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!


5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A BREAK FROM YOUR DESK JOB

1)      FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

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.

2)      RELEASE YOUR MUSCLES AND STRETCH YOUR BODY OUT

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.  

3)      YOU NEED TO SET GOALS THAT ARE OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE 

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.

4)      YOU WILL BE MORE PRODUCTIVE, CREATIVE AND THINK CLEARER

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. 

5)      SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING!

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.

Healthy life of a New York supermodel

I first met Kiwi supermodel Teresa Moore a few months ago in New York City where she is based and lives with her fiancé. 

Despite the good genes, Teresa is a Paleo eating, green juicing, exercise advocate whose rise to the top is thanks to taking care of herself and maintaining a positive attitude. In fact she says happiness is one of her greatest achievements. How's that for crushing life!

In between globe hopping and modelling for clients like L'Oreal and H&M and kicking off her acting career with roles in Law & Order SVU and The Mysteries of Laura (she sings and plays guitar too!) Teresa took time out to share her top tips for wellbeing in New York. 

And when you're done reading, hop over to Teresa Tastes , Teresa's food and fashion blog that gives an insight into her love of, well, style and eats. 

What's your top healthy dine out spot and what's on the menu? 

ABC Kitchen by restaurateur Jean George in the Flat Iron district is a haven of organic, fresh cuisine in a eco-chic space. It is great for a sophisticated treat that is still healthy and delicious.   

I order: raw nantucket bay scallops, cranberry, apple, orange, and mint 
roast carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus 

black bass with chilies and herbs, baby market potatoes and spinach 
sauteed skuna bay salmon, sweet and spicy carrot sauce, roasted carrots and basil 

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

What is your favourite organic beauty product buy?

All Natural Shikai hand and body moisturiser - Gardenia or Yuzu are great scents and made with rich and creamy shea butter. 

Renpure Argan Oil Shampoo is low lather and smells great. Renpure Argan Oil Conditioner is rich and creamy, all natural and really revives overworked hair. 

Renpure Originals Amazing Miracle Deep Penetrating Reconstructor is extra creamy and thick. Leave it in for 5-10 minutes to give your hair a thicker softer texture. 

Where would you recommend a friend go to for a yoga or Pilates class in the city?

I used to love SLT Pilates but now to get more variety I go to Equinox and try all the classes there. I like all high cardio classes like IntenSati, 30/60/90 and Deep Extreme which has elements of tribal dance. Super fun. 

When I am away traveling for work I run outside or do a quick Tracy Anderson video. 

Teresa works hard for the money! Hit the gym pronto if you want a bikini body to rival the New Zealand beauty's

Teresa works hard for the money! Hit the gym pronto if you want a bikini body to rival the New Zealand beauty's

What do you 'healthy' snack on between castings?

Kind Bars, Apples, Mandarins

Please share a Smoothie recipe with us!

I use my Nutribullet and make a quick and yummy smoothie in the morning. 

1/3  washed spinach

1/3 blueberries

1/3 apple 

5 ice-cubes

a dash of water

generous sprinkle of all bran

sprinkle of cinnamon 

Blend and voila! 


What Your Neighbours Are Eating...

Neighbours star Saskia Hampele (who plays bubble Georgia Brooks) always glows on screen. No wonder she's eyeing a career in Los Angeles where she's represented by Untitled Management who also rep Sofia Vegara and Olivia Wilde!

In between her starring role on the long-running soap, starring in films including Blame, which was selected for Toronto and Cannes Film Festivals and getting engaged to long-time partner Kayne Tremills (who is a television host on ABC's Studio 3)... the Perth-born actress  is studying the same Health Coaching course as me with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition

I couldn't resist a chat with the avid foodie and 'health nerd' to find out how she stays on top of her game.

How do you start your day? 

Often it's a 5am wake-up for filming so I will drink a green tea on my way to work and have breakfast about an hour later - poached eggs with mushroom and tomato or steel cut oats that I've soaked overnight with berries, chia/sunflower/pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and some coconut milk. If I have a later start at work, or on the weekends, I try and get to the gym for a workout before a late breakfast around 10am. My go-to breakfast is sautéed kale, mushrooms, organic nitrate-free bacon and spring onion with fried eggs on top, or in summer it's a Greek breakfast of soft boiled eggs with fresh cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta and herbs with papaya and mango. 

