New gold medalist and This Girl Can Essex ambassador strives to support women across Essex

Active Essex

This month, This Girl Can Essex (TGCE) relaunched and realigned their yearly focuses alongside the new phase five of the national This Girl Can campaign. With April focusing on ambassadors and new roles, TGCE are inviting women and girls across Essex to come forward and sign up to become an ambassador.

Our TGCE ambassadors help inspire other women and girls in Essex to take part in more physical activity and help break down the primary barrier to this, which is of fear of judgment!

Hayley, a personal trainer and nutrition coach, recently signed up as an ambassador for the campaign because of her passion for supporting and helping women through their fitness journey, due to changing her life three years ago.

Hayley tells us:I was actually really unhealthy and engaged in unhealthy behaviours. Around the age of 27, I decided to completely turn my life around and start my own fitness journey. When I decided, actually, I really enjoy this and saw how it had an impact on my life, I then wanted to help others do the same.”

She took her first steps into physical activity by running and taking part in local races, however soon realised that it wasn’t the right activity for her. Trying new and different activities has always been a passion of hers such as rock climbing, cycling and skipping, as it not only supports her physical wellbeing, but mental too.

She explained: “I just really love trying new activities, and generally being really active. I always tell people to just find something they love and enjoy, then they will more than likely continue to do it!

Hayley then joined a local boxing gym in Chelmsford, although then saw residents taking part in a jiu-jitsu class, and now 12 months later, competes at a national level in jiu-jitsu, and has won many competitions, as well as a gold medal at the European Championships.

She went on to explain: “I really encourage people to try and just take that first step, even if it means booking an activity. I’m a bit of an anxious person, but at the beginning of jiu-jitsu, I booked a private class just so I could go get familiar with the gym, meet the trainer and feel comfortable in that environment before turning up to a class.”

As well as her physical wellbeing, Hayley also decided to increase her movement to improve her mental wellbeing and went on to complete a mental health first aid qualification.

She told us: “I think that the main basis for all of my activity is that, you know, just make do what makes you feel good.”

Hayley continues to train for her next belt in jiu-jitsu and will be competing in next years Europeans again, as well as other national competitions to build up her experience.

If you would like to help inspire, motivate and encourage other women from across the county to get involved in physical activity and sport, then sign up to become a TGCE ambassador here.