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How Sandra Balanced Mum Life, Diet & Training at U.P. Fitness

What was I scared about?

I’d built it up in my head as this massive thing starting a transformation journey at Ultimate Performance

I’d never really been into lifting weights before so I thought I was going to get beasted into oblivion from Day 1.

It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The training itself, and I didn’t want to say this, was actually quite easy – certainly compared to Group Training where you’re busting a gut to out-compete other people in the session.

It was quite a relief because I thought it was going to be hell – but it wasn’t. It was built up as this massive thing. I thought my trainer James was going to break me and I would be just crying and throwing up – but it wasn’t like that at all.

Sandra shoulders


He explained to me that because I don’t sleep much, he doesn’t want to kill me – it doesn’t make sense.

He says I should only train three times a week because I need recovery time because of the lack of sleep I get.

So I’ve not been dreading any of my sessions…until today. I was dreading it. I was just knackered.

I did a stretch class as a little bit of something to help me along and when I was still up at 4 am that morning, I thought ‘yes, I’d better log on and cancel that.

As a mum, you really don’t know how much you’re going to sleep.  So you can’t plan anything. 

It was the same with my diet – I was expecting a super-Spartan meal plan that was as complicated as it was brutally flavourless.
But it wasn’t at all. I got my diet plan from James, which was incredibly simple. I think it’s because he knows how busy I am with my family and job.
Hack squat


I told him not to give me many options because I will only get confused. I want to be told I can have this, this and this.

He doesn’t make me weigh out my food at the moment – so it’s nice and easy.

I don’t have to worry about macros – because to me, macros are something you do in Microsoft Excel – it’s not a food thing.

My trainer is really sensible and knowledgeable; he doesn’t want to break me. He knows he needs to give me a sustainable diet; something I can actually live with. 

Then working at UP we have a professional chef, Jenny. Her recipes have been the saviour of my whole diet.

It’s just simple things too. Peanut butter with chilli and chicken makes everything good and it makes me happy.

It’s been my salvation. I was just eating plain chicken and veggies at first – and I was thinking ‘oh god, I can’t do this for 12 weeks’.

Peanut chilli chicken

But then I found that I could fry it up with a bit of chilli, peanut butter and veggies and it was amazing.

That’s been my saving grace – plus turkey burgers with curry in.

It’s not how you imagine a diet – but it fits in, and it works.

It’s only veggies and chicken – but I can have a little bit of peanut butter or nuts every day, so I just use this allowance and put it in my lunch and it makes it good.

I was feeling absolutely great by the end of the first week. I thought it was easy as pie.

Sandra training

On my days off, my trainer just wanted me to walk.

Going on the treadmill gets a bit boring – and I got told off because I was on the highest incline going too fast and really going for it and he told me ‘no, just walk’.

He was really emphasising that I need to recover and actually rest on my days of rest.

On my days of rest, it’s not really like a day of rest. I will be racing around the play centre for three hours.

I would definitely burn off a croissant or three doing that at the weekend.

You don’t realise you’re doing it either. They call it low impact steady state – and you can burn calories doing it.

I’d built it up in my head that the diet was going to be really militant and the training was going to be punishing. I built it up to be something it really wasn’t.

I thought I was going to get beasted. But it turns out I actually rather enjoyed it.

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