A Mom's Balancing Act

Putting yourself and your health first is hard to do when you have a family. Find out how this busy mom keeps fit.

January 10, 2013
A Mom's Balancing Act

I am thrilled to be blogging for the new Fit Moms section on Muscle & Fitness Hers. I think I am a true expert when it comes to this balancing act that requires wearing many hats. Being a mom is amazing, but no one can prepare you for motherhood. And I have yet to see a manual on one important thing: how being a mother is going to change your entire lifestyle and what to do about it. Being a mom does not mean you have to be overweight or out of shape. How you feel, what you wear, what you do, who your friends become, does change and if you are not mindful of your well being, so will your body.

I am the proud mother of 19-year-old named Kailey, who is now in college, and stepmother to a 13-year-old named Jacob. I have worn both the pants and the apron alone in my household. For many years, I was a single mother. So, I quickly learned how to juggle and be resourceful. I had no choice—it was sink or swim! I also mastered the art of staying fit while in mommy mode. I used the drive I had to survive to do some great workouts. Time management is everything. There are some new moms who try to be glamorous, be on time for everything, keep the house immaculate and be in a great mood, but the outcome is often a big fat fail, fast!

I learned the importance of creating and conserving energy. If I am not fit and in good condition, how am I going to: 1) get through my day; 2) be in a good mood; and 3) be a good high energy, fun mom? We must protect our well being, and the fastest way to become a real super mom is to hit the gym! I found the moms that struggle with time management, often gain weight and suffer from low energy levels. You must learn what it is to relax, unwind and escape while on the hamster wheel of life. After my own personal burnout, I learned to accept the things I cannot change, and change the things I can. I learned how important it is to set personal goals. This helped me stay inspired and in touch with myself. If you do not stop the clock on occasion, it’s just like overtraining muscles—you will become exhausted, your body inflamed and it will release lots of cortisol to protect it. In turn, you can count on more body fat in the mid-section. I have learned firsthand is, stressful living is counterproductive to my fitness goals. So what I have to do is make appointments with myself. You can find another time for most other things!

In 2002, I started reading Muscle & Fitness Hers. There were so many great workouts and diet tips to follow. I lost weight and dropped four sizes without a trainer just by following the routines in the magazine. Then I got the urge to compete. After years of teaching and taking yoga, I needed to tap into my energy systems and train my muscles with weights. My goal was not only to shape my body but also to create more fire in my soul! That’s when I decided to hire a competition prep coach. And when I stepped on stage for the first time in 2003, I became an NPC national-level fitness competitor. Suddenly, I was a mom in a bikini with beautiful muscles, who began modeling, speaking at events and writing. I achieved my best shape ever at 34 years old. And now, at 44, I am in even better shape, and that physique earned me a second place finish at the IFBB North Americans in the Masters category. After all these years, I am tickled by how my daughter sends me text messages saying, “Let’s go to the gym mom,” or “What’s for dinner? I want something clean and healthy!” I definitely feel like super mom knowing I got the message of health across!

The trick is to be creative and weave in workouts and meals that meet your lifestyle. Get out of the busy bee syndrome and into the gym. If you want to be happy, healthy and hot as a mom, you need to take your well being seriously and take a good look at your schedule.

Michelle Johnson