I grew up as an active outdoors girl spending many hours after school and in the weekends exploring the lakes, hills and rivers around home. Living close to a lake my siblings and I could be found swimming there most Summer afternoons after school until Mum picked us up on her way home from driving the school bus. Our weekends would be spent pig and rabbit hunting, sailing, horse riding and biking. During Primary School I loved Cross Country running and achieved well in High Jump and Long Jump, possibly due to my lanky, long legs rather than skill!
High School gave me the opportunity to participate in some different sports I hadn’t had the chance to try before, Netball, Softball and Basketball being the main ones. Once leaving High School my sporting activities seemed to slip down the priorities list and were put on the shelf for quite a few years during my 20’s.
I have always enjoyed being physically active in some way but over my three pregnancies where health issues made it difficult or near down right impossible to exercise my physical & mental health deteriorated. After dealing with an on-going back issue due to pregnancy I realized that I needed to prioritize my health and wellbeing and that’s when I began my fitness & well-being journey. There was a stage where I couldn’t keep up with my two year old so something had to change.
In October 2015 a friend and I started buddy workout sessions a local personal trainer. I was extremely unfit. When I first began exercising again I found everything so hard! With my lower back issues it meant exercises needed to be modified and at times it was really hard to stay positive in myself, my ability and if I would actually get results. Having a really young family at home and teaching full time made it a challenge to schedule in workouts too but two out of three bootcamp sessions started at 6am so I could get out and get it done before the kids were up, then it was done for the day.
It took two years of regular working out to build my fitness back up! I began with one on one personal trainer sessions then moved on to bootcamp group sessions once my confidence grew enough in my abilities. After 18 months I could really see progress, was able to run 10kms relatively comfortably and decided to challenge myself and celebrate how far I had come by entering the Luxmore Grunt, a 27km mountain run, which I completed in December 2017. This has been my biggest achievement! Learning to run was a challenge in itself too but the ‘Couch to 5km’ app was a great starting point for me. During my Luxmore Grunt training I injured my foot and now have a neuroma that I am learning to run with.
Consistency is always a struggle for me. As soon as I miss 3 workouts I’m on a slippery slope so I know I have to keep my workouts regular. I set my alarm for 6am! Get up, get it done! The night before a scheduled workout I lay out all my gym gear so I can get ready easily in the mornings. I have recently started using my personal trainer’s app from home so have set myself up a wee gym in the garage. Preparation is the key. I have the most amazingly supportive husband as well so when the weekends come around and I’m needing to get out for a run he’s super encouraging and kicks me out the door. With my lower back issue, now that my core is a lot stronger than what it was post-pregnancy those issues are not so present.
For me, being active allows me to experience and enjoy the activities I want to in my life. By being fit I have the capabilities to go and experience different activities but also to be able to enjoy participating in them. Not being the one sitting on the sidelines watching and being able to role model how to stay healthy and fit to my children so that they grow up believing being active is a part of everyday life and sharing all these wonderful adventures with them, it makes my heart sing.
You can’t beat that feeling of being fit. I love the way participating in physical activity makes me feel, both physically and mentally. Getting out and active is so good for my mental health, it helps to keep me balanced, helps me to process my thoughts and just gives me some ‘time out’ from mum and teacher life. It enables me to challenge myself by achieving things I wouldn’t have thought I could. I’m certainly in no way the fastest runner in the pack at all, actually I tell people I get really good value for money when I enter an event because I’m such a turtle. I take my time, enjoy the moment and take it all in.
In the future I would love to run a half marathon but I’m not sure my foot will handle it so I might need to get out on the bike more and explore the cycle trails. I have several adventures lined up and places to take the kids, walks up mountains where we live, that kind of thing. For this year though I will be happy if I can keep my workouts consistent, keep my work home life balanced and enjoy having the ability to get out and moving.
My advice, take that first step! If you’re a motivated person there are some great apps out there like the Couch to 5km which is a fantastic place to start or if you can access a personal trainer they really are worth their weight in gold. Consistency in being active and eating real foods is the key. It takes time to see a change, I think it was 18 months before I really began to feel ‘fit’ but if I can do it, so can you!
