Being a busy parent takes up so much of your time and energy so it’s understandable how many people struggle with motivation to succeed in their own fitness goals. Here I will tell you about my journey and how I personally have managed to completely change my life. How did I first get into fitness? Quite commonly with pregnancies we experience some weight gain. In my case, I had put on a massive 3 stone after my second child was born.
In March 2016, I weighed 14 stone.
In May 2016, 3 months postpartum, I had naturally dropped to 13 stone, and was ready to start my fitness journey. Like many, I had no idea where to start or what to do. I had never been into any type of fitness - so I went with the typical starvation and cardio regime; I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. I drastically dropped my calorie intake to just 1200 calories a day and took up running 4-5 times a week. Nearly 5 miserable months later, I had lost 3 stone and got down to a weight I was happy with. I liked the number on the scales.
However, I did not like the reflection looking back at me in the mirror. Not only was I starving and exhausted, I was flabby and had been left with a ‘skinny fat’ physique which I did not like.
In October 2016, I took the plunge and joined the gym for the first time in my life to begin weight training. I had absolutely no idea how to work any machines or what exercises to do, but I didn’t let that stop me. I mostly learnt everything myself from research and endlessly watching workout videos whilst my kids were asleep. It wasn’t easy stepping into the weight section and I felt quite intimidated at first but with time, I grew more and more confident. It’s taken me a long time to improve my form and technique but like with anything, the more you practice, the better you get. I’ve now been weight lifting in the gym for nearly a year and a half and I’m incredibly proud of my achievements and the progress I have made. I’ve grown muscle which has given my body curves and has given ME confidence. Many women fear that lifting weights will turn them into the Incredible Hulk, but that is so not the case and I hope many more women will realise this in the future.
How do I find the time?
Ok, so having children can definitely limit you with how many times a week you can train. Obviously, it’s not as easy to just drop everything when you fancy a session and walk straight out the door. My husband and I are both very much into fitness and we have a routine every week which allows us to both hit our targets. I work part time 2 days a week, he works night shifts, so I am able to work out 3 days in the week, whilst he looks after the kids. I mean, we barely see each other all week as it’s a hectic life of tag team, but that’s what makes the weekends together extra special – it is also a sacrifice we are prepared to take to achieve our goals. My children are my priority no matter what, so if they need me the gym is irrelevant. However, I don’t make excuses, and if I can’t get to the gym I tend to do a home workout in the evening when they have gone to bed. If you want something bad enough, then you will find a way. ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.
How do I find the motivation?
I am not superhuman. Of course, we have days when we are completely exhausted or have been up half the night with our children, and it’s important to give our bodies rest when we need it. However, if there is no reasonable excuse, then you just have to push yourself to go and know that you will always feel 100 times better about yourself afterwards. I absolutely LOVE weight lifting, to me it is not a chore, so I look forward to going to the gym whenever I get the opportunity. If you love doing something, you want to keep doing it. It makes me feel strong, happy, healthy and if I’m totally honest, I love the escape from my busy everyday schedule to spend time doing something for myself. If I struggle with energy, then I will use a pre-workout before my session to give me that extra boost. Sometimes, if I’ve lost all motivation, I will look at progress pictures and remember how far I’ve come and this usually reignites my passion to keep going and push harder.
Make a plan!
If you have the motivation but the confidence isn’t there, then making a plan will really help you. I did this religiously when I first started to make sure I made the most out of my workouts instead of aimlessly walking around the gym. Every evening now I will do some form of preparation towards my workouts or diet to keep myself accountable. It’s important to make the most out of your training especially if you are a parent with a time limit.
My top tips
Wow, I have learnt so much that I want to share, but the most important things are;
• Being patient (something I struggled with) - growing muscle takes a lot of time and you need to remember that you might not see noticeable changes after a few weeks. Don’t give up, take progress pictures and you will eventually start to see your progression. If you are putting in the hard work, you WILL get results.
• Balanced diet - in order to grow muscle, you have to be in a calorie surplus. If you don’t eat enough, then this may compromise your progress. I eat 5 meals a day all with high protein and roughly around 2200 calories a day. I don’t restrict myself with certain foods, I just make good choices. If I fancy something a little naughty, then I’ll just have it and move on.
• Push yourself - obviously if you are a beginner then you will need to work yourself up to lifting heavier weight, but it’s important to keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. We all have to start somewhere but just remember that you should be struggling with your last few reps and if you’re not, then you need to up your game.
• Forget the scales - if your aim is to grow muscle then you need to get your head around the fact that you are likely to gain weight. Try not to obsess over the number on the scale and instead take measurements if you want to measure your progress. I used to weigh myself every day, I might do it now perhaps every 3 months and I’m actually happy if I weigh more (something the old me would be horrified about).
How has it changed my life?
I can’t even begin to explain how much weightlifting has changed my life in such a positive way. Not only am I now happy with my appearance but I’m healthier and have SO much more confidence. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself and fitness will always be a big part of my life. It’s so much more noticeable to my children that I’m a happier person and this definitely makes them happier too.
I want everyone to know, whether you are a parent or not, that you CAN work hard and make changes to yourself and your life if YOU want to. I’m not saying it’s easy, trust me I know, but you will feel incredible for it. If I can do this, then so can anyone.
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