Firstly, let me make some things very clear about myself:
- I have no fitness qualifications and everything that I am sharing it just my journey
- I do not have a flat tummy and I have never seen an ab on my body, ever
- I do not have an athletic build with muscles popping out, in fact I have a part time muffin top which likes to come out and party sometimes
- I eat everything and do not have a restricted diet
- I have had two kids, both of which were massive (8.8lbs and 9.5lbs respectively) and my body shows the excess skin, the body changes and stretch marks that come with that
- I enjoyed sports as a child and have been active in some form or another in the past, but without consistency
- I am not affiliated with any brands (I wish!) so if I mention any, they are just stuff that I use or have used
In late 2012, I became pregnant with my first child. The journey to being pregnant had been a tricky one with IVF and I had some complications which nearly saw me brown bread. Prior to being pregnant, I had been training for the Great South Run and was running about 4 times a week. When I discovered I was pregnant, I stopped running completely. I was scared that I may do something to harm the baby, the baby that I had desperately wanted and literally nearly died to get.
I had my son in 2013 and he arrived healthily and was everyone’s bundle of joy. However, post-birth, I had a really uncomfortable sense of loathing about my body. I had gained a significant amount of weight and my body shape was different. Instead of giving myself mental high fives for having a baby and actually keeping him alive, I remember being hard on myself for ‘allowing myself to get so fat’. The myth of losing weight from breastfeeding was exactly that for me, a myth.
Four months postpartum, I began to do some exercise and reverted back to my pre-pregnancy fitness fix, running. I signed up for a half-marathon and began training for it. During the day, my Aunt and Uncle looked after my son for an hour whilst I hit the streets. I followed a training plan and I stuck to it. When in March 2014 I did the run, I managed a PB and I bloody loved it. I had lost most of the baby weight and was beginning to feel like myself again. I discovered that beyond the actual weight shifting, the thing that I found far more gratifying was being alone for short periods of time and being active. The endorphins released made me a happier person and I no longer chided myself, instead I felt empowered. However, keeping up the running schedule was proving tricky as my son became older and I found myself struggling to arrange a run around his naps. My maternity leave was drawing to an end and I was very aware that running in the day was not going to be possible anymore. One morning, I saw Josie Gibson on television looking super fit promoting her new workout DVD. She discussed that in order to make something a habit, you have to do it 21 times in a row and she encouraged people do to her DVD in this manner. The workouts were 20 minutes long and were HIIT based. This struck a chord with me and on 14th April 2014, I began what has continued to be a commitment to be active. I don’t know if that 21 times thing is utter bollocks, but it proved to me that I could find 20 minutes every day.
And since then, I have worked out 5 times a week. The only time there has been blips is when I am unwell or have an injury. I have changed my workouts by trying new things, some of which are a tad longer. I went from Josie’s 30 Seconds Slim to 21 Day Fat Burn, moving on to Shaun T’s T25 and Insanity offering, Kayla Itsines BBG, Chloe Madely’s The Body Blitz and more recently, Fitness Blender’s online programmes which hook up to YouTube videos. I maintained activity and workouts throughout my second pregnancy, I was determined not to allow the self-loathing of my first postpartum experience to happen again. I took a 6 week rest post-partum and once I got the all clear from the Dr, I returned back to working out five times per week.
I’ve discovered that I NEED to work out for my mental wellbeing; it allows me time to myself and my thoughts. Let’s not get it twisted and suggest I haven’t felt the aesthetic gains too , of course I like being able to fit into clothes without having to tuck my rolls in. I don’t follow a diet at the moment, I have tried one or two but they don’t really work for me. I try to eat ‘real’ home cooked food, food that we can share and enjoy as a family. This may not give me a lean physique but I’m good with that. I think I have reached to a happy place in terms of my wellbeing, I workout regularly and I eat food that I love.
My tips to staying fit and active:
- BE REALISTIC. Find something that is realistic for you. Commiting to an hour may be realistic for some but not to others. If 15 minutes if what you can manage, stick to that.
- HAVE A PLAN. Create a workout plan for yourself. I use an app called ‘Workout’ and pre populate my workouts for the week/month. I tend to workout first thing in the morning so I need to have a clear idea of what I am about to do as opposed to deciding in the morning as I am most likely to decide to roll back to bed.
- CLOTHES THAT FEEL SPESH. Have a workout wardrobe. I workout from home and don’t have any one with me, but I really like activewear. I have created a stash of lovely leggings, bras and tops which I enjoy wearing and make me feel spesh. They are a helpful motivator to get changed and get my workout done at 5.45am! I love some of the following brands: H&M Sport, Lululemon, Nike, Sweaty Betty, Adanola, 2XU(best leggings ever!).
- MUSIC. Make playlists, they are a great way to keep you motivated, and sometimes just distract you from the agony of another deadlift/squat/burpee!
- EXPLORE OPTIONS. Explore workouts programmes. Some may be better suited to you than others. Sometimes you can find that you give up on a workout because it’s not the right one for you. I know that anything over 35 minutes is my time threshold, so I seek out programmes within the time frame.
- JUST DO IT (eye roll emoji) Just get it done… making excuses will only delay the progress. Changes will not happen instantly and take time and commitment. Once you get into the swing of it, you will honestly begin to look forward to that ‘alone’ time and you may see your mindset shift.
I hope this helps to motivate you to get up and do something. Something, even 5 minutes is better than nothing at all.
Peace, love and lunges