FROM ultramarathons to white-water rafting and trekking Machu Picchu, creating adventures is a major part of what Kristy Janszen loves to do.
The rest is pure inspiration and motivation with a core group of clients, who personal trainer Kristy says have come further, mentally and physically, than they ever thought possible.
“We go on adventures every couple of months. We’ve done the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, a high-ropes course, snowboarding, Supercar races – if someone suggests something I’ll get a group together,” she says.
“On top of that we do the same main races every year, which creates interest on social media and I’ll have other clients asking if they might be able to give it a go next time.”
Kristy, 39, runs Pioneer Training in Bonython from 4.30am daily with bootcamp, PT clients and a running squad.
“The girls are so appreciative of what I do and it does take up a huge part of my life, but I enjoy it,” she says.
“Even as a young kid, I’d set up little races in the courtyard at school and hand out my homemade certificates.
“It’s always been a part of me to help people progress. I hate bullies, where someone would put someone else down, so I’ve always gone out of my way to encourage people.”
Kristy started Pioneer in 2007 after wanting to create a different fitness atmosphere to the gym.
“I got sick of walking into the gym and seeing people not talking to each other, with headphones on or watching a screen,” she says.
“I wanted to create a community feel, encourage the girls to chat and connect, support each other, and to make it as inclusive as I can. It’s a close-knit group and the more they put in, the more I do. You’re giving 100 per cent, I’ll give 150 per cent. That’s how it’s going to work.”
Getting outdoors is also part of the equation, she says, and working on the theory that if people have a good time, they’ll keep coming back.
“With the races and adventures, the group don’t want to miss out on the fun, so they get fitter and stronger,” she says.
“When you listen to their stories, work out why they don’t want to do something and work through that, it’s amazing to see the progress that follows.
“Some ladies tell me: ‘I used to never turn up to cross country’ or ‘my PE teacher hated me’, and it blows my mind that these girls are getting up at 3am to do 10 laps of Mount Taylor. And they weren’t like that before. Seeing where they’re at and what they want to accomplish, and I think someone saying to me: ‘I don’t think I’ll be able to do that’ – is a challenge for both of us. I’m very determined and a challenge like that lights me up.”
Kristy, who’s married to Kim-Marie and has two grown-up stepdaughters, says training is more for mental health than anything else.
“I love the endorphin release you get – I could be having the worst day in the world, but I can put on my runners, head out the front door and feel amazing after a run.
“My wife comes to the sessions, too; she’s very supportive of me and knows the effect training has and how the group has changed some of these girls’ lives.
“It’s a reset button. It’s natural for me, and with my clients it’s about trying to find the happy medium for them. I never set something too hard, or they won’t turn up. If it makes them feel good they’ll keep coming back and progressing.
“The mental benefits are one of the biggest reasons they train, and I’ve been told it is literally saving some lives,” she says.
“It’s awesome that they lose weight or did an ultramarathon, but hearing ‘it’s saved me’, I find it amazing to be able to give people access to this.”
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