Inspirational Mothers: Fiona from Mumafit



Welcome back to my final week of Inspirational Mothers.  I've really enjoyed this series and getting to know some fantastically fit mamas that are very inspiring in their own individual ways.  I'd like to do another chapter on this series later in the year, so if you are an active mama who would like to be featured, be sure to drop me a line.  

This week I'd like to introduce you to Fiona from Mumafit.  Fiona runs a fantastic website packed full of excellent inspiration and advice for soon-to-be and new mothers.  Fiona is very down-to-earth and has some great tips to share with us today..


1. Hi Fiona, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness background.

I'm Fiona, a mum of three young children (born within four years!) and founder of Mumafit, a holistic fitness app for pregnant women and new mums, and now a life and wellness coach working exclusively with mums. I completed a degree in exercise science back in the day and have around 20 years work experience in the leisure/fitness/sports industry in a real variety of roles. I've always been an active person and love board sports like snowboarding and surfing.

2. Have you always been able to successfully find the time to stay fit/active while being a mother? 

Yes I have actually - in general that is! Of course there are days or weeks when it just doesn't happen due to sick kids or family commitments, but in general I've always made it happen. There are so many options for moving your body that you can usually find something that can fit in around everyone else's needs. I also have a very supportive hubby and am pretty organised. Upon reflection, I think I've actually been more consistent in my approach to fitness since becoming a mother, as my life is more about routine now so I've developed good habits and just stick to them (out of habit) and I have more reasons to stay healthy - you cant call in sick to mothering duties!
3. How often do you manage to exercise during the week, and how does this fit in with your family's schedule?

I go to the gym twice a week for about an hour (during term) and try and do one yoga class a week (which doesn’t always happen as it depends entirely on my hubbys work commitments). Other than that I walk wherever I can with the kids (harder since having my third). We love holidaying and the beach, so our weekends are often active, although not with any structured activity. I don’t believe in doing structured exercise every day - I don’t think it is necessary if you have an active lifestyle and I believe that other elements of wellness, such as meditating or just having 'me time' are equally as important. My kids come with me to the gym and attend the gym crèche, or come on walks or runs with me. My hubby has his own business working very long hours, so other than my gym sessions, nothing is guaranteed!

4. What is your favourite type of fitness/exercise, has this changed at different stages of your children's lives?
 Mmm this changes all the time actually. I would call myself a runner as I love it, can do it with ease and have done it all my life, but since becoming a mum, I've realised the benefits of strength training, so this is my staple activity. I run a lot only if I am training for a particular event - but that doesn’t happen often since having kids. My favourite sports are surfing and snowboarding...which are both extremely difficult as a mother and someone living in Melbourne! I try and do them when I can, and this Christmas Santa brought me a skateboard, so this is my latest 'board' activity and I'm loving riding alongside my daughter on her bike (haven’t figured out how to do this with a pram though....). The last six months, I developed a huge love for yoga. I'm not managing to do it regularly as my favourite place to do it doesn’t offer childcare, but it's so good for me body, mind and soul. It has taken me years to find a teacher that I love, but I found her!
5. So, tell us what your average day looks like? 

Every day is different and with my eldest just having started prep, it's all new this year. My hubby leaves at 6am 6 days a week, so early exercise has never been an option for me. On a gym day, we drop my daughter off at school, then head to the gym with my two boys. They have a session in the gym crèche, which they truly love, then we head to swimming lessons then head home. My littlest then has his afternoon sleep and I try and do a little bit of work, and some days we have a kinder session ni the mix. Every day is unique, but its normal for me not to really stop all day - there is always so much to do.
6. What is your philosophy/goals when it comes to family nutrition?
Cooking is far from my first love, so I try and keep things simple and fresh and healthy. I don’t think I'm very good in the kitchen, but I think we manage to eat pretty well. Since having my third child I have found the need to meal plan weekly, or I simply can't keep on top of having the right food in the house. Feeding 5 of us is full on! I allow treats, but only after healthy food has been eaten. I am not strict on healthy food, but we really don’t eat much junk. My kids have never had fast food and are generally good at eating vegetables and a variety of foods. We talk about what health is and involve them in our food choices as much as possible. We eat a truck load of fruit - so simple with children, and they love making smoothies and fresh fruit icy poles also.
7. Do you have any fitness/exercise goals for the future?

