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Chester County Press

Landenberg entrepreneur launches virtual boot camps that encourage health and activity

06/09/2015 02:02PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

When you think about your life, ask yourself the following questions: Am I truly challenged and engaged? Am I making the most of my life? Am I actively ringing up valuable life lessons, not only for myself but for my family?

If so, good for you. If not, the kick start you may need is in the form of Madeleine MacRae, and the initiatives she is now providing are but a Facebook visit or two away.

MacRae, who lives in Landenberg with her husband Paul Hannon and their nine-month old son, Noah, has recently launched a series of online boot camps that are intended to invigorate – and in some cases, dramatically alter – daily routines for families and individuals, through an easily accessible introduction to fitness, nutrition and activities.

These programs are a broad-based, individually-run component of MacRae's role as independent coach for BeachBody, a world-wide, on-line fitness company that provides a series of exercise, activity and nutritional challenges for its clients.

"Each BeachBody coach can take the direction he or she wants, but these boot camps are serving not simply as just attraction marketing to my position as a coach," MacRae said. "These programs are areas that I'm passionate about, and I'm creating programs around them."

From June 8-21, MacRae is sponsoring a "Jump into Summer" fitness and nutrition boot camp, specifically targeted to parents and their children. It's filled with online tips on how to encourage healthy eating for kids with picky palettes, outdoors activities, how to organize dance parties, as well as educational tidbits and ideas on how families can fully embrace the great outdoors. For the duration of the program, MacRae will create what she calls "an action," which in this camp will be daily ideas; for instance, how parents can create a scavenger hunt to look for acorns and leaves at a local park, or tips on how to create a dance party.

MacRae is also about to kick off a ten-day online financial health boot camp, under the supervision and guidance of professional financial experts, which provides daily tips toward establishing financial health. Over the course of the program, visitors are introduced to tracking their financial record; "getting real" about debt and monthly expenses and spending vs. income; goal setting; the basics of budgeting; and other principles of maintaining financial health.

I wanted something to drive me and challenge me," MacRae said. "I like things that push me outside of my comfort zone but are enough within my strengths that it remains interesting for me, and never becomes drudgery. I believe in strength-based leadership, that you should work from your places of strength, so that you're energized and not depleted. This allows me to be an entrepreneur and still be the best mother I can be."

Although these programs are still in their infancy, the demographic swath of interest in MacRae's initiatives are drawing everyone from mothers in their early twenties to active parents in their fifties, from the East Coast to as far west as Colorado. She said a good portion of the participants are much like herself: women who have transitioned from being a single, ambitious successful career professional to stay-at-home mother. For several years, she was a marketing, sales and executive management most recently for Somfy Systems, a France-based company whose American headquarters is in New Jersey.

"Transitions like these make you question whether or not you're good enough to successfully make the transition," she said. "There's no rulebook for parenthood, and you don't have other adults telling you that you made the right call. It's not the same gratification that you have in the workplace, and that affects your confidence. Through the challenge groups, you begin to say to yourself, 'Yes, I am good enough.' It enables you to take control over one part of your life, and having something in your life that is more engaging, and on an adult level, not just on a child level."

Although she readily acknowledges that her virtual programs and are still in the incubation stage, MacRae said that she's open to the idea of expanding the number of topics in her boot camp arsenal, in the future.

"I love the concept of social media," she said. "Having a business where I can help people -- and help challenge them – enables me to touch other people's lives."