Katie Abbott, a Proud Dog Mum who also loves shredding trails on her Mountain-bike.

Katie Abbott recently started telling us about what she got up to in her spare time.  When we started to dig a little deeper, we found a very Proud Dog Mum who has the most incredible little guy Nero who does the most amazing things.  On top of this, Katie is also quite an avid mountain-biker, which she came to a bit by accident.  So we asked a few more questions and then couldn’t help but put this article together to share her story:

You are the Proud Dog Mum of Nero who you compete in Agility with – can you tell us what Agility is and what Nero participates in?

Nero is my rescue Jack Russell cross who, when I got him, had seemingly endless energy to burn. I needed a way to exhaust not only his crazy fit little body, but his mind too. I did some research and it looked like Agility fit the bill perfectly – I was surprised to find that it wasn’t just for the fast working breed dogs but for dogs of any size and breed. Also, I’m possibly a little competitive with just about anything (I can make yoga competitive), so finding something that was fun, made Nero think, kept us both active and competitive to boot, was a dream come true! It’s true, I am a Proud Dog Mum.

Agility is an obstacle course for dogs and the owners are needed to show the dog which obstacle is next, what speed to take and where the course is going. The courses are made up of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, A-frames, dog walks and see-saws and, depending on the difficulty level, there can be between 15-25 obstacles on a course. The fastest round without making any mistakes is the winner! There are 5 height categories, so thankfully (for them) the big dogs compete separately to the little dogs. Each height category has the same course but the main difference is the height of the jumps. In the ‘mini’ category, Nero competes against other small dogs such as poodles, cocker spaniels, shetland sheepdogs, jack russells, fox terriers and small breed mixes. Teeny tiny dogs such as chihuahua’s compete in the ‘toy’ category all the way up to ex-racing greyhounds compete in the ‘maxi’ category, and everything in between.

Nero has been competing for a couple of years now and he definitely loves being out on the course, going fast and doing his thing with me. Not only is agility fun for both Nero and I, but also it’s been a place where I’ve met so many like-minded, dog-loving, agility-mad Proud Dog Mum Friends.

 

As a relatively new Queenslander can you tell us what about Brisbane you like and why you chose to live here?

I’ve lived in QLD for 3 years now and it is most definitely feels like home. Going back 5 years, my fiance, Michael and I started a long distance relationship. We met in Paris while on holidays and although we lived in different cities, we were glad we were in the same country! Fast forward 2 years and 100 flights each (yes, EACH) later, the time had come for someone to move. I hadn’t planned to move to Brisbane and was hoping Michael would move to Sydney but we stumbled across an amazing apartment in an awesome location. It was way too nice to have as an investment we planned, so the search was on to find a job up here… which took 3 days. It was just meant to be!

It wasn’t long after I started living here and still flying back to Sydney to see my family, that I realised that landing at Brisbane Airport felt like I was coming home. For me, it’s who I live near that makes the place awesome – so the reason I like Brisbane is because I like the people here. It’s really as simple as that. Yes Brisbane has so many qualities that I love (except the humidity), but the people of Brisbane are what make it so special.

 

On the weekend we know you can be found on the Mountain biking tracks – how did you get into it, do we have good tracks in Brisbane and how often do you and the trees have a disagreement?

When I wake up on a perfect weekend morning the first thing I want to do is get into the water for a surf. Mother nature doesn’t always provide amazing waves and getting into a wetsuit on a cold morning isn’t so appealing, so another activity was needed to help keep me active and outside. I can’t train Nero 24×7 and he needs rest days too, so I thought maybe biking was an option. I wasn’t super keen at first because the last things I wanted to do were to loose control at speed and get scared. But I bought a bike anyway.

I bought a bike that was good enough to handle the mtb tracks, but not pricey enough that I HAD to go for a ride every weekend to make it worth it. It was a purple bike too – winning!

It was as simple as, after my very first mtb lesson, I was hooked. I was determined to get better, feel that adrenaline rush again and get fit while being outdoors. Honestly, it didn’t bother me too much when I had altercations with trees (sorry Sal!) as I had done equestrian sports for 10 years and competed to 2** level in eventing. While riding horses I had learned that stacks are inevitable and it’s getting back on the horse (now bike) is what makes you learn and grow.

