How Joy McClymont Built a Thriving Virtual Fitness Business from a QLD Cattle Station
It’s about working with what you have.
Meet inspiring Australian mum and entrepreneur Joy McClymont. Joy is the owner of Off the Track Training, a remote personal training business which helps individuals throughout Australia get fit and healthy, from wherever they reside. Nicknamed the “Aussie Get Fit Chick,” Joy demonstrates that distance and isolation don’t have to stop you from living your best life, or from reaching your dreams. These circumstances are merely obstacles that can be overcome with a bit of resourcefulness and determination. Her drive and ingenuity has helped Joy build a highly successful business...all from a secluded outback cattle station.
The Spark of an Idea
Roughly 10 years ago, Joy McClymont moved to rural Queensland with her husband. Their farm property, a cattle and sheep station called ‘Dalkeith’, lies over 100 km from the nearest town, Longreach. Like some 500,000 other Australians living in remote Australia, McClymont learned to accept both the positives and negatives of the situation. There are certain challenges that come along with a rural lifestyle. It is common to live hundreds of kilometres from your nearest neighbour. You may need to travel even further to find organised ‘civilisation.’ Without the nearby conveniences of cities and suburbs, those living in remote Australia must learn a degree of self sufficiency. Adapting to these circumstances is necessary to ensuring you can create the type of life you want.
Energetic and motivated, Joy and her family had a passion from the start. This passion centered around Australian agriculture. On their 80,000 acre homestead, the goal of producing top quality food and fibre has always been top of mind. This idea is linked closely with the importance of community and resources. The McClymonts believe it’s vitally important for Australians to understand where their food is coming from, and a desire to educate and inspire remains an integral part of their work at Dalkeith.
Food is an essential ingredient in a healthy lifestyle, but so is fitness.
As Joy began to have children, she realised there was one aspect of rural living that created a special challenge in her life: her physical fitness. Many young mums like Joy struggle with getting fit post-pregnancy. Not only can it be tough to shed that “baby weight,” the responsibilities of raising children monopolise a mum’s time and energy. Add to that the additional pressures of a rural lifestyle, and it will come as no surprise that many mums in the outback feel frustrated with their personal fitness.
Joy herself grew up enjoying physical activity. She had always participated in sport in her youth, and the impulse to move frequently and pursue wellness was strong within her. But like many women, her body and energy changed after having children. It was no longer so easy to go for a run or to begin a new fitness routine. Yet Joy was determined to find a way to get up and move. Despite being miles ‘off the track’ and far from a gym or fitness class, she began to make do with what she had right in front of her on the cattle station.
This innovative, yet simple approach was the spark of a great idea. Little did she know this hobby would turn into something much bigger than she ever expected.
Achieving Goals, No Matter Where You Live
On her website, Joy inspires with these words; the very foundation of her idea: “You can achieve any health and fitness goal you set, no matter where you live.”
This is exactly how Joy began and how she continues to run her fitness programs.
With no local gym filled with motivating trainers, no complex workout equipment, and no groups or classes to join, Joy looked around her and assessed. She would move her body using the items she had readily available, items around her on the cattle station. Quickly, those ordinary farm items morphed into useful gym equipment. A tree stump, a can of beans, or simply her own body weight would suffice, working the same muscles and providing a great workout. Suddenly, there were possibilities everywhere. Dalkeith became a makeshift fitness centre. Heavy bags of grain could be lifted as weights. Unused tyres could be lifted or rolled. Fence posts could provide a base for stretching. And a bale of hay could be the perfect jumping box. Joy quickly discovered that these everyday items would do just fine, and in fact, using them was fun!
Her cattle station fitness centre allowed Joy to get the workout she needed and start to bounce back to a fitter, healthier lifestyle. Not only was it fairly simple, but she could fit it into her busy schedule. It was inexpensive, too. By using what she already had, she was saving money and resources. It began to grow apparent that Joy might be onto a massive idea: if this worked for her, it could work for others, too.
Before moving out to Longreach with her husband, Joy worked as a schoolteacher in a small western Queensland town. After school hours, she would lead exercise groups for the mums of her students. These women, living in a rural setting, were looking for some exercising guidance, and they found Joy a motivating teacher.
It’s no surprise then that this former teacher began to impart knowledge once again, but this time from a distance.
Joy started to create programs that could be accessible to anyone, anywhere. Initially, she designed her workouts for women living in rural isolation with their families, just as she was. Her own exercise regime became a basis for the programs she would run. Joy has said, "I want to make the impossible become possible and that has always been a really big aim for me — to try and get people to hold the reins of their health with both hands and know they have got control of this." With Off the Track Training, men and women living in secluded parts of Australia (or further afield) can have access to these effective, straightforward exercise programs. These are combined with excellent support and encouragement, both from Joy herself and from her online community.
