Hannah:
Welcome back Burn Pod listeners. Now in today’s episode, we’re very lucky to have one of our amazing new ambassadors Claire, joining us. Well, you’ve probably, hopefully have checked out some of our other episodes, with a few of our other ambassadors. And what we like to do is mix up the educational podcast with some podcasts all that people’s stories.

Hannah:
So you get to see, you know, real-world women, and how they’re interacting in, you know, their life with their health and wellbeing, and everything else that we have to deal with as women as well.

Hannah:
So thank you so much for your time and welcome Claire.

Claire:
Thanks Hannah. I feel funny being here because I’m sure there’s more interesting people that go to BurnTheory, but anyway, happy to be here and have a chat.

Hannah:
I know, I feel like that all the time when I’m like, “Someone tells a story…” And everyone has a story, but yeah, sometimes we don’t think it’s very excited. But it’s always nice. People can find some interaction, or some tangents with you.

Claire:
Yeah, I’ve listened to a few of the other ambassadors do their thing, and it was I guess, more interesting than I anticipated, I guess.

Hannah:
Yeah.

Claire:
[crosstalk 00:01:31], hopefully mine is for someone else.

Hannah:
I’m sure it will be. Well, let’s get into it. So our listeners get to know you a little bit more, can you give us a about a 30 second elevator pitch, I guess, or it doesn’t even have to be 30 seconds, it could go on for five minutes, but give us a little bit of a background on you know, who you are, what you love, or passionate about.

Claire:
Yeah. Sure. So I’m Claire. I was born and raised in Queensland, but I’ve been in Tassie since the end of 2014. My partner moved here because he was an elite athlete. He rode for Australia, still-water rowing. So that’s what brought me down, and we’re still here. So everyone always asks, “Are we settled now?” And I always say, “I have no idea. We don’t plan ahead. So we’ll see what happens.”

Claire:
So we live on the eastern shore with my dog, [Brenda 00:02:18], who I love, she’s a little staffy. And I’m a nurse. So I trained in Queensland, worked in emergency mainly. Love it, very passionate about it. But even when I was studying, I’ve also got a degree in public health, which led me to be a remote area nurse. So I spent a lot of the early years of my career working towards becoming a remote area nurse, or a RAN. And then I was able to be doing that from about 2017 to 2020 when the pandemic sort of stopped me from the freedom of FIFO work.

Claire:
And so I just dabbled in public health, coronavirus work for a year and a half a year, or a year and a bit. And now I’m back in emergency.

Hannah:
Wow. And where were the remote areas that you were flying in and out?

Claire:
Northern territory. So I did my first year or so of nursing in remote Queensland. Sorry, my dog Brenda is trying to get involved in the podcast.

Hannah:
It’s all right.

Claire:
So I did my first year or so, year or two training in far north Queensland, in Torres Strait Islands, and then came to Tassie, refined my EG skills, and then 17, 18, 19 was in the Northern territory in the remote Aboriginal communities in just like nurse-led clinics there. I mean I went back to a few communities regularly, but mostly it was just wherever the need was, wherever they needed someone.

Hannah:
Yeah. And was it emergency work in those areas, or was it literally anything and everything that came through the door?

Claire:
Anything and everything. So there were sometimes doctors. Sometimes they were there one day week, sometimes they were just on the end of the phone, there was no paramedics. So we sort of did everything from like, we ran the ambulance, we did primary healthcare. We do diabetes and antenatal, postnatal midwifery checks with midwifery support if you weren’t a midwife, which I’m not. And emergencies. Kids, adults, all sorts of things.

Claire:
So if someone was really crook, you’d sort them out, and get them a plane out there. So emergency evacuation, but there was a lot of ongoing stuff. You know, people who were a little bit unwell, you’d manage them for a week. Then they got better, or people who had long term you know, diabetes they needed help with wound dressings, dogs, sick animals.

Hannah:
Yeah. Wow. I never knew that about you. And I know we’ve got these questions to guide our conversation, but I was like, “Let’s get into that. That sounds so exciting.”

Claire:
I do love it. And if you start me talking about it, we won’t talk about anything else. So we’d better just like put a lid on it.

Hannah:
All right.

Claire:
But I am extremely passionate about it. And going back to emergency is my way of transitioning back out there because the coronavirus public health job I did was really office based. So I really needed to refine my clinical skills before I go back out there.

Hannah:
And your partner, was it, did you say still-water rowing?

Claire:
Yeah. So whenever I say he’s a rower, people often don’t know what it means. But basically he rode as a lightweight rower for Australia in a four. So there’s four oars, one person holds a single oar each. So it’s sweep rowing. There’s all different types of rowing categories. Some people there’s open water rowing, some people think it’s kayaking. It’s not, it’s not canoeing.