Brisbane has some amazing mountain bike tracks that are specifically for mountain bikes and where bush-walkers aren’t allowed. There are tracks at a few different spots that I’ve been to and they’re beautifully maintained, graded for difficulty and constantly added to to keep things interesting. The places I like to get on the trails are Gap Creek Reserve in Kenmore and also Daisy Hill Conservation Park in Logan. Next on the list of places to check out is the Hidden Vale Adventure Park out past Ipswich.

I now far prefer mountain biking to surfing and am contemplating upgrading my bike to  a super fancy dual suspension bike. I just hope they come in purple.

 

If you liked Katie’s Proud Dog Mum story, and would like to submit something about yourself – we’d love to hear from you. Click here and shoot us a web mail.

 

Jasmine can dance up a storm!

We titled this BLOG post ‘Jasmine can dance up a storm!’ as we were recently blown away by an Instagram post she put up a little while ago.  While it said in the description: hip-hop level 1, we think it was absolutely next level – literally and figuratively.

Click this and tell us what you think?  Jasmine Hip-Hop

So we needed to know a bit more about Jasmine, and when we started to dig, we found out just how amazing she is.

 

Two very different activities that you enjoy doing are dance and soccer. We’ll touch on dance first – how did you get into it and what type of dance do you enjoy most? Is there a recent routine that’s been your favourite?

Two activities I really enjoy that keep me fit and motivated are soccer and dance. I started dance in March 2017 to try and fill the void that soccer had left in my life (I had to take a season off for injury reasons). What started as a casual dance classes at Mad Dance House here and there, quickly escalated to 6+ classes a week (each going for 1 hour, so that’s a lot of hours!).

I mostly do urban hip-hop classes and I absolutely fell in love with how physically demanding it is and to my delight, how mentally stimulating. I was finally doing something again that really took me out of my comfort zone and got me involved with a completely new culture of people. I’m actually doing my first showcase with Mad Dance House this November which I’m very excited for!

 

For soccer, how long have you played and what draws you back to play each season? What position do you play?

 

Soccer has been a big part of my personal identity since I was 8 years old. Despite the injuries over the past 16 or so years I keep being drawn back to soccer by the challenges of competition, building team comradery, and the fitness side of training. I’m quite zippy, so I mostly play wing and striker positions where speed is utilised best. Still working on getting those left foot kicks into the back of the net though!

 

Looking into another side of your interests, you’re currently building a computer from scratch in your spare time. What does that entail exactly?

In my spare time I like to dabble in all sorts of things – I’m very much a ‘finger in every pie’ type of person. At the moment I’ve just finished building my second computer. I decided that I needed to build one that had all of the flashing lights. I think I was 11 the first time I got into the guts of desktop PC, I pulled it apart and was fascinated by how it all came together.  I enjoy researching every component and making sure they all come together in the best cost to performance ratio possible.

Putting a machine together is very satisfying, especially when you hit the power button for the first time and everything spins the way it should. Though I’ve certainly had my fair share of components catching fire at some point as well (usually due to something not being seated correctly D’oh!), which makes the ‘power on’ moment so thrilling – you either build it perfectly or it catches fire – so you learn to be more efficient each time. As I’m writing this I can almost smell the last set of fans I short circuited, it can make for a very expensive hobby…

 

And lastly, travel! Tell us about your recent trip and where you think you’ll be next!

Travelling is something I really want to do more of at this point in my life. I feel like it’s the

only way to step out of your bubble and learn perspective. Most recently I went travelling around Jordan for a week with my father and sister. It’s an amazingly untouched country nestled between Israel, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. We

spent the most time in Amman, Petra, and the Dead Sea. The country is dotted with massive old castles and sprawling rocky mountains; it looks like a Star Wars movie could be filmed there for how different the terrain is. I’ve been to most of Europe already so next on my list is Japan, I’m incredibly excited for the history and traditional culture there. Just have to make sure I go during summer, I’m pretty defenceless against the cold!

 

Thanks for that Jasmine!  We wish you all the best with your pursuits and hope you DON’T burn the house down with a computer, and DO burn the house down with your dancing!!

 

 

Daniel is heading off for a Canadian Adventure!

Daniel is an extremely active athlete, playing rugby, enjoying swimming and hiking. Now his education and talents take him for a Canadian Adventure, where he is looking forward to both Summer and Winters so he can pursue all of his loves.

When you first came in, you were big into rugby and have since been filling your time with other activities – what would a regular week look like for you?

