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Asha Burnley

How this Broadbeach gal went from champion triathlete to super successful fitness coach. 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been a Gold Coast local for the past 25 years.

What do you love most about living here? 
Every time I travel I appreciate something new about living here. I’m so grateful for the beautifully clean streets, our fresh air and the safety I feel here. Our Gold Coast beaches and coastline really are the best in the world and it’s just incredible getting to live a stones throw away from the ocean. Some of our parks and outdoor workout locations are breath taking.

Tell us about what you do and what you love most about it?
I specialise in women’s health and fitness, and my passion is to empower women in becoming happier and healthier via the use of my innovative programs. We incorporate not only health, fitness, and nutrition but also mindfulness and wellness.

I also own a private boutique fitness studio in Broadbeach and travel internationally speaking on stage, hosting health retreats and teaching others how to become healthier and happier. I mentor women online in my Angel Academy and self published a healthy recipe book in 2014. In line with this, I travel nationally coaching others on health and nutrition, and teaching cooking classes.

My favourite partis sharing the journey and supporting my clients transformations and getting to see them become happier and healthier.

How did you get to where you are today? 
I was selected by the Queensland Academy of Sport in triathlon and offered a scholarship when I was 14 years old. A couple of years later I was travelling the country as an elite athlete and soon became Australian Champion. During this time, I noticed I began facing body image challenges and so I studied Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness to learn more. Then I started working in the Fitness Centre at Bond University.

I established my business when I was 22 and a few years later, after completing an Advanced course in Nutrition, I attended Jamie Oliver’s ‘Ministry of Food’ cooking course, studied with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, opened my fitness studio and launched the hard copy recipe book ‘Eat Amazing, Feel Amazing’. Not long after this, I began travelling, speaking and educating nationally and then internationally. I’m so grateful for how my career has progressed and the opportunities I’ve had.

How do we Gold Coasters fair in terms of health and fitness?
I love how active and healthy the Gold Coast is. Our Council has given us access to some great equipment in beautiful outdoor locations, how could we not be super stoked with our home?

There are always new healthy cafes and dining out venues opening their doors which is really exciting and it’s so nice to go check them out! 

What are your top tips for getting started on a fitness regime? 
My first tip is to drink more water. I would say around 3-4 litres per day is ideal. Get your body moving (aim for at least 30 minutes each day) and ask friends to join you if motivation is a challenge for you. Find something you love and do that. We have HEAPS of active options on the Gold Coast, here are some of my favourites:

  • Join a Surf Club
  • Dancing – Salsa is fun and Zouk is awesome too!
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Surfing
  • Run or walk along our beaches
  • Join a gym or fun and supportive fitness program
  • Skateboarding
  • Stair intervals or mountain hiking
  • Cycling
  • Tennis
  • Team sports
  • Snorkelling and diving are my absolute favourite hobbies!

What will you be teaching at the Colourful Masterclass this weekend? 
I will be demonstrating the benefits of colourful food and vegetables using fresh ingredients from the Farmer’s Markets and teaching those who attend how to create some of my favourite and simple juices, smoothies and snacks. We will also have recipe tasting and gift bags for the first 50 people who register before the day.

What’s the greatest piece of life advice you’ve ever received? 
There are two things I’d like to share here… I have heard world leaders talk about growth and progression. For me, this has been a major key in my development and it’s allowed me to really expand and maximise my life experiences. I love challenging myself and expanding the margins of my comfort zones. I would also like to encourage everyone to do this too. People are motivated by progress, it gives them hope and supports them in keeping on with the journey.

In saying that, it’s natural for us to experience set backs and the secret here is to fall in love with the journey. 

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites:
Cafe: Commune Burleigh and Nude Sisters
Restaurant: Mamasan, Yamagen, Kiyomi, TEN Japanese, Greenhouse Factory in Miami and Mandala Organic Arts
Beach: I really love Tallebudgera Creek and I also see Burleigh Beach as having a piece of my heart because I grew up on the shores here. Mermaid Beach is also really wonderful
How does your weekend usually look: 
My weekends usually start in the studio early on Saturday mornings with my clients, after this you’ll find me either swimming in the sea, supporting a charity or community event or relaxing with family

9 healthy Gold Coast takeaway spots

Takeaway could well be the greatest thing ever invented and if wasn’t so bad for you, you’d probably get it every day right? WELL GUESS WHAT! According to this very article, takeaway food doesn’t have to be bad for you and that could be the greatest news ever not invented.