Claire:
And when I say he rode, some people think that I meant he’s a cyclist. But he did do a lot of cycling, and he does that sort of like … still competes at a very community level I guess. So not fun rides, but he’s always been really active. And he’s retired from still-water rowing now.

Hannah:
And hence, you moving down here, or is there quite a big community of that down here?

Claire:
So have moved down here at the start of 2013, and that’s when I moved to the Torres Strait Island. So we did long distance for two years. And then he was still pursuing his career as an Australian athlete. So I moved to Tasmania because it doesn’t happen in the Torres Strait, , there’s a lot of crocs, and sharks, and turtles, and waves, and tides, and-

Hannah:
Can’t [crosstalk 00:06:17] really do much rowing up there.

Claire:
Yeah. And so when they get selected in a team, they often relocate depending where the coach lives.

Hannah:
Oh, okay.

Claire:
Or where, in his case, it was a coach, but also it was the majority of the other athletes were Tasmanian or lived in Tasmania.

Hannah:
Yeah, I get that. So [crosstalk 00:06:40] that’s what brought him down here. I see.

Claire:
Yeah.

Hannah:
Well, let’s take back to Claire as a teenager, or a younger adult.

Claire:
Yep.

Hannah:
What’s been your relationship with fitness, health and yourself, if any?

Claire:
Yeah. Well, when I read that question, relationship with fitness and health, it’s interesting because I don’t think … probably till my mid twenties, I would say I didn’t have a relationship with fitness and health as such, but when I’m actually thinking about the question I did, I just hadn’t I guess, identified it as that.

Claire:
I’ve played sports since I was … Well, we started swimming lessons when we were two, I think. But we were swimming with our parents in the, you know pools or ocean before that. And then I think by the time I was 10, I was doing like four sports. So netball, gymnastics, swimming, and then-

Hannah:
Your poor parents.

Claire:
Yeah, I know. And I was playing baseball as well at one point. And I remember I came home one day and I said, “Mum, it’s time for baseball.” And she said, “No, you’re not playing anymore.” And we still talk about it. And I said, “How dare you do that.” And she said, “Claire, when you’ve got four kids under eight, and one of them has to go to four different sports, you will understand.” And I do now as an adult, but at the time I was absolutely devastated.

Hannah:
Yeah.

Claire:
But I understand now. Yeah, so I’ve always done sport. [Nick 00:08:03] and I met through rowing. That was after school though. But I rode at school. I did a whole bunch of different things.

Hannah:
You’ve always been very active then?

Claire:
Yeah. Always very active. And even when I finished, I know when a lot people finish school, sport sort of drops away. But I think when I started remote nursing in 17, 18, was the first time that I wasn’t doing regular, weekly sort of exercise or sport. But yeah, I never really thought of it as anything more than just-

Hannah:
That’s what you did.

Claire:
Yeah. And loved it.

Hannah:
Yeah. And I guess, how has that continued through into FIFO, or FIFO work, and then coming down to Tassie?

Claire:
So when I was in the Torres Strait, when I moved there out of Brisbane … So up until I was in Brisbane end of 2012, I was playing social sports heaps. Like I played sport that I hadn’t even played at school. Soccer, touch football. Netball’s been a constant, still is.

Claire:
And I was going to gym a lot. Not like Les Mills sort of stuff, which I just can’t even face the thought of these days. But anyway, I loved it at the time. And in the Torres Strait, I played touch footy, and had a crack of basketball. It was about the only sport that I didn’t ever go back to because I’m just shite. Like just so bad at basketball.

Hannah:
Also maybe a little short, like me.

Claire:
Yeah. Short, and I think when you [inaudible 00:09:34] it’s really hard to-

Hannah:
Yeah, to move with the ball.

Claire:
… change. Yeah.

Hannah:
Yeah.

Claire:
Anyway, so I did that, but then came to Tassie, wasn’t into sport, but had really got into yoga. So I was doing so much yoga and it gave me this strength and control of my body that I hadn’t had before. I’m such an injury prone person, not accident prone, but injury prone. Like lower back pain, shin splints my whole life. Bung ankles, knees, all sorts of things.

Claire:
So yoga really helped with that. Unfortunately, when I started doing fly-in fly-out, I sort of fell off the bandwagon with everything really. And so it was probably 18, 19, and then the icing on the cake was just the pandemic when … the least active I’ve been in my whole life I would say.

