Q: How Did Your Fitness Journey Begin?
I started kickboxing 5 years ago but before that even though I wasn’t very fit I was always interested in fitness but I just didn’t know where to start or what to do, Which I think is a main issue for most girls.
I loved kickboxing it is a brilliant stress reliever. Just when I was getting into my fitness I fell pregnant with my first son Kai, but I continued with kickboxing till I was 5/6 months pregnant. Post pregnancy I would go to the gym and enjoy swimming and cardio. I found this helped so much with my recovery after having a c section. But to be honest there was no stopping me and I was out doing power walks after 10 days of surgery.
After I had Kai I hit a slump and found it hard to get into something I enjoyed. I went to watch a bodybuilding competition in Ireland and it was there that I had found my drive again. 5 months later I stepped on stage I came 2nd out of 23 girls… 2 weeks later at my next show I place first and won overall. Now nearly 2 years on,, I have completed 5 competitions, winning 2 overall and have represented Ireland in the European Championships. I never thought I have achieve all that I have, especially having a baby- but once you commit to something and give it 100% the results can be amazing.
Q: As an Athlete, What Motivates You to Exercise on a Daily Basis While Taking Care of a Busy Schedule and Family?
I always think of my long term goals. I know that it’s hard and challenging, but I don’t want to look back in years to come and think what if I had completed that competition… what if I had just pushed myself that little bit harder.
It is hard to stay motivated. I have a very active 2 year old, my own business and to top it off I’m currently pregnant but I look at how far I’ve come and I look at how far I can go, thinking of what more I can achieve if I give 100% and that keeps me motivated.
Q: What is Your Most Important Fitness Tip for Working Mums?
Do as much as you can with the concept that doing a little is better than nothing, try doing a 3 day a week split in the gym or at home workouts. My main advice is don’t give up! Life is always going to be busy and everyone has their own everyday struggles. If you are a working mum you’ll always put yourself last and it is very hard to find an extra hour or half hour to do a workout.
But taking small steps to a fitter and healthier life will make you feel and look better and will encourage your kids to learn about health and fitness.
Q: How Do and Did You Maintain Your Fitness Lifestyle During Pregnancy?
Staying fit is so important when you’re pregnant, it will help with your pregnancy, labour and also help you bounce back into shape post pregnancy. When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t change my workouts much. I stayed training 5 days a week but just didn’t try lift my max weight or anything like that. The main thing to remember when pregnant is to listen to your body and never start anything new. If you’ve never lifted weights before you were pregnant, now is not a good time to start. Keep up your exercise by just doing light swimming, yoga and walking- which are all safe to do at any fitness level. I’m 7 months pregnant now and I’m just doing 3 days a week in the gym. I’m still lifting weights and still doing cardio and my pregnancy has been amazing I haven’t been sick or tired once and I put this all down to staying fit.
Q: Did You Follow a Diet Plan During Pregnancy?
My diet is the same as it was before I got pregnant. Many people think you have to totally change your diet and eat much more. In fact, according to UK dietary guidelines, your calories remain the same until the third trimester. I’ve just upped my calories a bit I eat 5 to 6 times a day and all healthy foods my approach is 80/20 6 days a week I will stay healthy. But on a Saturday or Sunday I do have a few treats.
Being pregnant does not mean you can eat everything you see, your only meant to eat an extra 200 to 300 calories a day in the third trimester, which is not that much at all and since there is a baby growing inside of you there’s really is no better time to eat healthy. However, I’m no saint and when you’re pregnant it can be hard to resist a bit of cake or sweets – you can still eat them, but try to keep them just as treats and eat them maybe just once or twice a week. |I don’t struggle too much here because I love eating healthy because It makes me feel better and I know I’m giving my unborn child a better start to life. Nutrition during pregnancy can really affect your child through their life, from affecting their birth weight to later development.
Q: Was it Difficult to Lose Your Baby Weight and Get Back into Competing Post Pregnancy?
Getting back into shape can be hard. I breast fed for 3 months and found this to be amazing- the weight just fell off me and it’s also amazing for your baby. Because I stuck to healthy eating through my last pregnancy I also didn’t gain a lot of weight so I just eased myself back to the gym and back into my routine. I started with a lot of power walks and a lot of core work at home. If your trying to get fit post pregnancy it will take time but there’s no rush- when you’re a new mum you’ve a lot going on so don’t stress yourself about getting back into shape to quick. Enjoy time with your baby and just start off with small steps and before you kow it you will be back in shape in no time. I completed my first bodybuilding competition when my son was 7/8 months old- looking back now I think “how did I do it?” but I did it and I’ll do it again this time.
