It is time for another installment of “One Fit Mommy”! As I surf around the blogosphere, I come across fit moms (and dads too!) who inspire me to fitness.
Today’s fit mommy is Jenn, who blogs over at Girl Heroes. I just discovered her blog and I am hooked. She loves her kettlebells, celebrities, and managed to stay off sugar for 2 YEARS and still does not eat refined sugar! (2 years people! I can’t even handle a week!)
She is a busy mom who makes sure to have FUN while working out. Please read on for more on Jenn and why she is definitely “One Fit Mommy!” (and be sure to go over and subscribe to her blog too!)
Q: Have you always been fit? What inspired you to live a fit lifestyle?
I’ve always like “to move.” Growing up I showed horses, danced, ran track, and dabbled in few sports (I was never very good) but I never really thought about being “fit”. In college, I would go to the fitness center but didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. I would hop on a Stairmaster and or use the weight machines. I knew nothing about reps or sets or challenging my muscles. All I knew is I wanted a smaller thighs but had NO CLUE how to effectively sculpt my body. I used to think that if I ran “1 mile” every day I would get the legs of my dreams.
Then the summer before my senior year of college I got pregnant and gained over 60 pounds. After I had my baby I went to Old Navy to get some clothes that fit and I had to buy a size that was completely foreign to me. I was also struggling with depression (I have my entire life). I started jogging and walking with my baby every day and eventually I lost some weight but again I can’t say I knew what I was doing. It was very frustrating. A few years later I was flipping through some random advertisement mailer and saw an ad for a new gym owned by a female bodybuilder who had won a lot of titles. I had lost a few pounds but was still not thrilled with my body. Since the gym was new they had a fantastic special and I joined. I also started training with the owner. She started teaching me about sets, reps, muscle failure, ect. She gave me a great foundation and I started to see a real difference in my body. Not only did I lose some weight I started to see definition and shape. It was during this time I started reading books on nutrition and read of the traditional food movement which changed my entire outlook regarding food.
In the fall of 2007, I ended up fighting a horrible bout of depression and gained all my weight back. I started eating poorly and quit exercising. One day I tried to put on a pair jeans that I had worked so hard to fit into and I couldn’t zip them without cutting off my circulation. I had to go out the the garage and dig through bags of clothing that I was donating to find something that would fit. I remember laying on my bed sobbing. I felt hopeless and like I had lost myself. Depression and fitness were a catch 22 for me. I know working out would help me feel better but I was too depressed to workout. One day I decided, that I would just start small. Two steps became four. Four steps became six and so on. It was amazing how getting fit and eating right started to affect my outlook. Then I decided to do something crazy. I decided I would compete in a figure competition. I had a friend who had competed and she helped me out. While competing is not a passion of mine, I haven’t looked back to my old lifestyle because I feel so great!
Q: What advice do you have for moms who claim they don’t have time for exercise?
It depends on the person. For some people I take a tough love approach. For others, it a more sensitive approach. The bottom line is we don’t have time to not exercise. We are getting older everyday and with that our bodies will naturally deteriorate if we don’t take care of them. I don’t know anyone who is not busy. I homeschool my kids and we are involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. My solution has been to use metabolic resistance training. Sometimes also referred to as circuit training. It’s fast, effective, and you get a lot of bang for your buck in a short amount of time.
Another idea would be to enlist the whole family in an activity. All four of us study taekwondo. It can be a fantastic workout but more importantly it has also been a great way to connect and deepen our relationships as a family. Martial arts is a big commitment but pursuing family fitness can be as simple as family kickball games, races in the park, swimming together…really you can turn any family physical activity into a workout if you throw yourself into it!
I love to exercise with kettlebells. I love them so much that I became HKC certified this year and I’m currently training the RKC (certification) in August. I like them because they can improve strength, endurance, and flexibility in a short amount of time and they are FUN! Kettlebells are perfect for moms. My kids will be doing workbook pages and I’ll go knock out 100 swings. Or dinner will be on the stove and I’m swinging my kettlebell. I can take it to the park or the beach. Specifically, my favorite kettlebell exercise is the snatch. It gets my heart rate up like nothing else and works every muscle in my body. It’s very challenging so it takes a lot of mental focus and I enjoy that as it makes the time go faster.
Q: Are you more of a cardio mommy or strength training mommy?
Metabolic resistance training works both cardio and strength simultaneously so in that sense I’m both. BUT if it came right down to it and I had to choose, I would choose strength because I believe it offers the most benefit to the body (and bootay) ;-). That said, I do enjoy HIIT cardio and an occasional run. I also study taekwondo (sparring is a great cardio workout) and enjoy tennis and hiking.
Q: Do you have any mental tricks that you use when you just don’t feel like working out?
I sort of approach working out like flossing my teeth. Honestly, there are a million other things I’d rather do. Heretical, I know. The thing is I feel like I owe it to my children, my husband, and MYSELF to take care of myself. I need to workout to feel my best. If I just absolutely don’t feel like it, I will say just do 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes, I still feel like a slug I’ll quit but most of the time I’ll do another 10-15 minutes. (My workouts are rarely longer than 40 minutes.) Music is a big motivator too. I’ll listen to a certain album while I clean the kitchen then I’ll feel like I want to go out to my garage gym and kick some bootay!
Q: What is your favorite post workout snack?
Ideally I like to workout before a meal and that becomes my post workout nutrition. If that doesn’t work out time wise, I’ll try to eat a protein and a carb like cottage cheese with fruit or protein powder blended with frozen blueberries.
Thank you Jenn for being a girl hero!