Barbara Thomson

Activate 100 is a purpose built programme designed exclusively for Air New Zealand pilots. Participants receive personalised exercise and diet advice usually only available to elite sports professionals. It is primarily aimed at those who are carrying some unwanted weight, but every shape and size have been welcome!

In 2013 Barbara Thomson was knocked out in an IRB (surf lifesaving inflatable boat) incident at Muriwai beach on the west coast. It took about four and a half months for her to get back to work, but a lot longer to fully recover and feel 100 percent.

"I struggled to get back into running and was feeling unfit and overweight when the pilot health and fitness trial was proposed – it seemed like a great opportunity to hit the restart button. The programme isn’t complex and the simple ideas of ‘no white (sugar, flour, pasta or rice etc.) after lunch’, ‘one hour cardio exercise per day,’ and ‘record everything on the app’ were easy to follow. We were broken into teams, and the knowledge there was a team of individuals also struggling really helped me.
Soon the weight started to come off and then I finally managed a solid 5km run, up and down hill without stopping or walking. As the enthusiasm built and the results started to show I began to exercise nearly every day. I then increased the runs and in November competed in the ‘Taniwha’ 14km run down the Waikato river trails. I achieved a first in the 60+ category (the Legends) with a time of 1:32:49.
This gave me huge boost of confidence as I not only finished but also really enjoyed it. I then looked for a half marathon but both the Queenstown and Auckland were full so the only one before Christmas was the Speights West Coast Adventure Run so I thought I would go and try that!
Despite a number of disruptions to my training and health programme over the past few months with a few minor injuries, I have managed to keep the 15kg weight loss from before Christmas. You have days where you don’t adhere strictly to the programme, but tomorrow is a new day and you can start again. I’m so grateful to Gilly for his belief in my ability."

Barbara Thomson - B777 Captain on the Activate 100 programme