Fighting bush fit

Fighting bush fit

Joy with three of her four children, Loudy, Elka and Charlie.

Joy with three of her four children, Loudy, Elka and Charlie.


ALTHOUGH she lives 100km west of Longreach down a long dirt road, for fitness consultant and trainer Joy McClymont, the world is her oyster.


ALTHOUGH she lives 100km west of Longreach down a long dirt road, for fitness consultant and trainer Joy McClymont, the world is her oyster.

So much so, that she has even been asked to write an exercise program making use of household furniture for a snowbound Icelandic customer who found her website one cold day in the northern hemisphere.

“I’m determined to make this thing international so I can go and visit,” Joy jokes, but she is serious when she says she is ready to put her Off The Track Training program into overdrive.

Devised some years ago out of a regular Friday afternoon workout session for isolated mums who would gather at Joy’s workplace at Evesham State School, a one-teacher school west of the Longreach-Winton railway siding of Morella, the wine/workout/catch-ups gave Joy her first glimpse of the vast isolated audience needing motivation and tips.

“I was hearing how hard people found it to integrate exercise into living on a property,” she said.

“Friends were asking me what they could do – they couldn’t travel 60km each day to go to a gym, and sometimes the person on the property is the only one wanting to do something.

“Generally, if exercise features in the top five activities of a property’s business, you’re doing well.”

She says that whether people are sitting on a tractor, mustering cattle, cooking for a mob, checking waters or cruising in a chopper, she can find the best way to integrate exercise into their life.

“Who would have thought that the junk in the shed could be so handy!” she laughs.

These days Joy has 250 people on her books but she says the male-female ratio is about 3:247.

“I would love to crack into the male market,” she confided. “When I presented at a Consolidated Pastoral Company conference they all told me they were working too hard to exercise, and they couldn’t spare the time, but these days the reverse is true – most aren’t working hard enough.”

An online Body and Mind course pointed out to Joy that for most of us, incidental exercise had decreased by 42 hours a week, thanks to mechanisation and technology.

While this would mean a six kilometre run every day to make up the deficit, Joy is quick to dampen down fears of marathon demands.

“Exercise has to fit with you personally,” she says. “Once you overcommit you won’t finish. It holds you to ransom and it achieves the opposite of what it’s supposed to.”

A myriad of exercise programs are available for purchase on Joy’s website, all with their own goals and different focuses.

For example Bush Fit is an eight week plan that looks at developing cardio, strength and flexibility with weekly programs, fortnightly teleseminars and weekly email feedback, whereas 100 Days of Food, Fitness and Feel Good Tasks works on creating healthy habits with the support of a nutritionist and clinical psychologist at monthly phone consults and online forum support as well as video demonstrations.

A newer program that is becoming very popular is the post-partum health and fitness one called Mum’s Health and Happiness, which offers weekly teleseminars with a nutritionist, psychologist, midwife, gynaecologist, and physiotherapist as well as Joy’s personal training advice.

“It’s for your mind as well as your body,” Joy said. “It helps you get perspective.

“Bush mums can’t go to lots of playgroups, and there are lots of myths associated with being a new mum.”

So far over 30 people have tried the new program, including mums from the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

Joy herself is a mother to four children under the age of five and has completed ironman events in Australia, France and Hawaii.

“I did it to tick them off my bucket list,” she said. “I was one of the quarter of the field who finished in France. It was very hot so that was to my advantage.”

The grazier and former primary school principal has cert III and IV personal trainer qualifications under her belt and says that now she has finished feeding her last baby, she has big plans to expand on her philosophy of giving anyone, anywhere, access to expert fitness advice and support.

“I’m going to release a new version of my 100 day exercise habit program, with more video demonstrations in it,” she said.

“It will be YouTube related but on the members only section of my website.

“There will be the Julia Creek triathlon group to start training, and in winter I’d like to do some face to face days too.”

With depression looming large in rural areas, Joy is planning to highlight the role that exercise plays in helping regain a mental balance, and her website has a section with apps she has found helpful, such as yoga and 20 minute workouts.

She has already presented at AA Co’s women’s conference, a Beef Week Westpac Ruby women’s lunch, at Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association workshops and at a Nolan’s Meats WH&S forum, but more speaking engagements may be on the cards as well.

“I just don’t want anyone to be deterred from exercising by isolation,” she said.

So with New Year resolution making in full swing, why not pop some more healthy habits on the list? –Pictures: JOY MCCLYMONT.

The story Fighting bush fit first appeared on Queensland Country Life.


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