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. 

Pilates Guru, World Traveller and Mum – meet the incredible Maria!

Barefooter Maria is as passionate and vivacious as it gets. She is a mum of 3 and Pilates instructor who is always on the move! We sat down with her to learn more about the things she loves most in life!

You are a Pilates guru – what makes you so passionate about it and how did you first get started with Pilates?

I found Pilates 14 years ago in a Fitness centre in Denver, Colorado USA. It was a big mat class and I just LOVED it straight away. After a few months practicing we moved overseas back to our home country, Venezuela, where there was certainly no Pilates classes available at the time, so I bought a DVD and practiced almost every single day.

Back then my husband had a job with an international company and every two years we had to move countries to a new assignment. Every time we moved, my top-2 priorities upon arrival to our new location were to find a good school for the kids and good Pilates classes for myself.

I loved our journey as a relocating family and amongst other things it allowed me to have many great Pilates experiences in different countries. I practiced in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Romania and finally Australia. It was in Brazil were my curiosity to know more about Pilates reached the peak. I was fortunate enough to be in Brazil and become inspired by two great instructors. In 2009 I started dreaming about becoming a Pilates Instructor and opening my own Pilates Studio one day.

It wasn’t until 3 years later when my family and I arrived in Australia to settle for good that I started to make my dream a reality. Just a few months after our arrival I started a program to obtain my Polestar Pilates Diploma.

 

For those that don’t know – you studied Pilates in English and in Spanish. Tell us more about your South American heritage and your favourite parts of Venezuelan culture.

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I left 16 years ago and since then have lived in different countries. Spanish is our mother language and we eat the most delicious food. Lots of meat, corn, beans and great desserts! This is the bit I miss the most. Venezuelans are known for partying all the time and sad news is quickly transformed into a laughing matter to shoo away sadness. We dance, we talk, we laugh and we consider everybody a good “Friend” by default.       I completed my Pilates diploma in English, which is my second language, but I have since equipped my library with some manuals in Spanish as well. I studied them and gained confidence with all the Pilates terminology in both languages, so now I run classes in both English and Spanish.

You are a busy lady with 3 children – how do you find time to fit everything in and keep learning and developing your skills? Is there anything special you are working on right now?

I have a great team between my husband and kids. They understand Pilates makes me HAPPY so they are very patient and supportive. I (tried to) organise myself and aim to allocate all my work / study time inside school hours so that after 3 pm I can be just a mum. Nonetheless, often there are certain events, training and workshops of interest on weekends, so I try (still trying) to be more organised than usual then… pre-planning meals is a big one so that no one is starving or cranky  when I get back. There are usually planned activities for that weekend, so the kids can have fun with Daddy while I am not around. I must say I am really blessed with a very supportive family.

Yes, I have a few new projects in the making for next year…The biggest one, and I am sure the one that will keep me busiest, is that I am going to go back to study to become a Pilates Mentor. I am really looking forward to it … More knowledge, more Pilates practice, more Pilates friends for me next year 😉

Anything Interesting you want to share?

Here are 10 facts about me:

1. I am only 150cm tall.

2. I ran ½ Marathon before my 40th

3. The ocean gives me peace.

4. I have moved houses 17 times in 41 years across 8 countries.

5. I speak 4 languages fluently…Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and English.

6. My favorite food is Pizza (Italian style).

7. My favorite part of my body are my arms.

8. I don’t like cold water, so I haven’t dare to have a swim in the Australian beaches.

9. I LOVE surprises.

10. My daily goal is to be a better version of me for the day.

To find out how you can start living your barefoot lifestyle pain free, click here.

 

Our Tough Mudder Mags

It comes as no surprise that our incredible Barefooters are constantly out doing what they love & helping others. Maggie ( or as we like to call her ‘lil mags’) is no exception, her year is filled up with incredible volunteering, fundraising and organising to help others.

She is off on an incredible adventure next year to Ethiopia to help those in need . . so Sal recently sat down with Maggie to hear all about it, and to share it with you!

