From Mum-Bod To Fit-Bod

No time to exercise? You’re a busy mum?

I get it; I really do. I remember when each of my girls were young and I felt pulled in every direction, all of the time. But honestly, now that they’re older, nothing much has changed. Life is still as busy as ever; it’s the same challenge, different focus!

Maybe you’ve been told this before (and found it condescending), but we all have the same number of hours in our days. To some degree – more or less – we mostly get to choose how we spend those hours. People are generally best at what they do more of, the implication being that whatever matters most will likely make it’s way to the top of their priority list. That mum you know, who looks ridiculously fit and healthy, doesn’t necessarily have more time on her hands; she may just have a priority list that looks very different to yours.

Part of the problem too, is that mums feel pressured to conform. If they struggle to fit into whatever “mum box” they believe is most socially acceptable, they no longer feel worthy or valued. That’s rubbish though! Whoever you are and choose to be, is of value, and perfectly okay!

Heck, I’m grossly inept as an efficient and organized house-keeper, or disciplinarian, or home-work assistant, and my girls would probably agree. In fact, on my last birthday they gave me a card that said “BE WILD & FREE” and inside was a hand-written message that said, “Not a traditional card, but that’s because you are wild and free!” They accept that I’ve never really been a conventional/logical/practical kind of mum, but they love me just the same.

They accept too that exercise has always mattered to me, and is an integral part of my life (I hope in turn that as they get older it will matter equally as much to them). When they were much younger, keeping fit was only possible via spontaneous and brief, but regular bouts of movement; ten minutes here, ten minutes there, basically wherever, whenever, and however. If I had cleaning to do, I would do it vigorously; if the morning brought clear skies, the jogging stroller was put to use; or if I had to choose between a quick calisthenics workout versus folding the laundry, I’d opt for the former (or do both simultaneously).

As my girls moved through different ages and stages of their lives, and required less hands-on care, I took advantage of their extra-curricular activities. I’d drive them to sports practices and while waiting I’d go run with the dog, instead of engaging in idle chatter with other mums. Or, as a military spouse, frequently encouraged to participate in group-bonding activities, I often chose not to. That meant that I missed out on developing relationships with other mums, but it was more important to me to nurture my own personal needs while participating in ways that at minimum, supported my girls.

In most “mum” situations, I believe it’s a matter of shifting mindset. I’ve listened to many mothers of young kids tell me that it’s impossible to workout, because a workout to them meant having to start and finish a specific exercise routine without interruption. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and once you grasp the idea that anything done counts, you’ll soon get creative and good at fitting in lots of little “anythings!”

Being a mum doesn’t mean you can’t look after you! Granted, it’s not a time when you can expect to train optimally and be in the best shape of your life, but there’s no reason to sabotage your health and fitness goals by giving up altogether. My exercise routine was average at best (during my girls’ younger years), but it was enough to maintain a baseline level of health and fitness, and keep the “happy hormones” activated. That in itself, as any mother well knows, should be motivation enough to make time for exercise!

 

Changes Are A Comin’

Jannine Myers

WOOT (Women Out On Trails), originated in Okinawa, Japan, and is arguably one of the largest women’s trail running groups worldwide. Prior to it’s beginnings, myself and Anna Boom (group Founder), met most weekends with three of our guy friends, and ran (or more like, played) on various stretches of challenging and diverse-terrain trails. Beyond the weekends, we often ran and exercised alone, and it was during those solo runs that Anna began to observe other women out on the pavement, also running alone.

When Anna first proposed the idea of starting a women’s trail running group, I knew it was about more than just women running trails together; it was also about creating community, friendships, and support. For Anna and I, who already had some affiliation with Japan and largely understood the culture and language, we were well adapted and comfortable in our environment. But we knew that wasn’t the case for others.

Made up at the time of mostly American military spouses, WOOT was a haven in a foreign place; it drew women out from what were possibly lonely and stressful living conditions (military spouses are often uprooted and planted far from the comforts of home, friends, and family, and then left to parent alone while their active duty husbands are deployed). Providing a weekly outlet where they might occasionally arrive with heavier-than-usual burdens, and be able to leave without them – or at least with lighter loads and happier hearts – was what we hoped to deliver.

To further support that vision, Anna and I felt that an online presence would help build our community. We wanted to publish information about a whole host of things, including running events and races, road and trail running tips, nutrition guidance, and off-the-cuff female issues that would invariably arise as members gathered each week to run and “share life” together. Hence, the creation of this blog, but known back then as GoTheExtraMileWIthWoot, then later as RunWithWoot, and finally as JannineMyers after I left the group in January 2017.

Almost two years on (and since returning to New Zealand), life has changed quite significantly. I’m divorced for one, and although my single-parenting role is not so different from my military spouse days, I’m now hustling a full-time job in a city that currently rates as one of the highest cost-of-living locations in the world. These, and other factors, unfortunately thwarted earlier efforts to start a partnered business (UCAN Trail Running & Retreats) with Scenic Sports Event Director, Kerry Uren.

I have a great job however, and with no pressure to commit to external work projects, I’m able to devote any spare time to the things I remain passionate about. With that said, and with a new year quickly approaching, I have a new vision for this blog.

JannineMyers.com will be moving in a direction that serves to promote more of a holistic approach to health and well-being. With a continued focus on fitness and nutrition, there will be a new underlying notion that these two disciplines combined, provide the most simple yet effective antidote against a woman’s natural inclination to love and nurture everyone but herself.

Keep watching for further updates……