Here’s a list of the top 9 restaurants offering healthy takeaway options. Happy days.

Raw Energy, Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads
Located on the corner of Marine Parade in Coolangatta is Raw Energy, a healthy food and lifestyle café that started on the Sunshine Coast. Their focus is on fresh food, served fast in a funky environment. Raw Energy’s got you covered, offering anything from healthy smoothies or juices to macadamia and lentil burgers, YUMM!
Where: 110 Marine Pde, Coolangatta 

The Pocket
If you haven’t been there yet, put this one on your ‘to do’ list! The Pocket in Burleigh’s Connor Street is an absolute favourite amongst locals and offers a great range of healthy take away options (with an extensive vegetarian/gluten free menu). The Pocket aims to be a conscientious restaurant serving locally sourced, wholesome food, often using produce grown by owners David and Michelle.
Where: 13 Connor St, Burleigh Heads

Marie Anita’s Gluten Free Health Cafe
Marie Anita’s offers a solely gluten free and sugar free menu designed to provide dairy free, vegetarian, vegan, and raw alternatives. With the aim to source from local suppliers and to use as much organic produce as possible, Marie Anita’s challenges the image of healthy eating.
Where: 2364 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Greenhouse Canteen

Greenhouse Canteen & Bar
A personal favorite is Greenhouse Canteen & Bar, the holy grail of all healthy food. With the motto ‘anything you can do, we can do vegan’ they’re onto something, because they are busy every day of the week. But not to worry, they do take away, too! All produce are sourced from trusted suppliers and farmer’s markets – food is medicine and it should nourish the mind, body and soul. Amen!
Where: 1916 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami and 1/140 Griffith Street, Coolangatta

BSKT Cafe (Biscuit) was founded with the belief that people care about their health. They just needed the right place to deliver these health options in an indulgent and accessible manner.
All products are designed to inspire through nutritional quality, taste and a global conscious. Made from high quality plants and free from refined sugar and anything artificial. All products are hand crafted with love using traditional methods busting the myth Vegan and Paleo products can’t be delicious as well as nutritious.
Where: 4 Lavarack Rd, Mermaid Beach

The Shack Superfood Cafe
The name says it all, the Shack Superfood Café in Nobby’s is a health freaks paradise with real and fresh food that tastes great and is nutritious! On offer is quinoa, acai, smoothies and juices, breakfast, takeaway lunch and dinner boxes, plus tea and coffee. If you are looking for a hassle free, convenient and easy takeaway option look no further and go give the team at the Shack a visit.
Where: 2221 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach 

Cardamom Pod (image supplied)
Cardamom Pod (image supplied)

Cardamom Pod
Cardamom Pod in Broadbeach is a vegetarian and plant-based restaurant inspired by the art of creative and tasty cuisine. With an extensive salad bar and delicious hot meal options such as curries or lasagne, Cardamom Pod is the perfect place to get some tasty and healthy takeaway, and word on the street is there are opening one in Brickworks! But be warned, their desserts are out of this world, especially the raw peanut butter cups.
Where: 2685 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach 

Govindas is without a doubt one of the most popular vegetarian, eco-friendly take-away restaurants on the Gold Coast. They offer a variety of pure vegetarian foods (vegan and gluten free options available) including vegetable dishes, basmati rice, dhal, potato bake, samosas and a variety of salads, desserts and drinks. Veggies are sourced locally and all dishes are prepared daily using the freshest produce. The buffet style approach lets customer create their own meal at reasonable prices. YUM.
Where: James St, Burleigh Heads

Giri Kana Cafe
The Giri Kana Cafe is a fresh take on vegan and vegetarian food, with a wide selection of freshly made vegan / vegetarian items (many organic and gluten free options also), including an extensive dessert menu. Their emphasis is on fresh and wholesome foods, which are good for the body, as well as the mind and spirit – and to this end, food is cooked with love and devotion. Try one of their signature tofu or vegie burgers served on turkish bread or as a gluten free option the Open Burger on rice. All so good!
Where: Cnr of Nind St and Gold Coast Highway, Southport 

Words by Kirra Smith

5 hacks for a healthier week

No matter how you’re feeling right now or what you’re current situation is, there’s no doubt we can all use a little bit more health and happiness in our lives. So we’ve collected the five top tips to ensure your week is that little bit healthier from now on in. Take care of yourselves Gold Coasters.