Don’t give up, keep going and change will come. Just make sure you find activities that you really enjoy and that give you that sense of excitement so you will want to get out and do it again and again and again.
Have fun, enjoy YOUR journey!
"Going to the gym and being physically active makes me feel alive and motivated"
"The rush you get from being active, and achieving your physical goals, is unmeasurable"
"I love the feeling when you're all sweaty, tired and out of breath because you know you've tried your best and pushed yourself as far as you could"
"I like getting fit, competing and winning medals. I like to have big strong muscles"
"So often as a mum you are doing things for other people, so being physically active makes me feel good in that I’m doing something positive for myself"
"I enjoy the social aspect of being physically active, when it’s not too serious and it’s just about learning new skills or getting out of the house and having fun"
“I don't like sitting around and being bored. I love participating in team sport and putting goals in place to achieve.”
“Never give up, keep pushing even when times are hard, and love yourself. Find your passion and grow because your only competition is yourself”
“Being active is important to me. I want to live a healthy life and movement is a big part of that”
"For me, sport and physical activity has offered me opportunities to make friends for life and memories I will never forget"
"I’m now convinced that I am not in competition with anyone and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks anyway. I know I’m never going to win races but as long as I am trying my best to be a better me than I was yesterday then I am winning at life"
"Not being the one sitting on the sidelines watching and being able to role model how to stay healthy and fit to my children so that they grow up believing being active is a part of everyday life and sharing all these wonderful adventures with them, it makes my heart sing"
“Quite often when you can’t be bothered or you’re feeling sluggish and tired you can surprise yourself on how well you’ll do. Just get out the door, breathe in some fresh air and take some time for YOU, because you deserve to be HAPPY and HEALTHY!”
“Start out with small steps and milestones like walking around the block without stopping, going to that first group fitness class or jumping in the water for the first time in 10 years or so”
“I feel a lot happier when I'm active. A run or a swim will always clear my head”
“You have got to have a positive attitude and just get out there. Keep moving, stay focused, because life is way too short to waste your time not doing what you love to do. Just do it”
“By valuing ME more, I started to recognise myself and all of my qualities. Now I’m proud of who I am”
“I find I am generally a better human being and can give more when I keep active”
“Being active amazes me at what my body can achieve, after all I have put it through. It amazes me how it can heal”
"Find something that you enjoy doing and make the time to do it. You’re not being selfish; you’re looking after yourself. The best time to start is today"
“Running and working out are my antidote to the everyday stresses of life. When I’m not active I find it harder to switch off and view things in perspective. Sweating through activity means I don’t sweat the small things in life”
“Being active makes me feel like I’m using my body for good. It makes me feel powerful, positive, sweaty, glorious, achy in a good way, and hopeful for the future”
“Running is an outlet for me and I feel as though I am in control when it’s just me and my running shoes”
“I was proud that I was determined enough to start from scratch and have had lots of fun playing in local competitions”
"I didn’t want to be the parent that only ever watched my kids run around and kick a ball – I wanted to be a part of what they were doing"
“Happy is a very well-known word but yet can be described in many ways. To me happy means doing the things you love while not being forced to do them. Sport and keeping physically active are my happy place”
“Overall regular physical activity makes me more positive and happier”
“I feel alive and ready for anything”
“Active, healthy lifestyles aren’t defined by how often you run or go to the gym. Exercise can look like what you want it to be and what fits into your life”
"Just by putting your shoes on and getting out there, you’re being active and doing great things for your wellbeing."
"There’s so much reward to be had by overcoming fear and achieving things you never thought you could – so go for it – and link up with other likeminded women along the way."
"Exercise makes me feel incredible! It makes me feel strong capable and grounded."
"...there is more to life than the aesthetic of your body."
"I am so damn proud of what my body and brain can do for me. It brings me so much joy."
"Feeling confident in my own skin, being stronger and fitter than when I was younger."