Claire:
And I really felt it. So many aches and pains. I’ve got very mild hyper mobility, and every joint that I’ve got it in was just sore all the time. I was just finding it hard to do normal things like bend … I was getting to the point where I’d just halfway bend over to turn the heater on, and I’d get sudden onset back pain that you just shouldn’t be getting in your late twenties.

Hannah:
Yeah. And as with so many other people, you know have the same experience through COVID. I mean I think I was probably one of the rare ones because I was forced to film Regular Lives. So I was moving more than I ever have. But I mean if I didn’t have to do it, I probably would have been very stagnant at home.

Claire:
Yeah.

Hannah:
And it’s hard to get back into it. And I think what we’ve noticed particularly at the studio at the moment is that there’s, you know, there has been a shift, and I think it’s going to stay this way of people doing a part work from home, part work at the office.

Hannah:
And it is really hard to get your butt off the couch, and have that split if you don’t have any difference between your work and your home life.

Claire:
And you don’t actually have to leave the house, so-

Hannah:
Yeah. You kind of like-

Claire:
… so why would you ride to town?

Hannah:
Exactly. Yeah. You kind of roll off your desk, or like possibly even the kitchen table, which is your desk. Roll into the kitchen, and then you met up on the couch, and then that’s your day.

Claire:
Yeah, it’s just crazy. So I started an office job for the first time in my life in March 2020. And I didn’t have to work from home, but even just in the lifestyle of sitting down, was … and I mean I was still mountain biking, and I actually … that’s how I learned about BurnTheory, was that my colleagues, [Scarlet 00:12:13], we were there working crazy hours, like 16 hours a day.

Claire:
She would like do a half hour live bar class, or a recorded one I think at like 8:30 at night. She’d just stand at her desk, and use the wall, and do a half hour barre class. And that’s when I first-

Hannah:
That’s brilliant.

Claire:
… so I knew about it for a few months before I joined. So anyway, I understand what office work is like now, and I really didn’t before. And I think that really contributed. So I gained a bit of weight. I was the heaviest that I’d been in my life. It really snuck up on me. FIFO remote area work, and ward work, I’d never appreciated how active it kept me on top of you know, walking the dog, and yoga, or whatever I was doing. So it was a huge thing.

Hannah:
Yeah. You’re on your feet all day.

Claire:
All day. And like it’s-

Hannah:
[crosstalk 00:13:09] down all day at a desk.

Claire:
… exactly. And like I said [inaudible 00:13:12] body nursing is pretty bad. So many nurses that go to BurnTheory I’m starting to realise. so-

Hannah:
Yeah, I think we’ve literally got half the hospital, yeah.

Claire:
Yeah. I think they all know how much your body suffers. But at the same time it does keep you active.

Hannah:
Yeah, it does. Well, I’ve got another question for you around managing time. I mean, you’ve got a pretty hectic life, and working in emergency you know, I’m assuming you’re shift work still. You don’t have set hours?

Claire:
Yeah. It’s shift work.

Hannah:
Yeah. How do you manage all of that? Like how do you actually … it sounds like it’d be hard for you to create a routine, whereas you know, office work, it does allow you to get a routine, but sometimes that can be a bit stagnant. But I guess, how do you manage your time for yourself, and juggling life, and working and things?

Claire:
Yeah. So it’s funny because … So what triggered me to actually join Burn was a bit of the fact that I was uncomfortable with my clothes, and I wasn’t too worried about being overweight, just that I was like, “I have an amazing wardrobe, I want to be able to fit it.” And also the fact that I fell off a mountain bike, snapped some ligaments in my ankle, and everyone who I talked to about it, was like, “Oh, I injured my ankle when I was necessary third year, and I just never bounced back, that was sort of the end of it.”

Claire:
And I thought, “Oh my God, I’m not going to be that person. So I got into barre I think, and boxing, and it was so perfect the way it was able to be modified for someone who wasn’t fit and slightly injured. And anyway, at that point I was also like quite depressed. A mixture of so many different things, like being away from family because they’re all in Queensland, not being able to do my passion, which is remote nursing. So I was a really low mood.

Claire:
So those first few months I was just forcing myself to go. But I still loved it. It wasn’t forcing myself, I just forced the routine a bit. But I loved going. So then, once I developed that routine, the office work was good, but I was really knackered at the end of every day. So the classes were really hard. But, I just had the routine. You just knocked off at five, and you went at 5:30, and that’s just what it was.

Claire:
So that was really great. But I was low mood at that time. And that was hard. But I guess like it’s funny that I say that, but at the same time, every month that I was doing that, my mood and my mental health was actually improving. I know that now, but at the time …

Hannah:
At the time, you don’t.

