Meet the Team: Zoe (Business Support Manager for MedalMad and Active Connections)

I wasn't a sporty teenager, I didn't engage in PE lessons at school or physical activities out of school. The crowd I hung out with back then were the same as me and during my secondary school years I became self-conscious, as are many teenage girls, which made me even less of a willing participant in sport at school. If I had engaged during these sessions I may have felt better about myself but having never been particularly talented when it came to team sports, the fear of being laughed at by me peers held me back.

After leaving school and in my later teenage years I decided to join a gym, initially I must admit this decision was mostly driven by vanity! However, I soon discovered that regular exercise also helped my mental health. I felt energised and enjoyed the buzz that I felt when I had completed a circuit on the cardio machines. I discovered that I was competitive with myself and this in itself motivated me to keep going. And here began my gym addiction J.

As my confidence grew I started to take on new fitness regimes and try new exercise classes – spin, aerobics and running on the treadmill – although I was still too self-conscious to go running outside!

Once I became a mum, my regular gym sessions started to become less and less regular. It became difficult to fit the gym around my husband's working hours and I also went back to work, part-time. It was then that I discovered the joy of running outside. It was so easy to just slip on my trainers and go out for a quick 20 min run when my husband arrived home from work. I found myself running further than I had done on any treadmill as I enjoyed being out in the fresh air and clearing my mind – I discovered sense of peace and tranquillity from being out on a run that I didn't get from pounding away on a treadmill at the gym.

I have never been a long distance runner and, although I love the idea of running a half or full marathon, I'm not sure I have the discipline to ever get there – but perhaps I'm just making excuses?! Now 20 years on from when I first began using the gym I find myself back there again, my children are now at school and my children regularly attend marital arts classes (taught by my husband). I now use this free time to spend in the gym 3 times a week for an hour, to an hour and half, at a time. My fitness regime has changed, from being mostly cardio based , to a strength based workout with some conditioning work. I enjoy this type of fitness immensely and love seeing the results, I'm getting stronger every week and smashing goals I always thought wouldn't be possible for me.

I find the winter a tough time to get out running and prefer the warmth and security that the gym offers. I appreciate that the gym isn't for everybody but the point is, however you choose to be active is the right choice, if it is right for you. Take whatever time you have and make the most of it, make a mental timetable of the days and times that you can exercise and stick with it (be realistic!), even if you can only manage once a week, do it.

I started working for MedalMad as part of Active Connections nearly 2 years ago, before then I had not heard of Virtual Running. I love what we do here and the team that I work with (even Mike ;)). I love reading the inspiring stories from our awesome customers and love that our MedalMad challenges and medals inspire people to get active, whether it be by virtual running, cycling or walking.

My children love the MedalKids challenges and rewards also, they have earned a few of the medals hanging in their bedrooms. Physical activity is a big part of our family life and I hope that by continuing to be active myself and my husband will inspire our children to do the same and lead an active and healthy life J . 

Why MedalMad is More Than Just Running
Virtual Running for Kids