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Our January 2012 Body Leaders of the Month are couple, Vince and Chris Quagliata. After months of training, the pair took on Mount Kilimanjaro in December making it to the summit. We are extremely proud of both of them and what they have achieved. Paul Trevethan recently caught up with Chris to talk about what makes them body leaders.

Q1. What inspired you to initially start looking after your body?

Vince and I have always tried to take care of our health but when Vince ended up with a herniated disc in his lower back we realised that we needed to keep our bodies working. He was able to avoid surgery by building up his core muscles mainly with swimming. I prefer to walk and so for our 20th anniversary we walked the Milford track and a couple of years later we did the Overland track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clare.

Q2. What do you currently do to look after your body?

As I mentioned Vince enjoys swimming, while I prefer to walk. For our recent trip, we prepared by doing loads of walking, concentrating on uphill climbs and descents and we trained in a hypobaric chamber to acclimatise to the altitude.

Q3. What motivates you to continue being proactive with your body?

I think it is important to push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone. The feeling of achieving something that you yourself may be surprised at is what can keep you motivated.

Q4. What strategies do you find work best for you?

Before we went to Africa Paul made sure that all our muscles were loosened up and that was great as walking in the chamber really tightens everything. Paul made sure we knew how to use the trigger point ball and that was very useful for those niggling aches during the climb.

Q5. What is your greatest physical achievement?

Our latest holiday in December was our toughest physical challenge, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We were lucky because we were not affected by the altitude but it was a very difficult climb and coming down was very hard on your body. At last we made it, but I think that the hardest part was the mental challenge of just putting one foot in front of the other. On the night that we reached the summit we climbed for 8 hours to reach 5895m from 4600 and then turned around and went back to the 4600m, had a rest and got to 3100m by the end of the day. It was the longest day of my life. It was worth it to prove that we were capable if we tried.

Q6. What is your goal for the future of your body?

We would like to keep active and are looking into joining a bush waslking group to meet people who share our interest. We have also just begun squad training in swimming and are looking into doing group fitness training. Maybe we will one day do the Inca trail in South America or go trekking in Nepal.

Q7. What is your definition of a Body Leader?

I think a Body Leader is someone just doing what is good for their body and hopefully having fun because then you are likely to keep up the good work. If that inspires others to have a go then it has a ripple effect and the benefits multiply. I hope we do inspire people to go and do something like this. I am sure many people thought we were a little crazy and at times I agreed with them but when you finish you feel so proud of yourself and how it makes you feel is what counts.

We'd like to thank Vince and Chris for their time and providing us with an insight into what they do as Body Leaders. Keep a look out for our next months Body Leader - it could be you!