What does that even mean? Hopefully, through my story, I can encourage, motivate and support other mums to be fit and healthy. Please follow my journey and join in! Nothing is fun when we do it alone, right? And hopefully, I can be a part of your journey too.
Now, let’s get one thing straight from the off, I have not been a gym bunny all my life and don’t just ‘have’ this body. It’s rather insulting when people say well you’ve always been small so it’s easier for you to stay in shape! Wrong! I didn’t just wake up like this guys! I wish I did but sadly this isn’t the case. I work extremely hard for the body I want.
I first competed in October 2016 at the Pure Elite Nationals in Hayes where I won my Bikini Tall category and my Pro card! To say I was shocked was an understatement. There are videos of me in complete confusion, falling over my sponsor gift bags that were put in front of me and throwing my Pro card out of my trophy to the other side of the stage having to pick it up in heels and bikini! (Janine Marie will confirm this) Not a great look! However, I think I was forgiven because of my pure joy.
My training for this was 4 months from deciding I wanted to do something completely different (from pageants) to stepping on stage. It was tough, I couldn’t run to the end of my street without stopping and I could barely do one push up. With a military husband he was ready to support and push me the whole way. Training on army base gyms gave me my own personal edge (I think), I was newly married and living in London, so as far as time goes I had a lot of it after/before work. I trained every single day with the exception of a function or being away.
My nutrition and training were monitored every step of the way by my personal trainer, Phil Earley. Now, Phil and I had never met until show day when he got to see the final product! All of our training and nutrition was done over the telephone and emails. Not having that coach in the gym with me was hard, it meant I had to commit, it meant I had to push and motivate myself when I wanted to give up and not complete my reps. But I did it and over time I got better and better and I soon got the gym bug and couldn’t wait for my next training sessions. A big positive for me which may be for you as well is seeing results, it takes time but be patient because as soon as you start seeing them you will want to just keep doing more and more because you know it’s working. Those first two months for me I found difficult but as soon as I saw my hips losing their handles and my biceps coming through I couldn’t wait to see what the next two months had to offer.
The only supplements I used in my prep were Genetic Supplements as recommended by my coach. I am extremely proud to be one of their ambassadors two years down the line. They are not just a ‘sponsor’ to me, I am a past customer and wanted to stick with what I know when choosing my supplements for my next prep.
Four weeks after my first show I competed again as a Pro at the Pure Elite World Championships where I placed 3rd in the world in Bikini Tall and 3rd in the world for International Model. Goal achieved! Very happy lady indeed!
Then....1st January came and I remember posting on Instagram a picture of me in the gym saying goals for 2017. Little did I know 2 weeks later I would find out that my husband and I would be expecting our first baby! Oh, my goodness the range of emotions I went through after 14 pregnancy tests over 3 days! Delighted obviously (I had always wanted to be a mum), I wanted that ultimate purpose of growing and bringing up my own child. My dreams were coming true, however... it wasn’t all rainbows! Far from it. I went from being the fittest, smallest size in my entire life to finding out my body was about to change for good! Who knows what would happen? How many stretch marks would I get? How much weight would I put on that I will never be able to lose? My tummy will be saggy after birth it will never be the same again. The anxiety ran high the entire pregnancy and after. I was scared.
I was unable to train just 12 weeks in and for the rest of my pregnancy (going to the gym sitting on a bouncy ball didn’t count), I trained my husband in the gym daily and not being able to do anything ‘I used to do’ pained me and it was hard to come to terms with.
All mums know we all have very different births. For Hugo and I, it was traumatic with a 42-hour labour resulting in two hours pushing, no joy, episiotomy, forceps and a heamarige. We spent days in the hospital unable to get out of bed. Not the ideal water birth I had planned all along.
Finally, after a couple of weeks I was ready to look at my post baby body and I did not like what I saw. Now some people say embrace it, you made a baby... I agree to a certain extent but for me I couldn’t understand why I had to embrace something I hated so much. It wasn’t me, I hated it and that’s ok! It’s ok not to feel ok about your body. I wanted to make changes straight away but with a new baby and a long recovery time I wasn’t shifting any of that weight any time soon. I watched other mums with months old babies stepping on stage and I cried. I compared myself which I will NEVER do again. I compare myself now to only MY pictures to become the best version of ME.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel ... I promise! No matter how bad you may feel right now, no matter what stage of your Mum journey you’re at.
When Hugo was 5 months I could finally start exercising again (lightly may I add) I had to take things very slowly and my coach eased me into everything. I had twinges, my knees, my back, my ankles and Phil would alter training accordingly as my health and safety always come first. Again the first couple of weeks back at the gym I came home and cried to my husband and told him how awful I felt, I couldn’t lift that weight, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t cycle longer than two minutes. It was HARD. This is where many people would give up, but you can’t, if you have the determination and desire you will push yourself forward, you’re allowed to feel down and upset along the way that’s part of the process. If it was easy for everyone we would all be walking around in bikinis! But it’s not. It’s tough but the reward is so great.
I felt embarrassed, like a newbie to the gym. I felt like I needed a sign on my back (and my front and my forehead) saying I’ve just had a baby! I’m a new mom! I’m sleep deprived! Don’t judge me!'. However, the only person judging me was ME. It wasn’t anyone else’s judgment or opinion that I cared about, but my very own made me anxious. Push past this stage, it doesn’t last long I promise. Now I want a sign saying I’m a mom for completely different reasons! Because I’m so proud!
I have 21 weeks until the world championships, which may sound like a long time but with a little one it’s not. I can’t miss my training days (sometimes it does happen) we are all human but if I have that mentality that I can’t I know I will miss an awful lot less than if I didn’t. I’m finding nutrition hard but I’m getting there slowly. The daily cake has to stop!!! Doing no exercise made me feel so rubbish that all I craved was chocolate, cake, sugary foods, which in turn just made me feel worse. It’s a hard cycle to break but when you do, you will be glad you did. Hugo is now nearly 9 months and never slept through the night he still feeds every three hours. So if I can do it, you can.
So, please come on this journey with me, ultimately it’s not about me as it is about you. Share your story. You never know who you may inspire, it just has to be one person to be worth it. You could change someone’s life. You could save someone’s life. Be real, be honest, be human, be you. Look at others for inspiration but only judge yourself on you.