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Meet Melissa Baker

Actively mixing it up with Castle Hill trips, rock climbing and yoga, with the occasional dose of CrossFit and boxing thrown in for good measure; Mel Baker’s approach to activity is variation. And she always feels better once she’s moving.

“I’ve never been much of a runner, so completing a 6km fun run in 34 minutes for the inaugural Run Townsville event was a big achievement for me!” – Mel Baker

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Occupation: I’m a public servant — I work in tax and I’m a wellbeing representative for my site office. I also teach yoga part time at Live and Breathe Yoga and 360 Health and Fitness NQ.

What activity makes you the happiest? Exercising!

How did you discover yoga? Initially at Yoga Health Townsville, but I discovered Ashtanga when I worked with Allison Dearling’s sister [Allison is the owner of Live & Breathe Yoga on Denham Street], who encouraged me to try out one of her sister’s Intro to Ashtanga courses. I was hooked after my first class and I’m still practising there five years later! I also travelled twice to Mysore, the home of Ashtanga yoga in India, to further delve into the practice.

How else do you stay active? I fill my time with boot camp with 360 Health and Fitness NQ, crossfit classes at Crossfit Townsville, boxing and the Castle Hill goat track. I also love rock climbing and go out when I can with my partner, who is an avid rock-climber.

Are you a morning or afternoon mover? Both. It is harder to get motivated in the mornings, but I always feel good for the rest of the day when I practice yoga or exercise early. And I always like to finish my day with a workout to keep the endorphins pumping!

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? Yoga, brunch with friends, a walk up Castle Hill and ideally some rock-climbing.

Your most motivating tune? Sail by Awolnation.

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Motivational quote? “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” – Sir Edmund Hillary.

How do you pep yourself up when you’re craving the couch? I actually don’t own a couch because they’re bad for your posture! But I pep myself up by convincing myself I’ll feel better after I get moving. Some great music also helps.

Do you prefer to get active solo, or with a buddy? My yoga home practice is solo, but apart from that I much prefer group fitness for the social aspect and motivation.

Most annoying fitness fad? Supplements and pre-workouts. I think that many people consume things based on great marketing without actually looking at the ingredients and researching whether it will be beneficial or healthy.

What’s your greatest fitness achievement? I’ve never been much of a runner, so completing a 6km fun run in 34 minutes for the inaugural Run Townsville event was a big achievement for me! Now I’m planning to do the 10km at the Townsville Running Festival in August.

Best active moment? Getting to the top (and safely back down) of the Bard earlier this year. The Bard is a classic ‘trad’ multi-pitch climb at the Arapiles in Victoria. It was steep and scary, and pushed me to my limits, both physically and mentally!

What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? I’d love to try mountain biking, as I’ve heard there are some great trails around Townsville. I just haven’t committed to finding the time to do it yet!

melissa-baker-yogaWhat’s something we don’t know about you? I am a qualified lawyer and spent six years studying law and commerce. I love studying, and am currently studying applied anatomy and physiology.

What’s your next goal? Get my motorbike licence and learn to speak Spanish. And handstand press.

What are you doing to get there? Saving money, and doing lots of core work, respectively!

Most embarrassing moment on the go? I was once trying to demonstrate (show off?!) kipping pull ups to a guy at the top of Castle Hill, and the tree branch I was using snapped and I landed flat on my back, smashing my head on a rock!

Who would you most like to train with? I would love to attend a workshop with Kino MacGregor, who is a famous and inspirational Ashtangi.

The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… If you’re injured, rest. Stop. I have trouble slowing down when my body tells me to.

Most treasured piece of fitness gear? My yoga mat. Or as my teacher says, ‘personal research centre’!

My best local fitness tip is… Try the Castle Hill goat track — it’s free and the view at the top is worth it!

Tell us a joke (why not?) Q. What happens if life gives you melons? A. You’re dyslexic!

Last words? If you live in Townsville, make the most of this beautiful city by getting outdoors and getting active! Most people who live here have chosen to live here, so make the most of it!

Mel’s doing the International Instagram Yoga Challenge throughout July. Follow her here @melissaavabaker

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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