Q: What is Your Opinion on Fit Mums and Promoting Positive Body Image?
I think 80% of the women that I follow on social media are fit moms, it’s so inspiring to see a women working out who have kids and a killer body. It just shows how dedicated they are and I really admire women like this. It’s not easy but every woman can do it, even if you work crazy hours and have no one to mind your kids after work, nowadays there is plenty you can do at home.
You don’t have to have a six pack and be a size 8 to be a hot momma once you’re happy and healthy and staying fit that is all that matters.
Q: What will be Your Biggest Challenge in 2015?
My biggest challenge will be juggling a new baby and a toddler whilst running my business and getting ready to step back on stage early in 2016.
When I think about everything I actually get scared and think how the hell am I going to manage it all, but I am such a driven determined person and I want to be a good role model for my kids and show them that no matter what, you can achieve your goals and dreams. I’m so blessed to have everything I have and everyday I am grateful and I believe if you try to be very positive it can change your life.
Q: How Do You Make Good Health Part of Your Parenting?
Being healthy and staying fit is going to rub off your kids: they’re going to eat what you eat, they’re going to want to stay fit and healthy like you and it makes me so happy when I see Kai eating his healthy dinners and running around loving his sports. He’s only two so he has plenty of time, but being educated on healthy eating is something that should be introduced at a young age. I didn’t know what a carbohydrate was till I was like 12 or 13 and I didn’t know that pizza or chips was bad for you and I wish my parents were into health and fitness as much as me, educating your kids at a young age will help them so much throughout their life and it really is the best gift you can give.
Q: Who Can You Rely on For Support?
My partner Gerard is an amazing dad and I couldn’t have achieved anything without him. We both work full time but he helps me out so much and helps me stay on track. Without his support id be lost.
Top Tips for Eating Healthy as a Family
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or expensive and it makes it a lot easier if the whole family eats the same food. My two year old eats everything I eat and it’s brilliant. I know this is a huge factor to why he has never gotten sick and he will actually try anything! When I was growing up we weren’t given this option. I grew up on a terrible diet and I won’t let the same happen to my kids
I always cook up big dinners and freeze them. Our family favourite would be turkey mince with sweet potato shepherd’s pie. I think making small changes to your family’s diet will make a huge difference to your lives.
Top Tips for Fitting Fitness and Exercise into Your Busy Schedule
This can be very hard and I understand how hard it is, I have a 2 year old son, my own business and I’m pregnant, so some days the last thing you want to do is go to the gym or do anything. But there is always time- even if you have six kids, you can find time to do some sort of exercise where there’s a will there’s a way.
I don’t have a child-minder or family member to mind my son in the evening and I find after working all day I’m exhausted.
So getting up before I go to work is what’s best for me. I set my alarm for 6.30 and just jump out of bed. I find have more energy for the day and feel more awake than I would if I slept in a bit more.
If there’s a morning I can’t make it to the gym I do up a circuit that I can do at home and go for a power walk as well – some sort of exercise is better than nothing.
Top Tips for Exercising as a Family
Involving the family into your exercise plan is a great way of getting your workout in.
By going swimming the whole family can go and it’s a great full body workout, even 20 mins of swimming will give you a good workout.
Go outside with the stroller… there’s loads you can do! Power walking or hiit, and even walking lunges with the stroller it is great to do every few mins of your walk, just to feel more of a burn in your legs and glutes. I used to always do this when my son was a baby and I’ll be doing it again to get back in shape when baby no.2 arrives.
Top Tips for Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle and Body Image
To me it’s all about being healthy. You could be a size 14 or a size 8- it doesn’t matter! Once you’re staying active and healthy that the important thing. Everyone’s goals are different and not everyone want to look like a fitness model or a bodybuilder, but your health is your wealth! Eating healthy and exercising regularly will help stop obesity, depression, cancer and the list could go on and on, you will be a happier person on the inside and the out if you look after yourself.
Top Tips for Stay Motivated and Challenge Yourself
Motivation is what we all need to keep us on track. I have my weeks where I just feel like giving up and I start making excuses not to prep healthy meals or workout. When I feel like this I go on Instagram and look up all my inspirations I read there story’s and give myself a kick up the backside. I also look back at my own photos and my own journey and remind myself of how far I’ve come and how much happier and healthier I am and I soon snap out of my lazy mood.
Challenging yourself will keep you motivated and on track. Try keeping a dairy of your training and changing up your training ever few weeks, this will stop you from hitting a slump, signing up for a marathon a group class or just something that you never thought you’d do will keep you on track,This is why I love competing. I push myself to my limit and I love the challenge. When I’m in prep I’m so focused, even though I’m exhausted because when you have a goal the journey is a lot easier.