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    Group Marathon Tours - with Adventure Time Travel

    Celebrate turning up. What International Women’s Day means to me. 


    As many of you would be aware today is International Women’s Day and I was asked a few weeks ago to speak at a local event in Adelaide, where I live with my husband and two boys. 

    I’m a marathon runner, personal trainer, owner of two small businesses and a one-time documentary maker.  

    His and Her Time is my training business and Adventure Time Travel is my travel business where I take people to running events around the world. 

    The one-time documentary I helped make is called I’m Not a Runner….it follows a group of novice runners who all completed the New York Marathon back in 2018.

    Firstly a little bit about me. 

    It wasn’t until the birth of my second child (18 years ago) that I stumbled upon my true calling which is health and fitness and all things related.

    Prior to having children I’d been juggling a demanding career in marketing and event management which I enjoyed but I knew It wasn’t my true passion.

    It was then that my husband, who I’ll be forever grateful to, suggested pursuing my passion for fitness. 

    Despite already having attained multiple degrees, including an MBA, becoming a personal trainer opened a whole new chapter in my life.

    But that doesn’t mean it was always easy. 

    Walking into my first fitness lesson, I felt out of place among younger, aspiring trainers. 

    The scrutiny of my post-pregnancy body from one of the lecturers only fuelled my determination to prove them wrong. 

    Despite the challenges of balancing motherhood and studies, I channelled that judgement of how I looked, into action, jogging during course breaks and reclaiming my sense of self-worth.

    It was during this time that I realised the true power of exercise—it’s not about conforming to societal standards of beauty but rather about reclaiming strength and confidence as a woman. 

    This revelation led me to establish “Her Time,” a group training platform aimed at empowering women through fitness. 

    However, I soon discovered that many of these women were fixated on weight loss, missing the broader purpose of exercise—feeling good about yourself.

    Determined to shift the narrative, I encouraged my clients to set ambitious goals beyond weight loss, such as participating in running events. Running was my interest area and it was something that I could share with them.

    I started to witness many transformations. As people started to enjoy their bodies, they became happier, their smiles became bigger, they walked more confidently, their relationships became stronger, some got back into the work force – their partners even wanted a piece of it so I had to incorporate a “his” time with the “her” time! It was incredible and so very powerful. Finally I was witnessing people enjoying their bodies not concentrating on the scales!

    Witnessing their transformations and newfound sense of achievement led me to launch “Adventure Time Travel,” creating opportunities for ordinary individuals to achieve things they never believed possible. Adventure Time Travel started taking people to participate in events all over the world which we all, never thought possible.

    This is not to say that it was all lollipops and rainbows along the way for any of it wasn’t.  Nearly anything worthwhile I find has ups and downs. There are injuries, there is self doubt, there is that critical voice that we all have, the needs of the family, children, illnesses but with a strong and clear goal and purpose, I along with these women were navigating and overcoming adversities – not just physical ones but also mental ones, which prior to exercising they many not have overcome. 

    Perhaps my best example of the ups and downs that transformation can take is in a documentary was the documentary that I conceived and co produced. I’m Not A runner – which was based on five of the women I trained who went from their couches to running the biggest marathon in the world. I wanted to share with the world the incredible transformations that I had been privy to witnessing – because I felt that really the only people we usually celebrate are the elites of the world, not the ordinary. I wanted to create something to inspire the everyday person. Our little movie has now been shown on SBS many times, has won a national and international awards and is now being seen on International flights around the world!

    Now running may not resonate with everyone….perhaps you really are not a runner! 

    But the essence of my message transcends any particular activity—it’s about finding an activity you love to do and just doing it. Do you know exercise has been found to be the most potent medication that you can have. It is the number one key to avoiding disease and illnesses, in fact some doctors are finally starting to prescribe it!

    For me as a trainer, I see exercise and healthy living as the foundation to our lives – once you start exercising it is a domino effect- you eat better, you sleep better, you surround yourself with like-minded people, you become happier, you work better, you are a better parent and partner.

