| Article Summary:
An Interview With Wildlife Warrior Terri Irwin
Managing Australia Zoo's conservation and research work coupled with protecting the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve along with raising her two children, Bindi and Robert, are a few of Terri Irwin's daily responsibilities. Her background in strength training and sports certainly serve as an asset in providing her with the endurance necessary to fulfil these to the best of her abilities.
Married to iconic Australian Wildlife Warrior, Steve 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin, for almost 15 years, Terri was certainly a suitable partner for the famed television personality and conservationist - the man with the unceasing energy, infectious love for life and the environment and incredible strength and endurance (try wrestling a crocodile sometime) was ably assisted by his equally energetic wife.
An advocate of staying strong and healthy, Terri has included exercise in her daily schedule - in some form - throughout her life (just keeping up with her frenetically-paced husband was an intensive workout in itself). Over recent years she has increased the variety and intensity of her training to where she is now in the best shape of her life.
A fighter - metaphorically and figuratively - Terri welcomes the challenge in battling against those who threaten the natural environment she so loves, and engaging in adrenaline-charged workouts with some of the world's most ferocious MMA champions.
Training has helped Terri in other ways. After the untimely death of Steve Irwin (22 February 1962 - 4 September 2006), Terri found she could cope better with the "crippling effects" of her grief by "taking care of myself, eating right and working out". Though dealing with her husband's death has been extremely hard for her she is testimony to the remarkable resiliency of the human spirit in her ability to continue the work Steve started while dealing with many of her own projects.
Before moving to Australia from her native USA, Terri ran a construction company in Oregon and did wildlife rescue work with predatory mammals.
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Terri Welcomes The Challenge In Battling Against
Those Who Threaten The Natural Environment She So Loves.
The one constant in her life throughout this and recent work has been a well-structured training program and healthy diet. With weights, endurance, martial arts and much outdoors exercise rounding out her training schedule she could be considered the ultimate cross-trainer.
In the following interview Terri discusses how she has achieved her fitness goals, her current projects, future goals and life philosophy.
[ Q ] Hello Terri. I understand you are in very good physical shape these days. Could you describe the progress you have made?
I've had a real desire to continue and expand Australia Zoo's conservation and research work. This includes hands-on work with everything from koalas to crocodiles. It pays to be in the best shape possible when you're wrangling the largest reptiles on Earth!
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It Pays To Be In The Best Shape Possible When
You're Wrangling The Largest Reptiles On Earth!
[ Q ] What background do you have in fitness training, and physical activity generally?
I've grown up with an active outdoor lifestyle. Before I lived in Australia I ran a construction company in Oregon, USA. I also owned horses and would spend several weeks a year exploring Oregon's beautiful wilderness areas on horseback.
I also enjoyed wildlife rescue work with predatory mammals, which included animals like bears, cougars, bobcats and wolves. Weight training has always been a favorite as I enjoy being fit and strong.
|RELATED VIDEO: TERRI IRWIN INTERVIEW|
[ Q ] When did you begin training for your recent gains and was there a particular motivating factor prompting your decision to make such great progress?
I really began training hard after losing Steve. I discovered on my own that I could cope better with the crippling effects of grief by taking care of myself, eating right and working out. Now I want to tell everyone that when the last thing you want to do is get up and get moving, that's exactly what you should do.
I also felt a real need to lead by example. Steve had such incredible strength and endurance; it was a huge challenge just to keep up with him. I wanted to make sure I could continue all the projects he had started.
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I Discovered That I Could Cope Better With
The Grief By Taking Care Of Myself.
[ Q ] Since you are more in the public eye these days, do you think there is a greater expectation that you present a certain appearance? If so, what kind of look would this be and what are your thoughts on the public's expectation that you look a certain way?
A nice side effect of wanting to be as healthy as possible is that you look better too! I've had the opportunity to attend a number of red carpet events and I have noticed that I'm probably 10-15kg heavier than many of the women I share the carpet with. I'd love it if we gave women more encouragement to be curvy and healthy instead of just thin.
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[ Q ] You clearly appreciate the benefits of a healthy approach to life, but it must be difficult balancing all of your responsibilities. What are some of the ways you have ensured you stay healthy and fit, and how do you incorporate these into your daily routine?
We all have such busy lives and we constantly hear the advice to take time for ourselves. I believe this is so true. I find it's so important to set an hour aside for good intense exercise.
This isn't a huge ask. The average TV show lasts an hour and most of us manage to find time for that. The hour you dedicate to working out is just for you. It's a chance to clear your head and recharge.
[ Q ] What projects are you currently involved with and what are some of your immediate goals?
My biggest project would have to be protecting the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. This 320,000 acre reserve is located in Cape York, about 60km NE of Weipa. The land is bordered on the south by the Wenlock River with the highest biodiversity of freshwater fish of any river in the country.
| Cape York Peninsula:
Cape York Peninsula is a large peninsula located in Far North Queensland, Australia. This remote peninsula is one of the last remaining wilderness areas on Earth.
Its undisturbed tropical rainforests and savannas are now recognized for their global environmental significance. A nomination for World Natural Heritage is currently being considered by the Queensland and Australian Federal governments.
