For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to have a body like you see on every fitness magazine cover. In my teenage years I dieted on and off and always had a love for working out. Around 2 years ago I started thinking about actually competing I was so excited to start my journey of training hard and sticking to a strict diet.
Unfortunately my journey did not start off right away as planned. I soon received the news that I was pregnant!
I had many thoughts going through my head at the time. I remember thinking to myself that my dream of being a cover model for a leading fitness magazine would never happen. Of course at the same time I was very excited to become a mother. Once over my initial joy, my next thought was “Oh my God”, I am going to get fat and a whole lotta stretch marks. It was very hard to come to terms that after all the work I put into getting my body to look the way it did, it was all going to go away within a few months.
Who knows if it would ever look the same again? I tried to stay positive focusing on my new love that was growing inside of me…and course lathered my belly up with cocoa butter religiously everyday!
During my pregnancy I gained a whopping total of 45 lbs. My doctor told me at my first appointment a healthy weight gain for my size is only 25-35 lbs. I definitely went over that by a little bit! Finally after nine long months of being pregnant, my precious little baby boy Carson Luke Cunningham was born! He weighed a little over 8 lbs. This was the happiest day of my life! In the next couple of days I started thinking about how much excess body fat was still on me, even though I was still swollen. It made me very unhappy and depressed.
I did not want to be stereotyped as a new mom who loses her shape and becomes overweight. I knew I wanted to be in good physical shape but I must confess that after giving birth you are very exhausted. Losing weight and getting back into shape is not a priority. My baby needed me and my body needed time to heal, so the gym was not even an option for at least a month. I did however manage to keep my diet on track during this time.
Within about three months, I was finally able to get back into the swing of things, including the gym. I started weight training and doing cardio, which made me see results a lot faster than I had thought I would. I also think when you are walking around holding your baby for hours every day it definitely gets exhausting, but helps burn a lot of extra calories.
When Carson was six months old, I decided I was going to compete in a WBFF show. Being on maternity leave gives me the time to prepare my meals but it can be very challenging to get to the gym. It will continue being a challenge to get to the gym, but once he gets a little bit older, I will be able to bring him to the gym’s daycare. In the meantime I had to come up with some workout routines to do at home to get into the shape I need to compete for my upcoming my WBFF debut at the Vancouver show.
Some fun workouts I love doing at home are squats with my son in my arms, I give him a big hug and he is now my 25 lbs weight. When I feel like I can’t do another one, I always get a couple more in because I love hearing his giggles and I push through it. Lifting him high up in the air is a great arm workout. Even when I do push ups he seems to think I look funny, because he laughs at me every time.
Dance with your baby! Its great cardio, and they love the motion and bouncing. He loves workout time because we are playing and it is a great bonding experience for us. For the last little while I have been waking up at 5am to get to the gym so I can do my morning cardio. What a challenge! My son goes to bed late most nights and he wakes up once or twice during the night, so getting up that early with absolutely no energy is very tough! I don’t have a choice though, my boyfriend works early and long hours so that is the only time I am able to go. Once I get there I always feel better and I always have so much more energy throughout the day.
Another tip for the mothers who find it hard to prepare meals would be to make some delicious protein smoothies. They taste great and can replace a meal, and only takes about two minutes to do. Add some berries or a banana and peanut butter, they taste better then a milkshake and are great for slimming down. So after all the worry I had thinking I would never be able to compete, I am starting my training and dieting off in the best shape I have ever been in and I give all the credit to my son. He really gives me the drive and motivation to work out and at the end of the day I want to be happy and healthy so I can be here for him and my family as long as possible.
I wrote this article hoping to inspire some of the other mothers out there who think it is impossible to get back into shape. It is never too late to get into living a better and healthier life style. Make playing with kids fun and prepare your meals thinking its fuel for your body because everyone knows keeping up with a toddler is hard work! You will watch the pounds fall right off!
So after all the worry I had thinking I would never be able to compete, I am starting my training and dieting off in the best shape I have ever been in and I give all the credit to my son.
WBFF Diva Bikini Model – Candice Dufault
70 Fit & Firm Magazine – Issue XI – March 2011
— Reprinted with permission.