Let’s talk about how often you do something for you? What are your hobbies, what is it that gets you in your happy place? Like many mums I lost my way somewhat, my life revolved around working and making sure the children did everything they wanted. Yet this left little time for me.
That includes driving them to football, to hockey, to dancing, to games and to training. I encourage the children to do sports and chase a ball around a pitch! Many teenagers give up sport and I didn’t want that. I regret giving up hockey when I was an older teenager and I have encouraged the kids to keep up with their sport. We all know that sport is good for a whole host of reasons including keeping you fit and healthy. However, sport and keeping fit puts you in stronger place mentally in addition to the physical benefits.
Being active is a great stress buster and in a time when our teenagers are under more pressure than ever, sport plays a role in managing that stress. If you play a team game, we also know that exercise gives you those important transferable skills including resilience, communication skills and perseverance.
Yet how many of us tell our tweens and teens that exercise is important and then fail to lead by example? I had neglected my own health needs and forgotten the buzz that you get from physical exercise. I have started at gyms but never really committed. I looked like I was doing it but I wasn’t really.
I made plenty of excuses, I didn’t have time in the evening because of the children and Lee coming home from teaching late. I didn’t have time in the day because I needed to work. I didn’t have time at the weekend because I was driving the kids to their hobbies and wanted to spend time with them. But they were excuses.
However back in May, I found the exercise that gave me that buzz again. I committed to going twice a week, then I upped it to three times a week and just recently it has been four sessions a week. I started group training and found my tribe. Iron Zuu is my happy place, a place that has given me back the mojo to push myself hard. When I started I couldn’t get up on the bars, I hadn’t done a handstand in years and I was more bar crawls than bear crawls. Yet over the months I have gotten stronger. I can now do a pretty impressive farmers walk (20kg in each hand) and slam balls with a quick shunt have seen my arms take on a new shape. Weights empower me and I just want to keep going back for more.
I do have time to train, if anything I am now sharper, I work more efficiently, and I am quicker. I am also proud that I am leading by example. I have spent the past month training with Chloe who is also an Iron Zuu convert and I love that we can do this together. I am demonstrating to my older children that physical exercise is for everyone including their 40+ mum. We all have a responsibility to look after ourselves. Losing weight has been a (very pleasing and welcome) side effect but I am feeling more body positive and stronger because I have my confidence back. I want to look strong not skinny and I believe I am getting there.
In addition to the exercise I am eating better, high protein (including pancakes and shakes) and drinking less wine. I have stopped drinking in the week and now treat myself at a weekend rather than reward myself everyday. It has been a complete mindset change. The support and encouragement you receive at Iron Zuu has also helped me feel at ease. I feel part of a tribe, something quite special and inspiring.
If like me, you have lost your way then I say it is time to reclaim that. What would you like to take up or pick back up? Do you encourage your children to get involved in sports but shy away yourself? If we want our teenagers to continue to lead active lives then we need to model that. We are our children’s greatest teachers and we need to remember that and take steps to lead by example.