Community Conversation

Meet Olympian and Fitness Guru Olia Burtaev

Meet Olia Burtaev, former Synchronised Swimming Australian Olympian turned personal trainer at The Gymnasium at The Calile Hotel.

With over 10 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, Olia has created a customised James St Stretch and Sweat Workout for us. Follow along HERE to set your own pace.

Prior to custom creating the James St Workout, we sat down with the cheerful Olia for a chit chat about her approach to fitness, what it takes to be an Olympic athlete and, most importantly, how long she can hold her breath underwater.


Since competing at The London 2012 Summer Olympics as a Synchronised Swimmer, you’ve been busy, to say the least – from graduating University with a Bachelor of Sports Science and starting your own fitness business, The Modern Body, which services clients all around Brisbane. Tell us more about what makes The Modern Body unique?

It’s been quite a journey since the London Olympics! I guess my training style has always been a hybrid mix of fitness components initially due to my sporting background. I have noticed that many people don’t focus on their flexibility and incorporating stretching into their training routine. Personally, that is something I focus on including in all my client’s programs, whether that be just a stretch focused session (releasing tension) or more of a flexibility and strength-based workout with movements that focus on increasing their range of motion. Interesting enough, a lot of my style and technique has come from the training I did and with a sports science degree, I have learnt the science of health and fitness as well as the programming that should be applied.


Your training methods for both novices, high-performance athletes and those in between, always combine flexibility, strength and conditioning – a signature trio of yours. Why is it important to incorporate these three techniques in everyday exercising?

It’s all about balance in my opinion. I have come from a background where we were trained to push past our normal range of motion not only to be flexible but also to increase power output (example: tennis and golf players when they go in for a hit).

The same concept applies to the general public if you want to be flexible and build strength you have to include dynamic stretches and work on your range of motion. The muscle itself is built up tension whereas stretching focuses on releasing the tension, they have different effects on the body and it’s important to include all elements in a well-rounded training program. 


As a former Olympian and head trainer at The Calile’s Gymnasium with over 10 years’ experience in high-performance sport – what does it take to be the best?

Hahaha – consistency is key! I keep it pretty simple, like any goal – if you want to be the best you have to work on it consistently if not every day.


When you’re helping clients work towards their fitness and wellness goals – what are your three tried and tested tips to succeed?

I like to make it pretty clear that to me, success is about feeling confident, being physically fit and having a healthy headspace. You can have many goals in life, but you have to enjoy where you are at the moment also. Enjoy your training, work hard, be committed and live your best life.


What sets training clients at The Gymnasium apart from a regular gym, other than its incredibly cool location of course?

The Gymnasium is absolutely beautiful. I personally never thought I would end up working in a gym because I only was ever at a pool or a ballet studio. The Gymnasium is a beautiful open space which is a combination of a studio and a gym. I love that it’s a more intimate space and has everything you need on display. I could not see myself being anywhere else.


We need to know… how long can you hold your breath underwater?

We always trained to hold our breath swimming underwater (distance) as we would always hold our breath moving. I remember once I did 75m underwater during a training camp.


Tell us what a day in the life of Olia looks like

A day in the life would start with a 4-5am wakeup call. I have my morning clients until 10am and then come back for my afternoon clients from 4pm. Sometimes I would have midday sessions or a corporate class. In between, I eat, watch an episode of something on Netflix (currently Greys Anatomy), a sauna at KAILO, try to get my own training in and work on any other projects I may have! My days can feel like a whirlwind at times!


Who do you listen to when you train?

Mmm…that’s a tough one. I need a good beat to my songs. I usually listen to whatever is playing on at the Gymnasium or I will find a playlist on Spotify!


Favourite destination to work out?

The Gymnasium is always a treat, or I keep it super simple and go to an outdoor pool (Get some vitamin D!)


Imagine there are no travel restrictions – where do you travel too?

Russia or Europe! I have been before, from back when I was competing and doing a few jobs overseas. I think my next travel location would have to be Greece during their Summer!


Get stretchy with us and take Olia’s customised James St Stretch and Sweat Workout HERE.

Posted on

November 18, 2020