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Work is a sport: 

How to still be in great shape when you cross the finish line ?

What does the workshop involve? 

What does being a professional athlete have in common with working in a profession that demands a lot from us mentally or physically? As we see it, both occupations challenge the body and the brain in extreme conditions. The difference? As an Olympic athlete, Jan Smeekens could immediately see the consequences of unhealthy choices on the scoreboard, while employees in the workplace may not face the consequences of work pressure or an unhealthy lifestyle until after years of work.  


If we want employees to still be full of energy when they cross the finish line of their working life – or for that matter at the end of a working week or even a single workday – it is vital that they devote time and attention to a healthy lifestyle. But how do you deal with work circumstances that can put pressure on your health? Consider the challenge of creating healthy working conditions even when those involve irregular working due to alternating shifts, or of creating a healthy work-rest ratio when the workload is heavy. Although it’s not always possible to change circumstances at work, there are fortunately plenty of options and tips that allow employees to take control of their situation so that they can reach the finish line both healthy and happy.  


To encourage employees in this, former Olympic athlete Jan Smeekens and vitality coach Ilonka Terlouw have developed the special workshop: “Work is a sport: How to still be in great shape when you cross the finish line”. During the 15 years that Jan dedicated to his career as a top-tier speed skater, his focus on fitness was essential for an optimal performance. Key themes when it came to keeping his body in top condition were sleep, nutrition and exercise. In this workshop, we dive into these themes, together with the participants. How can sleep, nutrition and exercise reinforce each other and generate optimal energy? How fit do employees actually feel? To what extent can gains be made in their all-round fitness? Jan and Ilonka form a strong and energetic duo, with Jan sharing his experiences and lessons learned as a top-tier athlete and Ilonka translating her years of experience as a coach into practical knowledge and tips.  


From warming up to cooling down, everyone will be actively participating!   

In connection with the themes of sleep, exercise and nutrition:  

  • Jan will share stories about his experiences as a top-tier speed skater.  

  • Ilonka will share scientifically based knowledge in easily understandable language.  

  • We will reflect on each person’s behaviour and lifestyle.  

  • Jan and Ilonka will share numerous practical tips, a selection of which we will put into practice together.   

  • We will challenge all participants during the mini skating boot camp. 

Which benefits will this workshop deliver? 

  • Energy and fun  

  • Insights into how the body works and what it needs in a variable work rhythm  

  • Reflection on the participants’ own behaviour and lifestyle  

  • Practical tips that will help encourage employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle  

  • Please note: Since playing sports together is always fun and since this workshop offers a unique opportunity to hear stories from a top athlete, it is also highly suitable as part of a series of team-building days.  


3,5 hour


This workshop is only available live (on-site). Jan and Ilonka would be happy to come to your location. Alternatively, you can book the hall at the De Federatie’s headquarters as a training space for the workshop.  


Jan Smeekens is a former long-track speed skater who became world champion in the 500 metres in 2017. Having finished his career as a professional athlete, Jan now inspires people with his experiences in the area of development and vitality. For instance, he has written an autobiography about his skating career, he shares the story of his development as a speaker, and he has joined forces with Ilonka for this workshop.  


Ilonka Terlouw is a teacher in the field of mental well-being with extensive experience as a trainer, coach, facilitator and process facilitator. Themes in her trainings include vitality, sleep, stress-reduction, resilience and psychological flexibility. She inspires people not simply to talk and analyse things, but rather to do things: experiential learning. She invites people to bring about changes in their here and now using the skills she teaches. Such changes are aimed at getting a better grip on behaviour that contributes to a valuable and energetic life. 


Are you interested in booking this workshop for your organisation or team?

Contact Hanneke or Esther at

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