On Monday the 20th November, WE were delighted to hold another inspirational event for our members, supporters and friends: ‘Fearless Women’. Our aim was to give these couragous women, who are bravely stepping into areas unknown, a platform to tell their stories. Whether it be sport or outdoor pursuits and challenges; coverage of women and their stories in this area is grossly under-delivered.
First up was Antonia and Leanne from Body Shot PT, who work with professional men and women who want to remove all the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition.
Leanne told us her story of how she got into boxing for the first time and how that led to her taking part in her first ever boxing match, against another female competitor. She described the training she underwent, her experience of her match and most importantly perhaps - what she learnt from the experience. Of course, she wanted to win, but she was in hindsight happy with the draw as a result. She could look back and see her areas for development. “Failure is not about failing, it’s about learning”, she told the attendees. She described the nerves she felt in the run up to the match and on the day - all part of the positive learning experience for her and her body. She described the amount of energy she felt, doing something she loved and was passionate about.
“The power of your discomfort zone is immense”.
“Challenge yourself to things that scare you. Put yourself outside your comfort zone. It will give you more confidence and more ‘swagger’!”
Leanne’s advice was powerful and entertaining! It doesn’t matter what it is you’re doing, trying new things that challenge you gives you new perspectives, energy and passion.
Both Leanne and Antonia told the audience about their new and upcoming adventure: the Arctic Circle Race 2019! Another extreme sport neither of which neither have any experience! Leanne went on to tell us that the reason she pushes herself to complete these challenges is her father, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. She runs for her Dad.
Up next was the infectiously positive Kiko Matthews. Who told us her equally inspiring story. Kiko joked that her mission to row solo 3000 miles across the Atlantic seemed the best way to grab Prince Harry’s attention for a date! Unfortunate recent news for you, Kiko! Kiko was always an active, sporty character who cared greatly about the environment. It was in 2009that she became severely ill with Cushings disease. Kiko went on to make a full recovery and with this experience, claims she no longer fears death and thus has no fear of her imminent mission. She, so movingly, told the audience that 7 years on she wants to live her life to the fullest and challenge her mind and body to see what they are capable of.
She aims to take on this transatlantic mission in a world record time - 45 days (11 days less than the current record of 56 days)! She took us on a 365 degree tour of the carbon fibre boat, and soon to be home, that she will row across the ocean. Considering she had no rowing experience before her training began - this will be quite a feat! She went on to describe why she has no fear of the what ifs - it’s about utilising resources and energy. Kiko’s powerful message made us all reflect on our own lives:
“The minute you stop worrying, stressing and are honest about who you are, you have more energy.”
“Money can get in the way. You can learn ways around things and be innovative when you don’t rely on it.”
Kiko’s mission is motivated by the desire to raise funds for King’s College Hospital; whose staff saved her life back in 2009, and again in 2017 when the Cushings made an inconvenient return. Fortunately it was less severe this time, and she was able to get back to training almost immediately after leaving hospital! Beyond this, she is running ‘100 Together’: to enable 100 women to be part of the world record team. For many of the women she has enlisted, it’s their first attempt at a regular sport.
Do take a look at Kiko’s website to see all of the incredible events, projects, and initiatives she has planned, which focus on her main motivators: empowering women and protecting the environment.
Towards the event of this awe-inspiring event, an audience member articulated how refreshing it was that all three women created a differentiation between fitness and body image. All three women wholeheartedly agreed and emphasised that physical challenge, in whatever form you can personally manage, is about creating resilience and energy. This is what drives real happiness, and not aspiring towards an idealised concept of body image.
“Focus on how you feel rather than how you looks. The aim is to you use your body to achieve things. This is what gives you vitality”
Written by Rachel Barber