Living like a top athlete for a year

Exactly one year ago, we published a blog post stating that 26 of our employees were taking on the Leadlife challenge, a radical health programme. Well, how do you think they are doing now? After a year of strict dietary guidelines, professional training schedules and mental health coaching? We asked participant Ellen: "When HR manager Evelien came to congratulate me on entering the Leadlife programme, I thought: What have I got myself into now?"

Back on track

Summer 2021: under the motto “never seeing a doctor again”, 26 courageous Decospan employees started a health programme led by sports doctor Servaas Bingé. One of them was Ellen, HR Business Partner at Decospan. “I've always been quite the athlete in fact,” she says. “I played basketball and did gymnastics at a competitive level. But like many people, I had to put my sporting activities on the back burner after college. I used to be able to just put my feet under the table at ‘Hotel Mum’. Once you have to do everything yourself, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is quite a challenge. But thanks to Leadlife, I got the chance to bring my nutrition, sports and motivation back on track.”

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Ten miles

The ultimate goal of Leadlife is a healthier, longer and more productive life. But there are also tough sporting goals to tick off along the way. In Ellen's case, it was the Antwerp Ten Miles. “It was the very first time I took part in a running race,” says Ellen. “I was given a strict running schedule so I rushed to the shops and bought a sports watch to train on heart rate zones and intervals. I was pushed to the limits by coach Seppe.” Sounds like a special forces training, but fortunately just as much attention was paid to avoiding injuries. “I got the right tips and exercises to minimise the strain on my muscles and knees. I was prepared for the competition in a controlled way.”

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Private sessions as a starting point

Both the sports performance and the general health were based on a long series of private sessions. “The great thing about Leadlife is that it's all about you.
The medical tests determine what you personally need to focus on. Everything is based on facts. From a lactose test to determine your acidification level to the evolution of your fat percentage and muscle mass. You are monitored in terms of nutrition, physical health, sports performance and mental health. You can follow your progress in the app. I also received personalised nutritional plans geared towards my lactose intolerance and iron deficiency, and I discovered, for example, why my body does not like caffeine. All of it valuable information that I can take with me from now on.” 

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And at work?

“Leadlife is a project that you participate in as a group, so it creates a positive mindset anyway, which you carry with you into your daily routine. But it's true: I'm fitter, more inclined to put my shoulder to the wheel and I'm much more focused. Achieving goals is also very contagious. The challenge now will be to stay in the flow. Eat well, sleep well and exercise well. Fortunately, we motivate each other via the Whatsapp group that we have together as participants. And there will also be a second Leadlife wave!”

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