Meet Karla Gilbert, OAM, accredited lifestyle, food and wellness coach, fitness trainer and certified in general nutrition, child nutrition and business marketing – now take a breath! This is one mama rocking on all levels – professional iron woman for ten years and now mum to two, read on and find out how she manages it all.



Tell us about your business/current role?

karlawellnessI’m a certified Lifestyle, Food and Wellness Coach, have a Level III and IV fitness trainer plus certificates in Child Nutrition, Nutrition and a Diploma in Business Marketing. I design personalized wellness coaching programs which assist my clients through encouragement, education and support in creating healthy behaviours and habits in the realms of nutrition, fitness, weight and stress management.

Where did the concept for this come from?

Where didn’t this come from is the question! Coming from quite an athletic background (2 x world, 7 x Ironwoman series champion) health and fitness has always been in my genetic makeup.  Both my parents were quite sporty and I was bought up around healthy eating principles and mindfulness regarding how we treat our bodies.   I found I was being approached by family and friends for advice on nutrition and fitness and felt it was just a natural progression to turn it into something a little bit more concrete.

What’s your business background?

I guess my business background has come from personal trials and tribulations in trying to achieve the highest level of nutrition and fitness competing as a professional Ironwoman.

Who were your mentors along the way?

I don’t have one mentor as such but take a lot of information in and a grain of salt from each.  Basically I am my own guinea pig and have researched and learnt a lot over the years. I’m continually learning and staying on the pulse of the latest research, which is fun and I love that part of my job. Of course my parents had a big influence in how I now approach life.



What time does a typical day start for you?

The alarm goes off at 4.50am and if it’s my turn (my husband and I alternate mornings) I am off to training with my SUP group (or in our home gym while the kids wake).  Standup paddling is my new found love after having children as I find it a total body workout and has really helped to bring my core back and overall strength to do the things I love doing.  As silly as it sounds and totally accidental but I have returned to competing and travel around the world and Australia as Naish ambassador.

Who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?

It is probably 75% me and 25% Andrew. We are a great team and Andrew can read me when I’m tired and pulls the slack. I do all the shopping lists, groceries and meal planning but Andrew can cook when he is home.  I do majority of the house work (Andrew and I have different cleaning standards) but one task I refuse to do is clean toilets so that is his gig!

If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you do?

Meditation, I love it and feel so much better if I can fit in a quick 10-20 mins of bringing my awareness and clarity back each day.



What do you do for childcare?

Ella is in grade 2 at Elanora Primary and Summer has just begun 5 days a fortnight at C+ K in Burleigh, which is where I went to kindy so it has a special place in my heart.

karlafamilyDo your kids do many extracurricular activities?

Yes we do nippers at Palm Beach (which was where I also started out, yes there is a pattern forming here… ha ha). Swimming lessons, tennis lessons, and Summer has just started dance.

What do you do for fun as a family?

We are all water babies so it is surfing, snorkeling, getting towed by the tinny, or travelling. We love travelling and exploring new places around Australia and the world.



What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?

This is going to sound sooo boring but I love to do nothing more than sit in front of the TV and watch a movie with some sushi (and if I’m lucky a foot massage).

What is your favourite Gold Coast place?

I’m a born and bred Gold Coaster and have spent the majority of my younger years living at the Southern end of the GC. Tallebudgera Creek is an amazing spot and some days I have to pinch myself because you truly could be anywhere in the world.

How about favourite place to eat out as a family?

We are a real fuss free family when it comes to eating as long as it is classed as healthy and fresh.  We love Robina town centre and eat at Salsa’s and Grill’d otherwise love Wahoo’s at Burleigh or any sushi train on the GC.



Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?

It is probably fair to say these days nights out are more like a catch up for a coffee or spending some time at a day spa relaxing sans kids. Catching some waves with friends is also a great way to energise and have fun.

What is your best beauty tip for mums?

Sleep… as much as it is hard in the beginning take the opportunities when they arise.  Even if it means going to sleep 30 mins earlier a night it all adds up. Also watch the caffeine intake. We really are in a café society and what used to be a cup of Nescafe is now a powerful punch of stimulants that can wreak havoc on our system which can show up in our skin and moods.

Favourite place to shop?

Ha ha online? I love sites such as Esther, Sabo skirt, and the Iconic. Otherwise I prefer the smaller boutiques around the coast that offer up something different.



Must-have parenting tip or tool?

Of course I’m all about health and fitness so I think the greatest gift you can give your family is to be mindful of what you are feeding your family. Quite often the female is the gate keeper of the house and we make all the decisions on what we eat. Try and get a planned system happening with shopping lists, a dozen or so of healthy go to recipes and create a meal plan each week.  Get cluey on how to read food labels, try to only shop the perimeter of the supermarket and avoid the processed food isles and set an awesome example to your kids.

Can you share any tips on finding the right balance and that juggling act?

I think being organised is my saviour, I write everything down in my diary and have to-do lists and this helps me clear my head and put jobs in order of importance. It also helps me from getting too overwhelmed and my brain about to explode! Then I can go about enjoying the kids and fitting everything in to the spare moments.

How do you stay motivated?

Making simple little goals helps me to stay motivated. Whether it’s for a SUP race that is coming up, planning a family adventure or a personal improvement goal. Just trying to always be a ‘better’ person and be open to new ideas keeps me on my toes!


Read more daily inspiration on Karla’s blog www.ironmumkarla.com.au or visit her website www.karlagilbert.com.au.




haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.