Claire:
It doesn’t feel that. And then I quit my office job, and I had like this amazing six or eight weeks where I was free, and I was so happy, and I was going to so many classes, and I felt amazing. And then I was like back into shift work, and I was like, “I can go to the gym before a late class. This is great.”

Claire:
And so I was going to like a class before every late shift, which starts at two, and coming after every early shift that finishes at four, so actually the timing is perfect for the classes.

Claire:
I reckon that lasted about six weeks till I have been hit with the shift worker fatigue. So I had that initial high of not having a stagnant routine like you said. And now, I’m sort of back in this little bit of a funk where if the sun’s out, I don’t want to go think the gym. I just want to be outside because I know I’m going to be inside till 11 o’ clock at night.

Claire:
And going after an early shift, I forgot how emotionally draining caring for people is.

Hannah:
Yeah.

Claire:
Anyway, it’s been a real up and down. I don’t have a routine. I don’t think I ever have. But I still love going to Burn so much that gong before and after a shift is not as hard as if I was trying to force myself to like go for a run, or do a bloody spin class. I know that probably some people love spin, but I just can’t like … it’s just not the same as what-

Hannah:
Yeah, no, I understand.

Claire:
… I’ve found through BurnTheory anyway.

Hannah:
I think it’s one of those things. When you’re lacking in energy, or motivation, to get yourself to do your own workout, it’s not going to work. It’s literally … even like a 10 minute walk feels like you’re climbing Mount Everest.

Hannah:
Yeah.

Claire:
But I think if you roll yourself into a class where someone’s actually forcing you to do it, and if you walk out, everyone sees you walk out. Even if you half arse it. Like I’ve just got back into it after not feeling … you know, being a bit unwell over the weekend, and my class yesterday, I was pathetic. But, I was still there. Like you know, you have your Apple watch on, and it was like, “Oh wow, with that HIIT workout, you burnt 150 calories,” which is pathetic for me, which is usually a 450 cal burn, but I was like, “Look, at least I got off the couch and did something.” And it was that little thing that now, today’s workout is much better. And like you kind of get back into it.

Claire:
So, I guess just before we wrap up, are there any tips that you have when you were in those sort of lacking motivation, or just time poor moments?

Claire:
For me, I really try to ignore the feeling of guilt. For me personally, that sort of guilt of, I’ve got to go, I’ve got to burn calories … I’ve had a not great relationship with calories counting the past. I was a lightweight rower, and had a really mild sort of eating disorder in grade 12, which I was fortunate to just snap out of it, and it was all right, but that sense of guilt, and having to exercise for an external, extrinsic reason, I personally don’t think it’s long term sustainable. So I really try to focus on just getting there, and for me it’s really … it’s lame, and probably not everyone has this same goal, but I think as a nurse, I see a lot of people in their 70s, 60s even, who have such poor muscle wastage. And I think, I’m doing this for the greater good of myself-

Hannah:
Long term.

Claire:
… long term.

Hannah:
Yeah.

Claire:
And I know that’s not maybe a great motivator for a lot of people because it is really sort of specific to me. But that’s what I would say. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are tired, just take it easy. If you really know that going to the gym is not the right thing for you, maybe don’t force it because tomorrow you might feel like it. And you’ll go, and you’ll feel great.

Hannah:
Yeah, exactly. Take the pressure off. It’s interesting you brought that point up, that a lot of people look at exercising like you said, that you have to do it. And it’s looking at that mentality of taking away like, I have to do that so I don’t have … you know, I’m not eating as many calories, or … And it’s a negative thought, but it’s taking away from yourself, rather than filling up your own cup. You know, moving your body is a way of positively giving you something, not taking something away.

Claire:
Agreed.

Hannah:
It’s an interesting. I mean we could do like, you know, 15 podcast topics on this episode.

Claire:
Yeah.

Hannah:
For this topic.

Claire:
Yeah.

Hannah:
Well look, I won’t hold you up any longer, but thank you so much. I would actually love to chat about FIFO work. I just think it’s the most amazing, and [inaudible 00:20:02] thing. And something that’s completely foreign to me. So I’d love to hear about it.

Claire:
Yeah. Anytime.

Hannah:
But yeah, thank you so much for your time.

Claire:
Oh, no worries. And like I said, if you do start, when I talk about it, just be prepared to speak for like hours because I could talk forever.

Hannah:
All right. I’ll have like a time limit. I’ll put it on [inaudible 00:20:20] when the egg timer goes off, I’ll be like, “Right claire, stop talking.”

Claire:
That’s it.

Hannah:
“We’re done.”

Claire:
Okay.

Hannah:
All right, Burn listeners, well thank you so much for joining us, and we’ll catch you on the next one.

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