Sydney will always have a special place in Samantha Clayton’s heart.
The 200-metre sprinter for Team Great Britain overcame momentous obstacles to make the 2000 Olympics.
It was reflected in just how much her achievement meant to her small team of diehard supporters, and how much their support meant to her.
“I'd never travelled that far before,” she remembers fondly. “We got really lucky, the British team went out to Australia about six weeks before the games, which was amazing…the gardens, the beaches, I'd never seen anything like it. Every time I return, I feel like I relive it over again.”
Clayton was born one of four girls in inner-city public housing, to a single mother who taught her daughters to be strong and self-confident above all else.
“You realise in that moment as an athlete, it's not about you. There's a coach that's trained you without being paid, your mum who's done everything for you. I shared the Sydney Olympics with my coach, who had coached for over 40 years and never had an Olympian. The biggest highlight was that sense of relief and gratitude for the team. The joy that it brings to everybody around you.”
Now a mother of four herself – Clayton’s “proudest achievement” among a lofty list – her passion is still based on the values ingrained in her as a child.
“Hard work, dedication, sacrifice. That's kinda like our family motto,” she grins. “My mum was fantastic.
"Her idea of a fun outing was the local park to have races. From a very young age, she pushed us to excel at whatever we did, always telling us ‘You have a talent, you should pursue it.
“Ever since my children were little, I've created that same super-active family life. Exercise is wonderful for each and every individual, but right now it's a really great time for bonding,” she says.
With 24% of Australian kids overweight and one-in-seven experiencing mental health issues, Clayton’s expert advice is gaining huge popularity among families currently enjoying the chance to form healthy lifestyle habits together.
Clayton is well-known as a former Olympian, coach and personal trainer to celebrities, and for the last 10 years, has been working with Herbalife Nutrition, currently as Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness.
The worldwide nutrition company has given Clayton’s captivating enthusiasm a global platform. Her free workout videos on the Herbalife Nutrition workout platform have garnered millions of views and her nutrition blogs have become staples.
It’s easy to see why: Clayton’s mixture of elite experience, athletic collaborations and strong family values make her programs unique, as she clearly explains the science and reasoning behind her techniques and advice.
“Nutrition is then crucial to your results and recoveries, but it also provides a feel good factor," she says. "As an athlete, supplementation is just a natural part of my day and so I’ve always been a huge fan.
"I follow a pre, during and post philosophy: what does my body need before exercise to be efficient?