How AFLW & netball star Sharni Layton manages her health

How AFLW & netball star Sharni Layton manages her health

Each week on Women’s Health news, we’re learning how different women manage their health alongside their careers and other work.

This week, meet Sharni Layton, AFLW star and former captain of The Diamonds. As an athlete who has played both netball and football professionally, you’d be surprised to know her favourite workout at current is actually yoga, especially during lockdown.

Sharni was a guest on the third season of our Women’s Agenda podcast series, The Leadership Lessons. Her memoir, No Apologies, is out now.

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In the morning I…

Get up and going straight away.

I wake at 4:50am to get to my job coaching netball at Methodist Ladies College in Kew. I shower to wake up, grab my coffee and jump in the car. As I have an hour drive I like to put on an audiobook of something of interest to turn my brain on for the day. My most recent have been Green Light by Matthew McConaughey, Atomic Habits by James Clear & I’m currently listening to A Promised Land – Barack Obama.

I like to listen to books that challenge my way of thinking and educate myself through story telling. I’m not a huge fan of self-help books as I think everyone has an opinion and can study, however I get inspired by learning from those who have evidence of their actions and shared personal experiences. This is the best way to start my day. 

My exercise routine includes…


Having been a professional athlete for the last 18 years, I’m not a fan of HIIT classes or pushing my body to the limits – I believe being kinder in exercise is the way to go. I enjoy yoga, which I’ve mainly been doing during lockdown (by Adrienne or Kassandra on YouTube), swimming and I recently joined up with a local football team to train with so I can do fun jogging/fitness.

If you’re like me and not into training by yourself, then joining a local sports team is a great way to go. I meet new people and don’t notice that I’ve run 5km when I’m kicking and chasing a ball around! The only class I’m currently doing is pilates, I do physio reformer with a personalised program to make sure I’m doing what’s best for my body. I believe in quality over quantity training. 

My favourite workout is…

Currently yoga.

It helps ground me in my busy lifestyle and I can choose how challenging I want the session to be depending on how I feel. If I don’t feel like having a hard workout, I can still do a vinyasa flow to keep the body moving.

I find balance in…

My hobbies.

While I live quite a busy and chaotic lifestyle, I have hobbies that I make sure I fit into my week that keep me grounded and are a sense of relief to my everyday rabbit race.

I have a horse named Ghost which I feed daily and try to ride at least 3 times per week, a dog – Stickers – who I take for daily walks to keep me sane and reminds to take a time out from screen time and I make sure to see my family once a fortnight to keep me grounded and remind me that community/family & connection is what is most important.

On health, I encourage women to…

Do what is best for you – not the current trend.

What works for you and your body may not be what your friends do or what the latest Instagram or Tiktok trend may be.

Eat as clean as possible, but don’t be so strict that it affects your thought patterns – food should not be something you obsess over.

Keep trying different styles of exercise until you find one that suits you – there are so many! Running, weights, yoga, gym classes i.e. spin, boxing.

Doing something is better than nothing. Remember, even elite athletes don’t feel motivated all the time, we are just consistent in our training and do it even when we don’t feel like it, because we know we will feel better for doing it!

Also, plan exercise into your week, so it’s something you WILL do, not something you ‘might’ do. Music helps me not think about training either and makes it more fun. If you need extra motivation or don’t like training by yourself, find a friend to go on a walk or train with! It makes it much more fun and then you also have an accountability buddy.

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