GGS Spotlight: Marika Hart


Name: Marika Hart
Age: 42
Location: Perth, Australia

What does it mean to you to be part of the GGS Community?
I love the GGS community! Part of my role with GGS is spending time hanging out in the Facebook groups with people from all around the globe. I get to “meet” so many amazing people who share my passion for supporting women. The community is unlike any others I’ve been involved with online — there is a genuine vibe of positivity and support. People WANT to help one another and I think there is a real sense that together we can change the world!!

When I met Molly Galbraith two years ago, I couldn’t have believed that my career would be set on such a different trajectory and that I would come in contact with so many incredibly hard-working, intelligent and kind people. I truly believe that we can achieve so many great things when are work together and support one another and I’m excited for the future.

How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started?
I started strength training ad hoc around five years ago. I had been teaching Pilates for more than ten years in my role as a physiotherapist, but when working in a sports medicine clinic (with a fabulous gym!), I learnt more about using strength training in rehabilitation for clients and decided to have a play around for myself.

What does your typical workout look like?
Honestly, I hate doing the same exercises all the time and I love variety. In a typical week, I do four hours of Taekwondo and then two other sessions of gym-based exercise. Those extra sessions might include body weight exercises, boxing, free weights or cardio work.

Favorite lift:
Deadlift (of course!) It just feels good to be able to pick up something heavy!

Most memorable PR:
I don’t tend to do powerlifting, but rather hit the higher reps on moderate lifts. For me, my most memorable achievements in Taekwondo have been achieving my 3rd Dan black belt at the age of 40 and then winning a gold medal at the ITF World Cup in Sydney this year in an event called special technique. I basically had to jump over a barrier and kick a board with a flying side kick. I didn’t expect to do well in that event and was thrilled to win!

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
My music collection is pretty eclectic, so it varies a lot depending on my mood. I like a lot of old school tracks, so here are a few of my faves.

  • Don’t Stop Me Now, Queen
  • Virtual Insanity, Jamiroquai
  • Basketcase, Green Day
  • Jumpin’, Jumpin’, Destiny’s Child
  • Let’s Get It Started, Black Eyed Peas

Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag:
Water bottle, towel, phone.

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Definitely training with others. I’m not that self motivated to exercise alone — I thrive on the company of others! Because I teach exercise in my job as a physiotherapist, when I go to Taekwondo or the gym I actually really like having someone else tell me what to do and correct my technique!

Most memorable compliment you’ve received lately:
I don’t take compliments too well if I’m honest. I tend to brush them aside as I get embarrassed! Most recently I had a client tell me that I was amazing and totally changed her life — they are my favourite compliments!

Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
Giving compliments — now that I find easier to do, as I am surrounded by so many amazing people every day. I recently complimented my friend Mish Wright who set up the Women’s Health and Fitness Summit on all her hard work and dedication to women’s health and wellness in Australia.

Favorite meal:
Anything that someone else has cooked, haha! I like lots of different foods, but I love Thai food probably the most.

Favorite way to treat yourself:
A night or weekend away with my girlfriends would probably be my favourite. This typically involves some kind of exercise (hiking, indoor rock climbing, walking) followed by food and a night in a hotel.

Favorite book:
Currently I am absorbing anything by Brandon Sanderson.

What inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired by people, especially those who manage to achieve great things in the face of adversity. I’m motivated by my children and my clients — I strive to be a great role model for my daughter and I’m motivated to give my clients the best care that I can!

What do you do?
I am a physiotherapist. I run two businesses — one is Dynamic Strength Physiotherapy, which is based in Perth, Western Australia. I teach pre- and postnatal exercise classes, as well as develop exercise programs predominantly for women. My clients may be pregnant, new mothers, have pelvic floor dysfunction, suffer from osteoporosis or joint pain… or simply want to feel fit and strong as they age but don’t know where to start. I even see a few men occasionally!

My other business is Herasphere and it is fully online. This business is dedicated to providing free information to people who are pregnant or just had a baby and consists of video interviews and blog posts. I have also created a comprehensive paid pregnancy program called “Pregnancy Club” which has education and exercise videos designed to follow women through their pregnancy. I’m thrilled to say that this program has been completed by women around the globe, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Mongolia and New Zealand.

What else do you do?
I have two primary school-aged children who keep me very busy, so honestly I don’t have a lot of spare time! I’m also studying a Masters Degree in Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapy at Curtin University.

Things that I enjoy doing whenever I can find time include: Taekwondo, walking, camping, going to the beach, reading, going to the movies, hanging out with friends, eating, drinking…

Describe a typical day in your life:
Wake up, eat breakfast and make a plan for the day with my daughter (who is being homeschooled). Get my son off to school and then get on with either working with clients in the gym, taking exercise classes, studying, cleaning or teaching! My work does include quite a lot of time online — so I might have to check emails, respond to Facebook posts, liaise with clients or make videos.

In the afternoon, I walk to school to pick up my son and then we head home for afternoon snacks before the after-school activities begin. Evenings may find me at home with the kids, out at Taekwondo or teaching pregnancy classes.

So in a nutshell, my role as parent, physiotherapist and student take up most of my day!

Your next training goal:
I want to grade for my 4th Dan within the next two years. I’d also like to compete in the ITF World Cup in Slovenia in 2020.

For what are you most grateful?
My family are amazing and I am so grateful to have them.

My husband is incredibly supportive of everything I do. He has never tried to talk me out of any of my crazy ideas (except a PhD!) and has helped me with a lot of the technology side of my business. I couldn’t do what I do without his support.

My parents also give us so much assistance and I’m really grateful to have moved back to Perth to be closer to them. They help so much in looking after our children every single week and in educating our daughter.

Of what life accomplishment do you feel most proud?
Getting Herasphere Pregnancy Club off the ground. That project was hard work but I’m so proud of the result and of the effect it is having on women around the globe. To be able to help women have access to evidence-based information about pregnancy, childbirth and recovery — no matter where they are in the world — is something that I am thrilled to have been able to do.

Which three words best describe you?
I actually did a survey of my friends once and asked this very question! The common responses were fun, intelligent, dedicated. (And yes, I’m embarrassing to type this bit!)

Tell us about a time when you overcame fear or self-doubt:
Recently I put my hand up to do a presentation at a large conference and I was really nervous. I had those typical thoughts that many of us have — “Who the hell do you think you are to present at this event?” I have done a lot of presentations to small groups, but never to a large room full of my peers! It took me ages to convince myself that I could do it and I am thrilled that I did.

How has lifting weights changed your life?
I had a back injury about four years ago and it took me months to feel like I could move comfortably without pain. Getting into strength training has given me so much more confidence in my body, especially for Taekwondo. I feel like I can take a “hit” better and recovery more quickly from heavy training sessions. I have less fear of trying new things — I don’t worry so much about getting hurt.

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve experienced from strength training?
Every now and again, I’ll be doing something and just think “I’m so glad I did all those [enter exercise] at the gym!”

For example, we went indoor rock climbing recently and I was grateful for the arm and leg strength! Or another day we went kayaking and I was glad to have done some abdominal exercises!

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous or hesitant about strength training?
Find a good trainer and an environment that works for you. Every gym is different — they each have their own music and vibe. Every trainer has a different skill set, as well as their own unique personality. Find something that works for you and if you don’t connect with the first gym or trainer that you tried, go somewhere else!

You can find out more about Marika on her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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