Fitness (be)fore Dummies...and after

March 31, 2020

Being a mom is a pretty tough job. Of course, the rewards are off the charts, but there are days, especially when the kids are still young, when you are sure your house is slowly being eaten by toys and the sound of silence is a distant memory. Ask new moms what they miss most about their pre-kid life and the answer will probably be sleep. It may be time out from the chaos. It is something all moms deserve: me time. While this should, at times, involve a bowl of popcorn and a Netflix binge, it is also about taking care of yourself and keeping fit. 

Ashleigh Iovino, owner of FitMom, the personal training business making waves amongst South African women, is especially passionate about this, promoting healthy and fit living in the lives of the women she trains. FitMom was born out of Ashleigh's desire to show women that pregnancy doesn't have to mean the end of your fitness aspirations and you can most certainly ‘get your body back’. More than that, it’s for every woman to realise the miracle and strength that is the female body. 

As a full-time career woman, wife and mother of three, Ashleigh undoubtedly has her hands full. From the time her kids could hold their heads up, they were popped in the pram and taken on runs, even having completed a few half marathons themselves, or so they say, while Mom and Dad pushed them along in the stroller for 21 kilometres! Ashleigh does not lack in dedication to her running, having ticked off one Comrades Marathon and two Two Oceans Ultra Marathons. She’s clocked a full marathon in 3 hours 28 minutes and a half marathon in under an hour and a half. This strong mom is a force to be reckoned with and she’s committed to sharing her knowledge through FitMom.

While Ashleigh loves getting women back into shape post-baby, she is also able to offer some solid advice on training for a marathon as a mom. For Ashleigh, getting your partner’s buy-in is absolutely critical. Training for a race takes time — your hubby may have to do breakfast with the kids or a Saturday morning outing while you’re on the road. Having a supportive partner goes a long way when you have a tough goal in mind. A running buddy is another of Ashleigh’s recommendations, as someone to keep you accountable and talk to in between huffing and puffing. 

If you are serious about getting a marathon under your belt, Ashleigh suggests a few tips to make your training not only effective, but enjoyable too.

5 Top Marathon Training Tips for Working Mamas 

  1. Make sure to do three training runs a week, two of between 10 and 15km and one longer run of more than 20km.
  2. Don’t forget to cross train, such as two gym or high intensity sessions a week and one yoga session a week. 
  3. Remember your rest day every week. Sitting back is important for the body and mind.
  4. Pamper yourself with a monthly full body sports massage, to ensure happy, healthy muscles and joints.
  5. Take time off if you feel an injury niggling — running will only aggravate it and may even cost you the marathon if you’re not careful.

If this training routine sounds rather daunting, don’t forget that you can always start small, especially if it’s your first marathon. Try a few half marathons to begin, or build up your confidence with shorter runs when you’re fresh at your training. 

And what about nutrition? Moms are the queens of trying everything to get their kids to eat vegetables, and skipping meals themselves in the mad rush to get the kids from A to B. Don’t forget to look after yourself, especially if training for a race. For Ashleigh, balancing protein, carbs and fats is crucial, making sure to eat three meals a day, as well as a mid-morning and afternoon snack. She is big on greens, as vegetables or in salads, and tries to incorporate these into every meal. For a bit of extra fuel, Ashleigh has an Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey protein shake every morning and takes zinc, vitamin C and omega-3.

Training for a race is one thing, but it is Ashleigh’s hope that every mom will commit to some me time and put in the effort to feel good about her body. If you’re keen to keep fit and commit to an outdoorsy, healthy lifestyle, it’s always a good idea to be cautious, especially as women. Train with a friend, rather than alone, and don’t forget to insure your kit. A great new app to try is JaSure, which enables you to switch insurance on and off when you need it, protecting your gear all on a quick, easy app.

There is always an excuse to avoid exercising, especially as a mom. The busier our lives become, the more important it is to prioritise healthy living. Besides, there’s nothing quite like a good run to get one going in the mornings. That, and caffeine, keeps a mom in Super Mom mode all day long!

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