Tag Archives: australia

My other life…

A frollower (thats; friend-follower) contacted me the other week concerned I’d abandoned my blog. In the back of my mind, the daily narrative of ‘must blog today’ played on repeat. The truth is, while I am fortunate to have secured a career that fulfils my passion of writing, I am the type of person that also needs to disconnect.

When I need to disconnect there is only one place I head – and that’s into the wild. Whether its hiking, climbing, paddling or simply forest bathing, to disconnect from the career that has become my life … I embrace my ‘other life’.

Earlier this year I climbed Mt Kosciusko. I didn’t start the climb from the chairlift, I started from the bottom. With a severe weather warning in place, the climb was not only strenuous, it was terrifying in parts. Best climb of my life.
I’ve trekked so many parts of the beautiful Blue Mountains. I couldn’t count how many klms.


Forest Bathing


Why it pays to be Arty Farty…

In the coming issue of I AM Magazine we will be featuring two creative works from two separate Schools in the Sutherland Shire.

The first; a written piece by Year 11 De La Salle College student, Sebastian, a creative take on the Burke and Wills saga – aptly titled ‘Perpetual Presence’. Sebastian’s writing was selected by his teacher, Gaby, and we believe he will have a novel out in no time at all.

Accompanying Sebastian’s work will be an art piece by one of the ‘Gifted and Talented Arts Program’ students from Gymea Bay Public School.

Choosing which piece to select for publishing however, has been a difficult task. They are all just amazing. Students from year 4 through to Year 6 attend the program that is unique to the School. The program aims to encourage students who show interest and skill in painting and arts.

In the coming issue we will explain why it is paramount to encourage creativity in children and why, even the less arty-farty of folk, should be exercising the creative part of their brain on a regular basis.

Let the selection process begin…

Gymea Bay Public School Year 4-6. Theme: Australian Landscape.

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Thank you to Principal Ray Pooley for taking the time out to supply us with these images.

A ‘PT’ who is FREE FREE FREE!!! – Cronulla!

Okay, so how many times have you said, “I would get a personal trainer if I could afford it” or just “I can’t afford to join a gym!”

Now you have NO excuse for putting off that daily workout.

Image belongs to Live Life Get Active

Live Life Active is a FREE outdoor group exercise class running daily from Monday thru Friday.

Starting at the perfect post school drop off time of 9:45am, the class is casual, for all levels of fitness, packed with variety and run by a fully qualified fitness instructor. Expect to learn how to X-train, Box and wind down with yoga, all whilst having fun in the Cronulla beach side sun.

Live Life Active is a program run all over Sydney – for Shire folk however, the local is at Cronulla Don Lucas park Wanda.

For more details find them on Facebook ‘Live life get active’

From the editor; “I have literally tried to attempt two of the Live life Active classes in the past 5 days, however my little man just hasn’t allowed it. I refuse to give up though. I will keep showing up and pray that one day he will actually sleep soundly in the pram. The great thing about this class is, if you are a mum like me with a temperamental bub that for some reason doesn’t want to co-operate some days, you are not out of pocket a cent if you simply have to make a quick exit. It beats booking in with your PT and then having to cancel at the last minute – cha-ching!”


#STOPTHEVIOLENCE – Look at ways to prevent it – NOT more ways to band-aid it!!!

12031987_10153151196847083_1873937623784559247_nWednesday this week little Miss I AM 7 attended her first self defence workshop – and loved it!!!

With domestic violence and violence against women and children rising by the week, it just makes sense to look for a solution that will give our girls the power to make the change our current society so desperately requires.

Therefore, along with the current program to educate our boys and men in all reasons why it’s not okay to hit or disrespect women, it is also of the utmost importance to, one; educate our girls that the behaviour is unacceptable; two, convince them of their true self worth; and three, TEACH THEM HOW TO DEFEND THEMSELVES OR HIT BACK if necessary.

That’s why myself and another proactive mum enrolled our girls in the Gymea Kyokushin Self Defence School Holiday workshop.

The girls [aged 6 & 7 years] learnt how to:

>Identify when they should be concerned about someone’s behaviour.

>How to bring attention to themselves should a stranger start interacting with them and also how to address that stranger with a big loud, “I DON’T KNOW YOU! GO AWAY!” voice.

>How to identify situations and scenarios where someone might be trying to coax them away from their home, parents or group or into a vehicle or isolated area.

>How to get themselves out of the grip of someone during a violent situation – aka. the trusty eye gouge!

Little Miss I AM 7 stated that the day was, “THE BEST DAY EVER!”

Although they were confronted with what is a very harsh reality of today, both girls left the workshop with elevated confidence levels and a great deal more understanding of what violence and ‘stranger danger’ really is.

I put it to all parents out there to consider this type of workshop as a solution to a problem, that right now, is being fixed more by band-aids than any real solutions that could possibly prevent the current violence epidemic from continuing.

