Pilates instructor is fit for action in the bush
DURING the week you can see Trissi Pearce driving around the Pioneer Valley in her ute filled to the brim with Pilates balls and mats.
One of her classes in Marian is near the pub and some of the local bar flies yell out, making innuendoes about her fit balls in the trailer.
She finds it quite funny, because it gets people talking about fitness in the small community.
Ms Pearce is an exercise physiologist and Pilates instructor through her business, Pioneer Valley Health and Fitness aka PILATEZ.
Along with her mobile classes she has a little studio in Marian which has the latest Pilates equipment.
Not that the equipment has been updated since Joseph Pilates invented the fitness system in the early 20th century, after pulling hospital beds apart and using the springs to improve strength.
It is hardly surprising the husbands of the women who attend classes have made the connection with beds.
"The husbands of the wives who come in here and say the equipment looks a little bit Fifty Shades of Grey," she joked.
Ms Pearce knows the benefits of Pilates after she injured her back while working at the mines."As soon as I found out what was wrong with my back, I basically said I am not getting back on the truck. I would only be asking for this to be repeated down the track.
"I have a lot of people come here with back problems wanting to strengthen it."
She said chronic pain was a prevalent condition in the Mackay community.
"I am not sure if that is because I am more aware of it or it's the kind of work people in the Mackay region are doing.
"Take an operator in a mine truck, they are in that truck all day and they are bouncing up and down with bumps and vibrations."
She said many of those working in the mining industry did not have a strong core, because many did no exercise.
"If you don't have a strong core you have nothing protecting your spine. That is how you can have split discs in your back or lower back issues".
Ms Pearce said there was no magic pill that could get rid of obesity, health concerns or chronic pain; it came back to being more active.
From an early age Ms Pearce was running up sand dunes with her dad at Lamberts Beach.
She trained in athletics from the age of seven up to a national level and was a gymnastics coach.
Growing up she always wanted a career in health and fitness, but by the time she graduated high school you couldn't make a career out of sports and exercise science.
"Fat Norm was on the TV. I think there should be more ads like that to come back on TV.
"Fitness was always in the back of my mind so I went and did a sport and exercise science degree.
"I couldn't get a job for 10 years, but got a little bit of work here and there.
"I did some contract work with the Australian military helping soldiers who had come back from Afghanistan with their rehab."
After she hurt her back, there was more of a push in the industry and that was when she decided to take on Pilates full time.
"I live far from town in Finch Hatton, and didn't want to be in the car for two hours a day; so I started a few Pilates classes to help people with bad backs."
She said living in a rural community after living on the Sunshine Coast where many people were active, she found many disadvantages, and fewer fitness services and opportunities.
"After seeing a gap in the types of exercise available to those in rural communities I wanted to help. Not all exercises are suitable for people with back and knee injuries. Pilates equipment takes all that pressure away.
"Pilates works all your muscles without the pressure, or the impact you get with running and squatting."
She said there was the stigma that Pilates was not a real workout, but it is not until people get into the class that their mindset changes.
"There is not one elite athlete on this planet that doesn't use some form of Pilates. The power you get from a strong core is amazing.
"Pilates can be seen as an airy fairy workout. It is not until you actually do it and contract the muscles and stabilise the hips. That is when you feel it.
"I have had people come to a few classes and say it is not hard enough for them. But it takes four to six weeks to grow new blood cells and blood vessels to get to a point where it can accommodate for that new exercise."
Ms Pearce said when a new client started she would observe what they could do and what their core strengths were, based on certain exercises.
She said Pilates was a big industry that had become more mainstream owing to its body benefits.
"I got my six-pack back, I never thought I would get that back, I put on 12kg when I hurt my back.
"I would never have thought I would see that again, it is more defined than it ever was, when I was at my fittest running 80km a week," she said.