Making It Count: Meet Member Zoe Pedashenko

As a lecturer, clinical dietician, triathlete, and long-time Elixr member, Zoe Pedashenko knows more about nutrition and movement than most. She also co-owns Meo Adventures Active Travel company with her husband, our very own PT Manager, Andy. But despite her busy schedule, Zoe’s approach to healthy living is simple and balanced. We caught up with this multi-talented (and multi-tasking) dynamo to find out how she manages to really do it all.

What do you love most about your job?
That’s a difficult question as I have a few! But the common thread is that I love the process of educating people to broaden their knowledge in health and make changes to their own lives. When someone tells me that they’ve implemented something I’ve worked on with them, I get a real thrill.

What healthy eating advice can you offer Elixr members?
Keep it simple. There’s no need to follow the next “best diet”, because soon enough there will be another. Just eat fewer processed foods and, most importantly, listen to your body – eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’ve had enough. It sounds simple, but it works.

What’s your philosophy on health?
It’s all about balance. Work, a social life, food, exercise – a little bit of everything is the key to being happy and healthy.

What would surprise people about your eating habits?
I love baking! Everyone assumes I don’t eat anything “naughty”, but in my mind, there is no bad food and everything can fit into a healthy diet. Everyone needs a bit of cake in their life.

In September you attended the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series. Did you achieve your goals?
Competing in this event has been a long-time goal of mine. Due to an injury at the end of last year, I couldn’t run for 3 months. My training only got on track over the past 6 months, so I was delighted to place 7th in my age group.

What is your diet like when you’re training?
I eat a lot! My diet includes a good variety from all the food groups, with enough calories overall. I have carbs pre training, especially hard sessions, and refuel with a mix of carbs and protein. I use sports foods for longer sessions, too – they just make it easier to get the energy I need while running or cycling. One of the biggest mistakes many amateur athletes make is that they don’t eat enough, which compromises your immune system and leaves you more susceptible to injuries.

What’s been the single biggest game-changer in your fitness regime?
Consistency. Just keeping up my training has seen me gradually improve and get stronger. And rest. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t go full ball 100% of the time otherwise you’ll end up in a heap, so I try to get enough sleep and have a rest day every week. Swimming lessons with Lisa Marangon have helped so much, too. So much so that I’m actually looking forward to jumping in the canal in Rotterdam!

Which Elixr classes help you with your training?
I do mainly do Pilates but I also train with Andy and use the pool. Andy’s been applying Functional Movement Screening (FMS) to help me move better and improve my technique, which has been amazing.

What’s on your exercise playlist right now?
I’m actually a bit of a podcast nerd! Often a This American Life or Conversations podcast ¬– not your typical running music.

How did you meet Andy? And what’s something we might not know about him?
We met at Broadway Gym when Andy was training there. A few friends and I joined a boot camp of his and it all happened from there. Then you might not think it, but he’s a cat person. He looks big and strong, but Cat (yes, our cat is called Cat) has him wrapped around his little white tail.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
I rode with Turia Pitt in the Variety Ride a few years ago, and I’ve been following her journey ever since. The most inspirational thing about Turia is that, despite everything she’s been through, she doesn’t give up and doesn’t take herself or life too seriously. I love that.

What’s a quote you live by?
Olympic Gold Medallist, Chloe Esposito spoke at the Australian College of Physical Education a few months ago and reminded me of this quote that she used in her training for Rio: “Pressure makes diamonds”. I’ve been thinking of it a lot lately when I’m hurting during or after a session!