Helen Jomoa of Terrain Personal Fitness, climber and adventurer.
Tell us a little about yourself.
The first book I bought with my pocket money was ‘How to Survive’, so no prizes for guessing what my favourite TV program is now!
My passion for the outdoors started early. My parents always went walking and exploring on family holidays, generally across rainy moorland in the UK. We would cook sausages for lunch on Dad’s meth’s stove, and find things like rams horns and fossils. I still love the smell of meth’s!
My exploration into the outdoors has grown out of a need to discover new places and achieve physical endurance. I have climbed some of the highest mountains in most continents and In 1999 I became the first English woman to walk to the Magnetic North Pole.
My fashion-buying career ran in parallel with my expeditions. I was lucky enough to have sympathetic bosses, who usually gave me time off if I could organise my workload.
Tell us a bit about how Terrain Personal fitness came about?
My husband and I moved to Australia after we got married and we had a family quite quickly. This was not conducive to a ‘regular’ job, or long mountaineering expeditions. So, I set up Terrain Personal Fitness to pass on my passion for outdoor fitness, with hours that work around my family.
What do you enjoy about your work?
* Helping people to become fitter and more active in their lives.
* Structuring programs to help clients achieve their fitness goals.
* Collaborating with other health professionals my clients use. I continually learn from other experts, giving the client focused results.
* Working outdoors in the beautiful Sydney landscape.
Has fitness always been important to you?
I love the feeling of independence that being fit gives me. I like to be able to get from A to B under my own steam without a car, like running to school pick up, or embarking up a glacier with all my provisions on my back.
Everyone needs to know what motivates him or her to be fit, then its achievable.
How has you training routine changed over time?
Training changes depending on what my projects are.
When I was in my twenties I remember doing a 20mile training run for a marathon, running home for a quick shower, partying all night and ending up at my desk at 8am. I am sure we can all remember those all-nighters. Alas no more!
If I am training for a 6 week Arctic trip, I need to practice building up the hours and muscles I will be using on the trip, such as pulling sledge for 8 hours along a beach. It really impinges on your spare time and tends to ruin your social life, (doesn’t look too cool either!)
Now I have a family I try to train for more local challenges like the Oxfam Trailwalker. Our team needed to practice building up the hours over the hilly terrain, which takes up a lot of time at weekends away from family, but at least it is not months away from them.
How active are your kids?
A choreographer at the Bangarra Dance Theatre once said ‘creativity is born out of boredom’. I believe this. I try not to over program our children with too many after school activities. We do soccer and swimming each week, but I like them to learn how to amuse themselves. We often go to the park/beach where they can be active for hours-on-end making up their own entertainment.
We walk to and from school, every day, in all weather conditions! It is a good discipline to integrate exercise into your daily life. And in case you are wondering….yes they do whinge uphill on the way home!
What does healthy eating mean for you?
Healthy eating is understanding where your food comes from and what it is i.e. yes lamb really is a dead furry sheep! I like to get the family involved in food exploration and preparation. When we are shopping I let them choose something strange they have not tried before. It makes it adventurous.
Visiting the fish markets is another fun place where you can buy lost of small things to touch and try. We have pulled apart an octopus to find the ink sac, gutted a whole fish to discover what it ate, chosen 10 different shapes of shellfish to cook and cracked open a crab.
There are 2 rules as far as eating in our house 1) try everything 2) finish your vegetables. We all eat the same thing and I don’t cater to the words ‘I don’t like that’.
What are you kitchen pantry essentials?
If we don’t have these in the house everyone gets very touchy:
* Breakfast (oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and rice bubbles and milk)
What do you indulge in?
Wine – again!
Red is better than white because it has lots of antioxidants, but is high calorie.
What do you value?
I am very family orientated. I feel very blessed that I have a loving, supportive and healthy, immediate and extended family.
Who do you admire?
Bear Grylls – If you can look sexy drinking liquid from elephant dung, then what’s not to love? He is a really genuine person, great family values and is true to his faith and himself, aside from being a great climber.
Usain Bolt – What a phenomenal athlete who is a joy to watch. He trains unbelievably hard, is a great advocate for Jamaica, and loves his mum!
Barack Obama –I admire his ability to connect with different cultures and his truly international perspective. I am proud to have witnessed the inauguration of the first black president in my lifetime.
My Granny – Moved to Australia on her own in her early twenties, and delighted in telling me stories of the animals my mother would find in the Australian bush.
What are your tips to staying happy and healthy?
1) Make it a habit
2) Make it easy
3) Do it regardless of circumstance
E.g. If you are going to cycle to work, do it every day, don’t make it weather or meeting dependent, have a system in place to enable this behaviour before Monday morning. Or you wont do it!
What do you and your family like to do on the weekend?
This weekend it rained no stop. My husband was away, but I had promised the boys we would go camping so off went! It was a great opportunity for them to have fun and learn ‘expedition skills’. So we camped up from the swollen creek to avoid flash flooding, cooked safely inside our tent (yes, to toasting marshmallows – no, to flaming sticks!), ran naked through the sloshy fields (boys only!) and dried our undies on the kettle!
Would you like to share one of your favourite healthy recipes?
Home cooking and sitting down to share a meal as a family is one of my greatest joys.
* Salmon pieces, soy sauce, splash of water, chilli, ginger, garlic.
* In oven for 20 minutes 220 degrees Celsius
* Sprinkle with chopped mint, parsley and coriander.
* Served with brown basmati rice, Chinese broccoli and a squeeze of lime.
Salmon is rich in omega 3’s and I like the Asian flavours. It is quick, family friendly (chilli aside) and low in saturated fat. It only vice is that it is relatively high in salt from the soy sauce. Brown basmati is firm and nutty and higher in fibre than polished white Basmati.
contact Helen Jomoa
mob 0424 466 801