I like to try and do something on most days through the week. Lately rock climbing has filled the void of rugby and i like to go a couple of times a week. Through the rest of the week I try and do two strength sessions and then either a run or a swim. I do prefer swimming though, especially during the warmer months

 

You have now graduated from uni and are working full time – give us a bit of a background on your studies and the change over to full time work.

I’ve have just finished studying civil and construction engineering and was lucky enough to get a job through my final two years of uni working 3-4 times a week and taking the odd day off here and there when I needed to. This definitely helped to moving over to full time work and I do much of the same work but i get free afternoons to relax.

 

We’ve chatted lots about what is next – a Canadian Adventure! Tell us a bit about where you are going and what brought you to buy the one way ticket!

I always wanted to try a working holiday or student exchange to experience something different and always found Canada appealing from photos and stories from my friends and family. The hardest part about going was actually picking a place to live but I will be staying in Banff mainly due to the the range of ski resorts through the winter and the appeal of hiking and the national parks in the summer. Really looking forward to a Canadian Adventure.

 

Daniel has been a Barefooter for quite some time. Enjoying what Physiotherapy can offer in relation to ‘tune-ups’ and keeping his body performing at his Peak. If you would like to benefit from a tailored Physiotherapy Plan to support your body and your sport, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  More details can be found HERE.

Jason – A life of sport, dance and timber

We love hearing from our Barefooters and the incredibly cool things they do in their lives. It makes what we do so much more enjoyable (and entertaining!). Jason is a great example of someone who really leans in to life and enjoys all aspects. Read on for all about Brisbane’s dance scene – Jason is a great person to ask all about it and some fun facts about him!

Jason you are a very committed dancer – what type of dance to you do? Tell us about it (what made you choose to dance, what you love about it)

I dance a number of different street Latin dance styles primarily Salsa, Cha Cha Cha and Bachata.  My favourite dance style is Salsa.  Street Latin is quite different to what you would probably imagine when you think of Latin or ballroom and see on TV shows like Dancing with the Stars.

I’ve always been interested in dance but never actually took any classes until my brother asked me to come to a free “come and try” salsa class when I was about 25.  I was instantly hooked and quite quickly went from dancing once a week to five or six nights a week in only a few short months.

Dancing has so many positive aspects about it. For starters, it is a very social activity as it is a couple dance so you get to meet many interesting people. At the same time, you are exercising and getting a work out but it doesn’t feel like a hard core gym session!!

No matter where you go in the world you can always find a club, social event, class or other dance event on that will allow you to get out and about and meet new people in different countries.  I’ve danced throughout Australia and New Zealand as well as been lucky enough to have travelled to USA and a number of other countries through Europe on organised dance tours.

 

We often see people dancing in the square in Brisbane City – is that ever you? Does Brisbane have a good dancing community?

Yes, Brisbane Square is one of the events that I attend from time to time.  This event in particular is really good, due to it being outdoors and visible to the public. It attracts a big crowd every week and also exposes non-dancers to the Brisbane dance scene.  The Brisbane dance community is still relatively small but it has grown significantly in the last few years.  In fact, you can go out and social dance or take classes almost every night of the week now, something which was not possible a few years ago.

Some other great regular dance events are Thursday nights at Cloudland which has a live Salsa band, and Sunday nights at Jade Budda. In addition, there are plenty of other events organised by dance schools and passionate individuals which change from week to week.

The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast scenes are also really growing at the moment, and there is a lot of travel between these locations for classes and social dance nights.

 

During the week you help run your family business – what type of work do you do and what’s it like working as a family?

We run a small business which imports timber from New Zealand.  I look after a lot of the admin and logistical side of the business.  It’s great working in a family business as it offers a lot of flexibility and freedom. This is something which I really appreciate when trying to get away for class or other dance events that I constantly have going on.

Working in the timber industry is something that I never imagined I would be doing as a kid, however as the family business was expanding an opportunity opened up to join. I couldn’t be happier with the opportunities and work/life balance that have come my way.

 

What are 5 fun facts about you that you’d love to share.

