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Overcoming obstacles

Luke and Acacia Harvison found themselves wanting to bring more of the outdoors into, not only their lives, but the lives of others. It became a driving force for their successful business, The Farm Gym.

by Rebecca Mugridge

As you take the wholesome drive from Nambour to Mapleton you pass by a collection of ninja style obstacles on a beautiful farm with a picturesque dam often dotted with geese and ducks. This is The Farm Gym, a business Acacia and Luke Harvison have spent years successfully building.

“The great outdoors naturally makes us happy, connected and less stressed,” says Acacia.

“We were working in the mines in WA, training in indoor facilities, and they were great, but our workday was already inside or on a machine,” shares Luke. “And then we would also train inside and then go home to sleep inside.

“We had both grown up on farms and we felt this massive disconnect in how to get back outside more…functionally how could we spend more time back outside but still with this full, happy life we’ve built.

“We thought, what if we could train outside. That led to us moving away from everything we were doing and following a passion.”

Luke and Acacia are both locals and went to Nambour High. Acacia grew up in Yandina and Luke in Nambour.

“About five years out of high school we met again,” says Acacia. We had the same group of friends and a love for life and live music.

“We had both done a whole lot of travel after high school and we both simultaneously came back to the same place and were thinking, it’s time to build something. And then we met each other, and it was like, we could build something together.”

And they did – a family, a business and a beautiful life.

“Picture going to work with your best mate, sharing all your ideas, all your ups and downs. Knowing that we are there to hold and lift each other up. It’s phenomenal,” says Luke of running a business with his wife, Acacia.

The Farm Gym is also literally a farm. “This used to be a passionfruit farm. Noel and Audrey, they bought it in 1949 I think it was, and I grew up working on this farm,” explains Luke.

“When we came back from WA we said, what are you doing with the farm? Noel was a farmer through and through, with tennis as his sporting passion. At 91 years old saw the correlation between a farmer’s work ethic and the joy of physical fitness through tennis, and gave the fitness farm his tick of approval.

“It is beautiful to have Noel’s energy still running through the property, with his vision to have that here, as well as have a farm and live this way.”

“I think one thing we have nailed here at The Farm Gym is how to incorporate play in training in an outdoor setting,” says Acacia. “Our sessions start with a big game, like Red Rover or Stuck in the Mud. It enables you to bring yourself back to the childhood joy of play, while giving yourself permission to have fun as a community.”

To support their thriving gym community further they have powerful programs like Boys to Men, and Men of Tomorrow..

“Mentoring is really important for young teens. We have had a program running for two years now, with our coaches, Lee and Sam, who are passionate about what they do and leading the way for these young men,” says Luke.

“These teens and young men have access to a mentor who is not their direct family member to be led and supported by. They gain strength and build confidence and courage while being supported, as they figure out who they are.

“We get a lot of thank yous to the coaches from parents, who see remarkable positive transitions in their teenage sons.”

The life-enriching experience transcends all the ages at the gym. “A lot of people start with training and then they might go and do Spartan, take up kayaking or trail running, and all these things they thought were not possible anymore past their 30s. But really, I think that’s where the best years lie if we look after ourselves,” says Acacia.

“Strength is life. If we build strength within our body and mind, it aids longevity, and maintains the capabilities to keep chasing our dreams. The words we use here a lot are building confident and capable humans.”

Along with people training to feel stronger, more capable and confident in their own bodies, The Farm Gym also produces successful athletes!

A group of Farm Gym members recently competed at the World Obstacle UIPM 2023 OCR World Championships in Belgium. An event with athletes from over 140 countries, and Farm Gym member, Chris Gough, was one of the athletes to compete and placed 10th.

A few months ago Chris was taking part in the Spartan Sunshine Coast event. “As I crossed the finish line a lady with a clipboard came up and said, ‘Congratulations, you finished eighth in your group, and you’ve qualified for the World Obstacle Championships in Belgium’. She asked for my number and email, and shortly afterwards I received an email saying I was on the list for the event!”

Chris was placed in the 50-54-years age group, his son Matthew and two other Farm Gym members, Mitch and Rick, also qualified in their age groups, so the training began in earnest.

“Acacia was really supportive and we trained six days a week at the Farm Gym, along with a weekly course at Ninga Jungle, Forest Glen. On Sundays I would run 15-20k, and did this for four months,” Chris shares.

“We also received plenty of support on diet, sleep, and mindset, and before we knew it, we were heading to Belgium!”

This is the inaugural World Obstacle UIPM 2023 OCR World Championships, and was originally to be held in Russia, but was pulled and Belgium took it on.

“There were three days of racing, and it was blisteringly hot,” says Chris. “Day one was a 3k challenge with 25 obstacles, day two was 15k with over 50 obstacles, and day three was a team event doing 6k.

“At the end of it all we were covered in bruises, grazes and calluses. The racing was brutal and a steep learning curve, but worth every minute.

“I didn’t think I’d be representing my country at 50, and I attest much of that to being a part of The Farm Gym,” Chris shares with a smile.

Acacia, Luke and gym members like Chris are an asset to the hinterland community, inspiring us all with what is possible.

The Farm Gym is located at 307 Mapleton Rd, Burnside 4560 / Ph: 0439 711 550/ Email: / Website:



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