A Virtual Fitness Community
Joy launched her programs with one of the most valuable tools she had at her disposal: the Internet. She understood that despite physical isolation, Australians in rural and regional areas could be brought together virtually. All that was needed was an Internet connection and a working device.
This virtual linkage is important in so many ways. While the exercises Joy shares (via video or live teleconferences) provide her clients with practical instruction, the chats among the Off the Track community allow these farflung women (and several men) to connect with others in similar circumstances. With her work, Joy has gathered a community of other like-minded health seekers. While they may not exercise together in person, these clients are able to support one another even across the miles. This helps foster relationships and accountability, elements which research shows are important for helping people to stick to and succeed with a fitness program.
Using the web, Joy began training and assisting other women, personalising fitness programs for both individuals and small groups. She obtained a personal training certification and added other wellness professionals to her team. Members of her fitness training can use a virtual online fitness centre, where they’ll find pre-recorded and live videos, chats, articles from wellness experts, healthy meal plans, and nutritional advice. Clients go through a multi-week program with Joy “by their side” helping them to get moving and keep moving. In many ways, the program is a bit DIY. Joy encourages participants to work with what they have on their properties, and get creative when necessary.
Joy finds great reward in helping others gain control of their health in an easy and fun way. Initially, her programs attracted a female majority, but it wasn’t long before men joined up. Men in rural situations need fitness advice, too. Despite a busy and active station lifestyle, men who do agricultural and farm work often neglect other aspects of their health. They mistakenly view their farm work as their exercise regime. Joy recently assisted some shearers who weren’t raising their heart rates often enough to get their hearts pumping more frequently. The repetitive motions of the work can provide a shearer with daily movement, but this eventually ceases to be challenging, losing its effectiveness as the “body has become very efficient at what it’s always done.” Combining some brief cardio with regular stretching, these shearers will be on their way to healthier and more flexible bodies in no time.
Getting farmers fit is a passion for Joy, as it brings something positive to the overall agricultural community, which is very important to her and her family. Joy enables farmers to see that fitness has benefits beyond physical strength. She says that farmers “often prioritise everything else before their health, but if farmers put time into their health and fitness they will then handle stress and their businesses better.” Seems like a worthwhile commitment in many ways.
Since beginning her online training business, things have expanded beyond just a single program. There are now a variety of options at Off the Track Training for interested clients. This means clients can find what works for them. Joy emphasises that health and fitness is available to everyone, regardless of location, current fitness level, or daily schedule. Her training is about fitting fitness into your lifestyle. As a station owner (and mother of four), you can believe she certainly knows something about working with a jam-packed schedule! Have only 5 minutes a day to dedicate to exercise? Joy thinks that’s an excellent place to start. Even small changes can help individuals make significant changes.
Today, more than 250 trainees are regularly joining Joy in getting up and getting moving, with participants from every state and territory in Australia. She has helped a large number of individuals improve their overall health and happiness. Many of these are women from rural Australia, but the program works for anyone living in an isolated setting or situation, even in the middle of a CBD. Joy makes it clear that anyone can get fit, without any special gear, gym, or health food shops. Her training emphasises a healthy mindset and a good relationship with food as well.
Joy’s approach isn’t just about the goal of physical fitness, either. Truly, it’s about empowerment. Joy wants Australians to know that they can take their health into their own hands, and that they can feel capable and confident about making positive and lasting lifestyle changes. They have the power “to determine their own health, fitness and way of life,” declares Joy. Participants love Joy’s attitude and infectious enthusiasm. Plus, her approachable, Aussie style reminds people she’s down to earth, and perhaps a lot like them. It’s no wonder that so many men and women are signing up to work with Joy towards a happier, healthier life.
What’s Next for this Savvy Business Owner
Joy McClymont is undoubtedly a person to emulate. Using the Internet, she has launched herself into a successful personal trainer, business owner, and a well-known personality in Australia. And she is gaining recognition both at home and abroad. In 2016, Joy was awarded the Fitness Australia Active Achiever Award, heralding her special contributions. The technological community has also taken notice. Joy was named one of Queensland’s Community Digital Champions for building an online health, fitness and holistic wellbeing platform.
In addition to running a bustling Internet business and helping to manage a cattle station, the 40 year old trainer still finds time to attend to her own fitness and achieve wellness goals. She runs half marathons, participates in endurance mountain bike riding and endurance trekking, and has competed in triathlons in France, Australia, and Hawaii. And she doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Joy is one to keep an eye on in the years to come. And perhaps she’ll inspire you towards your own life-changing venture.