Not really at present. I might try a marathon one day when the kids are older and I have more time to train. I've never focused on weight - for me I just want to feel strong and healthy and feel comfortable in my clothes. I'm very focused on functional fitness - maintain a strong core to enable me to meet the demands of motherhood without any pain or fatigue and with my new found love of yoga, I am working on becoming more flexible and committed to stretching my body.
8. What is your best advice to mamas that would like to be able to be more active, but are having trouble finding the time?

Wow, SO much I could say here as this is what my wellness coaching work is all about - working with women to help them find what works for them. It's so personal as everyone has different bodies, lives, resources and families. Sometimes you just need a circuit breaker - eg working with a coach or trainer, or taking up some sort of challenge or short term goal just to get you moving in the right direction. You just have to make the decision to commit to it and make it a priority for a while. Once you then start feeling the benefits, you will find ways to find the time as your motivation is already there. You need to experiment until you find the type of activity that works for you. There are literally hundreds of options and with apps and online programs now, resources are limitless and are very affordable. Women (especially new mums) need to also remember that even if you only do 15 minutes of something - this is totally OK! In fact its awesome. You don’t need an hour to gain benefits. Everything counts and there is a lot you can do with your children incorporated.
My main message to women is that by prioritising your health, you create the most magical ripple effect for your family. If you are healthy and happy, the energy vibe you create for your home and your lives is so nourishing and supportive for each and every family member. Honouring your body with physical movement is not something you should feel guilty about, its really really sensible and provides excellent role modelling for the future health of your children.
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Paleo Chocolate Mousse

Paleo Chocolate Mousse


Hey everyone, I've got a special treat for you today.  As most of you already know, I follow quite a strict Paleo-style diet and I've seen some amazing health and wellbeing benefits due to changing the way I eat.  Every now and then though, I still feel like treating myself to something totally indulgent, so I decided to try making my own Paleo chocolate mousse.  I'd seen recipes floating around the net and I gave a few a try, but I wanted something quick and easy, with simple ingredients.  My kids and hubby aren't big fans of the strong flavour of coconut cream, so my aim was to create a mousse with coconut milk (not the cream).

It took me quite a few tries to perfect the recipe, but I finally got there and it was well worth the wait (not that I minded all the taste testing I got to do in the meantime).  This mousse is made with avocado so it has excellent nutritional value and is sweetened with a small amount of maple syrup so it won't leave you feeling like you have a sugar overload.  To be honest, it's so guilt-free that I sometimes eat if for lunch.

It is made with a handful of cashews, but the recipe probably does work just as well without the cashews if you can't eat the nuts.   You will need a good food processor, I use my Vitamix.

For 1 large serving of decadent Paleo chocolate mousse:

Ingredients:

3/4 of a ripe avocado
2 heaped tablespoons of cacao
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/2 cup of coconut milk
one handful of dry roasted cashews


Method:

Place all the ingredients in your food processor and mix.  You might need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides occasionally.

That's it! That's all there is to it, it's so super easy. Now go and enjoy mamas!  Of course, as always, I'd love to hear how it goes if you give it a try :)


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Inspirational Mother: Vicki from Ascent Fitness

Welcome back to my Inspirational Mothers series where we talk to some fabulously fit mamas who are successfully juggling their active lifestyles and family commitments.  This series is designed to give you some insight into how mothers from many different walks of life manage to stay active while raising their families.  

I'm really looking forward to sharing today's post by Vicki from Ascent Fitness.  Vicki is a personal trainer who runs her own business and specialises in women's fitness, and below she has shared some fantastic tips that will leave you feeling motivated and ready to get started on your own fitness journey...

1. Hi Vicki! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness background.

Like most mums I have a list of "who I am" .. mum to 2, wife, daughter, sister, friend .. I am also a Personal Trainer and run my own small private studio at home where I train my clients.