What does a typical day on set involve?

It can really vary from day to day, ranging from 14-hour days of non-stop filming, to days where we are in and out in 1 1/2 hours (an hour of that being in the makeup chair!). It's also common for us to shoot early in the morning and then have breaks throughout the day of up to 4-5 hours, so on those days I try to get out and do some exercise or I catch up on study for the nutrition course I am doing. Apart from filming we have lots of commitments like costume fittings, publicity, rehearsals and drama sessions. 

How does having a healthy lifestyle help with your odd work hours?

My health is really important to me, not only so I have the energy to work long days, but it also shows in my skin and body. I try to be someone who approaches every day with positivity and vitality, and if I'm not looking after myself and eating lots of crap I notice that I'm not as bright and I can feel moody and tired. 

What is your go-to workout?

My fitness routine changes frequently. At the moment I'm working on getting really strong so I'm at the gym once or twice a week lifting heavy weights and doing body weight movements like chin ups, as well as doing sprints in the park or on the rower. I do infrared Yin yoga on a Sunday morning and play netball when I can.  I also really enjoy less structured exercise like 'No Lights No Lycra' dance sessions and going on walks (generally in the direction of a delicious cafe for brunch).

Do you work out with your fiancé?

Kayne is really into fitness and is a newly qualified personal trainer, so he really motivates me to get off the couch and into the gym. Sometimes he will train me on the TRX in the park, but usually we do our own thing. I'm always going to him for new ideas for my program at the gym, and he comes to me for advice on what to eat. It's a great partnership!

What’s your favourite meal to cook? Do you eat out much or dine in?

We live right in the heart of foodie central in Melbourne so we do eat out a lot. I love going to raw vegan restaurants like Yong Green Food and Monk Bhodi Dharma with my girlfriends. Kayne and I love going out for lazy brunches and splurging on fancy degustation menus on the weekends. During the week I mostly cook, and keep the leftovers to take into work for lunch. My go-to meal is raw pad Thai in the summer and slow cooker Moroccan chicken in winter. 

Do you prefer to buy organic or locally produced food?

I converted to organic produce quite a few years ago when I was a vegetarian and noticed that organic veggies were far more filling and delicious. Although I eat some meat now, my love for organic has stuck and I also try to buy local where I can. I get a box of organic seasonal fruit and veggies delivered to my house each week from Victoria Organic Delivery so I always have fresh food in the fridge, even when I'm really busy. I love the local farmers market at the Collingwood Children's Farm for things like raw dairy, olive oil, honey, and turkey and get my fresh seafood at the Queen Victoria Market. I avoid processed foods and rarely have to go to the big chain supermarkets anymore.

What do you like to snack on?

I always have a bag of raw nuts in my car to avoid any spontaneous unhealthy snacking on the road. I love snacking on raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus, slices of cucumber with nut butter, or freshly made Paleo banana bread with butter.

How important is wellness to you in daily life?

To me, wellness is not just about looking after our body, but also our mind and spirit. I have done a lot of reading about the connection between diet and mental health and believe that by changing our relationship with food, we can live happier more fulfilled lives. Working on ourselves, practicing mindfulness and gratitude, and being a good human can also be a great motivator for living a healthy, active lifestyle. Health is paramount in my life, but I also recognise that balance is equally important. I love food, and eating delicious food brings me a great deal of joy, so I will happily eat a salted caramel donut any old day!

 

Try Saskia's Hot Chocolate!

Coconut Milk

Raw Cacao powder

Cacao butter (melted in the coconut milk)

Splash of maple syrup and cinnamon to sweeten


Take the Sideways Approach

I met Carly Williams this year while studying health coaching with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It was during one of our coaching calls that we discovered we both had a similar backgrounds and health goals and connected outside of the school.

Carly’s since launched The Sideways Approach, a wellness boutique designed to help women find balance in all areas of life. The Sideways Approach fosters a more connected life, encouraging women to live in a way that is authentic to who they are as individuals.

“I bring groups of women together to talk about their wellness concerns and to spend time really looking inside to see where they are doing well and where they could make improvements,” says Carly. “The hope is that participants will begin to make small, manageable changes to bring about lasting change in their own lives and the community at large.”

