Photographs by Linawa Photography | Interview by Stella Matilda
The most challenging aspect of getting back into shape after pregnancy is not lack of motivation, sleep deprivation, or fatigue - it’s time. New moms stay busy almost every moment of everyday. Finding time for fitness activities right now may seem as feasible as climbing Mount Everest. After all, if you barely have time to wash your hair, how can you find time to exercise? To help you get motivated, we are sharing some stories of real moms who are getting in shape and making it work. Exercise has not only improved these women’s health but also helped them to increase their confidence. Being active has reacquainted them with their bodies, given them contact with the natural world, and provided them with a sense of accomplishment.
Part owner of Changgih Designs
Children: Hailey Jade (15 mo)
Had you always been active before pregnancy?
Before I was pregnant I was an avid rock climber and also frequently worked with a Personal Trainer. So at that point I was working out probably 4 times a week alternating between the two activities as much as I could. I haven’t had the greatest athletic history as I had a spinal problem that held me back from it. Little did i know it was mostly a mental block and once I met my husband (Gym Owner of X45, nutritionist and personal trainer) he gave me confidence in my own abilities and i haven’t looked back since. It is really a personal choice for those with certain limitations to understand they have the opportunity to push these limits. I have, and i haven’t looked back since. Being active both mentally and physically is a lifestyle that i have grown very accustomed to.
Children: Caleb Jeremiah Willey (4), Cayden Moses Willey (2) & Clement Eden Willey (4mo)
What type of challenges do you face as a mother of 3 to maintain your fitness routine?
Being a full time working mum of three incredible boys in four amazing years, I have to admit, there are times that I feel so tired and weak. There are many mornings that my alarm goes snoozing. I’m too lazy to get up and I just want to snuggle in my comforter. My teaching job has really worn me out. My first son was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. Having a special needs child is overwhelming. My 2 years old son is very active and he never sits down. My 4 months baby requires plenty of attention too.
Children: Finlay Kate (15 mo)
How do you feel about your body before and after pregnancy?
As a person who was never into fitness, before pregnancy my body was not a big issue to me. Being 58kg is not an ideal weight for someone who is a 5’2” of height. But at that time, I wasn’t too bothered about gaining weight because I know I will eventually shred when I started running or going to the gym. When I do, I work out at the gym
for a solid 2 hours, 4 times a week and if I’m careful with my foods, I can simply lose 3-4kg in a month, that easy. And if I don’t lose weight, I know I gained muscle somewhere, somehow. That’s how easy-going I was when it come to my body.
After pregnancy, in the 1st year I was kind of letting go and not worried about getting my body back. It’s like ‘fitness’ was the last topic in my bible of motherhood. I was in a total babymoon phase of my life. BUT, this would sound too good to be true if I said I was totally fine with the transformations of my body. My tummy was flabby and hanging, I had fats around the midsection and sides of my abdomen, I can see my under arms are swinging when I move them.
All these changes were a little strange to me – I wasn’t sure if I should be worried or just be patient because all mothers go through the same stage. As time goes by, I think my body is ready now, I guess it’s time to start somewhere. I know it won’t be easy to get ‘that’ body back but I’m determined to work hard on being a fit & healthy mom for my child.
Stay at Home Mom
Children: Ava Jipiu (7), Azarias
Jipiu(5) and Tavakas Jipiu (5mo)
What do you think is the most common myth about mothers getting back into fitness?
A common myth will be that you’re gonna eat less when you get back into fitness hence breastmilk would become lesser? I do fitness so that I can eat a lot and at the same time still able to maintain my body and fully breastfeed my baby. The other myth is that you need to workout 1 hour per day and I don’t have time to workout because I am busy. Wrong... 20 to 30 mins of a fully intense workout is equal to the effect of 1 hour of workout. Even a with 10 mins tabata workout you’ll be getting the full benefit of it and your metabolism would stay active the whole day. As a mother you don’t need to stay fit anymore. This is the crucial period when you need to use the most of your energy since we are a multitasking species it is compulsory to be fit!
MELISSA J. PAYNE
Children: Thalia (3) and Trianna (5mo)
What would you say to mothers who are struggling to get back into fitness?
It all comes from you; it’s your choice to make. If you want to get back into shape and fitness you can always do this from your own home or do it together with your kids. You can start slowly by cooking and eating healthier meals and you can have this with your family. You can take walks with your babies or toddlers when you’re done with work or done with chores. You can do simple workout in your own home while watching over your kids. It’s actually not difficult but the real struggle that most moms have lies within them. Its procrastination and excuses! So the first step to take is to eliminate that feeling and to stop making excuses.
Total Enrichment Instructor and Property Manager
Children: Maya Faith Ibraheem David Williams (8) and Tia Starr Ibraheem David Williams (4)
What would you like your children to learn from your healthy lifestyle?
I love this question! I would hope that my kids will learn that keeping a healthy lifestyle is not temporary, that it is a forever ever changing journey, a never ending learning journey. For them to learn that irregardless of whatever comes their way, health will always be one of their biggest priorities in life. To make it an appointment with themselves, an appointment that they will never cancel.
For whatever that is going on nowadays in our tough world some of which is not within our control, I would like my children to always remember that “THIS” they CAN control. And it is a very empowering choice each time they decide to eat vegetable over nuggets, or to go for a run over lazying on their Ipad.
I would also hope that they will learn to not give up and when the going gets tougher... they need to toughen up more. And most importantly for them to know and understand that living a healthy lifestyle is for themselves and not to let others dictate what they believe or do.
You can read the complete interview of this five empowering mothers in Parents Avenue Magazine Issue No.4 July to September 2016. Available throughout Sabah, Labuan and Sarawak. We know you're a busy mom, so call 011-29016966 if you need it to be delivered to you! Happy reading!