1) How has your training changed since falling pregnant/having kids?
When I had fallen pregnant I was at the peak of my fitness, but despite that I guess I am also happy to admit that I underestimated just how much the body endures during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. I was very physically active before pregnancy, training 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day. During pregnancy I was able to continue my activity in moderation but tapered down as my journey progressed. I learnt very quickly to listen to my body and as my journey furthered I was certainly no longer training anywhere near my former level. Under the close guidance of my obstetrician I took each training session as it came, and exercised with more of a focus on moving the body for maintenance verse aiming to hit personal bests. It wasn’t just about me anymore, it was about nurturing and housing my growing baby and give it the best healthiest me I could. Staying active throughout my pregnancy aided with those body discomforts, gave me a positive and strong mindset, aided sleep, relieved stress and ultimately prepared me for the stamina needed for labour, delivery and indeed my recovery, rehabilitation and life as a first-time mother.
To put it simply, I really took my time to heal properly from the inside-out as hard as it was at the time given that I was someone who trained hard/fast on a daily basis. My recovery and rehabilitation process was taken slow and steady as I had substantial diastasis recti (abdominal separation) to manage first. I knew that delving in too fast too soon would simply put me out of action longer and have damaging long-term effects. Now 18 months postpartum, I am incredibly pleased to say that I’m in fact the fittest and strongest I have ever been in my life and I put that to the fact that I stripped it all back, I took it back to the basics, I rehabilitated and essentially re-set my mind and body again. I challenged it bit-by-bit, I nourished it with the fuel it needed to work optimally, I didn’t put a time-frame on it, and that has been my secret to success for my now mind and body.
2) What is your active method of choice and how much do you train?
Anyone who knows me would know that training is an essential part of my day and has been for many years! My training regime is a combination of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and resistance based training (weights). I train usually 6-7x sessions a week and ensure I have 1x full rest day.
3) Have you had to change/adapt your diet due to breastfeeding or time constraints?
As a proud breastfeeding mother, my nutrition is vital for not only my health and wellness and to facilitate my intense training regime but just as importantly for the growing and developing needs of my toddler. Whilst I have a balanced and flexible approach and I believe everything in moderation, I ensure that on the most part I concentrate on eating whole, unprocessed, raw foods. I don’t count my calories as such and to maintain my supply as a breastfeeding mum I don’t go into calorie deficits and ensure my intake continues in a surplus. Proving the correct and appropriate nutrition really is key to aesthetics as well as I’ve been able to transform my body postpartum without ‘cutting’ calories. I keep my fast metabolism burning by consuming 6x meals a day, a high protein diet, a heap of vegies (greens where possible), healthy proportion of fats, legumes, nuts, I drink plenty of water (minimum 3L/day that doesn’t include what I consume during my training sessions) and coconut water and I cook with only macadamia or coconut oil. I treat myself 1-2x a week and believe that flexible/balanced nutrition is what keeps me focused and on track. Due to the time constraints that us mothers encounter daily with work life, mum life, wife-life, keeping our homes in order and all things in between - I definitely rely on ensuring I do food preparation 1-2x a week to have our meals pre-arranged, this is a two-fold approach for me as it means not only do I stay on track with nutritious meals but more time is spent with my family instead of over the cook top and cleaning up each night! The saying rings true; ‘if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail’ ☺
4) One piece of Active Mum advice to help other Mums?
For those newly postpartum mumma’s please I urge you to take time with your recovery, there is so much overwhelming and unnecessary amounts of pressure that society and media put on women to ‘bounce back’. Instead more emphasis should be put on the importance of taking the appropriate amount of time to heal properly from the inside-out, embracing and celebrating the beauty of the post-partum body and honouring the female body for its accomplishments of pregnancy and childbirth. It truly is remarkable.
Remember that having kids doesn’t mean an end to the things we enjoy or things we want to achieve! I always say that if anything it is more of a reason than an excuse! Rather than seeing children as obstacles to a fitness journey I try to find ways to include my child in my active lifestyle instead! There are plenty of safe but effective ways to do so, and you’ll find that they LOVE it too! If you are lucky enough to have a gym with a crèche and feel comfortable, then use it, that time to exercise and focus on you is worth its weight in gold! It is only a small portion of the day so please don’t have mumma-guilt over something that benefits you and your entire family! …And let’s be realistic, there will be days when exercise just doesn’t happen or has to be cut short for whatever reason, on those days simply sneak in some incidental exercise where you can and that is certainly better than nothing! If you get to the end of a chaotic day and nothing went to plan hence NO exercise happened, well that’s ok too, tomorrow is a new day!!
5) Why do you choose to be an Active Mum? (To stay fit?)
Despite growing up keeping active and life in the military means keeping fit remains at the forefront of what I do both personally and professionally, the REAL game-changer was the day I became a mother. Suddenly my mindset and priorities had changed – for the better. I’d found myself completely invested and devoted to the mind-body-soul aspects of health and fitness with my growing baby the very motivation why. As I reflect upon this beautiful time, I see so much CHANGE. Not just physically but largely the internal and mental change too. Pregnancy, birth and motherhood have empowered me greatly; in ways I cannot fully explain. I witnessed the true strength, resilience and tenacity of the female human body and it is something that I continue to be so immensely proud of. I’m now kinder to my self and my body, I have gained a new sense of self-worth, self-respect and along with that came genuine self-love. It is no longer about comparing myself to somebody else’s journey or about being better than anyone else but being gratified of my journey, owning my own unique story and refining myself every day - not just for the benefit of me but just as important for my family too.
Since then I’ve found my training more than ever to be crucial for my physical (and mental) health and overall wellbeing. My passion for keeping active and staying fit is something I do for ‘me’ but ultimately for my family too. I know I am a far better person, mum, wife, (PT and Nurse) when I have invested time in making my health and wellbeing a priority too. It honestly provides an outlet from the ongoing pressures of motherhood and any general life stressors that we all encounter along our journey. For me, it brings about a heightened sense of accomplishment and pride. It allows me to sweat out any of my days worries, makes me feel more energized, and overall has a positive effect on various facets of my life including my relationship with hubby, my family, my career, my goals and aspirations. It’s not about how you look (that is just a bonus side effect); it is about how it makes you feel - stronger, confident and well centred.
6) Goal/Motivation at the moment?
My motivation is driven by knowing that when a woman is happy and healthy inside and out, those she loves and cares about (and set’s an example to) will follow suit. I give myself the same deserving attention that I give to the ones I love. Mums especially tend to give their absolute all to those whom they adore and it’s easy to completely put themselves to the wayside. I’m on a mission to ALSO care for me, after all how can I best look after the ones who need me the most if I’m not in my best physical and mental state? I’ve learnt it’s not selfish to make YOU and your health and wellbeing a priority AS WELL and that very thing takes my motivation to new heights.
It’s so true what they say, your children become your biggest motivators! Madden has really stepped it up for me; I used to think I was driven prior to becoming a mum, but I’m now more determined and empowered than ever! He continues to motivate me everyday – his little observing eyes are watching my every move - day in, day out. I know that my influence as a mother is extremely powerful and I will cultivate that at all costs for his upbringing. There is nothing more motivating than aspiring to be the best version of myself in order to be the best role model for my child. Of course, and most importantly, I simply hope that my positive influence means Madden will understand the importance of pursuing an active life, a life of learning, adventure and the ability to achieve whatever he sets his mind to!
Thanks for having me @mummactiv; it has been nothing short of a pleasure collaborating with you! In closing, a massive #mummysalute to all the active mumma’s who make it all happen for themselves and their family!
Love Nadine xoxo