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How She Does It -
Wendy Burke of Everest Health

Written by Nadia Tucker


Posted on August 10 2016


Every week 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 Wendy Burke, I’m turning 47 this year (where did the time go!) and I am the mum of two very active boys who are 9 and 6. I am a Personal Trainer for Weight Management Psychology and Nutritionist for Banksia Women’s Healing Centre and I am also in my last year of studying Naturopathy. Two years ago I also created my own business, Everest Health, which specializes in helping people rediscover (or sometimes discover) their health through exercise and nutrition and once I have graduated I plan on putting more time and effort into this.

My hubby works in town in corporate and is really supportive of all my dreams of building a business that helps people. We are here at Wavell Heights, I love this part of Brisbane, it has everything that we need.

My fave things to do is to hang out with family and friends although I don’t get much time with study at the moment. I am a sucker for a good red wine and a chat. I love it when my hubby and I get to go out on a date night every couple of months – I wish we could do it more!

What does active living mean to you?

Active living isn’t just about moving and eating healthy food to me although these two things are important. To me active living is also about having a positive mindset and making choices that you know will benefit your body because you have enough self-love and respect to believe you are worth taking care of.

What do you like to do to stay active?

Lots of different stuff - I can get bored with the same thing and I like exercising in a group. I do a boxing class, I weight train and do intervals on the bike and I do something called primal. I do a boot camp once a week and also train with another PT once a week and at the moment I am also doing clinical Pilates twice a week because I have a back injury I am trying to rehabilitate.

Have you always been active and healthy?

No - in fact it would be fair to say that I have been particularly unhealthy in a great deal of my past! I was the big girl at school and got teased about it and this translated into being an even bigger adult. Being bigger does not necessarily mean you are unhealthy but in my case I was because of the unhealthy habits that I had. I had a couple of goes at getting fit and I played some sport but as I said, I had lots of other habits that meant I was not healthy. I was around a size 16 for most of my early adult life and drank and smoked a lot! Although I had quit smoking when I found out I was pregnant, other unhealthy habits remained and I put on a lot of weight when pregnant with first son. Four months after his birth I was a size 22 with post-natal depression. One day I just snapped and decided that enough was enough and I wanted to change so I joined a gym, got a personal trainer and taught myself about nutrition. It was a very gradual change but in the end I lost 45kg and have been at this same stable weight now for 5 years. It was this journey that inspired me to go and study nutrition and personal training so that I could help other people. I was amazed at just how healthy food could transform not only your body but your mind as well.

What is your daily or weekly routine (if you have one)?

Early gym workouts for me 4 times a week - I have early clients that I train on the other 3. Two other workouts sometime during the week when I can fit them in. Lectures at the moment on Monday and Wednesday. PT work Monday night, Nutrition work Thursday night. A couple of other clients spread throughout the week. Drop off and pick-ups with kids at school and any spare time I am studying, writing programs or writing assignments.

What daily habits keep you fit and healthy?

Food that nourishes my body and workouts with people that inspire me and who I genuinely enjoy the company of. (Plus extra hugs from my boys).

What is your best active living hack?

The line from “Finding Nemo” - “just keeping swimming, just keep swimming…” Sometimes you just have to keep going even if you don’t think you can.

What does a sample workout look like for you?

Honestly - there isn't just one. I train at this great small group exercise studio called Quinnys and whilst all the classes have a theme (boxing, primal, bootcamp etc) the content is different in every class. I also have a Personal trainer who I have trained with now for 9 years and she is the most creative person I have ever come across. When I train myself it’s usually a combo of weights for about 30 mins and intervals on the bike for 30 mins. Not running far at the moment as it hurts my back and I have to be careful about loading up with weights for the same reason but there are so many different types of exercise other than weights that even if I can’t put load on my shoulders in future it’s not the end of the world.

Favourite healthy meal?

Salmon. I loooooove salmon. In fact, we have that for dinner tonight.

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

Priorities. You just have to put yourself and your health at a high priority and believe yourself worthy of good health. I know so many women who put themselves and their health last in the family but in most cases a healthy mum has a huge positive ripple effect on the family so it’s worth pursuing for the entire family’s health.

For me right now the greatest challenge is pain and movement because of my back – it’s beneficial to move but I do need to be mindful not to do things that aggravate it and that frustrates me sometimes. I just try to feel grateful for the life and the movement that I do have.

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

I have a much more comprehensive wardrobe than I did 10 years ago! Don’t know if my hubby thinks it’s a good side effect though. Bahahaha!

What (or who) inspires and motivates you?

Gosh - so many people! Some wonderful lecturers at College that have influenced the way I think, the amazing personal trainers who train me because they are so creative (I hope to be the PT’s that they are one day), some of the groovy people I work out with, some of my clients who have the courage to start a life where health is important, the weight management psychiatrist that I work for as well, the acupuncturist colleagues I work with - I don’t know where to stop really!

How do you overcome negative thoughts?

For me it’s about focusing on what I am doing at the time and not getting ahead of myself. Just getting through one thing at a time and understanding that uncomfortable feelings will pass. This is true for me when I am hurting in a workout, busting out an assignment with a deadline or riding out a sugar craving.

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

I try to not beat myself up about it because I know that my motivation will come back. According to my husband I can be quite driven so sometimes it’s more of an issue to get me to stop doing things.

What do you do to treat yourself?

Lunch with friends occasionally, get my toes done, buy some new clothes (hehehehehe) - go out to dinner with my hubby wearing my new clothes….

Top 3 songs on your workout playlist?

I don’t think that I could just pick 3 as I love music but I will try! “In The End” – Linkin Park, “Fighter” – Christine Aguilara are two of my all-time fave’s and I have this middle-age lady obsession with Five Seconds of Summer at the moment so “She Looks So Perfect” as well. Most Pink songs will get me going as well.

What is your active truth?

Don’t get caught up in the latest diet and exercise fad and do not focus on weight loss because it will never fill the void – focus on health and happiness instead. Be consistent and persistent and believe that you are worthy of good health. I think my clients get tired of me saying that!

Thanks Wendy!


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