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A Day In The Life Of… Jordan Mercer

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Anna Flanagan

Name and role

Jordan Mercer, Surf IronWoman

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I am a professional surf athlete. My discipline changes dependent on the time of the year, but basically it’s broken into the sprint season where I compete in the Kellog Nutri-Grain Ironwoman series, before transitioning into the long-distance paddleboard season. My paddleboard specialty is the prone paddleboarding event, which means either lying down on my stomach or on my knees, paddling the ocean.

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The sport gene runs through your veins. At a just 13 years old you were asked by the AIS to be a part of their training squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What made your turn your back on gymnastics and head to the water?

Lifestyle was probably a big one – I think deep down I knew that I did love the ocean and that coastal lifestyle. With gymnastics I had to move to Canberra to be at the AIS training for the upcoming Olympic Games – I wouldn’t be able to be at the beach. The big decision was knowing that I had a growing passion for being in the ocean – racing there and the fact that I had such a good group of girl friends. The environment and that team spirit that was created when I did surf sports was something that drew me towards a change of career path at such a young age.

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re in season, what does a typical day involve? 

I train Monday to Friday, doing three to four sessions a day. Saturday is my big session, where, depending on what time of season it is, I’m either doing very long board paddle sessions anywhere from four to six hours, or it could be an Ironwoman session, which is over and done with in an hour and 15 minutes and is extremely high-intensity – a real vomitron of a session, and the lactic usually lingers for a day or so. Sunday is ‘Sunday fun-day’ for me. I like to do a light session but usually it’s just family time, spending time with friends and generally being at the beach. I’m not quite over the beach yet so through the week I still like to go down, relax, kick the ball, and go surfing.

6am: Generally, throughout the season I’m swim training for two hours in the morning.

10am: I’ll head off from there – have a little snack and into the gym where I work out for about an hour. I like to do a lot of body weight exercises, lots of balance and strength exercises, and obviously getting the heart rate up with cardio in the gym. Sometimes, I’ve got a trainer throughout the week, other times I might be doing my own stuff in the gym. I also love to do a bit of pad boxing when I get the chance.

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12pm: I like to have a nap or a surf. That, for me, is refreshing and a little bit of personal time. After a nice lunch I’ll be ready for the afternoon sessions where I’ll be running, or alternating from run to gym. When I’m running I’m either at the National Park in Noosa or I like sand running. Track running’s always good too. Sometimes it’s nice to go for a flat road run. My runs go from maybe four to 10km.

3pm: For my final session for the day I’m in the ocean. I’m paddling my board or on my ski, or putting all the disciplines together and doing an IronWoman session with a run, swim, ski, board, all in the surf.  That usually goes for an hour or so and it’s my favourite session of the day.

I just like challenging myself, trying new things, being in the ocean, playing guitar, I love listening to music, creating things and spending time with loved ones and family!

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an athlete?

From a young age I was always determined to be the best. Not just at sport but anything I tried, I always strived to do things perfectly. I did a lot of sports through my early years running and gymnastics being my focus. From the age of six until I was thirteen I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast. That dream came very close to fruition when I was offered a position at the Australian Institute of Sport in the gymnastics team to train for the upcoming games. My dreams and future vision have changed through the years but sport has always remained a very important part of who I am and what I wanted to do. But one of the big moments where I thought I can do this, I can be a professional athlete was when I was 16 and in year 11 at school, when I was just old enough to trial for the professional IronWoman Series. I remember being on the beach ready to race, the surf was huge and the weather pretty wild. I hadn’t been paddling a ski for much longer than three months and my swimming wasn’t very strong. It was going to be tough, to say the least. But I knew there wasn’t one thing that would stop me from giving this trial the fight of my life. I had never wanted something so badly in my life, with every ounce of my being I wanted to become a professional IronWoman and it was going to happen that weekend! I knew I deserved it and I believed I could do it!

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Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have quite a few people. Children with special needs and disabilities, which I have had the chance to work with through some amazing charities. Noosa Seahorse Nippers is for children with disabilities and special needs allowing them to enjoy junior surf life saving activities. Also, Surfers Healing and Paddle4Autism both program’s which allow Autistic children to surf and enjoy the ocean with watermen and women! Jamie Mitchell one of the best watermen in the world, 10x Molokai2Oahu World Paddle Board Champion and big wave surfer is a special mentor of mine, and a great friend. Mikey Mendoza, skating sensation and fellow Red Bull teammate is someone who makes the most out of every opportunity in life and has a contagiously powerful and positive attitude and my Aunty Jenny, for personal reasons.

What are your goals for the future?

To do what it takes to be proud of the person I am and never stop learning. I know by doing this I will be inspiring people to follow their dreams and supporting those less fortunate. To live a life of giving and learning surrounded by my loved ones, is my ultimate goal.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Growing up I’ve been given a lot of advice and a lot of people with great experience in sport have said some pretty special things to me, but the most import piece of advice I was given was to go out there and have fun. I used to laugh it off because I found it very hard to do that with the amount of pressure that I put on myself, and how nervous I got before any event or any race or any run I did. But in the last couple of years I’ve learnt how important it is for me to enjoy myself and have fun out there. My best results have come from when I’m relaxed, when I’m out there and happy to be where I am – and so it is, I think, the most important advice I’ve been given in life and of course racing. So the best piece of advice I could pass on from my experience is hard work will beat talent if talent doesn’t work hard, and there is no easy road to any place worth going.

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Images via © Red Bull Media House

A Day In The Life Of… Anna Flanagan

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Ellyse Perry

Name and role

Anna Flanagan and I am a player for the Hockeyroos!

