High heels to hiking boots

High heels to hiking boots – why I ditched my desk job to become a personal trainer and climb mountains...

Have you ever thought of chucking in your desk job for a life in the great outdoors? Catherine Walker  did just that and has never looked back - except over an eye-widening mountain scape or spectacular ocean view. She shares her story of wellness on the road with Healthbird

I have always been ‘that girl’. You know, the one who always gets up at 5am to go to the gym before work, who does food prep on a Sunday to take lunch into work during the week, the one who always says no to staff morning teas and the one who absolutely loves helping people live a healthy way of life. I remember it like it was yesterday, that moment when the light switch went off and I realised that I can actually do what I love for a living! No more staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day, no more sneaking out for a cheeky workout on my lunchbreak and no more doing what doesn’t make my soul happy. It was actually a trainer from the gym I train at who told me I should consider making the change and as soon as he said it, I realised he was right! So almost immediately I found myself signed up for a Personal Trainer course and smashing through it as quickly as I could, absorbing every piece of information that I got. Yes it meant studying while working full time – but it was worth it. Was there ever a moment where I doubted myself and thought twice about a career move? Of course. But the reality is that you know you have made the right decision in life when you feel lighter, both emotionally and mentally, and I couldn’t wait to start!!

There is not one moment, not one second that goes by that I regret my move. Sometimes the lack of holiday pay, insecure income and ‘bad’ weeks can put you down but reality is, I literally have the best job in the world and I will take the bad with the good any day. 

I actually get to change people’s lives! For a living! It is the most incredible feeling when one of my clients smashes a PB (personal best) or does a pull up for the first time or they now fit into clothes they hadn’t worn in years, the list goes on. Not only do I get to witness people changing their lives every day in the gym but I also get to see them achieve lifelong dreams of climbing mountains, going on treks and transforming their bodies during our Bali Bootcamp. I started my business ‘Climb Every Mountain’ just over one year ago and since then I have trained and travelled with a team of amazing people to ‘the roof of Africa’ Mount Kilimanjaro. I am so proud that each member of my team made it to the top of Kilimanjaro and when we all standing there watching the sunrise over the African plains it really reminded me how lucky I am to have the best job in the world!



It is no secret that exercise is good for you not only physically but mentally. Your body naturally releases endorphins (the happy chemical) every time you exercise so you are only one workout away from being in a happy and positive mood. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.


So you sit down for 8 hours a day, think about what your muscles are doing. Are they being stretched out or are they cramping and tightening up in one position? More often than not people who have a desk job have extremely tight hip flexors, poor posture and a weak core.  Releasing your hip flexors, activating your glutes and stretching your legs are all movements you can do while at work.  


I firmly believe in goal setting, it is good for the mind to focus on something other than work! I train teams of people to climb mountains, trek through jungles and transform their bodies on my Bali Bootcamp retreat so I would definitely call myself a ‘pro’ in goal setting and smashing. Whether it is to climb to Base Camp on Mount Everest or to treat yourself to a Bali Bootcamp, that time away from your desk either preparing for the adventure or actually going on it, is important to function at full capacity while in work. If you give all your time and energy into work alone with no outside extracurricular activities you will start to resent your job and everyone at work who enjoys their live outside the office.


8 hours straight of doing anything is stressful on the brain so it is important that you take breaks to make sure you are working at your full capacity. Even if you are ‘that busy’ you cannot take a full hour for lunch, you should make it a priority to go for a walk (in the sunshine if possible) half way through your working day to recharge the batteries. You will be firing on all cylinders once you get back to your desk, ready to take on the second half of the day with gusto and a clear head. 


Studies have shown that every hour of sitting cuts off 22 minutes of our life! Sounds a bit extreme does it? Well unfortunately it’s true! Most Australians spend over 80% of their working day sedentary, is this a coincidence that nearly 80% of people also experience back pain? I think not. Not only does it give you back pain but it also makes you fat as your body stops burning fat when we are sitting down. Your body was not designed to sit still for 8 hours a day, so if you have a desk job get up and moving every hour.