Question: What originally inspired your passion for sport?
Luke Ashcroft: Thinking back, I can't really identify any one thing that inspired my passion for physical fitness and health, but I guess my parents played a big part. My parents were always active and they encouraged my brother and sister and myself to always be physically active.
As I got older I became motivated by self-improvement... running faster, getting stronger and playing better. Although I was motivated by competition I would say that improving my own performance was always the main motivator.
Question: Why did you decide to specialise in outdoor fitness?
Luke Ashcroft: My health and fitness career began while I was studying neuroscience at uni. I got a part time job at a local gym to earn some extra money. Over the course of a couple of years I developed a real interest in physical performance and so I transferred my degree to Sports Science. This was a doorway into a varied career that involved setting up and running gyms, selling gym equipment, working with athletes and sports teams, developing corporate health programs and finally, focusing more on average people that just wanted to improve their health.
It was while working with individuals that I started to examine the various barriers that many people face when it comes to improving their health and fitness… Things like money, time, convenience, information and motivation. As I looked more closely at how these barriers could be overcome I focused more on outdoor exercise.
Once you know what to do, outdoor exercise eliminates many of these barriers… It's free, you can exercise just about anywhere, a workout can be short or long, easy or hard, you can exercise by yourself or with a friend or with a group and there is endless variety. So, I guess my decision to focus on outdoor exercise has been motivated by the desire to make exercise accessible to everyone.
Question: Can you share a recent exercise success story, with us?
Luke Ashcroft: There are so many! From people losing weight, to overcoming long term health problems, to completely changing their lifestyle or just making physical activity an everyday part of their life. But some of my favourite success stories are with children. I run a kids fitness program called JuniorX and we regularly see overweight and sedentary kids developing a real love of movement and activity and an awareness of their health and wellbeing. It's very rewarding to feel like I've played a small part in helping someone start to live a healthy and active life.
Question: How can parents get their whole family moving?
Luke Ashcroft: Lead by example! It's hard to motivate your kids to be more active when you're sitting on the couch. One of the wonderful things about outdoor fitness is that it's possible to get the whole family involved. While you might not be able to take your kids to the gym, there's nothing stopping you going to the park and doing some exercise or even just going for a walk.
I have found that setting a family fitness challenge is a great way to get the whole family moving. It could be as easy as giving everyone an activity tracker and having a competition to see who can complete the most steps over the course of a week.
Question: What are some family-friendly exercise ideas?
Luke Ashcroft: One of the key ideas to remember with health and fitness is that it doesn't have to be about organised sport, or complicated routines or expensive equipment (although it can be) It simply starts with being more active.
Family-friendly fitness ideas are limited only by your imagination. It could be a short daily walk as a family. From walking you could progress to going for a family bike ride, bushwalking, exploring a part of the city you've never been to before, indoor rock climbing, ice skating, roller blading, swimming, horse riding, playing backyard cricket, following an outdoor exercise program, orienteering, playing tennis, stand-up paddle boarding or playing an organised sport together…the list really is endless. But it is up to you to get started.
Question: What's a typical weeks training schedule like, for you?
Luke Ashcroft: I'm pretty fortunate that my life has lots of opportunity for activity. I'm always running around outside, or moving weights around or walking the dog or going for a surf with my son or jumping on the trampoline with my daughter.
In terms of programmed training, I do 1-2 sprint training sessions each week, 2-3 HIIT circuit training sessions each week and 2-3 weight training sessions each week. While that sounds like a lot, most people would be surprised at how short some of my training sessions are. Rather than spending hours in the gym I'm much more likely to squeeze in a 15 minute HIIT session. And, most importantly, I take time each day to work on my flexibility and mobility.
Question: Do you have a morning routine? Can you share it with us?
Luke Ashcroft: Morning routines vary and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. So, I definitely don't propose that my morning routine is perfect or that you should emulate it. But mostly it looks like this:
4:57 Wake Up (my alarm is set for 5am but invariably I beat it by a few minutes!)
5:00 Do a quick mental review of my daily checklist
5:05 Shower and dress
5:15 Have a coffee and check my emails
5:30 Leave the house
6:00 Supervise an outdoor group training session at one of our locations
6:45 Meet with a personal client for a workout or planning session.
7:30 Return home and have breakfast (oats with mixed berries and greek yoghurt is a favourite or I love an açai bowl if I'm on the go)
8:00 Drive my daughter to school
8:30 Back in the park. I might spend a few minutes answering emails, making phone calls or doing administration on my computer
9:00 - 12:00 Supervise another outdoor group training session, meet with personal clients, have more food, answer more emails!
Interview by Brooke Hunter