- Tell us a little bit about you – who you are, and what you do
I’m an author, trainer and martial artist (ninja). That pretty much sums me up! I work as a trainer on TV’s TBL Families, I’ve written eight books, both fiction and non-fiction, including my sparkly new releases: health manual You Beauty! and children’s novel Maxi and the Magical Money Tree. I’ve studied martial arts for 20 years, I’m a 5th dan black belt in Taekwondo.
- What was the ‘uh ha’ moment that made you get into health and wellbeing?
There wasn’t a particular turning point, it was more a lifestyle. I was lucky to grow up in a family of black belts. My father was an Olympic coach for Taekwondo and my mother was one of the first women to earn her black belt in Australia. So health and fitness was already in my life, in my blood and it felt natural that I help others to feel their best too. It was all about my students. It’s always been about serving others, adding value and building confidence. I went to university and did a double degree in journalism and languages. I love studying. I worked as a journalist but hated being in an office. I kept teaching Taekwondo on the side and training people. I auditioned for the role as a gladiator for a bit of fun and got the job as Gladiator Angel for the Seven Network’s remake of Gladiators. That was my first gig in TV and my health and fitness profile grew from that and finally took over my other commitments.
- How important is our relationship with food?
It’s everything. Our relationship with food reflects our relationship with ourselves. If you have a healthy respect for your body then you will nourish yourself. When you lose yourself a bit (and we all have), that’s when we tend to eat junk, and when you eat rubbish you feel like rubbish.
I believe in the Taekwondo philosophy of wellness. Tae-kwon-do is Korean for ‘foot, fist, art’. You need to train the mind first and then the mind trains the foot and the fist. Looking after yourself is an art, a way, a journey. You never stop, it’s not a quick fix, a crash diet or magic pill, it’s about conscious, consistent healthy choices. It’s what I call the black belt mindset. I apply this mindset to food, I always see a meal as an opportunity to nourish myself, replenish, to feel well. I never look at a meal as just calories.
- What does a typical day on your plate look like?
Breakfast: Egg white omelette with spinach, capsicum and mushrooms
Juice: Salad Glass – vegetable juice
Snack: Choc Hit bliss balls with a long black
Lunch: Chicken, vegetable and risoni soup (I cook up in bulk and freeze for the week and carry around in a thermos)
Snack: Can of tuna with four bean mix (if hungry after training)
Dinner: White fish and mixed power salad.
Every single recipe is in my book You Beauty! Can’t miss out on the bliss balls.
- What inspires you and keeps you motivated each day?
My students, clients and contestants on TBL Families. They all want to work on themselves, to reach their full potential so they can give to others more holistically. I am inspired by anyone who has a goal and then works their butt off for it. I learned early on that dreams don’t work unless you do.
- What is the best piece of advice you have received?
My grandmother told me before she died, “Confidence is like bread, it must be made fresh every day.” She always reminded me that self-belief is so important to make our dreams come true because what we think about, we truly bring about.
- What are the top 3 foods you can’t live without?
Fresh fish – salmon, swordfish, snapper, tuna steaks. Fish is my go-to dinner because it helps to keep me lean and it’s great for the recovery of muscles after training.
Berries – the antioxidant hit I can’t live without in the mornings. I love berries in Greek yoghurt, smoothies or on oats.
Kangaroo – full of iron, one of the leanest meats you can have and tastes delicious when cooked in chilli.
- What are some cafes in Sydney (or wherever you’re based!) that you are loving right now?
I live between Melbourne and Brisbane. When in Brisbane, Fundies Cafe and Wholefood Market. When in Melbourne, Code Black Coffee in Brunswick.
- What is your life motto or mantra you live by?
Dreams don’t work unless you do.
10. What is it that you wish to achieve by entering the health industry – what do you hope to change/improve?
I hope to simplify the plethora of health and weight loss messages bombarding people from the media. I wish to offer an approachable approach to fitness – manageable tips for people juggling families and career.
11. Any tips or advice for those just starting out on their health journey?
My message is simple: keep it simple. Increasing your fitness doesn’t have to be a daunting 10km run on the first day. A million mile journey begins with one single step, so step slowly but consistently. Do what you can, enjoy it, and please don’t be too hard on yourself, guys!