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an athlete?

I wanted to be sportswomen from as soon as I could walk- meaning as long as I can remember! I picked up my first hockey stick at four and never looked back! I always wanted to represent Australia and go to the Olympics in something. I did tennis and athletics at national level until I was 15 and chose to give everything to hockey. I always loved the feeling of winning with a team and ultimately enjoyed the sport more. When I made my debut for Australia at age 18, I realised that just playing for Australia wasn’t the goal, but being the best was. Making the team [Hockeyroos] was only the beginning of a huge journey to the top.

Tell us a bit about your journey?

I was selected into the Australian squad when I was 17 and still at school. I came through the junior ranks with two national titles and Player of the Tournament in U18s/21s and in open Nationals before I was 20. My first foray into international hockey I was 16 playing for the U21 Australian team and therefore had to grow up pretty quickly. I moved over to Perth when I was 18 away from all my family and friends and had to learn to look after myself on the other side of the country, without knowing anyone well in the team. The first year I really struggled but had my studies to distract me from being so isolated. I was a late selection into the Commonwealth Games team in Delhi, and from this moment I new I wanted not only to win gold medals, but be the best in the world.

I worked really hard physically to earn my place as one of the main players in the team. I then at 20 years old, I was voted World Young Player of the year at the Olympic Games. This brought a lot more pressure to perform but none more than what I placed on myself. From back then, knowing no one the team is like my family now. We train together everyday and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

My captain Madonna Blyth inspires me everyday at training to push harder and be the best you can. In other sports the females such as Jessica Fox, Caroline Buchanan and Anna Meares because they are pushing the boundaries of female sport and are good role models.

As an elite athlete, its not always bright lights and glory. How do you deal with the challenges and down times?

We train everyday so I definitely have those days or moments where I envy those with a ‘normal’ job. But I try putting it in perspective to realise not everyone can do what I am doing, and that the lifestyle is amazing and the feeling of winning with your team mates is the ultimate high.

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Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re in hockey season, what does a typical day involve?  

Of course there’s no such thing as a typical day but a standard training day would look something like this:

7am: Rise and shine, I like to have breakfast two hours before training so that it has time to digest before we start a heavy session.

9-11:30am: Full team training on the pitch where we have a mixture of strength, power, speed and endurance exercises built into our drills.

11:30am-12pm: Recovery and ice baths- submerging our lower bodies into freezing cold water to help relieve muscle soreness for the following day.

12-1pm: We have lunch together and a meeting to discuss the figures that we produced in the weeks training session on our GPS and heart rate, and talk about where we need to improve and work harder as well as highlight those who have done well.

1:30pm-3pm: We have gym that consists of Olympic lifting, heavy weights and a crossfit style of work-out, depending on the individual and their needs.

6pm: Is dinner and couch time as I am buggered from the big day of training!

9:30pm: Try to get in bed by this time so that I get enough rest to do it all again the next day!

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What are your goals for the future?

My ultimate goal is to win Olympic gold… the pinnacle of our sport. Individually I want to be the best player I can in the best team I can… therefore the best player in the world in the best team in the world.

What advice would you give to someone following the same path as you?

Always look to better yourself in all areas as an athlete. Whether it be mental or physical or technical, push the boundaries and try do what others can’t. If you believe you can and do everything to achieve it, anything is possible. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is good things don’t come easy. And if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. For anyone wanting to get into professional sport, I would say, you need to set goals, have a plan, be determined to achieve it and give 100%. But more than that, enjoy what you are doing, the more fun you have the more memories you make and the rewards are priceless.

Inspirational Women: Deborah Symond

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

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Name and role:

Deborah Symond, founder and director of Mode Sportif. 

Tell us about your role, what do you get up to on a day-to-day basis? 

Being the Director of Mode Sportif, means that no two days are alike! I started the business myself in 2013 and now work with an incredible team out of our offices in Surry Hills. I oversea all aspects of the Mode e-commerce business, paying particular attention to business strategy, fashion buying and digital. One day I can be in Paris buying collections from our international designers and the next I can be analyzing traffic, conversions and user experiences online with our digital team. It is fast paced and challenging, which is what I love about it!

When did you realise you wanted to this as a career and begin Mode Sportif

I have always been passionate about fashion and customer service and I knew that I wanted to be in this space. I wanted to build something that would have a positive impact on the industry and our community combining my loves of fashion, digital and service. I worked on the concept for two years prior to our online launch as it was important to me to understand the growing space, map out our operational work flow and partner with the leading international brands.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! I read a lot online about everything from business startups to emerging designers. I talk to people, I love to ask questions and hear their stories, whatever industry or background, I learn something from each person I meet.  Fashion is so visual and visiting different cities is a huge source of inspiration for me.

Who has helped you get started? Did you have a mentor? 

I grew up with two working parents and have them to thank for my work ethic, commitment and drive. They have both been mentors throughout this journey and amazing sounding boards and support systems. Building something is about having a strong team to support and drive the vision, and I am very thankful to work with some of the industries best every day.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then?

Starting my own business has meant different challenges on a daily basis! There will always be bumps in the road, and navigating those challenges and problem solving results in more experience, knowledge, and ultimately growth for the business and the team.

How did you overcome these?

With the combined powers of a strong, passionate and experienced team, along with the support of my family, friends and my partner.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to elevate Mode Sportif to a global level, dressing women for their workouts, downtime and leisure time and building a community around fashion, health and wellness worldwide.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Go for it! Be a ‘do-er’, research and validate your ideas and then bring them life.

To check out Mode Sportif head to www.modesportif.com