Get up an hour earlier
It doesn’t seem like much but you’d be surprised how much you can fit into an hour. There’s nothing worse for your brain than waking up, going to work, going home, watching TV and going back to bed – where’s the relaxation? Instead of reaching straight for your phone the minute you wake up, roll straight out of bed and into some sort of exercise or stretching routine, play with the dog, cook yourself a healthy breakfast and ease into your day. You’ll soon see that starting your morning in a slower, more relaxed way sets the tone for the rest of your day.

Plan your meals
It sounds a little bit like something your Nanna would do but trust us, planning your meals will make life a million times simpler and healthier. Everyone knows what happens when you go to the supermarket after work, usually on an empty stomach and with very little willpower – you end up with an entrée of cheese and biccies followed by garlic bread and a big old bowl of spaghetti bolognaise. Delicious sure, but not so much on the healthy side. Planning allows you to choose healthy options, buy everything you need at once and not be tempted by the lure of excessive carbs.

Burleigh Heads Hill woman exercising stretching (image supplied)
Burleigh Heads Hill woman exercising stretching (image supplied)

Sleep enough
Ahh the ever elusive shut eye. It’s highly likely you aren’t getting enough of it what with work, exercising, eating and those all-important Netflix binges taking up so much of your time. Something’s gotta give though and usually that thing is your health, or your sanity. They say you need at least eight hours but in truth, you need as much as you need. If you’re tired, sleep more, it’s imperative to both your mental and physical health (and the people who have to put up with you). If you need a nap through the day, go for it, this is your permission slip.

Take time out
You’ve been hearing people bang on about the miraculous benefits of meditation for awhile now and those people aren’t lying. It is one of the best ways to calm your mind, find out the answers to life’s big questions and generally just take time out from the chaos of day to day life. Seems overwhelming though right? Sitting down in silence and trying not to think. It can be simple though, start with five minutes of deep breathing and don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders, just stay there and enjoy the serenity, before you know it you’ll crave that time out.

Move your body
Although it’s easier said than done to get up off the couch when it’s cold out, the benefits are about three million fold. Even if you just go for a short walk around the block or do some easy stretching, your body will absolutely thank you. There are plenty of online workouts and yoga classes to choose from too so you don’t need to spend money on exercising to see the benefits. Morning is probably the best time of day to move, it’ll make you feel good all day but anytime will do. You’ll be happy you did.

Words by Kirra Smith

Get fit for free* on the Gold Coast

Woman doing yoga (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)
Woman doing yoga (image courtesy of Destination Gold Coast)

Living on the Gold Coast makes it all the more enticing to get out and keep active – there’s no limit to the options available to help keep your workouts fresh and fun. If you’re looking for some alternatives to the more obvious usual suspects – beach, bush walks, stair runs & bike tracks – we’ve rounded up some great free and (super) low-cost options to get that heart rate up without breaking the budget!

With five free options in the mix, you’ll even have enough change left over for a sneaky oat milk latte for your efforts #thankuslater

Zen Soul Life. Yoga & Pilates (image supplied)
Zen Soul Life. Yoga & Pilates (image supplied)

Zen Soul Life
If you’re yet to join the cult following behind the all-over body workout that is Pilates, don’t let the appearance of the low-impact movements fool you, this deceptively challenging workout will have you building strength, improving flexibility and – our personal fave – relieving back pain (a must for all the desk workers among us!)
When: Monday and Wednesday 6pm, Thursday 9am
Where: Zen Soul Life, Check their insta for locations all over the GC – Hope Island and Labrador are both free!
Cost: Free

