By Kate Horney
I’ve been getting tons of emails from BeyondFit moms who are loving REAL LIFE stories from REAL LIFE moms living the BeyondFit life.
You asked, so here’s another fit & inspirational mom: Lisa!
The History of Lisa:
At a pretty young age, I started running local 5k races and my love of running continued in high school where I played field hockey and ran indoor and outdoor track. Since we were such a small team, I ran a mix of events, from the 4×400 Relay team to the 2-miler. Running was always an escape and looking back, running really helped me through some difficult times during that phase of my life.
After graduation, I headed to college and running was no longer a priority. I ran to stay in shape and ward away the Freshman 15 but it wasn’t something I did regularly. A short while after graduation, I moved to Texas to start graduate school at the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. The slow demise of my running habits started somewhere between grad school classes, internships, working, visiting my boyfriend turned fiancé, buying a house and moving to Fort Hood, Texas. And after two and a half years of all that, in May 2009, I graduated with my master’s in social work and got married the very next day!
After our honeymoon, I started a new job with Child Protective Services. The stress of this job and the amount of hours I worked took over my life; there was no “me” time, minimal time for my husband and dogs, lots of time spent crying, and certainly no time for running. (Looking back, I really wish I ran! Maybe I wouldn’t have had so much stress in my life… Ahhh… Hindsight). At the time, I really felt like I lost sight of what was important in my life. After a long year there, I quit. Easily, the best decision I ever made. Especially since on my last day of work there, I discovered I was pregnant.
Insert freak out here. Surprise! You are starting a new job and you are pregnant! Oh, and don’t forget your husband is set to deploy again in September. Oh, and by the way, your beautiful baby is due in September too! After a very difficult pregnancy filled with gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, on September 19th, 2010, Cora Justine was born. My husband’s commander allowed him to stay behind for the birth of our daughter and I will forever be thankful to him for that gift. After two weeks as a family, we had to say goodbye to Jake until May of 2011.
During the deployment, I started to run again. It was slow and steady but I ran. My friend Caitlin agreed to visit me in Texas for a 10k. It was about 6 months after Cora’s birth and I didn’t train as much as I should have. I was under the impression that I could just get out there and run as I always had done before. Boy was I wrong. It was painful. I was really sore and cursed the fact that I had to have a cesarean and had not kept up with regular exercise over the years. After that race, I didn’t run again until after Jake came home in May. That summer, we had orders to leave Texas and move to Maryland so that he could start graduate school. I had made so many amazing friendships in Texas that the move really hurt. Running helped.
At this same time, Caitlin and I also had the brilliant idea of running a half marathon together, our first. In September, I got serious and started a training plan. I knew I needed to be better prepared for the half because I did not do such a great job with preparing for the 10k. Training and running that half marathon changed me. I wanted to run more. I signed up for another race, the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I convinced my best friend Niki and my husband Jake to run with me. They too now understand why I am hooked.
After my second half, I started my blog, Lisa Runs for Cupcakes, to help keep myself accountable to my fitness goals. For me, running has always been a bit of an escape, a place to sit in my thoughts. Today, it continues to keep me centered so that I can wear the many hats of me!
Where do your priorities lie now? Family? Training? Both? Other? Etc. How has your focused changed over time?
Becoming a mother changed my priorities, all of my priorities – my work, husband, friends, family, hobbies, fitness and running commitments. Now I would say that above all, I have to consider my husband and daughter before making a decision regarding my fitness training. Thankfully, my husband understands that my health is extremely important to me and we continue to make time to allow running and working out to be one of my top priorities. That being said, even given the most support in the world, there are still days when fitness has to be at the bottom of my priority list. I am always hopeful that I can strike a balance between all aspects of life; yet, some days I am better at that than others. We are all only human.
You have obviously made fitness a priority even in your busy schedule. Was there a moment of definition where you consciously decided to go for it or was it more of a passive thing?
Having a complicated, “high risk,” pregnancy was the point when I realized that I could not take my health for granted. As a gestational diabetic fighting borderline high blood pressure during my pregnancy, I started to really take note of what foods I put into my system and how exercise affected my body. After having my daughter, I knew that I would continue to face these risk factors given my family genetics. Thankfully, I was able to monitor my pregnancy complications with just diet and exercise. I do not want to go down the path of using medication to ease these issues in the future; therefore, I make an effort, every day, to make sure that I am making fitness a priority, even with a busy schedule. I am doing it for myself and I am doing it to show my daughter that despite genetic predispositions, you can live a healthy life and make fitness a priority.
