With three challenges under her belt, Yelena, mum to Amadea (5) and James (1) is enjoying her newfound fitness and the confidence that has come with meeting and exceeding her goals. She’s an excellent example of what can happen when you set your mind on something. As one of the mums to join the Inner West sessions, she tells us about her recent journey to fit and fabulous.
You were one of the first mums to join Body Beyond Baby’s new Inner West location, how are you finding it?
I really enjoy training at Birchgrove. I’d been stalking Jen and the Body Beyond Baby team for quite some time on social media, so I jumped at the chance to train with them closer to home. It’s great sharing the oval with the locals, and cricket and rugby on the weekend, as well as ladies who tennis and the occasional random dog off a leash. It hasn’t taken Jen long to suss out two separate sets of steps and a killer hill for weekend sessions… It’s also pretty cool training with a view of the Harbour Bridge.
Do you think it helps to train with friends?
I was ready to sign up to Body Beyond Baby on my own but it was my neighbour who really convinced me to join. For me, training with friends, playing a team sport and doing group exercise really helps keep me motivated. I’ve never been particularly self motivated when it comes to exercise, but to know I might let someone down by not turning up is enough to get me out the door. Being able to share in each other’s successes and frustrations, having a laugh along the way and enjoying a well-earned coffee at then end of a session is equally motivating.
Tell us about your journey so far:
I went ‘home’ for a holiday over the Easter break. It’s a 4.5km round trip down the dirt track to the letterboxes at mum and dad’s and I RAN the whole way! My super sporty younger brother was impressed and, just quietly, so was I. I couldn’t run one lap of the oval when I first started at Birchgrove. My whole body hurt and everything wobbled (some weeks it still does) and I was actually quite shocked at just how unfit I really was. Initially, I battled with my head over training. I’d get Jen’s ‘Woo hoo, you’re training’ reminder and I’d snarl, delete it and then spend the next 12 hours thinking of ways to get out if it. At the end of the first challenge I was amazed at the changes to my body shape, strength and fitness levels. It’s challenge number three for me and I can safely say I’m hooked. I love going to training, I love that I’m finding my waistline again and I love hanging out with like-minded mums. I keep joking with Jen that she’s got me until I’m 65!
You have done two challenges now. Did you have a different focus each time?
Yep! For the first challenge I simply had to get my body moving. Apart from doing the odd walk here and there I really hadn’t completed any exercise since I had James. I was amazed by the results after just eight weeks. My increased fitness and a noticeable change in my before and after shots set me up for the next challenge. I was still focused on gaining greater fitness and strength, but I also started looking at my diet and eating habits.
Will you do another one?
I’ve just signed up for the next round! I’d do three sessions a week regardless of the challenge, but I love that I can measure my success with the fitness testing, photos and measurements. It helps me stay focused and ensures that I reassess my goals.
What do you enjoy the most about your sessions?
That no session is ever the same.
What do you find the hardest?
It has to be the running. I’m not a runner. It frustrates me, but I am determined to get better and maybe even enjoy it one day.
You recently did Miss Muddy, how did you find that?
Miss Muddy was great fun. I certainly never thought I’d see myself participating in an obstacle racing event. I didn’t even think I’d be able to run the 5km course. It was a great laugh trying to get over obstacles with the help of my team mates (thank goodness) and getting muddy took me back to being a kid. If you have any desire to try obstacle racing Miss Muddy is certainly a great place to start.
What advice can you give to a new mum considering a return to exercise?
I think the key is to just start moving as soon as you feel ready. Initially it may seem terrifying, but once you’re back in the swing of exercise you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t do it earlier. Mentally, I wasn’t ready to start any earlier than I did (James was 10 months). Jen had posted a piece about not just being someone’s mum; that you are you and often as mums we forget that. It really resonated with me and I decided in that moment it was time. No more excuses.
Is it just about the exercise for you? What other benefits have you found from working with Body Beyond Baby?
I think it’s eveything that Body Beyond Baby is: exercise, education, support; the amazing women and the social aspect.
What would you say to any new mums thinking about joining Body Beyond Baby?
Jen and the team are such a professional bunch of women. They are everyday mums like all of us and they get it. Between them there is a wealth of knowledge specifically around post-natal exercise and they have worked hard to build strong relationships with industry experts, like naturopaths, mind coaches, meditation experts and physiotherapists. They certainly have the necessary tools to help you succeed. The environment is supportive with exercises tailored to specific needs and varying fitness levels, and knowing that you’ll have a good laugh along the way keeps you coming back for more!
So…. stop thinking about it!