Marnie’s story: Getting back to health with post pregnancy exercises
I’ve been asked on numerous occasions recently, how on earth I have had the time or the energy to put into the development and launch of Body Beyond Birth let alone staying fit and raising 3 energetic young boys…
To be honest, sometimes I’m not sure that I even know the answer to that! When Becky and I started working on Body Beyond Birth, the twins were almost 6 months old, and Maui (my eldest who was 3 at the time) was toilet training. I was busy, particularly as I was breastfeeding the twins too… so you can imagine what I had going on (and how much sleep I was getting – or should I say NOT getting?!). Even with all that though, there was never any hesitation, or lack of enthusiasm when it came to anything. I believe if you are truly passionate about something, you will always find the energy, the strength and the time to devote to it ensuring it fits into your life – somehow. I was and still am passionate about my family, looking after myself and creating Body Beyond Birth so there was never any question whether I could make it all work. I just knew that I would.
So how did “she” do it???… I hear you ask…
Oh, and did I mention that when my twins were almost 12 months old, I had a few friends ask me to join their team and train for the 50km Fred Hollows Coastrek? Now that would be plain crazy to create a business, look after twins full-time (who I was still breastfeeding), run around after an energetic 3 year old AND train for the 50km Coastrek, right? That would just be ridiculous!
Well… that’s what I did!
I’m not superhuman and I’m not a super mum… I am just me. If I stopped for a moment and actually thought about what I had on and what I needed to do, I would be terrified as to how I could possibly manage it all. So I did my best not to overwhelm myself with those thoughts. I just got very good at prioritising. I basically set myself some goals with timelines of when I needed to achieve things (eg when did we plan to launch BBB, the date for Coastrek), and then I broke that down into smaller steps and figured out what I needed to achieve by when. Some things – all the mum stuff – was always a priority and my children always came first, so that meant no matter what I had going on, everything was always dropped for my boys.
I did – and still do – a lot of work on BBB at night when all the boys are asleep. My husband bought me an iPad which meant I often tried working when I was breastfeeding the twins. (I say “tried” because that wouldn’t always work.). Working on BBB at night meant that I was getting a lot less sleep than normal or than I really needed or wanted which was not ideal. I realised that I needed to make the most out of the sleep I was getting – increase the effectiveness and efficiency of it. In order to do this, I knew that I had to exercise (as that always helps me to sleep better, and fall asleep quicker) and I had to continue with my meditation and relaxation exercises to help me unwind emotionally and mentally so that I could really “let go” and enjoy deep sleep. The realisation that I needed exercise to help with my sleep was actually an epiphany and it made it really easy for me then to fit my training in for the 50km Coastrek into my busy week… and as a result get fit.
I’d planned to do a number of long walks/treks with my team as part of our Coastrek training. We would walk 20-30km once or twice a month, but that was not going to be enough for me. In addition to that, I would still do my Pilates training, and I would do interval training at least 3 days per week for my cardio. (How did I fit all that in? At night… of course when all the boys were in bed. Sometimes that meant that I might have to wait until 10pm before I could start!). I knew I needed to do more training if I was actually going to do the 50km so I decided to Google various training ideas. I finally found the phenomenal women of Wild Women on Top who run various forms of trek training during the week. The only time that I could fit this into my week was at night, so I would go out and meet this group at 7.30pm every Thursday night. We would set out in the dark on a 3 hour trek/bush walk with our packs on our back, headtorches on and off we’d go. The first night I went, I was surprised that the leader set such a cracking pace. When we finally made it to the bottom of our first gorge, I remember hearing our leader/trainer say we were now going to run up to the top of the gorge and back down 5 times. I laughed, thinking that was a joke. The joke was on me when I turned around and saw all of the women running up to the summit. They were serious… So off I went! That first hour felt like it was never going to end… Little did I know that I would still have over 2 hours of this left to go!! Yes, that’s right… We would train for 3-3.5 hours every week! At first I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed it or not, but after the shock of that first training session had worn off, I gave it another go and it was the best thing for me. Being in the bush really helped clear my head, gave me time to “think” and most importantly I had quality “me time”… All the while training for the Coastrek!! When I’d finally get home at 11.30pm each week, I was so exhausted that I’d have a shower and literally fall into bed. I’d still get up to the twins sometimes during the night, but with everything I was doing I felt like the sleep I was getting was deep and allowed me to get enough rest to get-up and do everything I needed to the next day.
Before you start to think I am actually super human, I want to tell you that when you do try to fit a lot into your life, you sometimes have to let some things slip – again it just comes back to priorities. During this time, my house was definitely NOT super tidy, and I was only sorting out the washing, folding it and putting it away once a week. I’m sure there were a lot of other things that I turned a blind eye to as well… and I’ve now conveniently chosen to forget. I just got up each day and did my best with anything and everything I planned to do. I knew that as long as I did that, I would not disappoint my family or myself.
So how did everything turn out? Well, I managed to complete the 50km Coastrek with my team (Belle, Lynda and Ruth) in under 12 hours in appalling conditions (it was cold and we walked in torrential rain for most of the day). We had planned to do it in 14 hours so we were really stoked with our result.
Of course, Becky and I launched Body Beyond Birth at the end of May 2014 at the Pregnancy Babies and Childrens Expo. We are so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together in a relatively short amount of time. It doesn’t stop here though, as Becky and I have plans for additional programs and improvements for BBB… So watch this space!
And finally… My boys are all healthy and happy… And I’m still happily married!!
So what’s the secret to “having it all”??? There is no secret. If you truly feel passionate about something and if you really want to do something, you will find a way to fit it into your life. It’s kind of like surviving on only a few hours sleep when you have a newborn – you love that little person so much, that you know you can and will do anything to meet their needs. All you need to do is have those same thoughts/feelings about your own needs… and know that you can do anything!