 

Health and Lifestyle Coach, Carly Williams

Health and Lifestyle Coach, Carly Williams

As her business has evolved on and offline, needs being met lean more towards life coaching and overall wellness than specific health issues.

“My belief is that if one area of life is a little off then it is most likely affecting other areas because I see all parts as being interdependent,” says Carly who focuses on six foundations of health:

Carly, a Colorado native, got the cool name “The Sideways Approach” from her love of snowboarding and surfing where you stand on your board sideways.

“Participating in these activities has taught me about presence, courage, acceptance and patience. Being a part of the action sports lifestyle has really cultivated awareness for health, sustainability and community in my everyday world.”

 

Carly took some time out from coaching clients and action activities to chat to Health Bird about her enterprising business.  

Who can benefit from The Sideways Approach?

My target market is women who know what they want out of life but are not sure how to get it. These women want to make a difference in their own life and the world but don’t know where to begin. I help these women to become role models and leaders in their families and the community.

When did your own ‘sideways approach’ take place?

I started on my journey of real personal growth and exploration six years ago when I was feeling very lost in my career, my relationships and my behaviors. I became like a sponge soaking up as much information as I could get about spirituality, nutrition and fitness and attended workshops and retreats and read numerous books and websites. And although I was immersing myself in all of this information I wasn’t necessarily retaining it or able to find ways to make it work in my life. Eventually I realized that applying these practices to my life was almost like a temporary shot of feel-good vibes but never promoted real change. Things didn’t really start to shift until I examined what it was that I really wanted out of life and what felt authentic to me. Not what my parents and teachers and society and bosses thought I should want.

What have you learnt during your studies with IIN that’s been invaluable to you?

The most important thing I have learned is that all people need someone to listen to them. If people have a safe environment to talk about their life situation and their health concerns then they will heal themselves. A health coach isn’t necessarily armed with all of the answers but they are a sounding board for clients to openly discuss their individual journey.

What else have you discovered that you are busting to share with your clients?

I have learned that there is no “one size fits all” approach to health. Everyone needs to eat, exercise, love, work and live in a way that is authentic to who they are. The key is to spend time with yourself and find out how you want to live your life. Get to know your body and how it responds to different foods and ways of eating, find what exercise really excites you and turn your fitness routine into something fun and joyful.

What small change can we all make today to lead a happier life?

One of the biggest things you can do for your overall health is adopt a gratitude practice. Set aside time in the morning or at night before you go to sleep to write down or say out loud 5-10 things you are grateful for. It is amazing how your entire mood can shift when you focus on what you have versus what you don’t have. If you make this a daily habit, over time you will become a happier person in general.

What does a day in the life of Carly look like?

I require a lot of sleep so I allow my body to wake up when it is ready which is typically around 7:30. My morning begins with a cup of warm lemon water to wake up my digestive system. Then I meditate for 10 to 20 minutes to quiet my mind and re-connect with my inner self. Breakfast is usually a green smoothie because they are quick to make and are packed with nutrients. The rest of the day is spent working on the computer returning emails to clients, connecting with other wellness practitioners, writing blogs or prepping for a group program.

Lunch is typically quinoa and roasted veggies or a salad with Ahi tuna. I like to keep my meals very simple because I don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to cooking. Fortunately, my fiancé is a great cook and he makes most of our meals. Our dinners usually consist of grains, veggies and sometimes fish. We like to experiment with new ingredients and recipes. 

I am a big fan of working out at lunch time, my body seems to respond best in the middle of the day so I will take a break from work and go to a yoga class or run on the treadmill or in the neighborhood. Otherwise I’ll go on a mountain bike ride in the evening when it is a little cooler. Sweat and adrenaline are a great way to end the day!

Many of my group programs for Sideways are in the evenings to accommodate working women so a night or two a week is dedicated to work. The evenings I am not working I spend time with my fiancé, friends or my two-year-old nephew. I love the freedom of owning my own business but I need to keep a structured schedule to stay on track so I stick to a pretty regular routine during the week. Weekends are dedicated to lots of hiking, biking, snowboarding and catching up with family!

 Follow Carly on Instagram