Well look no further than active living advocate, Maileen Hawthorne – a kick ass, high-heeled wearing Lawyer by day and a karate kicking, superstar athlete by night. Don’t let her tiny frame fool you. Mai totally blew us away whilst shooting this campaign, not only is her body fiercely fit & strong, but her positivity disposition and outlook on life is truly aspirational (read on, you will see). Mai is testament to the fact that ‘if being healthy is important to you, you need to make the time’. Achieving your best life is possible, its just about re-arranging things here and there, making it a priority and being organised, very organised. Read on to be whisked away by Maileen’s words and active living journey.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Name: Maileen Hawthorne
5 words to describe yourself…
Something we don’t know about you (fun fact) …
I really enjoy holding “tamed” snakes. Call me crazy but there is something so calming about the way they flow as they move.
How did your active journey begin? Have you always been healthy? What’s your story?
I spent my youngest years growing up with an older brother who was always into sport. One of my earliest memories of being “active” was when my brother would put socks over our hands like as if they were boxing gloves and we would play fight around the house. Not so funny for me at the time as a little girl up against my teenage brother but I’m certainly having a laugh about it now! I’m also laughing about how he used to make me the bowler and the fielder in our front yard so he could practice his cricket skills…until he smashed the neighbour’s window one day.
I’m grateful for growing up with activities like that because one of the things I believe I developed from a young age was my hand and eye coordination… and 20 years later it’s something I’ve found so integral in my martial arts practice. It’s so important to start being active from a young age and it’s a value I will definitely instill when I eventually have my own children.
Going into my early 20s, I was so fortunate to have met a partner who worked as a qualified personal trainer – I really admire his innovative training styles and the way he connected with his clients. That’s when I started taking weights seriously and clean eating to the next level. I began seeing a huge transformation with my physique – muscle tone, strength and better posture. I’ll forever be grateful for what I learnt through my personal training sessions. I continue to do weights about three times a week on my own.
What has been the biggest struggle in your path to wellness?
When I moved out of home and started living independently in my late teens, I found that I struggled with two things: money and time! I had very little money, and not enough time! Studying full-time at University, working as many as three jobs to pay bills, and struggling with personal and family issues meant that my health would sometimes suffer. Although I always tried my best to eat clean and do something active because even back then I understood that I needed to nourish myself if I was exerting that much pressure on my body. I look back now as a young career-driven woman and I have learnt that it’s not about finding the time to work-out or making that healthy meal – it’s about MAKING the time.
You are obviously an inspiration to us, who is your biggest inspiration?
Inspiration does not have to come from a person in your immediate life. I spent much of my teens and early 20’s inspired by the lives of insightful people such as the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Bruce Lee and Eckhart Tolle just to name a few. There were times in my early to mid 20s where I really needed direction and I drew a lot of strength from their inspirational words. Although I also believe that it is a form of inspiration to learn something from every person we meet. Every person we come across can be a ‘teacher’ to us in some way, no matter how small the effect.
What does Active Living mean to you?
To me, Active Living is a lifestyle – it is not about crash diets or sporadic periods of exercise – it’s about taking a holistic and balanced approach to my body, mind and soul. For the body, I believe that exercising and eating clean is not about vanity, it’s about demonstrating that I respect this body I’ve been given and that I care about reaching my full physical potential. For the mind, I believe it demonstrates discipline and focus which can permeate into other areas of life. For the soul, in more recent years I have realised the importance of looking after my inner-person and taking the time to develop qualities that I or other people don’t necessarily see, but feel.
Why do you eat the way you eat?
I eat the way I eat because I love the way it makes me FEEL! When I eat clean, my body feels energetic and powerful! Ready to take on any challenge!
The last meal I ate was…
Breakfast – oats cooked with soy milk topped with chia seeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels, buckwheat, sesame seeds, millet, amaranth with fresh banana, cinnamon and manuka honey.
My diet consists of …
Alot of fresh salads because they are healthy, quick to prepare and I can get really creative with ingredients. The salads can be light and leafy and sometimes mixed with a bit of fruit, or sometimes a little more wholesome with quinoa or roast sweet potato as a base ingredient. The possibilities are endless. I always serve my salads with a side of protein like grilled chicken breast or tofu.
Staple items that we could find on your shopping list?
• Free-range chicken breast
• Soy milk
• Rye bread
• Natural Yoghurt
What is your guilty pleasure?
I LOVE the Noosa Chocolate Factory – their freeze-dried strawberries covered in dark chocolate and their cocoa dusted almonds are DIVINE!
Fave go-to snack?
Whatever is in my fruit bowl.
What nourishing recipe are you famous for making?
I had the most amazing salad during my travels in Greece last year (see attached photo) and since then I have made it a few times for friends with some modifications (it’s been a hit!)
My beauty essential is…
Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil for my face and neck. I put this on every night and my skin loves it!
What is your favourite way to move?
I love efficient workouts so I’m into fast, powerful movements that require bursts of energy. I love getting on my bag and floor-to-ceiling ball in the back courtyard and doing 3 minute rounds of kicks and punches. This means I also love interval training, free-weights and resistance training.