About 32,000 acres of the reserve is under threat of mining. The ore to be extracted is bauxite, which will be turned into aluminum for China. To prevent the bauxite perched springs, rainforest, endangered plants and animals, and Wenlock River being destroyed, please sign the petition
|RELATED VIDEO: STEVE IRWIN WILDLIFE RESERVE|
[ Q ] Can you describe your current training program? How many days per week do you train and what system/style of training do you currently employ?
I have two types of training. I have a maintenance training program, which includes 3-4 days per week of aerobic, and weight training. When I have an event that I'd like to train for, I amp it up to 7 days a week and get more strict with my diet for 8-10 weeks.
I do weight training with body sculptor Kelli Johnson and mixed martial arts work with Dan Higgins. I also have weight sets, a stationary bike and rowing machine at home. When I travel I still make the time whenever I have access to a gym or I just go for a run in the bush!
[ Q ] I understand you are also pretty adept at boxing the heavy bag. Do you have a background in combat and or fighting sports/training? If so, please could you elaborate on this?
Steve was mad keen on
mixed martial arts and we loved doing everything together. We started training with one of our personal security staff members, Dan Higgins, about five years ago. Dan is a titleholder and also a great coach.
Steve was so passionate about MMA that he built his own cage, or dojo to fight in. We have been honored to have the world famous coach, Greg Jackson, visit us on several occasions and fighters from America like Keith Jardine, come over for a spar and a roll!
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Steve Was Mad Keen On Mixed Martial Arts
And We Loved Doing Everything Together.
[ Q ] What ways has martial arts training benefited you over the years?
Mixed martial arts is such complete training. There's stand-up fighting which includes kicking and sparring and also the option to go to ground and grapple. This is terrific training for
women as it is easily the best method of self-defense.
Training includes jumping rope, running, bag work (including the bag on the mats for a bit of ground and pound), kettlebells, weight training, sit ups and push ups (lots), pad work, sparring, and a special kind of wrestling which includes a lot of leg work. We also incorporate yoga and stacks of stretching!
[ Q ] How would you describe your MMA fighting style? What attracted you to this sport?
I enjoy MMA because it gives me such all around fitness for working in the bush (one day I might be climbing trees, the next sand dunes) and it makes me feel empowered and confident. Since I'm never going to fight in the ring, I'm not as concerned about developing a certain style. I just really appreciate having the opportunity to learn so much about fighting strategies and skill.
[ Q ] What is your approach to nutrition? How do you balance your diet for optimal performance and physical improvement?
I am lucky to have a body shaping coach (Kelli Johnson) who is also a nutritionist. I eat five times a day and make sure I have
protein with every meal. I cut out dairy and indulge in lots of green vegetables.
I'm careful with carbs too, limiting it to rye bread, rice crackers and rice. The biggest difference in overall health is drinking at least four liters of water everyday. Post training I often have a banana.
|RELATED VIDEO: DRINK PLENTY OF WATER|
[ Q ] Do you take any nutritional supplements? If so, what do you take and how do they benefit you do you think?
vitamins is important.
Calcium intake is lowered when dairy is cut out of my diet, so vitamin supplements are very necessary. I take a multivitamin,
iron, and others. I enjoy
Goji juice every morning and utilize
protein drinks when there isn't time for steaming chicken.
I don't usually have protein powder more than once a day. For convenience when I travel I'll pack protein bars. It's just important to read the label because some protein bars are more like carbohydrate bars.
[ Q ] For you, is improving your conditioning - as you have done of late - beneficial to the kind of work you do?
Each and every person can improve their life by improving their condition. You don't have to be climbing mountains and trekking through swamps (two of my favorite things) to see results. Keeping fit keeps you younger and more able to tackle life's
stresses. It will also ensure that you can keep up with your kids!
[ Q ] Your training program combined with your work makes for a pretty physical lifestyle. What do you do to rest and recover?
I don't train intensely all the time and a lot of my work is sitting in one spot. I might sit for a couple of hours to spot a platypus. When I'm travelling I'll catch a movie on the plane.
The kids and I also set aside time to read. And hey, I'm sitting still right now! Actually the irony is that the more physically active you are, the less you like sitting still.
[ Q ] How would you define success?
I do not believe in failure, only varying degrees of success. I also believe that success is all about doing your personal best. Imagine what you would attempt if you knew you were going to succeed. This is how you should approach life's challenges!
[ Q ] How would you describe yourself in one word?
With two beautiful children and a mission to protect wildlife and wild places, I would have to describe myself as blessed.
[ Q ] What are your long-term goals? What makes you most happy?
goals include developing a world-class resort at the
Australia Zoo, further our whale research to help stop whaling and protect the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve from being destroyed by a small mining company. Most of all I want to be here for my children. Bindi and Robert are the absolute joy of my life.
[ Q ] What message would you give those who have encountered adversity (whatever that may be for them) and are facing an uphill struggle?
When facing life's challenges, never give up. I am always telling my children this and sometimes I have to remind myself of this. Never give up!
I Am Always Telling My
Children, Never Give Up.
I was lucky enough to share nearly fifteen years with the world's greatest Wildlife Warrior. Steve had put the definition of Warrior above his desk - "One who is engaged in battle". Steve inspired me to fight as a Wildlife Warrior. If nothing else, I owe it to him to never give up. I truly hope I can help inspire others to do the same.