  • I used to play football (soccer) for about 20 years both outdoor and indoor. This is something that was a very big part of my life and spent a lot of time doing.  I met a lot of great people and travelled all around the world playing and training at some amazing venues and football clubs.
  • I met my girlfriend out at a social dance night.  (Something which I was not expecting but was pleasantly surprised).  Yes, it is possible to meet your someone special in the dance scene and I know quite a few people who have met and married from dancing.
  • I am a bit of a nerd and have a love for all things tech as well as drones 😊 I try to get out every couple of weeks to do some drone flying as well.
  • I love to travel and in my early twenties I took a year off to live in London. I had a great time and would recommend that experience to anyone thinking about it.
  • I am currently learning Spanish and hopefully one day will be able to master this as a second language 😊

A love for anything health and fitness

A love for anything health and fitness brought Tristan Forbes into an industry he absolutely loves.  Recently starting both Witness the Fitness and Breathing Space, read what brought Tristan on this adventure into keeping people healthy and fit.

 

What brought you into the health industry in the first place?

As most health professionals, I had a love for anything health and fitness. Mainly sports but I did get into the ‘aesthetic gym scene’ during high-school due to being a rather pudgy kid even with participating in multiple sports at a time since middle school. I’d say my Mum & Dad definitely had an influence as well, Dad competed for Aus in rowing and was a mad-keen triathlete. Mum was into aerobics and workouts at the gym, so looking back at it now, seeing her balance “mumlife” and her health and fitness, would have helped me connect the dots later in life.

 

You build great communities around you, Witness the Fitness and now Breathing Space – can you describe your passion creating these places for people?

 

Witness The Fitness was created because we saw how easy it was to transform and help people if they followed a precise plan for 8 weeks. 6 years ago there wasn’t too much out there for anyone and everyone to have access to something like that, to become empowered through education and community/people around them to help change their lives. Because that’s exactly how I did it – I educated myself, surrounded myself with people doing the same thing and over time personal goals were achieved. Some people have had more to transform than others, some people didn’t even need to ‘transform’, a lot of people just wanted to be part of a fun and healthy community. Breathing Space is really an extension of that but more towards the wellness side of things. If you can imagine a scale from fitness (strength, speed, endurance) to wellness (health, balance, longevity), I found that Witness The Fitness really did focus on the fitness side of things – even though we do 10-15 minutes of mobility each session, have an infrared sauna in our gym and preach the importance of sleep and a healthy diet.

With Breathing Space, we can extend our community for one thing, we can shine a light on the importance of yoga and meditation and we can then have this amazing cross over where those who are currently well into their wellness side of things, can get the amazing benefits of introducing a little more ‘fitness’ into their lives and vice versa.

Above all of this.. it’s a passion to help people see and feel the positive side effects of health and fitness. So much so that they want to help their friends and family become healthy and fit. A healthy and fit mother and father is most likely going to one; produce healthy and fit children and two; help those children live healthy and fit lives so that they themselves one day produce healthy and fit children! We aren’t just helping our current members, we are literally helping generations and generations to come!

 

What drives you and motivates you day to day?

Pretty much everything answered in question one and two.. Ha ha. But also now creating the life I envisioned almost ten years ago now. A successful bunch of businesses that help people, give back to the community and provide my future wife (her name is Matilda by the way, totally envisioned that) myself and our kids our ideal lifestyle. Goals in both personal and business life are forever changing but that really is the one thing that remains day in, day out.

 

What drew you to open a yoga studio?

Ever since developing a personal passion for Animal Flow (google it!) two years ago, I have wanted to have a suitable space to run classes, year long intensives and workshops to show people how amazing it really is and how much it can help any athlete, father, mother, anyone! Since learning the importance of energy and vibe in a particular space, I knew that our current Witness The Fitness studio just wasn’t going to work. So when my now Breathing Space business partner, Adam from Nowhere Espresso, mentioned that a yoga studio would go great in the laundromat that was closing down next door.. we hit the ground running and before we knew it – introduced a beautiful space to a quite suburban community in Toowong.

 

We recently had you at our clinic for an animal flow workshop, explain to people who weren’t able to attend how you got into animal flow?

First, seriously google ‘This Is Animal Flow’.. That’s how I got into it. I watched that video by Mike Fitch, the creator and from there I was hooked. I travelled to the Gold Coast for my first workshop / proper introduction and totally geeked out on the intricate details of how developing animalistic movement abilities improved today’s Homo sapien body.