    As women, we often prioritise the needs of others, neglecting our health in the process. This can have an adverse effect, we start to feel resentment, we don’t like the way we feel, we lack energy, which leads to not eating or sleeping well and then we hate what we see in the mirror!

    But by asking ourselves the question—”What Can I do to make myself feel better” we can start to embark on a journey of self-discovery. 

    That’s not to say suddenly you have all the answers but it’s a good place to start and the best thing about being more satisfied within yourself is that you find you’re able to give more full-hearted to the people around you that your care about. 

    This is my why…and I am constantly learning and searching for how I can be the healthier version of myself. I am learning every year – it is not a straight line – it takes its peaks and turns and backwards steps but I do know how if I start to not feel so good what I need to do to get myself back on track.

    You might be thinking…that this is something not for you, beyond you or just for other people but I’d like to challenge that a little. 

    I’ve trained thousands of people over the years.

    The people I work with they’re not elite, they’re people that just want to have go at improving themselves, generally in a group setting.

    And they what make what I do worthwhile. I love seeing people challenge themselves to change and rewrite their story. It never runs smooth but watching people grow is inspiring and life enriching to me. 

    So, I decided to reach out to a few people I’ve trained to see if they could tell me, in a few sentences, about what finding exercise had done for them.  

    The response I got was truly beautiful and I’d like to share a couple with you. 

    First Karen from Perth…who I’ve trained virtually for a number of years and have taken on a few international marathons….including New York and we’ll do London together this year. 

    When I met Karen she was unhappy with her weight, as many of us are unfortunately. And she lacked confidence, was deeply unhappy and depressed. That was 13 years ago. 

    What Karen wrote to me last week brought tears to my eyes and it truly makes all of the ups and downs of running a business worthwhile!

    “International Women’s Day is always a very significant day for me! This year on March 8 I turn 58!!!,” Karen wrote.

    “For a very long time I hardly acknowledged my birthday as it was overshadowed by feelings I can’t even begin to express without a lot of tears and regret! Now I embrace the day as a celebration of all women and acknowledge that I’m a worthy part of this group.”

    “For as long as I can remember I was “a big girl” and my weight was always a topic of ongoing discussion within our family. Now when I say always, I mean for ever! 

    “My first diet attempt was before my first Holy Communion dress fitting (age 8) I mimicked the female role models within my family and used food to soothe an underlying but never acknowledged anxiety and depressive disorder. 

    “Life was a never-ending unhealthy cycle of yo-yo dieting, overeating, exercising for the wrong reasons (to burn calories and lose weight only) 

    “To be perfectly honest this continued well into my adult life believing that this was essentially what exercise was for! Fast forward to 2011 and I embarked on what was to be my turning point!

    “I was at breaking point mentally and consequently my weight was at an all time high. 

    “I cannot decipher if my weight was a reflection of my mental state or my mental state was a reflection of my physical state.

    “I remember telling my long-suffering, normally very patient husband I was DONE! And I was beginning (yet another) lifestyle change. He, quite justifiably, asked what I was going to do that was soooooo different!”

    “I very calmly explained that I was going to run every morning for an hour before work. I give him great credit for nodding and not saying ANYTHING.

    “When I reflect back, I had noticed over the years that I was always my happiest and most focused self when I exercised outside and early in the day. It is like it sets me up! 

    “Well obviously at over 130kgs I could NOT run for an hour, to be perfectly frank I’m not sure I could run for a minute back then but I did my walk/shuffle for 30min out then 30min home before my family was even awake. 

    “This was the start of an incredible running journey and 18 months later running my first marathon gave me a great insight. 

    “It was an understanding that for women (and men) like myself with lifelong unhealthy relationships with body image, food and exercise the regime of training is like meditating medicine. 