I have always been involved and participated in some kind of sport. I participate because I enjoy it, I love the physical challenges and it will always be a big part of my life. I have participated in triathlons and loads of fun runs from 5km to half marathons .. never at a competitive level, however, only ever for the challenge and sense of achievement that you get from training for and finishing the event. I do understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea!

I haven't always been a Personal Trainer but my passion and enjoyment for health and fitness increased to the point where I wanted to learn more. I love helping people learn more about becoming fitter, stronger, healthier and it is so exciting when I see my clients reach their goals and achieve things that they never even thought possible!

2. Have you always been able to successfully find the time to stay fit/active while being a mother?

Exercise and fitness has always been a part of my life so I have always made the time and effort to fit in a workout.

Sometimes it hasn't been as easy as others. After the kids were born there was always a period of adjusting to new routines and lack of sleep but I find it's more about making the effort even though you might not always feel like it.

3. How often do you manage to exercise during the week, and how does this fit in with your family's schedule?

I would love to say that I exercise every day, but that's just not true. Some days turn out to be more hectic than others! Generally, though I do some form of exercise 4 - 5 days per week.

My husband also likes to keep fit ( he also works long hours and travels ) and we have always supported each other, which means that we need to plan our training schedules to a certain extent. I work early mornings with my clients 3 - 4 days per week so this is usually his training time. If I'm not working early, then we alternate morning runs so that someone is home to get the kids moving in the mornings!

With both of my kids now at school ( my daughter is 13 and my son is 9 ) my workouts happen either first thing in the morning or during school hours, however I do have to schedule my workouts in between my clients! So, yes, my workouts appear in my diary as an appointment with myself! I have also been known to squeeze in a run while the kids are occupied at cricket training, soccer training or dancing.

4. What is your favourite type of fitness/exercise, has this changed at different stages of your children's lives?

My favourite type of exercise would be the one that gets me the results I am after! Running and weight training are always in my schedule, with HIIT ( high intensity interval training ) thrown in to change things up.
Being a PT and working from home now I do have access to all the equipment I need for a great workout, but this hasn't always been the case. When the kids were younger they spent time at the crèche at the gym while I did my workouts.

Alternating running schedules with hubby has been our go to way of fitting in a workout as the kids have grown up. As my daughter got older and was able to ride a bike, we sometimes ran together taking turns pushing the pram with my son ( great workout by the way! ).
Now the kids are older, we do some long training runs with both the kids on their bikes. Sometimes we even go for family runs .. not too far and there is some walking and some whinging! I love running with my daughter now, when I can get her out of bed early enough to go!

5. So, tell us what your average day looks like?

I usually start training clients at 5:30am. Then it's breakfast, lunches and school runs.

I then come home to train clients again, or work on my business, researching and planning sessions for my clients. It's usually between this time and lunch that I fit in my workout.

After lunch, I usually get prepped for dinner, do baking if we need snacks, then head out if I need groceries or to run errands.

School pick up is like the change of shift ... on to afternoon tea, homework and getting the kids ready for their training sessions. Dinner sometimes coincides with training so on these days I have packed takeaway containers with the kids dinners.

By the time we get home it could be anywhere from 7pm until 8:30pm so there's usually only time for cleaning up, showers and bed for the kids. It depends on how organised I have been during the day whether I have any little bits of work to do, but usually it's planning for the next day, a little bit of trashy TV and a catch up with hubby.

I aim for bed around 9:30pm. One of my goals for this year .. get to bed by 9:30pm every night!

6. What is your philosophy/goals when it comes to family nutrition?

My healthy eating philosophy for my family and also that which I recommend to my clients is everything in moderation, eating fresh, whole foods from all the food groups. I try to keep processed foods to a minimum.

At the age my kids are, they seem to want to eat everything they can lay their hands on, so I am very conscious of making sure that they have great healthy choices and enough to sustain their activity levels. This is why I do quite a bit of baking and prepping of healthy snacks.

