It is time for our monthly Fit Parent of the month. I really enjoy choosing a fit parent to recognize each month on Muscles & Munchkins. Being a parent is down right tough and making time for fitness while knee deep in raising children is true inspiration. I believe it is important to see that it can be done whether you work full time or part time, stay at home, or are a single parent. Each one of these Fit Parents inspires me to keep going- I hope they do you as well.
Heather is a mom of FOUR… four boys! Not only is she a mom of four handsome boys, she is phenomenal at it! Every time I see her with her boys she is just so gentle and kind (sometimes she probably doesn’t know I am admiring her parenting skills like when I overheard her talking to her youngest in the bathroom last week). One day I sat and talked to her for quite some time after a workout and I was simply amazed by her gentleness when interacting with her children- she is always so positive and encouraging.
Not only is Heather a wife and mom, but she is also a nurse. Yes, this busy mom also works… NIGHTS! Sometimes she will work all night long and then come into my class right after she gets off work in the morning. She is committed to taking care of herself so she can take care of that handsome family of hers.
When I asked Heather if I could feature her as a Fit Parent she said, “I honestly don’t know what to say! I’m not that interesting!” I tend to disagree, I think she is simply awesome and I think you will too.
Q: Share your fitness background.
Heather: I was never involved in sports or fitness growing up, I was pretty timid as a child but I did play JV Doubles Tennis my Sophomore year of High School because I thought the skirts were cute! In other words, I really didn’t do anything until I had my “after baby body”. With my first two children I worked out until I lost the baby weight and then stopped. My third pregnancy did a number on my body so I then started running 3 miles 4-5 days a week. This seemed to do the trick to help me lose the baby weight, but my body still was very different. I ran regularly for about 3 years and stopped when we though about having another baby, which made me gain 20 pounds.
I went into my 4th pregnancy about 15-20 pounds more than what my body was used to and this is where my real fitness journey began. After I had baby boy #4 I started running again but this time with a neighbor friend Lisa which also helped motivate me to keep running because I enjoyed the time with her, plus it worked before to lose the weight so why not go back to it? And I did lose the weight, but my body was still mushy. But like with everything, God has a plan. I was about 10 months out from having my 4th and in about 6 months was my 20 year High School Reunion, when I ran into my friend Megan who I had known from a Moms group at church but hadn’t seen her in 2 years since she had her third baby. I couldn’t believe how in shape she was, she was toned, thin, and looked amazing.
Something about me is that I appear to be very outgoing but I am secretly very introverted. My bonus is that despite my introvert tendencies, I am very strong willed and determined. So I approached Megan and literally asked her to train me! No she isn’t a trainer, but clearly the girl knew what she was doing!!! I was afraid she would say “no way!” I even offered to pay her! She laughed at this and to my relief said, get a Y membership and show up and I’ll show you what to do! Needless to say, she whipped me into shape, no pun intended! Megan pushed me, supported, me, and taught me all she knew. I needed the support she gave me and the push that she was at the Y WAITING for me 4-5 days a week. Since then I have pushed myself to venture out of my comfort zone by taking classes, Bootcamps, and continuing to enjoy lifting weights. Now I crave and need the exercising to keep me sane and feeling good physically.
Q: What inspires you?
Heather: I would be lying if I didn’t say I want to look and feel good in my own skin. I want to be able to see my reflection in a mirror and be happy with what I see: life is very short to not appreciate my health and what all my body is capable of. I am almost 40 and laugh that when I was in my 20’s I didn’t appreciate and flaunt my smoking hot body. Now 20 years later, after 4 kids, I think it’s not such a bad body but always strive to make it better! I workout to be healthy, so I can splurge on ice cream, and to set an example for my 4 sons. I want them to know a woman’s body is not perfect, but if it is healthy and taken care of then that is near perfection. I also want my boys to see me working hard exercising and eating well beause since they are young, this is all they know, it is NORMAL to them. Therefore my goal with this is that exerising and eating right is a way of life, its what you do. Yes, splurge without regret, but then hit the gym the next day. And last, other women inspire me. I feel so incredibly blessed to have met and developed such great friendships with the women I have met along this journey. Its amazing what can happen when women support each other. Whether it be a incredibly toned and fit body that inspires me to keep working hard or seeing a girl do a difficult exerise and thinking “that’s my goal and I won’t stop till I can do it too!”
Q: How do you make time in your busy schedule for your own health and fitness?
Heather: I’m a planner, so if I have it written down what I am going to do for the week, then it WILL get done, because I also have guilt if I stray from my plan! Whether it be early morning with my girls (the 5 girls I regularly meet and work out with), us girls lifting free weights, or meeting at a class it will NOT get done if I don’t write it down. If I don’t get my workouts in, I am crabby…which makes for an unhappy mom. My workouts are also my social time with my girlfriends so it also feeds my soul. I I’m a better mother and wife when I’m feeling good after my workout. I’ve also let go of some of the guilt I feel when I take my kiddos to childcare during my workouts. I realize they’re going to be ok and our whole day will be better if I can get my sweat on!
My desire and ability to workout possible because my husband Aaron is overly supportive and understanding of my needs. He t tells me each step of the way how wonderful I look and how he sees my body changing. Its nice to hear such positive encouragement from him when he’s known me since I was 18years old. Through four babies and body changes and still wants to help me be my best self.
Q: What is your favorite workout?
Heather: I love doing intervals or circuits with the girls. Its challenging and its an awesome workout. ! I also like doing 2 classes back to back: a cardio and a strength- I feel awesome on these days! I also really enjoy trying new classes and exercise. I feel like now I have become a junky and want to try new things all the time!
Q: What is your favorite thing to do with your munchkins?
Heather: I have really awesome boys, so incredibly blessed and I truly LIKE them besides obviously loving them to pieces. Once your kiddos are in school you see them so mush less, although a welcome break it is hard. Once they start school your time with them is dictated and you are no longer able to have those days where you just sit and enjoy them. Three times a school year I pull my 3 big boys out of school for “a doctor’s appointment” and we go do something fun. The look on their faces when they realize they don’t really have a doctors appointment, brings me complete joy. We all enjoy playing card and board games together in the evenings too, and recently we got a Ping pong table and this has been a blast! Each one likes to watch a “mom show” and snuggle too. In other words, they like to procrastinate bedtime.
Q: What is a goal you have for yourself?
Heather: I still run, but have a love/hate relationship with it. Really I just love it when I’m done and can eat some ice cream! And I value the relationship and bond I have formed over running with my friend Lisa. I’d like to run at least a 10K with Lisa. I’d like to be able to do 40 push ups ON MY TOES without stopping. I’d also like to do an outdoor adventure with my girlfriends who I regularly meet to workout. Braving the outdoors while using all the strength our bodies are capable of with them. Y
I am really content and satisfied with where my life is but I have a personal goal to maintain my relationship with God as a top priority. It is always a priority but when my life is good he often goes further down on my list of importance but when I start to struggle he comes back toward the top of my list. My goal is to continue to work on this relationship and keep God at the TOP each and every day. For me, I’m a happier person when God is more a priority. And my goal is to simply BE Happy.