a physiotherapist in 2007 balanced her clinical work and gym instructing together for the next decade. Through working with thousands of clients in the health and fitness arenas, Bek came to see more and more clearly how our mental patterns influence our physical health outcomes. To explore this more deeply, she returned to study in 2016 and completed a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, with the intention to strengthen her clinical skills.
This new study pathway, coupled with a hand injury, ultimately led Bek away from physiotherapy and towards a new career in public speaking and group facilitation. She was the Lead Trainer for the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre in SAHMRI (the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) from 2017 to 2019, and remains one of their Master Trainers while pushing boundaries in the field of mental fitness.
As a Reebok sponsored athlete representing Les Mills Asia Pacific for eight years, Bek is uniquely positioned as somebody who understands the mental game of peak performance both from a formal learning and an experiential point of view (in other words, she's uniquely sporty and nerdy at the same time!). If your workplace, sporting team or group would benefit from a speaker who genuinely lives and breathes their passion, who can offer deep insights into physical and mental health concepts, and who does so with a genuine interest in the wellbeing of your people, Bek would be glad to hear from you.
I haven't always been active or healthy. Far from it. When I was young, I hated physical education at school. I was the kid who was always picked last for teams. People who attend my fitness classes now find it hard to believe that I used to fake illness to get out of every sports day!
The truth was that I felt safer as a bookworm, so I ended up being an inactive and overweight child. The shame and lack of control I felt about my body shape then led me to develop an eating disorder as an adolescent. This began a long and winding journey through depression and anxiety which lasted well after I began eating again.
It was at age seventeen that I first joined a gym. My first experiences of group fitness classes were revolutionary for me. They gave me the realisation that exercise could be fun, that it didn't have to be competitive, that I could feel a sense of connection with other people through movement. It was also the first time in years I felt the crippling fog of depression start to lift. So began my exercise addiction.
Exercise became the only thing that made me feel alive. The problem was that if I couldn't make it to the gym for my favourite classes, I would have an emotional crash. It had become an unhealthy dependence.
It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I began learning the psychological skills I needed to manage my depression without using exercise endorphins as a crutch. Since then I have been passionate about helping others not only to improve their physical health, but also learn the vital elements of mental and emotional fitness that are often neglected.
Smith & Wellness exists to bring balance into the fitness industry that wasn't there when I needed it the most. It's my sincere hope that I can share what I have learnt with as many people as possible, so that everyone and anyone who embarks on a fitness journey can be fully supported as a whole person - not just another body.
Hi, I'm Bek Smith.
I'm a fitness industry professional, a former physiotherapist, and a public speaker in the world of psychological wellbeing.