    “As I navigate through the process of beginning to age (disgracefully!!!!) and the often unspoken but difficult impacts of menopause on my energy levels I no longer run daily, I’m learning to be kind to myself but understand that exercising daily (even a 30min walk) is a an integral component of my physical and mental wellbeing. 

    “In April, I will be completing my 20th Marathon in London as part of Anna’s team and have no doubt that it is nowhere close to being my last!”

    Honestly, I love this so much.

    I also got a message from Tova who has really had an incredible transformation. 

    When I met Tova she was an avid hater of exercise, a smoker and it took her a number of years before she took the first step to exercise.

    These are her wonderful tips for women looking to make the exercise change.

    1. Change is a gradual process- start with small goals to build a new habit over time. 

    2. Exercise has helped me to develop confidence in my body and ability. I’m stronger than ever before and I’m about to turn 50 – proving that age is just a number. 

    3. Exercise gives me a healthy buzz and it’s helped me to stay smoke free. Every time I feel tempted to smoke, I remember that it will set back all my cardio progress, and prevent me from enjoying a run. 

    And then there’s the wonderful Glenda who is 76.

    Glenda has had two hip replacements and only started exercising in her late 60’s.

    “It’s never too late to take up exercise in any shape or form, the older I get the more important that philosophy has become,” Glenda wrote.

    “As age has crept up on me, I’ve realised just how important, it is especially in helping mobility, movement & strength. I have seen people around me who struggle to get out of a chair. 

    “They can’t get up off the floor. They don’t enjoy a walk, can’t walk up a hill or even walk on the beach. They can’t enjoy simple pleasures.

    “Exercise has cut out my medication for blood pressure & cholesterol. 

    “In my mid 70’s, exercise is the number one priority in my day.”

    Glenda is a great example of its never too late. You may have tried something that you didn’t like, that’s ok, move on and find something you enjoy and do it!

    Now clearly exercise and running is my passion…

    But sharing these stories of the people I’ve worked with I hope to show that change is possible, even if right now you don’t think it is.

    Health, exercise and movement can make a HUGE difference to your life. 

    Now this is the important bit…I don’t mean doing exercise for aesthetic reasons but for your mental health, your sense of worth, your confidence and ultimately your happiness.

    I believe health and exercise are fundamental to your foundation – once you feel good and healthy the stronger your foundation.

    There are a lot of people, for many different and often understandable reasons who absolutely hate exercise and have grown up with the notion that it is a punishment for over eating or that they’re not good at it. You may think you are too old to start, that its not for you, you are too big to start, you are too embarrassed, or that it hurts…and it can.

    But today I want to challenge many of this negative self talk. 

    I firmly believe that exercise and movement should be about the joy of it, the power of moving your body and celebrating what you can do rather than what you cannot do! 

    Firstly, I want to introduce you to snacks! Not food snacks, exercise snacks. 

    Exercise snacks are short bursts of physical activity incorporated into your daily routine, much like snacking on food throughout the day. 

    Just like what happens with snacks there is a compounding effect – over time these small snacks build fitness and endurance. 

    They are not hard, in fact they can be fun. These brief bursts of movement can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing a set of squats or lunges while waiting for the kettle to boil, or even just stretching for a few minutes during a break at work.

    Research has shown that even brief periods of exercise can improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, increase energy levels, and help maintain a healthy weight.

    By incorporating exercise snacks into your daily routine, you can break up long periods of sitting and help counteract the negative effects of sitting.

    Plus, since these bursts of activity are short and convenient, they’re easier to fit into a busy schedule. 

    We are currently incorporating exercise snacks into our office – every time one of us comes back from the toilet we chose an exercise snack for us all to do. 

    Exercise snacks can be done anywhere, anytime – at the airport, in your office, while you make a cup of tea! 

    That’s just one small thing but starting small is often the key.

    As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I want you to make a commitment to take care of yourself, begin that journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

    Together, we can redefine societal norms of what exercise, health and fitness looks like and inspire generations to come.

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