We caught up with Myprotein Ambassador and Fit Mum Phoebe McVey to find out how she maintained exercise and healthy eating throughout pregnancy – and how you can to!
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 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. 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 as 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!
Q: Did You Follow a Diet Plan During Pregnancy?
My diet was the same both pregnant and not 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 just upped my calories a bit eat 5 to 6 times a day – all of which being ‘healthy’ foods – but on a Saturday or Sunday I do have a few treats!
Being pregnant does not mean you can eat everything you see, you’re 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!
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 stuck to healthy eating and 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 know 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!
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: 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! Being educated on healthy eating is something that should be introduced at a young age.
I didn’t know what a carbohydrate was until I was like 12 or 13 and I didn’t know that pizza or chips was bad for you! 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: 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. 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.
Q: Top Tips for Fitting Fitness and Exercise into Your Busy Schedule
This can be very hard and I understand how hard it is. 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 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 6.30am 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!
Q: 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-minutes 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 minutes of your walk, just to feel more of a burn in your legs and glutes!
Q: 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!
Q: 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 their stories 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 diary of your training and changing up your training every few weeks, as 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!