I like to plan a menu each week so that I know what we are having when ( no, it doesn't always go to plan ) and that I have all the groceries on hand. As a family we eat a range of fruit, veg, protein and carbs each day so we are always getting a variety of food and nutrients.

7. Do you have any fitness/exercise goals for the future?

My goal is to stay fit and strong for life. I know it sounds cliché but I have seen how lack of movement and mobility can affect a person as they get older and I would like to stay on top of it as much as I can. I have also had an 80 year old female client and I want to be just like her when I grow up! For me it is about consistency and doing what I am enjoying.

I have also been talked into playing netball again after 20 years, so I'm currently getting myself fit enough to get back on the court!

8. What is your best advice to mamas that would like to be able to be more active, but are having trouble finding the time?

Every little bit counts! If your kids are young and you can find 5 minutes or 10 minutes, you can do a mini workout ... do that twice a day and you are on your way to feeling great. As the kids get older, include them in the workout .. my kids were timers and rep counters.

Consistency. That really explains it, you will find that the more you do the more you will want to do! And, it becomes a habit that you will miss when you skip a session.

Make the time. We all have the same amount of hours in the day, it's how you use them that will keep you heading to your goal. Get up 20 minutes earlier and do a quick home workout. I have quite a few that I have prepared for my clients so they have no excuses if they have no time or equipment! If your kids are around school age, your first job after school drop off is a workout. Once your workout is done you will feel more organised and ready for the rest of the day!

Starting an exercise routine or eating healthy doesn't need to be overwhelming .. you don't have to overhaul your whole routine in one day, baby steps will make the changes much more manageable and easier to fit into your already hectic schedule! Make the commitment to yourself that you are worth the extra effort and you and your family will be rewarded!

Thanks so much for sharing with us today Vicki.  I can see that we share the same passion for women's health and fitness.  If you are interested in learning more about Vicki and what she does, be sure to head over to her website or Facebook page and say hello.
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Health Insurance for Athletes

health insurance for athletes


After our children were born, Olly and I discussed whether or not we should keep our private health insurance.  One of the reasons that we decided to keep it was that we are both very active and still compete in sport.  I asked Health Insurance Comparison, one of my sponsors for the month, to join us today to share some of the benefits of private health insurance for athletes and people that live active lifestyles..
As an athlete, have you thought about buying health insurance? Doing so can help you to stay at the top of your game and help you on the road to recovery if you get injured and need treatment. Here, we look at the benefits of health insurance for athletes and give some tips on choosing a policy that is right for your needs.
Why You Need Hospital Cover
Injuries can happen at any point but depending on the severity, hospital treatment through the public health care system won’t necessarily happen straight away. If an injury requires an emergency hospital admission, you can expect this to happen as a matter of urgency. If you’re not classed as an emergency, you’ll have to wait for elective surgery treatment - which could weeks or even months. Private hospital cover will give you the opportunity to bypass public hospital waiting times and get back to your training much more quickly. In short, it gives all-important peace of mind if a sports injury means that you’ll need to have surgery.
Why You Need Extras Cover
Extras cover can avoid out-of-pocket expenses for out-of-hospital services that aren’t covered by Medicare. For anyone with an active lifestyle, an Extras policy that includes Physiotherapy, Osteo, Chiropractic and Remedial Massage services can be invaluable. These types of treatment can help you to achieve your ‘A’ game and to reduce the occurrence of training injuries.
A basic level of Extras cover will usually only have low annual limits so you may want to think about buying a broader policy if you expect to access physio, osteo and chiro services on a regular basis. This will avoid the potential for out-of-pocket expenses if you go over the annual limit on your policy.
Choosing the Right Health Insurance as an Athlete
You may already have some degree of health insurance through a sports team or organisation but be warned: this can be extremely limited in terms of coverage. You may not be covered for much at all in the grand scheme of things so it’s important to take a good look at your policy - including areas that are restricted or excluded. If it’s not offering much protection, you’re better off shopping around for a policy that gives better peace of mind.
Some health funds have a particular focus on those with an active lifestyle and specifically aim some of their cover options at this demographic. This can include combined hospital and extras packages but may also give the opportunity to select hospital-only or extras-only cover too.
It’s fairly common for this type of cover to be pre-packaged based on the type of services that “sporty” members are most likely to need and use but as with health insurance in general, you can expect to be able to choose whether your policy is basic, mid level or top level in terms of coverage. Physio, chiro, osteo, remedial massage and some complementary therapies are typically included and this is likely to extend to popular extras such as general dental and optical too. Top level “fit” packages may also have dietetics, exercise physiology and preventative health checks.
Some health funds also have discounts or rebates available for personal training sessions, gym memberships, and sporting gear and equipment.
It’s worth having a look around and seeing whether you can find a policy that is aimed at people with an active lifestyle as this is likely to offer the best value for money, especially when compared to a policy that is aimed at those wanting a more generic range of services.
At http://HealthInsuranceComparison.com.au, we’re all about helping more Australians to understand health insurance so that they can find the best cover for their needs and budget. Whatever your situation, we’ll help you to find a policy that works for you - without breaking the budget!

