Vivacious and dynamic, Chantal Quinn enters the room in a whirlwind of personality. A picture of health, it’s hard to believe that 12 years ago she was 40kg heavier, tired and unhappy.
And yet, her narrative will sound familiar to many parents: after giving birth to her first child, Chantal allowed her own wellbeing to take the backseat.
“I was putting everyone else’s needs before my own,” says the 35-year-old, “I didn’t believe I was worth putting first.”
A seemingly trivial incident changed everything.
Back in 2007, Chantal came across a recent photograph of herself and thought “who is this person?”
She saw someone who had lost touch with themselves. “It wasn’t about being overweight, it was more about feeling hopeless," explains Chantal.
That was the turning point.
Chantal started by setting aside an hour for herself every week. She enrolled in group fitness classes and committed to making a change.
The emotional benefits were instant – “everything just felt lighter, easier somehow” – and the physical benefits followed.
Over two years, Chantal lost 40kg, became a qualified personal trainer, and signed up for the first HBF Run for a Reason. In 2014 she opened her own gym and has found years of joy in motivating others.
However, when it comes to running, Chantal confesses it’s a love-hate relationship.
“Look, running’s never really been my thing,” she laughs, despite having taken part in all nine HBF Run for a Reason events.
“I do the 4km just for the atmosphere. It’s such a great day that it doesn’t feel like a chore!”
This year, however, Chantal is stepping up to the 12km and admits that she’s starting to enjoy her training (or just not dread it quite as much!).
Chantal’s advice for anyone starting out on their fitness journey?
Tell yourself you can! Your mind has ultimate power over your body, so the first step is believing in yourself.
Find something you love – whether it’s going for walks with friends, taking a group class or swimming in the ocean – if your fitness plan doesn’t include activities you enjoy, you’ll never stick to it!
Find a community that’s supportive, encouraging and will keep you accountable.
Just put one foot in front of the other, be kind to yourself and take one day at a time.
Have you participated in all nine HBF Run events too? Check out our list of Run Heroes and, if your name isn’t there, get in touch and we’ll check our records!