I am absolutely honored to bring you this week’s “One Fit Mommy”. In addition to being a mommy, Gina Kehr is one of the fastest female triathletes in the world. She has competed in the Ironman World Championship seven times, most recently in 2006 where she placed 4th.
For those of you that are not familiar with an Ironman triathlon, it consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and then a 26.2 mile run. Most of us cannot even imagine doing one of those, much less all three!
I think you will agree with me that Gina Kehr is the epitome of “One Fit Mommy”. She has two children, a toddler and a newborn. (I can attest to the fact that this is not easy!) She also runs her own real estate business.
To say that she is short on time is an understatement but Gina makes up for it with determination and commitment. She is going back to Hawaii this coming October to compete again in the Ironman National Championship.
So gang, if you think you do not have time in your day to exercise, please print this interview out and carry it around with you all the time.
As Gina reminds us, it is all about priorities.
Q: Have you always been so fit? What motivated you to live a fit lifestyle?
I have been in sports since I was about 9 or 10 My mom felt I was turning too much into a primadonna (spelling) so she made me go watch my brothers soccer games and after doing that Saturday after Saturday I started myself. In grade school I ran for the school and I always did pretty well on the president’s fitness test. If my daughter (2.5yrs) is any indication of how I was-it was purely not being able to sit still that kept me fit! Once I started doing sports than it was something that I just took with me everywhere. My love came when I discovered swimming (in high school) and that is where my motivation to really become an athlete started.
Q: Most people cannot imagine running a marathon, much less doing a full Ironman! What advice do you have for someone who is just getting started with exercise and feeling overwhelmed?
Don’t get caught up in the “overtraining” principals that a lot of triathletes follow. Take it one day at a time, have fun working out, find out what you really enjoy and build slowly. Even now, especially after having my second baby-my initial “training” was to do ONE exercise a day.
Q: How did your workouts change while you were pregnant?
I did what felt best-which was mostly swimming and lifting with my first pregnancy. With my second I swam and ran, mostly due to that fact I was in really good shape before I became pregnant in May 07. I know my body pretty well, so I know when I am getting into my anaerobic and upper aerobic zones so I just monitored as I worked out. I don’t believe the whole keep your heart rate under 140 thing….each woman’s body is different and heart rate of 140 varies with different workouts. I just listened to what felt good and making sure I never went over my upper aerobic zone. With my first I was able to workout about once a day, everyday, with my second-I was only able to workout about 3-4 times a week.
Q: A lot of moms tell me that they just don’t have time to exercise. How do you find the time to train/exercise now that you have two small children?
This will be hard to hear, but I really believe that “you don’t have time” is not accurate, it is that you don’t make it a priority. It is like when I tell myself I don’t have time to answer e-mails, clean my house, do laundry, run to the grocery store, it is not that I don’t have time; it is that I did not make it the priority for the day. I have discovered that I am a MUCH better mommy when I get out and workout so that goes closer to the top of my list than cleaning my house. When I am not competing, I still make it a priority to workout (not on the same level as when I am competing) because I have learned about myself that my patience level is much higher and it is better for my children that way.
Q: I struggle a lot with my diet and really fell off the sensible eating wagon when I was pregnant. Did you develop any different eating habits during your pregnancy that have been hard to give up?
I hear you with falling off the wagon when pregnant….especially because when I am training I am really conscious about what I eat so I see it as my “out” for a while. I embraced it though and didn’t go too crazy but my days of turkey burger and fries were much more than normal. After I had my baby I made it a choice to go back to being stricter on what I ate. First thing I did was get rid of all the temptations in the house. It was hard for a few weeks (okay it is still hard) but it is getting easier. It does help A LOT that my husband is very healthy so we do it together.
Q: What is your favorite workout/exercise and why?
I really love swimming and running is a good second. I have been swimming since high school and just love it. The run is the best bang for your buck and makes me feel so good when I am done. The combo of swimming and running work well together, swimming helps keep me strong and running leans me out.
Q: Do you spend equal time training for all three components of a triathlon? (Do you feel like you are stronger –or favor–one sport over the other? )
You don’t really spend equal time of the three legs. You put in the same number of workouts but the time in each is different. The most amount of time is spent on the bike, but I train with the quality versus quantity moto so I really make all my workouts count. Being 38 and just having my second baby I have really lost a lot of strength so I am trying to focus on that as well which means hitting the gym. I have a treadmill and computrainer (a device for your bike so you can ride indoors) that allows me to train while being at home.
Q: Does your daughter recognize that mommy is an athlete and how do you think it will influence her own activity level?
She is learning, we talk about exercising a lot and she is definitely very influenced right now. Every time she sees a runner or a swimmer she says “my mommy does that” it is very cute. She runs me down the street sometimes when I go out for a run and she loves to swim with me. She is VERY active w/o me influencing her, it scares me to think how much more active she could be.
Q: Does your husband enjoy fitness as much as you do?
Yes he does and I would say he lives a better fitness lifestyle than I do. I love to compete so my fitness comes with competing. He has always been healthy and lived a fit lifestyle with out competing. I know when I am done competing I will continue to be fit, but I would be more apt to slip and have a donut than he would.
Q: What brand of running shoes do you wear?
Zoot ultra tempo-new shoe on the market
Thank you Gina for taking time away from your crazy schedule to be a part of “One Fit Mommy”. I look forward to reading about your success as you make your way back to Kona this fall.
Please visit Gina’s website to read more about her accomplishments and plans. (maybe send her a note to let her know just how awesome she really is?)
There really are NO EXCUSES gang.
Get up, get moving and enjoy your energy!