#angegetshealthy with Active Mums

Sitting here, listening to rain fall and thunder crash above me, this morning’s Active Mums outdoor exercise session seems like a bit of a dream. It was so good – SO GOOD – to be out in the warm air, getting some much-needed vitamin D at the same time as working off all the Kettle Corn I ate yesterday (seriously, have you guys tried that stuff? Sweet and salty at the same time, man it’s good!).

I used to go to Active Mums when Tiny was a baby, but I was never really that into it. If I’m completely honest with myself, I am inherently lazy, and if I can’t lift a weight or see a change in my fitness, my interest tends to wane pretty fast.

Running Dunedin NZThis time, it’s completely different.

I feel less pressure to keep up with the other lovely mummies, and this gentler approach has actually seen my fitness and strength improve more than I expected. Our instructor (hi Jo!) takes a very holistic approach to health and fitness, and mixes things up for us every week, which makes things fun – variety is the spice of life, right? Before my first class, I told her I was feeling apprehensive, having not dragged my lazy butt off the couch in a while, and her response has stayed with me: “There are no egos at Active Mums”. That helped, so much. I went to that first class worried that I’d be a sweaty mess after five minutes, and I was, but I didn’t care because I was made to feel like being there was more important than how long I could shuttle run for.

Running Dunedin NZIt also helps that I’m doing the classes with some very good friends. I used to be a solo exerciser – the idea of running with others didn’t interest me at all – but getting fit and healthy with friends is THE BEST. We chat, we encourage, we sweat, we chat some more. We go for walks and runs together and I look forward to those times like you wouldn’t believe – we’ve laughed and cried and vented and brainstormed, which has helped clear the cobwebs on many occasions. Being fit and healthy isn’t just a physical thing, and being able to get outside with like-minded people is pretty awesome.

Running Dunedin NZPhysically, I’ve noticed big changes too. There is muscle definition where there has never been definition before (or not for a looooooong time, anyway!), and my energy levels have skyrocketed. I actually look forward to each class, and our extra workouts – I missed them like craaaazy when I was sick recently!

Active Mums Dunedin NZAnd where else could you find a group of women willing to lift a heavy Holden Captiva that was stuck on a little pole???

(I often post on Instagram using #angegetshealthy, and love seeing other people’s inspiring and motivating getting healthy posts!)


Mission: Apparently Impossible

I am officially my own worst enemy.

I started this month with a hiss and a roar – yoga sessions at home, with a couple of good walks and resistance workouts thrown in for good measure. I was drinking loads of water and nibbling on carrots and fruit when I was feeling peckish.

Then we were all struck down with a four-day stomach bug, followed almost immediately by a nasty cold I picked up from our friends’ almost-two-year-old son in Auckland. Sick mummy + sick toddler-who-woke-a-lot-in-the-night-because-he-couldn’t-breathe = very sloooooow recovery.

Then the weather played up; there were some less-than-pleasant days where I decided going for a walk or run in “that wind” would be further detrimental to my health, and days when my sinuses were so clogged that attempting even a few yoga poses was out of the question.

And then I lost all motivation. I decided that this month’s challenge was already a failure, so why bother trying to chase after the wagon and haul myself back on??


I’m disappointed that once again, the invisible brick wall I always build between myself and fitness has risen up and prevented me from achieving this month’s goal. I know I shouldn’t berate myself for getting sick and not having the energy to do anything physical, but I also know that I probably held onto that excuse for a few extra days, when I would have actually benefited from some light exercise.

The good news is that today, I’ve managed to catch up to that wagon (swimming lessons with Tiny plus a big walk, plus yoga tonight), and I’m determined that next month, I’ll conquer two challenges instead of just one. I know that I’m only accountable to myself for this, but having written it down, for all-and-sundry (or no one) to read, I feel like I need to make this happen. I need to be able to say, “Yep, I did everything I set out to do on this journey”, otherwise the whole thing will seem pointless.

I thought that my first month‘s challenge – confidence – would be tough, but it turns out that was a piece of cake compared to this!

Let’s Get Physical

Now that the weather is getting warmer and slightly more settled, and the daylight hours are getting longer, Month Three of my year-long challenge is going to be all about exercise.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with sweat. When I’m exercising and in The Zone, I absolutely love the feeling of pushing my body to its physical limits, and the good muscle pain afterwards. But getting there is my biggest stumbling block. In the words of John Walker:

“The hardest part about running is putting your shoes on and getting out the door.”

That’s definitely true for me – I am the Queen of finding excuses not to exercise. Tall used to tease me about not going for the run I’d sworn I would. “Is it too windy? Too calm? Too hot? Too cold? Too sunny? Too dull? Too wet? Too dry? Too early? Too late?” Once upon a time, I asked him to push me and encourage me to run, because I thought that answering to someone else would get me motivated.

It didn’t.

Thing is, up until about five years ago, running was My Thing. Every morning, bar Sundays, I’d get up at 5.50am, and be out the door by 6am. I’d run for an hour, come home, and do 20 or 30 minutes of resistance training. Six days a week, rain, hail or shine. I even ran in snow a couple of times, which was tricky and beautiful at the same time – making the first footprints in thick white powder is pretty amazing, even at 6am.

Every year (probably twice a year), I dust off my running shoes and proclaim, “I’m going to get back in to running”, but something always seems to stall me. Glandular fever, a pulled achilles, an aching back, pregnancy, sleep-deprivation, breast-feeding…but mostly, my own mental brick wall.

Now, I’m out of excuses. I’ve stopped breastfeeding and I’m not pregnant. My back is at a level of (dis)comfort that would benefit from more exercise, and I have new(ish) shoes which will support my achilles. I am physically well and feeling energetic, so the time is nigh to get off my backside and get fit and healthy.

My goals for this month are to:

  1. stop making excuses for not doing any exercise and just do it!;
  2. start practising yoga at home;
  3. spend less time worrying about my body shape and embrace the changes that age and motherhood have brought to it;
  4. drink more water!; and
  5. think about what I’m putting into my body, and make sensible snacking choices.

Inspired by the notes from my previous Active Mums sessions, and by the tips here, I’m going to write myself an exercise plan at the beginning of each week. I’m going to make a list….and we all know how much I live by, and love crossing things off, lists. I’m going to be sensible and ease myself in, and I’m going to make the most of living near the beach and having an easily-manoeuvred buggy.

I have notes from my favourite yoga teacher, and a mat gathering dust in the spare room. I know that doing yoga once a week is not enough. I love the time spent on my mat, and I have plenty of time and space to do more, especially now that Tiny is back to sleeping in his cot during the day (wheeeee!).

I have two water bottles that I plan on carrying with me everywhere, and I’m going to set myself a goal of finishing 750ml by a specific time each day, twice. I do need to work on Tiny not drinking from (and backwashing into) them though….

I’m going to model good eating habits for Tiny. I’m going to get out of my, “[insert name of a well-known fastfood joint here] once a week is fine. It’s fine – FINE – honestly” mindset. I’m going to make better choices for my little family, because eating better is not going to do Tall any harm, either.

And I’m going to enjoy being able to race around after my toddler, and I’m going to relish being physically able to chase him and get down on the floor to play with him. I’m going to be thankful that this body of mine gave him life, and that every little – or big – change has been worth it.

**Please note: this is NOT about me losing weight, but getting fit and healthy. I won’t be keeping an eye on the scales or counting calories, but I will be tracking my energy levels, whipping out the tape measure occasionally, and keeping a healthy food journal, just to keep myself focussed.