Thanks Health Insurance Comparison for joining us today and for the great information.
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Currently: Country Champs and Big School



We've had a busy few weeks getting into the new routine of 'big school'. My little guy absolutely loves it and was a total champion about starting. Everyone kept asking me if I was going to be okay about him starting, but he was so excited and ready that I couldn't help but be anything other than excited for him too.

I have to admit, I was really nervous about the new routine, but I have found that old principle does apply - you get the most done when you have the least time to do it in.  I feel more organised than ever and I'm managing my time much better than I usually do! It seems crazy, but I'm so glad it has worked out that way! Oh, and so far I have stuck to my goal about not sending sandwiches to school (if you missed the post, I recently shared some great healthy, sandwich-free lunch ideas from around the web).

On top our new school routine, I have increased my training in preparation for some upcoming competitions. I recently competed at NSW Country Championships and won two gold medals in the 200m and the High Jump, and two silver medals in the Long Jump and Triple Jump for my age group!! I couldn't believe it! I am enjoying being back on the track so much, and to be able to be competitive again.. well I just never expected that! I am so incredibly thankful!  Here are some pics from the 200m:




Hope you're all settled back into your own routines again, I can't believe Summer is nearly over, it feels like it has been the quickest summer ever :-(

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend!
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Inspirational Mothers: Elona Small



Welcome to week 4 of my series featuring inspirational mothers who are successfully managing to juggle the demands of caring for their families, while still maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.  Last week we talked to the lovely Danielle from The Noatbook, and this week we are talking to Elona Small.  Elona used to be a track and field runner at the national level, and these days she is a mother to five children who is not only juggling motherhood, fitness and family life, but she is also back at university studying a Phys Ed degree.  I have personally spent some time with Elona and she is genuine, driven, kind, motivated and a wonderful role model for others.  

1.  Hi Elona, tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness background.

My name is Elona Small. I have 5 beautiful children - 2 stepchildren (19 and 21) and 3 biological 4, 5 & 8. I am a former real estate agent and am now studying full time secondary PE teaching at Newcastle University, now in my final year.  My fitness background is track and field and I now play soccer and do crossfit.

2. Have you always been able to successfully find the time to stay fit/active while being a mother?

No not always -whilst having children I put on a lot of weight but after my 3rd I decided to change my habits and lose the weight. I lost 30 kilos over 2 years. I began to play soccer and joined a gym-discovered crossfit and made it happen.

3. How often do you manage to exercise during the week, and how does this fit in with your family's schedule?

I do crossfit 3-5 times per week on average. This usually fits in around the kids and husbands timetable and of course my university schedule. In soccer season I train twice a week and play once a week.

4. What is your favourite type of fitness/exercise, has this changed at different stages of your children's lives?

My favourite type of exercise is crossfit now as it challenges me. Yes i found after my first two children I was erratic with training and fad diets but after my 3rd I knuckled down and changed my eating habits and committed to exercise regularly.