 

Where to from here? (things you’d like to accomplish next, where you see yourself in 5 years, any new ideas/ambitions)

This year is a big one.. Last month I secured a contract with W Hotel Brisbane where our trainers facilitate the PT sessions for their hotel guests and use their incredible rooftop areas for events, this will help our brand exposure and develop some international relationships for future WTF expansions. In September I am opening a second gym, this one is called FORME Fitness and will have the same health and fitness ethos as WTF but with a deeper focus on 1 on 1 coaching. Very fortunate to get a spot in the new Calile Hotel on James St, cannot wait to see it come to life! Apart from that, build the WTF and Breathing Space community plus ensure everyone is moving forward. Personally; if it were a Saturday or Sunday – watching over a couple of kids, in a house, with a dog or two, chilling after a flow and just be enjoying life really – most likely barefoot too – I like being barefoot.

As you know, Tristan recently conducted an Animal Flow workshop here at Barefoot Physiotherapy. Due to its popularity, we’ll probably be holding another workshop later this year.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on both Facebook and Instagram, by clicking through the images below:

 

A Colombian Adventure with Dan Ludgater

Dan Ludgater recently moved to Medellin, Colombia to pursue the Digital Nomad lifestyle. His Colombian Adventure so far is something most of us would love to do.

So you’ve been living in Medillin, Colombia for the last 2 months. How does it compare to life in Brisbane?

Well, everyone speaks Spanish… except for me lol. It’s actually been fun learning a new language and doing our best to navigate situations. My “food ordering Espanol” is pretty good now, and as far as we know, no one has ordered any mystery meats.

It’s also FAR more dangerous here. Kidding. When you mention a Colombian Adventure to most people, they think Cartels and Cocaine… Which would be accurate if it was 25 years ago. Though, to be fair, it wasn’t safe to travel outside the cities until about ten years ago.

Another big difference was living in an apartment with several friends and colleagues. The first month there were 6 of us sharing. Pros and cons to that, of course, but overall it was a lot of fun. As I write this, my girlfriend and I are in our own place here with a magnificent view.

 

What made you want to go and try out the digital nomad lifestyle?

We always wanted to try living abroad, but it’s been challenging since my girlfriend has a full-time position back in Brissy (currently on leave). We almost moved here a couple years back on the recommendation of a friend (so that I could pursue an opportunity with a company that needed me on US time). Didn’t make sense to me at the time though. So when I was talking with some colleagues at an event in Florida in October last year, spending some time in Colombia came up. And since we wanted to do a trip around the same time anyway, we finally pulled the trigger.

 

What have been your favorite things about working in Colombia?

It’s been fantastic getting to spend time with my friends and colleagues. With 5 from all across the States and 1 from Ireland, it’s not often we’re in the same place. I also love getting to immerse myself in the culture and go do fun things in my down time. We went paragliding, climbed the rock at Guatape/El Penol, went through one of Escobar‘s mansions that was bombed by the Cali Cartel, and plenty more. Being on a US timezone has been a nice bonus for me, too.

Tell us about the type of work you do while you’re abroad?

I help my clients grow their businesses with more effective marketing and copy. Fortunately, that means that I can work from anywhere as long as I have a laptop, wifi and a head set.

 

Have you had any serious or interesting problems on your travels?

Nothing too scary. We’ve had some times where debit/credit cards were rejected. Which can be stressful if you don’t have cash on you. But that was mostly when trying to do transactions online or through apps.

Another thing comes to mind. Not really a “problem”, and kind of funny… We had a couple occasions where we did a tour and were told by our driver, “If we get pulled over at a police checkpoint, we’re friends from when I visited Florida a couple years back.” The driver still had paperwork going through for that, and seeing as Uber is essentially illegal here (though everyone uses it anyway), they don’t want to look like that’s what’s going on.

Though their driving, on the other hand, WAS terrifying.

 

Are you going to be continuing your digital nomad lifestyle longer term? If so where is your next destination?

Absolutely. We’ll be coming back here again at some stage and no doubt will tour more of South America. Also want to check out Spain, Portugal and some other spots in Europe. As well as Thailand and Vietnam.

 

Do you have any advice for people wanting to trial the laptop lifestyle and work abroad?

A lot of people still have this fantasy of sitting on a beach with their laptop. Obviously it’s nothing like that. In fact, it’s hard work. That said, there are some professions where remote work is now viable. For me, as a freelancer, I’m responsible for making sure I have clients that can keep the money flowing. But, if you work hard during the day, that leaves the nights and weekends open for adventure. And there’s plenty of that to be had.

 

We hope you enjoyed Dan’s Colombian Adventure?   If you’re currently on an excellent adventure, or about to take one, why not drop us a line so we can feature you here. Just click right here to send us some information.

