Michelle is a cycle coach for Her Spirit and an experienced Ride Captain for Hotchillee on their events. Isabelle swims, cycles, runs, plays netball and triathlon.
Growing up in South Africa being active outdoors was a big part of Michelle’s life. She enjoyed sports at school but always felt like she wasn’t “very good” at it. “I was never picked for the top teams. My parents weren’t overly supportive or encouraging of my sport and I grew up thinking that I was not at all sporty”.
It wasn’t until Michelle moved to the UK with her mountain bike that she found her passion. “I realised that I really loved being outdoors in the woods on my bike with friends. I became fit, strong and healthy and I’ve never looked back! I loved being physically active and fit again. I then started running and swimming too!”
“I support Isabelle through highs and lows of participating in sport but she knows she’s always got her family behind her! I want her to know participation and commitment are the most important.”
“I just love hanging out with her doing something we enjoy together and it’s more than just being a good role model. We’re an active family so it’s just what we do.”
“I’m very conscious of the high drop- off rate for teen girls doing sport and I want Isabelle to know that sport and physical activity is just another part of what we do every day, not a chore or something she has to do. I want exercise to become part of her self-care routine.”
“For Isabelle it’s time for the two of us to connect be that in the pool, watching matches, cycling or running together.”
Earlier this year Isabelle suffered quite severe anxiety which stopped her participating in all sports and especially swimming. “I had to take off all pressure but keep the conversation open and trust that her embedded values would shine again.”
“Recently she came to me and said she missed swimming and would like us to go together. (I nearly fell over!) Her excitement was brewing ahead of our pre-booked 6.30am swim. What a win! Big smiles and now a regular ‘session’ for us. Who knows if she’ll swim competitively again? It’s not an issue – she’s doing what she loves now.”
“A big moment for me was when Isabelle came to me and said ‘Mum, you have to make me do exercise, as it makes me feel so much better’’. My strategy is starting to work!”