Australia's Top Athlete Wellness Influencers

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.[1]

There are many elements of health: physical, emotional, nutritional, spiritual, mental, intellectual, and social. Sometimes, some of these important areas aren’t considered when looking at health as a whole. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that having good physical health is what makes us healthy; because this is the part that you see - but that is only one piece of the puzzle! There is a hindered perception of health and athletes are aware of this more than most.

It's safe to say most elite athletes have the diet and exercise part down pat, but what several athletes have become increasingly aware of is that the success, notoriety, and being physically healthy didn't always give them that feeling they thought it would. There is so much training for the body that the mind isn't being nurtured.

Libby Trickett, a former Swimming great had a stellar performance at the World Championships in 2007. She had exceeded her goals yet she wasn’t feeling how she thought she should. Trickett said she was, ‘ ... feeling really flat. It was a numb feeling, and I had no energy, excitement, or drive. I lost interest in training and I didn’t want to catch up with friends.’

The concept of wellness is important to understand. Sometimes this can seem a bit too overwhelming; life is busy enough (we get it!) but being actively aware of what we can do to make ourselves truly healthy reaps endless amounts of benefits.

When looking to improve our own wellness, or help others attain a greater balance in life, it's important to learn from real-life examples and those who have fostered wellness in their own lives.

Here are just some of the top athletes who are among Australia's leading wellness influencers, and passionate about sharing their insights. You can book right now through Pickstar.

Libby Trickett

Trickett is one of Australia's favourite athletes. She is a decorated professional swimmer whose career success includes winning gold at three consecutive Olympic Games, as well as one silver and two bronze medals; eight world records, eight long course and seven short course World titles, and five Commonwealth Games gold medals. Since retiring from the sport in 2013 she has used her platform to share her own insights and experiences about life and health to inspire others, including motherhood, diet, and changing career paths. Trickett is a proud Beyond Blue Ambassador and is open about her own depression and how she learnt to appreciate her body.

Steph Rice

Rice is an Australian swimming great and considered one of the country's greatest Olympians after she won three gold medals, in world record-breaking time at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Rice knew she wanted to be an Olympian at the age of eight, after retiring from the sport at the age of 24 she used that same drive and passion to focus on how she can use her platform and knowledge to give back. Her goal is to share her insights to positively inspire others to be the best they can be. She has co-authored her own book 'The Art of Wellness,' launched a food business, RACERiCE, engages in mentoring workshops and one-on-one sessions which lead to the recent release of her latest book, 'Magical Mentoring Program.'

Stephie Prem

Prem is a former Winter Olympic Snowboarder turned Pilates 'It Girl.' After suffering a horrific career-ending injury, Prem endured a difficult physical and mental recovery. When returning to the sport was no longer an option, she confessed to "hitting rock bottom," but shifted her focus on being able to do other daily activities she loved such as surfing and pilates. After many years of recovery, growth, and learning Prem's focus now is to be the happiest and healthiest version of herself and how she can share and motivate others to do the same. She founded the popular healthy lifestyle blog; Premium Performance and in 2014 opened her own Pilates Studio.

Ian Thorpe

Known better as Thorpey, Ian is a retired swimming legend. His credentials in the sport include five Olympic and ten Commonwealth Games gold medals, as well as an eleven-time world champion. He was thrown into the deep end (pardon the pun) of the professional sport when at just 15, he became the youngest World Swimming champion. He is no stranger to the spotlight, pressure, and all that comes with the territory. During his reign in the pool, Thorpey seemingly had it all, but his history with mental health has been well documented since his retirement. He has acknowledged his battle with depression and how he felt his sexuality was something he should be ashamed of, famously stating, "I didn't know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay?" He has now learnt what works for him, how to stay happy and healthy outside of professional sport in his mind and body.

He is a dedicated advocate for the importance of health in its entirety and is passionate to fix the holes he had slipped through. Most recently he has been appointed a member of the newly formed AIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Advisory Committee, where his experiences will help develop a national action plan for athlete wellbeing.

Sam Reid

Sam Reid is a professional AFL player with Greater Western Sydney Giants, who hasn't necessarily had the storybook career he had hoped for. Reid was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2009, two years into his time playing with his former team, the Western Bulldogs. His condition is thought to have been triggered after he had major groin surgery for his osteitis pubis.

Throughout Reid's career, he has been an AFL player, was delisted, became a coach, was re-drafted, and returned as an AFL player again, consolidating his place in the GWS team. Reid has detailed his rollercoaster career in an article he wrote for the Players Voice. Playing football and managing a chronic disease has made Reid understand the importance of maintaining good health. Wellness became something he needed to be aware of as it was necessary for him to get back on track and survive. As part of his health evolution, Sam also became a vegan.

Madi Robinson

Robinson has described herself as someone who is addicted to health and wellbeing. She is an elite Netball player for the Collingwood Magpies and the Australia Diamonds, as well as a teacher, family woman, and dog lover! Robinson has said it took some time for her to learn what she needs mentally and physically to thrive and enjoys the opportunity to share her personal journey with others to inspire them to explore ways to be mindful and balanced in their own lifestyle.

Joel Thompson

Joel Thompson is an NRL star, playing with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, and is also the inspirational founder of the Mindset Project.

Having grown up in a remote community in NSW around domestic violence, unstable housing, and drug and alcohol abuse, his resulting self-destructive behaviour threatened to destroy his professional rugby career and personal relationships. He found himself struggling with his mental health over the years, even at the height of his success.

After a breakdown in 2011, Joel finally sought professional help. Taking the opportunity to address his demons, and through a lot of personal development work, he managed to develop the mindset he needed to reshape his own path and the resilience to deal with setbacks. As a result of his hard work, his passion to help, and his personal understanding of a tough upbringing, Joel has been invited to share his journey with many schools, sports clubs, cultural and business organisations over the last several years. This is where The Mindset Project began, an initiative to help people develop a positive view of their potential and make life choices that promote growth and wellbeing.

Amy Pejkovic

Amy is a professional high jumper, who, after succumbing to a knee injury prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games has her eyes set on being healthy for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. At 19, the young professional was preparing for the London Olympic trials when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. After suffering bad headaches, nausea and loss of balance, she was prescribed medication for a middle ear infection but when the pain worsened she was rushed to the ED where doctors discovered the five centimetre tumour. Her health journey has been filled with ups and downs which has taught Amy to be more in tune with her body. She is passionate about training the mind, meditation and mental wellness, stating that when your life flashes before your eyes all the superficial stuff is irrelevant.

Abbey Holmes

Abbey is one of the faces of the AFLW competition, playing with the Adelaide Crows, she was the first Australian Rules Football player to kick 100 goals in an established women's league. Whether she's pounding the pavement as a real estate agent, building her athletic apparel business, kicking goals on the football field, working in the media, or competing in a body sculpting competition, Abbey's commitment to outstanding professionalism, communication, and results have established her reputation as a leader, mentor and recognised public figure, Holmes knows that what works for her won't necessarily work for others. This is why her mission is to help others identify what will naturally work well for them through trial and error.

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