We also know that while Dan’s is on this Colombian Adventure, he is watching this BLOG, so if you have any questions for us or Dan, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Cheers!

 

 

My first strongman Competition – a chat with Jess Riddell

You competed at your first strongman competition in February this year, how was the experience for you?

It was my first strength event – so I was quite nervous leading up to it and unsure of what to expect – it’s a big change moving from Ironman triathlons where you’re on your own for hours versus having a coach right beside you all day.

It was really fun! Much tougher on my body than I had anticipated – I was very thankful to have a great coaching team there on the day to keep me focused when I needed to be and laughing between events – the support crew were epic too!

 

How did you get into strongman to start with?

Atlas Stones!!! I’d been eyeing them off since I stated my training in Powerlifting at Panthers.  I’ve been bugging my coach, Col to let me try them pretty much since my first week of training and with the Strongman comp being held at Panthers I finally got my chance! It was pretty epic to finally pick up the 72kg stone on comp day.

 

 

For all our readers, who aren’t proficient in the differences, could you briefly explain the differences between strongman and powerlifting? And the differences between strongman and crossfit?

Cruel to ask a beginner in both Powerlifting and Strongman to answer that!! Powerlifting is Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift.  Strongman has about 20 different events – with 6 being combined for the event I competed in.  Powerlifting (at least for me so far) is far more technical. Crossfit is a whole different world!

 

So what’s the next competition for you?

In May – I’m competing in my first Powerlifting competition.

What does your training schedule look like at the moment leading into competition?

Col is great at making sure my training is still fun despite any competitions looming – I use one day a week for Strongman training and have 2 focused Powerlifting sessions a week. On top of this I run 2 days a week and train with an exercise physiologist once – so I train 6 days a week most weeks.

In terms of what my specific training blocks looks like – I leave that to Col, in an effort to step back from over-training and always train to a plan, I don’t get my programs in advance, so I have a great life – I just turn up at training and lift, I literally never know what’s coming.  For a control freak who’s trying to reform, it’s taken some getting used to!!

 

I know you have a heart condition, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), can you give us a better understanding of what that is, and what it means for your day-to-day life?

It comes under the Dysautonomia umbrella and it means my autonomic system no longer works the way it should – really simply the autonomic system controls all the automatic responses in your body, so the things your body does without you having to think about them – like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, swallowing, temperature control etc.  It means for me things such as my heart rate is really high (especially when I exercise), and I have to closely manage fatigue.  Thankfully I’m not much of a fainter, but it’s a typical side effect of the condition.

Day-to-day I have my POTS really well managed – but it’s taken 2.5 years to get back to a level of fitness where I can compete again.  It’s not that fun to tap out of training (or work) when my POTS flares up and it usually means a few weeks of rest and limited training, if any. I’m very thankful that I have the level of support I do around me, it makes it possible for me to train and compete again and they are pretty quick to notice the signs if my POTS is starting to flare up. I’m fairly structured in terms of diet, exercise, medication and work and this helps me keep my POTS symptoms managed. Finding this right balance took a long time – which was frustrating! I still have to remind myself frequently that I have a limited pool of energy, so I need to choose well what I spend it on – I don’t recover as quickly as a “normal” person, so if I push too hard one day, it will likely mean I miss training tomorrow.

 

How does POTS affect your training schedule?

The reality of POTS is tough – I went from racing Ironman Triathlon to nothing in a matter of weeks – I was that fatigued, so when I was diagnosed and started what became my “new normal” of living with POTS I started from a pretty low exercise tolerance, it took a long time to rebuild back to where I am today – there was about 12 months of riding a stationary bike in the early days, for a maximum of 20 minutes, 3 times a week.  It took me 97 weeks from diagnosis to get back to running 10kms (you bet I counted and hounded my team to reach that milestone – I might also be a little determined!).  That 10km race and the medal from it mean more to me than I can explain, it might seem a little strange to cherish a fluro pink medal more than an ironman one – but I always took my health for granted before and while the training for my ironman races was hard, it was nothing compared to what it took to get back to running 10kms.

