Many mums find it hard to fit in any form of exercise – so when TV fitness instructor Jillian Michaels told Motherpedia we should be getting “Minimum four and a half hours a week of exercise, maximum six hours a week,” there was an audible gulp.
But with Jillian’s help, we’re soon finding it is not as hard as it sounds.
There are a million fad diets out there, and we all know that surviving on cabbage juice and sprouts alone isn’t going to give us the energy to keep up with our tots. This New Year we’re all looking to kick start our fitness habits, but putting down the biscuits and getting back on the treadmill can be an effort, particularly if you’re overweight to start with.
However, Jillian reminds us that any sort of exercise will help.
“Weight loss is actually quite simple - it's not easy, but it is simple: eat less, move more. Eat the healthier foods 80% of the time and the treat foods 20% of the time. Avoid fake foods and chemicals in foods as often as possible.”
But what about exercise when pregnant?
First things first, the practical fitness trainer would encourage every woman to consult your doctor – “every pregnancy is different.” But apart from that, when it comes to the exercise itself, “With every pregnant woman that I have helped coach over the years I have applied the same rules: minimum four and a half hours and maximum six hours a week,” she says.
In an ideal world, mums-to-be will say in shape during their pregnancy. “This makes for a healthier baby and a healthier mummy all around.” As for post baby, you can get back into it, “as soon as your doctor gives you the green light.”
So even if you haven’t exercised seriously in a long time, it’s all about educating yourself on how to workout safely.
“Get a beginner exercise DVD. Hire a trainer for a session or two to familiarise you with the gym. Take a class so you have the benefit of a fitness expert at a much cheaper price than a personal trainer. Be patient and determined. If you are consistent and watch your calorie intake the weight will come off, period.
"There has never been a person that I have not been able to help lose weight in 23 years; it's simple science,” says Michaels.
The trainer recommends a mix of exercise, regardless of the age of her client.
“The workouts I create often feature circuit training, body weight training, hit training. With that said, however, my best tip is to find a physical activity that you will enjoy and that you can be able to stick to. Do it a minimum of four half-hours a week and when you do, go hard. Get your heart rate up and push yourself.”
Jillian Michael’s top 5 tips for getting and staying motivated:
1. Find your ‘why’. Identify your passion and cultivate it. If you have a ‘why’ to live for, you can tolerate anything.
2. Communicate your needs to friends and family so they know exactly how to support and help you.
3. Control your environment so you're not constantly exposed to temptation. Remove sweets from the cabinet. Tell the waiter not to bring the chips to the table.
4. Get informed. Knowledge is power. It literally empowers people so they feel more confident and less afraid. People fear what they don't understand and don't know. When you provide them with information it allows them to make thought out choices that yield incredible results. This is one of the things that I am able to help people with during my show.
5. Embrace failure and vulnerability. Failure is not a validation of one’s incompetence, but rather an entry point for learning and opportunity to approach the goal more intelligently the next time. Vulnerability is not weakness, as many have been taught to believe. It is in fact true courage and strength. In life we can only know as much love, affluence and abundance as we can know vulnerability.