So Maggie, you volunteer with Red Frogs during Schoolies on the Gold Coast, how many years have you been doing this? And what is involved?

Red Frogs has been going for 20 years and this will be my 7th year of being part of the Red Frog Crew, first three years I was in the hotel chaplaincy team, and for the next four years I have and will be part of the walk home crew. There are five different areas that you can be a part of and they are: Hotel Chaplains, Walk home crew, Red Frog Hotline crew, Support Crew and Entertainment Crew.

Red Frogs

Visiting and hanging out with Schoolies in their hotel rooms to provide a positive peer role-model, cooking more than 50,000 pancakes, walking over 3,000 young people back to their accommodation, answering over 10,000 calls on the Red Frogs 24/7 Hotline, providing positive part entertainment on 5 stages around Australia!

The main question we as RedFrogs get asked is why? why do you pay to do red frogs, and take time off work to look after the schoolies.. for me the answer is: I do it to show them unconditional love no matter what choices they make, no matter what happens to them or their friends, they are our future, our future leaders, teachers, drs. As Red Frogs we are not there to judge the schoolies, we are there to safeguard a generation , to be their best friend in times that they may not have anyone. i know at the end of each schoolies week that I have help make a difference in a least one person’s life.

When Tough Mudder comes around every year we know you’ll be in amongst it! What made you give it a go? What training do you do to be able to complete the course? 

Yes for four years I’ve been getting muddy, climbing walls, going through ice . . . among other things.

Originally I wanted to give Tough Mudder a go as a goal I set myself, to cross the finish line. I knew it would be a challenging obstacle course. For those of you who don’t know what Tough Mudder is: It’s 10-12 miles of mud and 20+ obstacles designed to drag you out of your comfort zone. The ordinary will always be there. Why not try for something extra? With no podiums, winners, or clocks to race against, Tough Mudder isn’t about how fast you can cross the finish line. It’s about pushing yourself.

Maggie completing tough mudder

After my first year I caught the Tough Mudder bug similar to when people catch the travel bug, I found myself wanting to go back for more, though this time it wasn’t just about getting across that finish line, it was about the atmosphere. Tough Mudder has team work and camaraderie even if you start the event as a team of one, that team grows as the people around you become your team as you go through the course everyone helps everyone get through each obstacle.

I also created an opportunity to fundraise for an organisation that is close to my heart.  Each time I create a fundraiser I am blown away by the donations that come in from family and friends who help make a difference to the place I am fundraising for. Next year in May  I have chosen an organisation that has been on my heart for a while to create a fundraiser for a while Grace Centre for Children and Families in Ethiopia. When I mentioned who i was planning on fundraising for, to a few of my friends 7 of them jumped on board and registered to join the team and help me fundraise.

 

And very excitingly you have a trip planned to Ethiopia next year! Tell us more – what will you be doing there?

Yes I am so excited to be heading over to Ethiopia next year, I have wanted to head over to this country for a while so that I could visit Grace Centre for Children and Families, which is who my tough mudder team are fundraising for next year. Just recently, in July, I was offered the amazing opportunity to be the  Australian Sponsorship Coordinator for Grace Centre.

Maggie’s sponsor child holding a teddy she gave him.

Grace Centre is an organisation that focuses on holistically meeting the needs of families at risk in the town of Bahir Dar, in the central north of Ethiopia. We focus of orphan prevention and keeping families together. We achieve this through Child Sponsorship, day care, temporary care, After school care, offering free medical care. We also offer a special needs program, small business , Women’s empowerment and Prison Outreach to connect with children incarcerated with their mothers.

While in Ethiopia I will be using my current qualification in childcare to assist in Grace Centre’s daycare facilities, specifically in areas of best practice, learning through play and hygiene. I will also have the opportunity to meet the children sponsored through Australia, and meet the child I currently sponsor.

We are so excited to see what Lil Mags gets up to over the next year – and to see her compete again at Tough Mudder! Our Barefooters are truly incredible. To read more of our Barefooter stories, click here.

To book in to see one of our team, click here.