These days, the impact of POTS for me? For one – it means I have an epic team around me, without whom I couldn’t do what I do in terms of training or competing – they make all of this possible (which isn’t just a shameless plug!) I’ve worked with my EP Dan since the week I was diagnosed, so he’s literally put me back together as a functioning human and works to keep me there along with a team of other allied health people (I swear the list is growing, but to give you some perspective: Physio, dietician, sports psych, massage, my heart team and coach make up the regulars who all communicate freely to keep me healthy.)

From a training perspective, POTS means there’s always a level of flexibility built in to my sessions to allow for how I’m feeling on the day.  I also had to learn to speak up and admit when I’m struggling with fatigue. I’m fairly stubborn so that’s been a tough lesson to learn – I’ve almost dropped multiple bars on my head before admitting I was cooked!  Luckily both Col and Dan are great at saving me from both dropping bars on my head and myself when I don’t admit I’m struggling.

A passion for soccer – a quick chat with Charlotte

It won’t surprise you that Barefooters love getting out and about, moving everyday in a way they enjoy. Women’s soccer has really taken off in the past decade, with teams sprouting up all over Brisbane with quite a competitive Brisbane Premier League as a result. If you’ve ever watched a game, you’ll see how competitive and skilful these ladies are.  Our Physio Kirsten recently sat down with Charlotte to find out why she has such a passion for soccer.

 

How did your passion for soccer develop?

I’ve always had a keen interest for all things sport, and kind of just fell into playing soccer when I was young. I guess over time I’ve developed a real passion for soccer, mainly because I love the skill, athleticism and having a great time with other girls on the field.

 

 

 

Sports can have some pretty crazy traditions or pre game routines, do you have anything you do to get ready for a big game?

Definitely nothing too crazy. If I have the time, on the day of a game I like to go out and have a kick of the ball to get some touch. And I always put on my left sock and left boot on first, but I think that’s more just out of a habit. [ha, ha, we definitely think that’s a good-luck superstition! ed.]

 

What is your favourite pre game meal?

Something with bread usually haha, avocado on Turkish bread is probably my real favourite. 

 

You recently went on a trip to New Zealand, where is your next trip going to be and why?

The next big trip on the bucket list is Canada because it looks so beautiful. Closer to home, I’d also really like to go to Tasmania and do some of the hikes down there. 

 

Rapid fire, 5 Fun facts about you 

– I’m a massive Newcastle Knights fan

– I love travelling but I absolutely hate flying 

– My sporting idols are Andrew Johns and Roger Federer 

– I love dogs and have a black Labrador named Ari who hunts bush turkeys 

– I love the beach and in an alternate life would have loved to be a professional surfer

 

We love hearing about Barefooters and what they get up to in their spare time.  Whether you have a passion for soccer or some other sport, we’d love to hear from you.  If you’d like to let us know about what you get up to, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can arrange a quick chat and some photos – email us.  Also, after seeing Charlotte’s pictures and reading her story, if you’d like to get into soccer, you can click this link to Football Brisbane.

…and of course, if you’re injured or just feeling a bit sore and tired from your Barefoot adventures, you can always come and see us: I need an appointment

 

Turtle Conservation in Malaysia

Putting her diving ability to good use while she studies for a Masters Degree in the Environment, Kirsten recently landed her Dream Job studying and caring for Turtles in Malaysia.  Turtle Conservation is her passion and her journey is amazing. We’re excited to share her story:

You have just scored your dream job, working in turtle conservation in Malaysia for 8 months. Tell us more about what the job entails and why you are so passionate about this work

I have worked on a few turtle conservation projects in the past, which have involved patrolling the beaches at night for nesting mothers. When you come across one there is often a procedure of measuring, tagging and observing the nest and its parameters which are crucial to understand their mortality rates. The work also involves tracking hatched nests, their success rate and causes of depredation among the eggs.

Turtles are the most magnificent animals to work with and I’ve never felt more peaceful than sitting with a mum as she’s laying. Sometimes it isn’t the most glamorous work (scrambled turtle eggs and vultures is not an uncommon combination) and walking anywhere up to 8km throughout the night can be tough but being around these prehistoric creatures make it all worth it in a heartbeat.

The programme I’ll be looking after in Malaysia will cover all these things, where I’ll be working to coordinate volunteers from all over the map. I’ll have some big shoes to fill but having the beach as an office has been my dream for some time!

