Getting healthy for a cause

Nicole Bradley is in the Kin's Green Fighter Challenge to get fit and support cancer research.

Nicole Bradley is Abbotsford Kin's Green Fighter.

Nicole Bradley is Abbotsford Kin's Green Fighter.

Nicole Bradley is taking on the challenge to get healthy and raise money for a cause she believes in.

When the 22-year-old Abbotsford resident saw an ad on the Abbotsford News website for the Kin’s Green Fighter Challenge, it seemed the perfect opportunity to do both.

The 13-week contest kicked off March 1, and encourages competitors to adopt healthier lifestyles while raising money for cancer research.

“I knew I wanted to donate some of my time and volunteer at the (Canadian) Cancer Society because I had turned 22 and my dad had lost his arm to cancer when he was 22.”

Bradley –  a dispatcher at Terralink Horticulture – also had a New Year’s resolution to get healthy and be more involved in the community.

“It kind of fit into both of those goals.”

As the competitor for Abbotsford, Bradley is up against 12 other contestants from around the Lower Mainland. Each week, they will take part in a challenge – from creating recipes to making an inspirational video – for a chance to win weekly prizes. The contestant who shows the greatest improvement in health at the end of the 13 weeks will win a cruise.

Bradley’s first challenge was to introduce herself on Facebook and try to gain comments and “likes” for points. The next challenge will have Bradley set up a booth at Kin’s Farm Market on Trethewey Street and George Ferguson Way on Saturday, where she will distribute literature on cancer prevention, hand out samples and collect “one thing” post-it notes from customers, pledging one thing they can do to improve their health.

Bradley has kicked off her exercise routine by getting a personal trainer, something she said she enjoys much more than expected.

“Usually I would go (to the gym) and not really do as much as I should… My trainer has got me focused on a plan.”

Bradley said working with a trainer has also stopped her from making excuses to avoid working out.

“I’m really busy, so I tend to make excuses and say that I don’t have time to go to the gym… this is forcing me to make time and realize how important it is to make time for that.”

Besides hitting the gym, Bradley said she likes to do any activity that involves being outdoors, including spending time with her dog. She is looking forward to warmer weather, and wants to try kayaking and other outdoor sports. Though she is excited to get healthier, her ultimate goal is not to shed a lot of pounds, but to be more fit.

“I’d rather be toned and be more muscular and feel more energized.”

Healthy eating is a big part of Bradley’s lifestyle goals. She has already cut down on dairy and meat, something she said has helped her feel healthier immediately.

“It’s already made a huge difference in my energy levels and my sleeping patterns… It happened within two days.”

Bradley knows exactly what she will miss in her new healthy-eating plan – cheesecake – but said it helps to focus on her goals and remind herself she could win a cruise if she sticks to her plan. She said its helpful to set out a reward to stay motivated as well as having a supportive friends and family.

Bradley’s  boyfriend is also focused on making healthy-living choices, which she said makes it easier to do the same. Bradley also participates in the Big Sister’s program and said her little sister is so excited about the challenge that she has been cutting Bradley’s pictures out of the newspaper. Bradley said she’s happy to have a 10-year-old friend to help bring some creative ideas to some of the activities.

“It’s important to have people around you who will support you – and not tempt you with cheesecake,” she laughed.

She admits there is added motivation in knowing so many people in the community will be tracking her progress.

“It makes me think about it a little more, because there are people watching.”

To follow Bradley’s progress, go to the Kin’s Green Fighters Facebook page.

To donate to Bradley’s fundraising efforts for the Canadian Cancer Society, click here.