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How She Does It - Mary Bourke from Transforming Mary

Written by Kate Middleton


Posted on July 18 2018

In our 'How She Does It' series we interview women about how they incorporate active and healthy habits into their lives. We believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness, so we aim to capture the variety of ways women choose to be active to give you ideas and inspiration on how to live your best active life.

Tell us about yourself 

My name is Mary Bourke and I’m 24 years old. I work full-time as a social worker in Geelong, Victoria, and I absolutely adore my job working with 0-4 year olds. I live with my partner, Wil, and spend my time playing netball, watching Netflix, going for walks, at the beach and baking.

What does active living mean to you?

To me, active living doesn’t necessarily mean working yourself to exhaustion at the gym every single day. Walking the dog, playing with the kids, taking the stairs, vacuuming the house and dancing around the living room are things we can do to maintain an active lifestyle.

What do you like to do to stay active? 

I love playing social netball and play 2 games per week, as well as participating in my local ParkRun on a Saturday morning. I go to yoga 3-4 times per week and I do also enjoy the gym, so I try to get in 3 – 4 cardio or weights per week too.

What is your definition of healthy?

I think that “health” really is a balancing act. To me, being healthy is all about nurturing your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health, and keeping them all in equilibrium. It can be really tricky to find the balance sometimes!

Have you always been active and healthy?

Absolutely not! About 3 years ago I started focusing on my health and wellness, but prior to that I was in a really negative headspace, which was affecting me physically as well. After 10 years of yo-yo dieting, restricting myself and ranging from obese to underweight, I have finally found a healthy balance that works for my lifestyle.

What is your daily or weekly routine?

I work full-time Monday- Friday, so my routine doesn’t vary much!
Monday: Wake up, gym, work then yoga.
Tuesday: Wake up, meditation, work then netball.
Wednesday: Wake up, gym, work then a Jungle Body workout.
Thursday: Wake up, go for a run, work, then netball.
Friday: Wake up, gym, work, then (sometimes) yoga. Friday nights are usually spent with my partner, maybe going out for dinner or for a long walk together.
Weekends vary, but I do try to get in one gym session and 1-2 yoga sessions, as well as a nice walk and some meditation. I also like to do some meal prep and plan my meals for the week.

What daily habits keep you fit and healthy?

I am NOT a morning person!!! I’ve recently started putting my alarm on the other side of the room so I have to get up and turn it off. Then I’m already up and out of bed, so I find it easier to get dressed and get out for a run or to the gym. I also like to plan my meals for the week, but I don’t stick too strictly to the plan, because life comes first!

What is your best active living hack?

Find what works for you – complete restriction doesn’t get you anywhere, and if you’re not a gym person, you’re not a gym person!! Don’t force it or see exercise as a chore. Find an activity you enjoy and make a promise to yourself to do it just once a week. From there, you can build up and try some new things, but just start slow.

Favourite healthy meal?

I love anything with salmon! My go-to would have to be a salmon fillet with mixed greens and veg, plus some flaked almonds on top and maybe a bit of mashed potato. Yum!

What health craze are you guilty of loving? 

Raw treats, haha. I come up with all sorts of strange combinations for healthy brownies, raw ‘chocolate ice cream’ or sugar free pancakes.

What challenges do you need to overcome in order to achieve healthy and active living?

I think negative self-talk and fear of failure is something that a lot of people face. My first time trying yoga, I was absolutely terrified of people laughing at me and I felt so out of place. Now I walk in loud and proud like I own the joint (lol)! Everyone else in a class or at the gym is too worried about themselves to even think about looking at you. Getting out there and giving something new a go can be absolutely terrifying, but so rewarding.

What is the best side effect of staying healthy and active?

I can walk to my car without getting puffed, I can pick up my niece and run around with her all day, and I can go on so many adventures that I couldn’t before! I love rock climbing, waterfall chasing and hiking now.

What (or who) inspires or motivates you?

My biggest inspiration is my strong, supportive, single mother. She has also had a life-long battle with her weight and raised myself and my brother to have healthy habits and make good choices. Even now at 55 and after 2 knee reconstructions, mum still gets out for a walk regularly and loves to get out in the garden. I love her and she’s always supportive of me.
I’m also inspired on the daily by some of my followers and friends on instagram, including @w8lossjourn3y, @seeinglessofsarah, @destination_bikini, @chantellevsg and @get_fit_lauren.

How do you overcome negative thoughts?

It’s so tricky. And to be honest, sometimes those thoughts do creep back in. I just try to remember how far I’ve come and that it’s only natural to have setbacks. I try to stop negative self-talk in its tracks before it can affect me, and replace that negative with a positive.

How do you practice self care?

As a social worker, self-care is so important and I’ve done a lot of work to ensure that I always look after my emotional and mental health, as well as my physical health. Journaling really helps me put everything I’m thinking or feeling into words, and meditation is always great for relaxation and grounding. I also love taking a long hot bath, going for a walk or just spending time at home vegging out watching Netflix.

How do you manage days or periods where you are not as motivated?

It happens. I think it’s important not to force it. Rest is just as important for your health as exercise is, so I make an effort to recognise when I need to rest my body and mind. That being said, if I’m not feeling motivated one day, I try to leave that day behind me and start fresh the next day with a walk or gym session. Even just getting out for a 20 minute walk can bring that motivation back and make you feel amazing. Walking with a friend always helps too.

What do you do to treat yourself? 

I try not to use food as treats, but let’s be real – it happens! My partner and I will go out for dinner about once a month and I make sure I’m not too focused on tracking calories or restricting anything … if I want dessert, I’m having it! I also try to use non-food treats such as massages, manicures, maybe a new dress or some relaxing self-care time (a bath, a glass of wine and a good book is always a winner!)

Top 3 songs on your workout playlist?

Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj.
Finally – CeCe Peniston
I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston

Love Mary as much as we do? You can follow her via 

Instagram: @transforming_mary 

Love Mary's look? You can shop our Wild Meadow set here.


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