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Melinda Richards

She’s the Gold Coast Mum who recently made her mark in the Masters Games crediting her performance to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Not only competing on a national stage though, Melinda Richards is also the owner of local company Super Sprout, fruit and vegetable powders that are just as good for you as actual fruit and vegetables. But way more convenient.

We sat down for a chat with Melinda about staying healthy at any age and how we can all be motivated to do exactly that.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Most of my life. My father moved the family down to the Gold Coast from Brisbane in 1971. He acquired a house on the river where we could see the Surfers Paradise skyline and this became the family home for 30 years because it was in such a magic position. Watching the Gold Coast evolve and grow from that vantage point has been incredible over the years.

What do you love most about living here?
The Gold Coast is just pure lifestyle. It is not just the sun and surf, it’s about a relaxed attitude and an informal feeling that permeates not just in a recreational sense but also within the work environment. It is about being a part of a small community yet has an upmarket chic appeal combined with a relaxed attitude. This is what makes it so unique and it’s why a lot of people love living here. You can be anyone you want to be.

How did you go in the recent Masters Games?
Fortunately winning was never my aim, but I was so happy to be involved and swim to my best ability in both races! The freestyle race was great fun and I finished in the middle of the pack. The butterfly race was quite the challenge, but I was really proud that I stuck with it. After all my training and healthy eating I managed to push through the race.

How did you come to be involved in competitive swimming?
When we moved to the Gold Coast in 1971, I was three years old. We had a pool in the backyard and lived on the Nerang River with a retaining wall. Literally the first thing my mother did was book me into swimming lessons at the old Mermaid Beach Motel where they had a 15 metre pool and Robert Brough was running a small swim school. Within a few months I was swimming the length of the pool freestyle and he suggested I join the Mermaid Beach swimming club, which I did when I was four. By then I was happily swimming 25 metres. From there it was training with Lou Vaughn and a 10 year stint competing.

Tell is us about your busines Super Sprout?
Super Sprout is 100% pure fruit and vegetable powders, which are just as good as eating fresh produce. Super Sprout is powdered so you can quickly and conveniently scoop and add to all of your favourite recipes and get an amazing nutritional outcome. It is great for the 95% of us who struggle to get our daily recommended amount of fruit and veges. The most important product in our range is the Broccoli Sprout Powder. We grow our own broccoli sprouts in our factory in Melbourne in an incredibly controlled environment, which ensures maximum nutritional outcome and ensures they are the best of their kind in the world. We’ve had our broccoli sprouts scientifically tested both here and in the United States and they show incredible levels of the disease fighting compound sulforaphane. We are so proud to be growing and manufacturing here in Australia, and now exporting to the US and China.

Why are you so passionate about nutrition?
My mother taught me at a very young age to be careful about what I put in my body. She especially talked me out of eating too much sugar. I also made a very strong connection between my performance in the pool and what I was eating. I am fascinated that all of these years later science really has caught up with how bad sugar and processed food is for your body yet I feel we still haven’t made that connection properly in wider society. I am devastated for those children who suffer from obesity at such a young age, and reversing the cycle of Type 2 Diabetes being the new epidemic is something I want to get more involved in.

As we get older, we tend to let fitness fall by the wayside, how can we stay motivated?
Just by doing what we love. Fitness is so different for each person and it is sometimes hard to look at yourself and what you really want rather than looking outwards through social media at what everyone else is doing. I sometimes think that social media can have a bit of a paradoxical effect of almost being a bit de-motivating because it can sometimes overwhelm us and therefore becomes a little exhausting overall. Also, sharing exercise with friends or family as much as possible makes it fun. It’s about balance but the real key is not to put to much pressure on yourself. Life is for living on your terms – not about trying to keep up with everyone else.

What are some simple things we can incorporate into our lives to stay happy and healthy?
Set a few short and medium goals, remember if you don’t fail occasionally you are not going to learn and progress, don’t sweat the small stuff (keeping everyday issues into perspective) and eat the best food you can everyday as this effects your health, your mood, your energy and your future.

What’s the plan for you now the Masters Games are done?
I want to use this as the basis for getting back into competing again on a more regular basis and improve on my times. Now that I have just turned 50, I want to exercise a little bit more to ensure I keep up my stamina and strength which helps with running the businesses and just being a good Mum with lots of energy.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Restaurant: Edgewater
Cafe: Le Cafe in Mermaid Beach
Beach: Miami
How does your weekend usually look? Very varied and absolutely no routine at all! We are very social so we like to mix it up with events, dinners at night. Exercise can happen on Saturday mornings as well as having family time on Sundays. There is a lot of beach action squeezed in over summer as well. We have a horse stud up in Toowoomba and some property in Iluka so often we plan weekends away. Living on the Gold Coast means weekends can be anything you want them to be with so much variety and fun available for the whole family.

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