What is one of your biggest tips on how to live active?
Schedule a meeting with yourself to train. Don’t find the time, MAKE the time.
What is your approach to training?
In more recent years I have been searching for a more holistic approach to my training. I’ve always been intrigued with martial arts and I’ve been so incredibly fortunate to have come across an experienced and insightful instructor where we do weekly one-on-one martial arts sessions. I also continue this training at home in my own time. This, I find, is where most of the magic happens. I realise the importance of practice, practice, and more PRACTICE! I train in mixed martial arts which include elements of: Aikido, Kempo, Kung-Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Eskrima (Filipino stick fighting), Ninjutsu, Kyusho-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing. So far with my martial arts journey, I have learned that there is a profound philosophy behind martial arts and I have developed a deeper respect for the human body’s potential. I have also faced a lot of my own fears entrenched from when I was growing up so I have felt that it’s even healed me in some ways.
Along with this yearning for a more rounded approach to my active living, I have also taken up hot yoga in the last 9 months. One of the best decisions I have ever made!! I believe that one of the most beautiful things about yoga practice is that I must concentrate on not only holding a particular pose and breathing my way through it – but the added element of heat makes it so much more challenging. It causes me to be so focused on what I am doing at that particular moment in time that I’m not thinking about yesterday, I’m even not worrying about tomorrow, I’m thinking about here and now, I’m completely present and in the moment. This mindset has allowed me to achieve poses and lengthen my body into stretches that I never thought were possible for myself. Can you imagine if we applied this mindset to our everyday lives, what we could achieve? Easier said than done, but it does not mean to say we can’t try.
How do you stay motivated & keep consistent?
I do this by changing the dynamics of my workouts every so often so as to keep my mind interested and challenged. So for several weeks I might do super-sets for my weights training and then I’ll switch to drop-sets or time-under-tension. Or some weeks I might just focus on pure self-weights. Sometimes I will also jump online to search for different ways of doing things. The latest I have looked into are workouts for TRX straps. One of the most awesome things I’ve done to spice things up was joining my brother’s rugby team for hill-sprints and stair climbs at Kangaroo Point during the off-season. WOW! It was a HUGE physical challenge keeping up with those boys and I just LOVED the team encouragement and morale. They inspired me. I really love having a new challenge and learning new things. I don’t like to settle for monotony when I can DO MORE and BE MORE!
I have found the best result by…
Training smarter, not longer. I find that it’s better to smash out an intense 30-60 minute gym session rather than spend countless hours there. The more I spend at gym does not always equal more results. And let’s not forget that only half the results come from working out…eating clean and sleep is important too.
Biggest lesson your have learnt so far?
I have learnt to keep an open-mind and to not believe everything I hear from people around me. I have realised how important it is to form my own judgment and opinions on things rather than to rely on what somebody has said about this and that.
I keep balanced by…
Reading, meditation, hot yoga and martial arts. I also love having regular suction cupping on my back to help with my Qi (energy) flow and acupuncture for injuries.
I believe in myself by…
Looking back at what I think were the most difficult years in my life so far and reminding myself that I got through it then so I can get through anything now. I’m so grateful for past struggles and for feeling ruined – it was a gift – because it led to transformation and growth.
Happiness to me is….
Something that comes from within – a feeling, a mindset or a state of being. I find a lot of comfort in knowing that everything I need is within me and that I don’t need to search far and wide to ‘be happy’.
My current goals are…
- To inspire and demonstrate to other professional women that it is possible to have a demanding career and still make the time to train and eat clean!
- To learn and do more with TRX straps – this form of exercise really intrigues me.
- To visit and finally hug my World Vision sponsor child.
- To do a hot yoga class in every country that I visit during my next trip.
- To grow more fresh herbs on my balcony. I would love for my parsley and mint to have some company. It would also mean more fresh things to add to my cooking!
LET’S HAVE SOME FUN
- Juices or smoothies: I really love my fresh juices because it’s something that I can drink quickly if I’ve just gotten home from work and about to rush off to training.
- Stir-fry or salad: Definitely a salad person but usually tossed with some protein like chicken breast or tofu. It can be a meal in itself.
- AM workout or PM: I really love having a training session to look forward to at the end of my working day so definitely PM.
Blogs or Books?
I love a good book but I also enjoy blogs because it exposes me to new concepts or ideas that different people are trying. Some of the best sights, restaurants and fresh food markets I went to during my travels overseas were because of recommendations in blogs.
If your life were a movie, who would play the starring role?
I think my friends and family reading this would know what I’m about to say….yep… it would have to be Angelina Jolie. Her character is usually one who is into combat, is strong-headed and composed, and sometimes devoid of emotion when the situation calls for it. Yes… I can definitely identify with that!
If you could write a letter to your future self what would it say?
Thank you for taking the time to look after yourself and for giving your body & lifestyle the time and attention it deserves. I hope you’re enjoying the journey, no matter where you are right now, because it’s always going to be about the journey and not about perfection or a finish line. And wherever you are in your career, gently remind yourself of what the Dalai Lama said when he was asked about what surprised him most about humanity: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”