5. So, tell us what your average day looks like?

Usual day is my husband leaves for work at 5am.  I organise my children and drop them off to school and daycare. I then go to university and head straight to the crossfit box after Uni and my husband picks the kids up and after I finish I head home. On a Saturday I am up early to workout and am back before the children wake. Sunday is my day of rest and family time.

6. What is your philosophy/goals when it comes to family nutrition?

I have converted to Paleo form of eating (caveman style-no processed foods)-my husband supports me and eats what I eat and I trial and error the changes with my children. They don't always like it but I manage to give them a lot less sugary and processed foods from the changes.  My philosophy is simply eat good food!

7. Do you have any fitness/exercise goals for the future?

Next year I turn 40 and become eligible to compete in the Masters category in crossfit. It would be unreal to make the Regionals at this level (this is kind of like the Australian titles).

8. What is your best advice to mamas that would like to be able to be more active, but are having trouble finding the time?

For those who can't find the time - simplify your life style. Look carefully at your eating-this is approximately 80% of your weight loss challenge!! You may not be able to join a gym but instead can make small changes to suit, ie walk the kids to school / walk to the bus / walk to the shops / play active games with your kids-go to the bike park-go to the beach/join a team sport-find something you are interested in and hang with like minded people -and most important surround yourself with positive people. Negativity stops all attempt to help yourself. It begins with you! Make the change-only you can -no-one else will do it for you.

That is fantastic advice Elona.   Elona is right, it does begin with you and no one else can do it for you.  Thanks so much for spending time with us today Elona, it has been a pleasure having you here!


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Inspirational Mothers: Danielle from The Noatbook

Inspirational Mother Danielle L from the Noatbook

Welcome back again to our weekly series where we talk in depth to an inspirational mother who is managing to successfully juggle fitness and motherhood.  Last week we spoke to the gorgeous Anita Nichols, and today we are talking to the lovely Danielle from The Noatbook.

1. Hi Danielle! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness background.

I am a 34 year old mother of two boys (aged 4 and 13 months). I am just finishing 12 months of maternity leave and I am returning to teach Health and PE two days a week. Before becoming a teacher I was a physiotherapist specialising in Women's health (including ante and post-natal exercise classes) and paediatrics.

My fitness 'thing' has always been netball. I started playing in Grade 2 and have played every since! I managed to play and coach at State League level for a few years and I still play with a group of great friends from those teams on a Saturday afternoon. Before having my boys my fitness was mainly centred around training for netball and included sporadic running and weight sessions. I have actually got more committed to my fitness after having my first boy. Twelve months after having MJ, I was the fittest and strongest I have ever been. It is now 13 months after having my second boy and I am almost back there again. My training is now more centred around functional fitness.

2. Have you always been able to successfully find the time to stay fit/active while being a mother?


Having the luxury of taking 12 months maternity leave certainly helped me find the time to stay active and I also joined a gym for the first time during this time. When MJ turned one I started to use the gym creche once a week. I am also lucky to have grandparents who volunteer to come and look after the boys sometimes so I can go to the gym for a second session a week.

I also used free resources on the internet such as Nike Training App and Bodyrock.com to help me complete workouts at home.

My partner is also a major reason I still find time to be fit and active. It is a priority in his life and so we often walk together, plan active days/holiday and he is completely supportive of me scheduling time to be active.

3. How often do you manage to exercise during the week, and how does this fit in with your family's schedule?

I go the gym 3-4 times a week. Always on a Sunday morning and Saturday morning too if I am not playing netball in the afternoon). I also go once or twice during a week, usually a Monday evening and a Wednesday or Friday morning. My husband is home with the boys for the first three sessions and I can make the forth session if my Mum or Mother-in-law volunteers to come and look after the boys. To make the Monday evening session work I sometimes need to meet my husband in the gym carpark and swap the boys over there! Fortunately the gym is close to his work and our house.

I've just finished a self-imposed challenge of walking 4kms a day every day in December and I loved it and ended up averaging over 5kms a day, so I have continued to try to maintain that into January as well. Having a clear, measurable goal was very motivating and the side bet to beat my husband also helped!!

