Fit Mummy Julie Anna has always been a fitness enthusiast, ensuring that she maintains a fit and healthy lifestyle. However, she lost her momentum during the early days of her marriage. Undeterred and determined to lose the pounds that she had piled on, Julie picked herself up and regained her fitness regime, positively influencing her two children in the process. Read on to find out how this 35 year old mummy, personal trainer and group training specialist regained her fit lifestyle and successfully juggles between family, fitness and work—a remarkable feat indeed!
1. If you could think back a little, what was your biggest challenge as a new mum and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was when my firstborn had colic. Nothing much could be done. We tried soothing her, feeding her, changing her diapers etc., but she still cried every single night for over a month. However, thankfully, she eventually got better.
When I had my 2nd kid, new challenges arose. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to love my boy as much as I loved my girl. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be fair in loving both of them and feared neglecting my gir. Fortunately, I have very supportive family members and a loving hubby. Iit got better with time. I’m blessed.
2. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires strict discipline and is not without its challenges. What inspires and motivates you to maintain this lifestyle?
I have always been rather active even before I conceived. Before my pregnancy, I frequently went for light jogs and ensured that I maintained my daily workouts.
However, for the first few months after my marriage, I lost my momentum. I spent almost every evening after work lazing around with the hubby in our new home. As I’ve always been active, living a lazy life made me restless and fatigued. At the same time, my weight was increasing. Hence, both my hubby and I decided to pick up from where we left off. We started jogging, cycling, swimming and going to the gym together. I wanted to be a fit and sexy wife to my hubby and that was what motivated me.
3. Share with us some of your daily fitness routines.
After my 1st pregnancy, I started light jogs after my girl was 2 months old. I even worked out during my lunch break as I was lucky enough to have the whole female locker room to myself while at work. Earlier in the day, I would use the locker room for expressing my breast milk as I was still breastfeeding my firstborn till she was 14 months old. After work, I did my 2nd workout of the day. I did home workouts most of the time and I swear by them. I believe that one doesn’t need to go to the gym to be active and stay fit. Opting out of the gyms allowed me to be able to spend more time with the kids. I would put them in their stroller and jog to the nearest park or playground where they would run around and play while I did some stretching or a mini workout circuit.
4. Do you involve your kids in your fitness workouts?
In the past, I did my lunchtime workouts at work. In the evening, I would put my kids in the jogger and bring them out for a light jog or a brisk walk. That way I get to spend time with both of them while burning calories at the same time.
Recently, I made a career switch. Now that I’m a professional homemaker as a well as a freelance Personal Trainer and a Group Training Specialist, my routine has somewhat changed. After sending my girl to school, I will rush home for my workouts, cook and settle my chores, then nap with my boy. After he gets up and has his afternoon snack, I will try and complete my 2nd workout depending on how cooperative he is. If he’s not cranky, I will be able to get in another 30 minutes of workout. If not, I will just spend my time cuddling and playing with him before fetching my girl from childcare. On weekdays I train my clients in the evenings while hubby plays with the kids. Over the weekends, I train clients in the mornings so that I can have the rest of the day for my family.
5. How do you instill in your child(ren) the concept of healthy living?
We made several adjustments to our eating habits. We eat home cooked food most of the time. That means we load up on veggies and protein in our meals. We educate our kids that junk food are treats that they can only have occasionally. Thank goodness that sat well with them. At this age, they copy everything we do. So if you are eating healthy, they will too.
6. What are some of your favourite healthy snacks?
My kids and I love ‘Cinnamon baked sweet potatoes’ as well as mixed fruit salad with Greek yoghurt. It’s our ‘go-to’ snacks most of the time. It’s so simple to prepare them too!
7. Any tips for mothers (or generally anyone out there) who desire to keep fit but have no idea where to begin?
Begin at home with simple bodyweight exercises. That’s the best. Machines and equipments can come later.
Put your kids in their rockers. For toddlers or slightly older children, let them have their snacks or make them sit close to you and play with their toys while you do your workouts. Let them join you if they want to. Some mommies may think that it’s a nuisance… but I believe that it all boils down to your mindset. Think of it positively. Be an example. Be a role model to your kids. Believe me, sooner or later, they will follow what you have been doing. Don’t you want your kids to be active, fit & healthy rather than glued to the TV sets or iPad?
Make them your REASON. Not your EXCUSE!
8. What advice do you have for mothers who feel that they do not have time to exercise?
Make time for it and JUST DO IT!
Nobody said that it’s going to be easy. It’s definitely going to be challenging. However, if you remain dedicated and slowly crank up your momentum over time, it will eventually become a habit. Most of us are creatures of habit. Make exercising part of your daily routine and one day, before you know it, you will find yourself enjoying it.
9. Any advice on how to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy?
Every pregnancy is different. I believe that a healthy pregnancy is what most women wants.
Many advised me not to workout during my pregnancies, but I believe that pregnancy should not handicap your desire to exercise. Listen to your own body. If you are tired, REST. Do not be too extreme in your workouts if you are pregnant. Start off with brisk walking, light jogs, swimming and some strengthening exercises.
10. What are some valuable lessons you have learnt through your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle?
I truly believe in a well-balanced lifestyle. However, we are humans after all. So on days that I don’t feel like working out, I try not to beat myself over it. I will just get back to it the next day.
Eat well 80% of the time. I do have days when I want some ice-cream or my Ice-blended Mocha… haha! Just chill and tell yourself that that’s your treat for the week and try to eat cleaner during your next meal.
Don’t stress and fret over the little things. It’s not the end of the world. That’s how I stay sane and happy.
11. How do you unwind (in mummies’ term – spend your ‘me time’)?
My kids bedtime is 8:30pm. Normally on good days, they will be fast asleep by 9pm. Latest will be by 9:30pm.
I get my ‘me-time’ after putting them to bed. As most of my chores have been completed by then. I always look forward to my ‘me’ time as I get to relax and spend time chilling with the hubby.
On certain nights when hubby is busy with work, I will just chill in the living room and watch or write fitness programs. I will also do some reading or if I’m not too tired, or even sneak in a late night workout.
12.Where is your favourite spot in Singapore to hang out with your kids?
Anywhere we can just let loose, run & get sweaty together. The park, playground or to the pool. We love going to the beach too, as we love cycling and playing in the sun, sand and sea.
13. Last but not least, where is your favourite destination to bring your kids for a getaway?
No particular destination. During my first and second ‘babymoon’, we went snorkelling. As we love the sun, sand and the sea… I would say Bali.
It will be ridiculously fun and exciting to do it with both my kids.
Julie’s determination, focus and drive clearly shines through. If there’s one takeaway from this interview, it’s the mantra: Make time for it and JUST DO IT! If you are aware of any mummy who exudes the same drive and can positively influence other mummies out there, then drop us an email at [email protected] with their details. We’d love to cover their story!