Why isn’t the government putting some of the $100mil, recently allocated to Domestic Violence in Australia, towards putting programs like this in Schools rather than educating police officers ‘how-to’ react to the endless stream of concerns by victims of domestic violence. Should that not be part of their standard training anyway.

In my opinion, if we empower girls/women with survival skills like self defence, if we make it readily available and free of charge, an essential skill to be learnt; like Maths and English … would this epidemic not naturally decrease due to the limited number of available victims?

[Sutherland Shire locals] For more information on the programs offered by Kyokushin Karate Gymea please feel free to contact Keith Young on 0400 325 164 or keith.young@optusnet.com.au

Keep calm…we had a baby!

As you may have noticed, we have been a little quiet of late. It turns out, looking after a newborn is one extremely time consuming task – you think I would have known this being that baby Jaxson is baby #3.

Somehow though, it completely slipped my mind. We do however plan to be back with regular Health, Fitness and Lifestyle posts very soon. I AM Magazine ISSUE 22 is right on schedule for release in October 2015. If you have an interesting or inspirational story to share with our readers, please drop us a line over at the email address listed below.

Email iammagazine@live.com.au

Meet the newest I AM team member, Jaxson Houston.


See you soon,
Samantha Jane
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As seen in I AM Magazine…

“Telling someone with obesity to eat less is like telling someone with depression to cheer up”. ~ Dr Arya Sharma.

The health and wellness industry, of which the fitness industry is a huge part, is a multi-million dollar industry world wide. And here in Australia, we have personal trainers and gyms popping up like mushrooms all over the country. There is literally one on every corner it seems.

So, one would think that Australians embracing the need to make their health a priority would begin to eat away at the large percentage of overweight and obese population – yet as a nation, we are getting fatter. Rates of overweight and obesity are continuing to rise in Australia.

Based on measured height and weight from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey to calculate BMI (I know the BMI doesn’t take into account lots of variables, but bear with me) … Almost 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese (63%); 1 in 4 Australian children (25%) are overweight or obese; 15% more people living in outer regional and remote areas are overweight or obese than people living in major cities and being overweight or obese is the second highest contributor to burden of disease, after dietary risks [with smoking being the third highest].

This means the cost to our national health care system is ENORMOUS!

So why is our health as a nation on the decline while the fitness industry is still in a booming bubble?

It’s complicated, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, however here are some points we may all need to take into consideration …

  • Simply training hard and eating well is not always the immediate solution. It is however a fabulous maintenance plan once all other aspects have been addressed and the individual is not deemed as being at risk of relapsing.
  • Psychology is an important part of weight loss and health. I send the majority of my weight loss clients to a psychologist as part of their long term treatment plan. Finding out how they ended up needing to lose weight in the first place is extremely important, or the roller coaster ride will continue.
  • GP’s can play an important role in referring their patients out to the appropriate support network (psychologists, highly qualified and experienced personal trainers or movement specialists, and nutritionists).
  • Nutritionists are the other key to successful long term weight loss – as personal trainers, many of us are not qualified to provide nutritional advice to high risk clients. We are able to provide general advice, but unless we have studied nutrition at a higher education level, what we find off the internet or “from our own experience” simply isn’t good enough.

That doesn’t mean your personal trainer, gym or exercise group doesn’t have an important role to play. We do! We just need to know what it is.

So from my end, here is what our role is as a PT:

  • Refer out to other professionals within our network where appropriate.
  • Provide outstanding movement coaching and training services appropriate to the physical needs of the client.
  • Support other service providers by encouraging the client to follow the nutritional plan, take medications where prescribed, and continue with follow up appointments in relation to mental health.
  • Ultimately we are the exercise cog in the wheel.

As a client here are some of the things you should be asking your PT for:

  • Safe exercise prescription under supervision plus a simple exercise plan that you can follow unsupervised between PT visits.
  • Referrals to other network providers.
  • Ongoing support through the highs and the lows.

Some people can certainly turn their health and well being around simply by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy fresh food diet well balanced in proteins, complex carbohydrates, rich in vitamins and minerals. However, many can’t. Its about more than that and a great personal trainer will understand that. Next time you meet with your personal trainer, or if you are considering employing the services of one, consider it a great addition to your current health care plan. A good PT will pay for themselves a thousand times over when your health has improved and your risk of disease decreases. Being overweight or obese is a contributing factor to the majority of lifestyle (preventable) diseases. Top up your insurance premiums by using the services of a PT to their full capacity and you won’t be sorry you did.

 Here is my 3 month movement plan for anyone suffering from obesity that, in conjunction with other health professionals, would like to change that …

WEEKS 1-4 – I walk with my clients on a flat surface. Sometimes every single day. It might take hours, but as the days go by the distance stays the same and the time gets faster. The days that I am not with them I ask them to … walk!

WEEKS 5-8 – Continue walking 5-7 days a week plus add 2-3 30 minute bodyweight and primary movement pattern sessions. The aim is for the client not to experience major muscle soreness so they are able to continue exercising daily.