4. What is your favourite type of fitness/exercise, has this changed at different stages of your children's lives?

My fitness used to centre around netball specific training.

After having MJ I found High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was the most effective and efficient way of improving my fitness. I've found I recently had to scale back on the high intensity workouts and now include more of a focus on weight training and walking and yoga.

5. So, tell us what your average day looks like?

My exercise sessions vary depending on the day. If I am planning on walking I tried to go when MJ was at kinder so I only had to push JJ in the pram. But sometimes I'll take both of them out in the double pram or other times I'll wait to my husband gets home and we'll go together or I'll go alone. If that's the case I make dinner early so we can eat as soon as we get back from our walk. My husband sometimes makes dinner on the nights I'm at the gym to make it work.

When JJ was younger (and lighter and less mobile) I used him as a weight in circuit/HIIT sessions - I have an eight week program on my blog.

I'm pretty organised and I know what I need to get done in a day and by planning my day I can get an exercise session in fairly easily.

If I am working I try to utilise my school gym to get a 30 minute HIIT or weight session in before or after work.

6. What is your philosophy/goals when it comes to family nutrition?

I love Michael Pollen's philosophy 'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' I try to limit our refined sugar intake. Soft drinks are a 'no-go', my four year old has still never had a drink of it. I cook dinner most nights with a focus on using whole foods and we try to avoid processed food. I'll always tweak a recipe to add a few extra serves of veggies e.g. lentils or kidney beans are added every time we eat a meal using beef mince. All of our carb based foods are whole grain varieties (brown rice, wholegrain bread, quinoa, wholemeal pasta/couscous etc).

I also love to bake, I just try to use healthy substitutes (such as apple puree or Greek yoghurt for butter and oil) as much as possible. We still eat takeaway, maybe once or twice a month, usually pizza, and for special occasions I go all out and make desserts full of chocolate and sugar - everything in moderation!!

The boys eat what we eat, I don't make a separate meal for them. We talk about 'sometimes' or 'party' foods and the need to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. We eat at the table together every night with the TV off.

7. Do you have any fitness/exercise goals for the future?

I ran a half-marathon in 2011 and I although I don't have a natural love or ability for running I've thought about doing another one to try to beat my time. I completed the Marysville 1/2 marathon and it is a steep course, so I'd like to try a flat course and see what time I could do.

I also want to be able to do 5 chin ups in a row!

But I do want a new challenge, but I'm struggling to think of something! Any ideas?

8. What is your best advice to mamas that would like to be able to be more active, but are having trouble finding the time?

Walking is the easiest and best place to start. Buy a good pram suited to all terrain walking and if you have two young kids also invest in a double pram. We initially resisted buying the double pram but it is the best thing we did. We got Mountain Buggies second hand off ebay for a bargain. It's also a great way to build exercise into your day e.g. I'd walk to the library or the shops or kinder pick up.

Focus on quality over quantity - a well constructed 30 minutes of HIIT training is more effective than a hour of steady state cardio or light weights. Make sure you feel informed and educated about your workouts so you don't waste your time on ineffective workouts and feel disheartened at your progress.

Make exercise a priority and schedule it into your day just like you would an appointment or Mother's group or grocery shopping. Don't feel guilty about taking time to exercise - it is necessary and important. I find I tend to confuse lack of motivation with lack of time. When I find activities that are motivating and interesting and varied I get excited about exercising and I manage to find the time far more easily! I find I need variety and need to mix it up to keep me interested.

Often I don't like to have to think too much about what I am doing - that cantake time. That is when I'll go to a group fitness class or complete a Nike Training App workout so I can just turn up or press play and I am away. I also write any interesting workouts I find into one little book so on the nights I need inspiration I can just grab it on the way out and and pick a workout without wasting any time.

And remember pelvic floor exercises can (and should) be done anywhere!!

Thanks so much for all the great advice and for joining us today Danielle.  To learn more about Danielle, make sure you head over and follow her fabulous blog.
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