You have had a lot of success in staying fit while being a busy mom, especially in terms of doing what not many moms have been able to do: create your life so that health and fitness is sustainable and can fit into your limited time schedule. What’s the first step?
The first step is to sit down and make a plan with your support system. Whether it is your husband, mother, or a friend, find someone that will help hold you accountable to your goals. Strategize how to take care of your kids and make fitness a priority with this person. Having a sounding board and someone to fight the battle with you will make it ten times easier to stick to a plan.
What about moms who say they cannot achieve their goals because they don’t have time?
I don’t believe that you don’t have time. I make this excuse too from time to time (probably more than I would like to admit!). But that is exactly what it is, an excuse. I am definitely guilty of “making time” to watch television or browse around on Twitter or FaceBook instead of working out. But if we all took that time, even a half hour or so here or there, we could squeeze in a workout of some sort. There are plenty of free videos on YouTube, using your own body weight that can seriously kick your butt in a short amount of time. It is just a matter of not allowing yourself to make that excuse.
For moms who are frequently exhausted and worn-out by the end of the day, how would you advise they manage their schedules so that they have the energy to start on the path towards reaching their goals?
I struggle with this too. By the end of the day, I am drained. The best way to combat the energy bonk at the end of the day is to work out before it becomes an issues. Trust me, I am not a fan of early rising; however, getting a workout done in the morning will boost your energy levels during the day and prevent you from using your low energy levels in the afternoon and evening as an excuse not to get out there and do it. One piece of advice would be to use your support system. I sometimes use my husband to kick me out of bed when I know I want to get a workout in early morning. Trust me, I always want more time to snuggle with my pillow. Yet, I ALWAYS feel better about myself after a workout.
What is ONE THING these moms can start on today that will not overwhelm them?
Drink more water. This can easily be started and will do you wonders in terms of digestive health, weight loss, skin health, and flushing your system of toxins – just to name a few. Plus, getting on the bandwagon with hydration will set you up to move into step two of your new fitness regimen, exercise!
How do you personally channel your energy and get focused on your goals? In other words, how do you manage “everyday stuff” getting in the way? Any hard & fast rules?
I only seem to focus on goals if I write it down. Write it down and it will happen. At least that is the way it seems for me. And to be perfectly honest, when I have my daily to do list, working out and running is on the list. Again, if I want to get it done, I have to write it down. It really helps me hold myself accountable. I suppose that is why I started writing a blog in the first place! I don’t want to go back to a place where I stop working out and running ever again. Other than that, I don’t think that I have any hard and fast rules.
Personally, what is most important to your wellbeing?
Having time alone is most important to my wellbeing. Especially now, being a mom, I crave alone time. Whether it is to type a blog post or run ten miles, I need that solo time to decompress and sort my thoughts and feelings. Working out and running are two of the ways that I choose to enjoy my alone time.
How do you maintain a positive outlook, or do you? Are there times of doubt, insecurity, fear, etc? How do you deal with them?
I think it is only natural to have highs and lows. It happens. In times of doubt and darkness, I find it easiest to sort my emotions on a long run. Something about the repetitive nature of my feet on the pavement centers me and reminds me that I am thankful for what this life has brought me, whether or not there are doubts along the way.
What 1 piece of advice would you give to moms who want to take their fitness to the next level?
To get started on your fitness journey, make sure you create short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals are the smaller achievable pieces to your larger, long-term fitness puzzle.
If you are already on your fitness journey and want to take your fitness to the next level, I suggest finding a workout partner. Find someone that has the same interests as you, whether it is someone to help pace you in a marathon or someone to push you in Crossfit. And, don’t shy away from joining virtual communities to help you achieve your goals. Without my online support system of bloggers and fitness professionals, I would not be as successful at chasing my running dreams.
What are your top 3 daily practices to stay focused, perform at a high level and get stuff done?
- Set small achievable goals every day.
- Eat for fuel. Trust me, I struggle with this too. After all, I do run for cupcakes!
Note from Lisa: Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to reach out to other mothers. If you are interested in following me on my fitness journey, please feel free to link up with me via social media. 🙂