Move Strong – on the Mat
A hybrid program with a Pilates feel, Move Strong – on the Mat is based around complementary resistance training and cardio techniques, designed and led by an accredited exercise scientist. Created to enhance your balance, coordination, cardiovascular health and muscular strength – sign us up! And at only $3 entry, this f-ab class is really not a stretch either.
When: Move Thursday 9am and 10.30am, Friday 9.15am
Where: In Motion Health and Fitness, Benowa, Paradise Point & Labrador
Cost: $3

Group fitness (image supplied)
Group fitness (image supplied)

Group Fitness
With a time slot that makes it ideal to squeeze in before work, and a fun and interactive group based environment designed for all fitness levels, the only thing standing in your way to live, laugh, lunge will be your ability to ignore the seductive calls of the snooze button. Go get your fix of strength, cardio, boxing and functional fitness movements all in one!
When: Monday 6am
Where: HOTA, Surfers Paradise.
Cost: $5

Lights Out and Dance
Now if mornings just aren’t your thing, cha-cha-change it up with this night time free-movement dance fitness session at two convenient GC locations. What’s not to love about having an abs-olute blast while you dance your heart out in the dark!
When: Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm
Where: Broadbeach Cultural Precinct, Broadbeach and Runaway Bay Youth Centre, Runaway Bay
Cost: $10 – bookings required

Dancing and movement (image via UnSplash)
Dancing in the dark (image via UnSplash)

This class is geared towards beginners, so the gentle movements will leave you feeling pose-itively rejuvenated and ready to take on the day! A combination of stretching, light isometric strength training and long holds at a restorative, slower pace.
When: Wednesday and Saturday at 6am
Where: Palm Beach Parklands, Palm Beach
Cost: $5

If you live a little further north, maybe this Broadbeach option is a little more convenient for you. Geared for beginners through to those wanting more of a challenge, these outdoor classes go with the flow while well as improving your flexibility and strength.
When: Thursday 6am
Where: Kurrawa Park, Old Burleigh Road, Broadbeach
Cost: Free

Yoga by the beach (image supplied)
Yoga by the beach (image supplied)

Deep Water Running
Get carried away with the benefits of deep water running! This low-impact workout option is ideal for people with injuries or limitations (but also, a great way to escape the humidity!) With beginner classes geared towards introducing you to the joy of combining cardio and for a full body workout and improving mobility without any worries about strain or injury.
When: Tuesday 12pm
Where: Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Southport
Cost: $5

Tai Chi
Be moved by the healing martial art techniques that Tai Chi has to offer. A qualified instructor will guide you through a series of breathing and stretching techniques to help promote harmony, improve mobility, and increase alertness. The beach-side proximity is an added bonus that makes this class a martial-ous way to start your day.
When: Thursday 8am
Where: Kurrawa, Broadbeach
Cost: Free

Tai Chi (image supplied)
Tai Chi (image supplied)

Spot of power walking, anyone? Start your weekend on the right foot with this fun (and free!) option, the friendly weekly 5k community park run event! Great for people of all fitness levels to get those steps up at your own pace – walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s up to you!
When: Saturday 7am
Where: There are 5 parkrun locations across the Gold Coast. Hollingdale Park, Main Beach, HOTA, Surfers Paradise, Monaco St, Broadbeach Waters, Varsity Lakes, Varsity Lakes and Darcy Doyle Park, Mudgeeraba.
Cost: Free – registration required

Unfit Run Club
If you’re the kind of person that exercises just because you know you probably should – behold! Your new favourite running club. Unfit run club was founded by a group of mates who wanted to keep moving and laughing while supporting their fave local haunts #winwin Join in at your own pace and with your bevvy of choice – Thursday’s routes include a cheeky brewery stop to finish, while Saturday mornings finish up at a local cafe for your essential weekend caffeine fix.
When: Thursdays and Saturdays
Where: Check the insta for deets as routes change weekly
Cost: Free – registration required

Words by Kellie Leader.

Running on the Gold Coast (image supplied)
Running on the Gold Coast (image supplied)
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