WEEKS 9-12 – Continue walking 5-7 days weekly, increase the supervised movement sessions to 45-60 minutes and introduce other training methods of slightly higher intensity.

In all this time we still haven’t lifted a weight (that comes soon), the client hasn’t experienced major muscle soreness and it is a pattern they are able to continue with long term for the rest of their life!


With his permission, I can share with you that using the above method, combined with a medically based nutritional plan and ongoing work on thought patterns, Brad [pictured above] managed to lose 22kg from September to December last year. He set the goal of losing enough weight to go skydiving for his 30th birthday – nailed it! It wasn’t complicated, but it wasn’t easy having to undo years and years of damage, negative thinking and the abuse of food. It doesn’t make me great, all I did was walk with him, talk with him, prescribe appropriate and safe exercise, and made sure he followed the nutritional plan in place that was right for him. I want to wish him all the very best for continued weight loss and a long and healthy future of daily exercise that he enjoys.

My theory when it comes to exercising for weight loss is, “begin with the end in mind”. If you can’t keep it up for a sustained period of time, it’s unlikely you will keep your weight at a healthy level for a sustained period of time either.

-Emma Pilcher- http://www.emmapilcher.com.au

emma pilcher

Chase your dreams, do what you have to do to make it a reality.

Is there a half marathon or even an ultra marathon on your bucket list – but, you can barely run a kilometre? Find inspiration in 41 year old Tanya’s incredible journey, from struggling through an initial 800 metre run to killing it on THE BIG RED RUN!

Fear of failure, and pain, is the best motivator to get me up, out of bed, and running. I wanted to know I could, I wanted to prove to myself that the old me didn’t exist anymore and I wanted to do something to make my family and especially my son proud.


Chase your dreams do what you have to do to make it a reality. Chase it, commit to it, and sacrifice for it. For the first time in my life that old saying ‘You can do anything you want’ rings true. And trust me, it is so worth it, the pride of my family, my pride in myself and the confidence it has given me more than outweigh the struggle to get there. I’m not the fastest, the strongest, or the fittest, when its all said and done I’m pretty ordinary but I’ve just done it, 6 days 250 ks in the desert, and I can honestly say it was fun!



#loveyourwork – No seriously … LOVE IT!

A very colourful brochure job for Suicide Risk Assessment Aust.
A very colourful brochure job for Suicide Risk Assessment Aust.

Outside of putting together an insanely cool issue of I AM magazine every quarter, I also dabble in a little graphic design work and content/freelance writing for other sites. I absolutely LOVE what I do! Every aspect of every job I receive, from the initial sourcing of ideas to the transformation of a customers vision into a finished graphic, file or story. When you work in the creative industry you are exercising, stretching and exploring some of the most beautiful parts of your brain. You are giving your imagination permission to step outside and show you exactly what it can do.

How many jobs or bosses allow you to do that?!!!

Love your work! Whatever it is you decide to fill your days with, do everything you can to love, at a minimum, 80% of your jobs requirement.

Otherwise, what’s the point?



sj freelance blogger graphic copy

A transformation program changing bodies and lives!…


Ritch Fit, a Sutherland Shire based business, has just launched a new 6 Week Transformation Program for Charity.

“We thought a 6 Week Weight Loss Program with all proceeds going to the Australian Childhood Foundation would be a great way to let others know of the great work the ACF are doing to help save Australian children from the trauma of abuse, neglect and family violence, and a great way to help Shire residents get healthier at the same time.”

The 6 Week Transformation Program is the culmination of Nick Ritchie, owner of Ritch Fit, 10 years’ experience as a Personal Trainer helping women lose weight, tone up and fit back into their favorite pair of jeans.

“With over 60% of Australian’s classified as overweight or obese, we thought the best thing we could do to raise funds and awareness for the Australian Childhood Foundation, was do what we do best; help Australian’s lose weight and feel better about themselves, and in-turn, help the ACF do what they do best – help troubled kids get back on their feet”, stated Nick Ritchie.

“Children who have experienced the trauma of abuse and violence need their community to look out for them, and look after them. They cannot be safe and feel safe without a community prepared to act, to understand and to acknowledge the true extent of the issue in Australia.

Children are still being hurt every day. With one new report of abuse, neglect or family violence every two minutes, we know that no town, city or community is immune from this tragedy.

More than 40 000 children and young people cannot sleep in their own beds tonight for fear of being abused or neglected. [quoted http://www.childhood.org.au Australian Childhood Foundation]”

Participants will receive three Personal Training group sessions per week, meal plans and private online support group access to ensure full support and optimal results with a minimum $10 donation into the charity box per week. Entries close Thursday June 25th 2015, and available timeslots are 11am & 2pm Monday through Friday. Entries are to be made by contacting Nick via phone call/sms 0416172812 or email nick@ritchfit.com

http://www.ritchfit.com – article content supplied by Ritch Fit and edited by I AM magazine.

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