A few projects I’ve worked on have also involved surveying the beaches for poachers. Luckily this isn’t a problem in Australia, however is still a reality in many countries where sea turtles lay their eggs. I fell in love with sea turtles on a project in Costa Rica in 2012 with an amazing crew of local conservationists who were dedicating their lives to protecting them. Only a few months after I came home in 2013 one of my mentors, Jairo Mora Sandoval was brutally murdered by poachers. Its hard to believe, but this is how serious animal trades have become in some parts. I’ve never met someone as passionate for conservation as him, and I promised myself that Jairo’s death would not be in vain.

One of your big passions in life is scuba diving – tell us what it is you love so much about diving and where are some of your favourite dives?

 The feeling I get when I’m underwater is indescribable. It’s one thing to sit on the beach and marvel at the view but knowing what lies beneath makes me appreciate what I’m looking at a whole lot more. I feel so lucky to live in a world where such exquisite life exists. And even better is how us humans have worked out how to breathe underwater!

 

 

Every dive is different, but my most memorable ones have been throughout Central America. I dived in a cenoté in Mexico which is an underwater limestone cave that you enter through a hole that may only be a few metres wide but would open up to a range of huge caverns underneath. It was extremely challenging both mentally and physically, knowing that you had to conserve enough air to be able to follow a line throughout the cavern. At one point we surfaced into ’The Bat Cave’, which as the name suggests, was full of bats hanging from the stalactites (those formations that hang eerily from the roof). I don’t know if I’d do that bit again!

Nothing compares to exploring your own backyard and diving over at Stradbroke Island during Grey Nurse Shark season is truly amazing. They are gentle sharks who nurse their young in the waters off Straddie, and I’ve been lucky enough to see a manta rays, turtles, nudibranchs and so much more on the same dive!

 

The underwater adventures of Alida!

This Barefooter story takes a different setting to some of our previous stories . . . as it’s set underwater!! Alida is a passionate scuba diver with impressive qualifications and experience doing Open Water Diving, Rescue Diving and a Dive-master and Instructor course!

 

How did you get into scuba diving and what is it about being underwater that you love?

As a little girl I cannot remember ever throwing a tantrum for not getting a chocolate or a toy.  I do remember very well though that I LOVED swimming so much that my parents had to drag me away from pools kicking and screaming.  I’ve always had a longing to do scuba diving and although there are endless opportunities living in Brisbane I never got around to doing it.  I was invited by friends to join them on a sailing holiday in Thailand, the opportunity arose to go diving on one of the days . .  I jumped onto Dr. Google to find out about dive courses here!  I decided then and there to book an Open Water Diving Course!!!  After finishing an Advanced Open Water course I decided to do a Rescue Diver Course, followed by a Dive-master and Instructor Course.

From the moment I took my first breath underwater a whole new wonderful world came alive.   I love the silence, and hearing only my own breathing, the sense of weightlessness and the absolute beauty of the ocean.  Every dive is different.   You might dive at the same spot and experience something different every time.  From a big sleeping sea turtle to a colourful fish darting centimetres from your mask, beautiful sea stars, anemones and stingrays.  I am yet to encounter a shark!

 

What are your favourite places to dive locally and if you could jump on a plane and dive anywhere around the world where would it be and why?

I am still a “baby” diver.  Only have 15 logged dives.  Every diver will be able to tell you exactly how many dives they’ve done.  To become a Master Scuba Diver you have to have 50 logged dives.   I’ve dived at Nine Mile and Cook Island just off Tweed Heads.  The possibilities of places to dive in Australia are endless.  On my bucket list is to dive at Moreton Island, Townsville, Byron Bay, Great Barrier Reef, rainbow beach, Lady Elliot Island and North Stradbroke Island.  All these places have multiple dive spots.  In January I’ll be diving the Ex-HMAS at Mooloolaba!  Excited!!!

 

Jumping on a plane I’d love to dive in the Red Sea.   A spot with significant history, reefs, sea life and wrecks!  If I had the finances I would jump on a plane tomorrow!  Bag already packed! I love being underwater!

 

For any Barefooters who may want to get started in scuba diving, any recommendations on how to get started?

There are various places in Brisbane who have Padi qualified instructors.  The Brisbane Dive Academy has an amazing instructor team who can take you from a recreational diver on to a professional diver.  Best place to start is doing an Open Water Recreational Diving course.  With an Open Water qualification you can dive to 18 meters.  That was my starting point and of course I completely got hooked!

I love the following quote from C.S. Lewis.  “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream…….” Want to start living your Barefoot Lifestyle? Feel free to book an appointment online by clicking this link.