When you’re a busy working mum, staying in shape and getting the body you want can feel like a Sisyphean task.
Fitness goals often get relegated to the bottom of your list of priorities because of important career goals, family life and running a household.
Business owner and mum-of-three Emma was the same – she always wanted to lose weight, get in shape and feel great – but life just got away.
But everything changed the day she started her 12-week online training plan with Ultimate Performance – a prize she won entering UP’s International Women’s Day Competition.
Never having lifted weights before, and unsure than training online could even deliver results, she was stunned by what she achieved in 12 weeks with her online trainer.
“I am so, so happy! And I am so proud! I have lost a total of 6.3kg – and my body is so much leaner and defined.
“I can fit into clothes that had always been tight. It just feels good! I feel healthy from the inside out, and confident of how I look.”
Emma, who runs a bespoke events planning business, says it has changed her ideas on fat loss and how to get in shape. It has given her the education she needed on nutrition to help maintain results.
It has also helped become a role model for her three young daughters – and other busy mums – than you can achieve anything you want if you set your mind to it.
Explaining the difference between how she feels now compared to when she first started, Emma says: “I sleep better, I eat so much better – I have more energy. I just feel good!
“Mentally, I am less stressed, I feel happy, my concentration levels are better, and I feel like I am functioning more productively.
“Physically, I am healthier, I am stronger, I have more stamina, and my body has definition.”
Emma questioned whether she would have the discipline and self-motivation to do online trainer, but she explained that once the excuses stopped and the hard work started, the process was easy, enjoyable and motivating.
Here she explains how training online helped her get in great shape…
What were your expectations before starting the online training?
In all honesty, I didn’t really have any – I knew that I wanted to get fit, healthy and make a significant change. I knew that I would have to put in 100%. I knew I would have to make time; time that I knew I didn’t really have. There was no more making excuses.
What were your thoughts on online training before you started?
I was a bit sceptical, I guess. Online training is so much harder than having a PT instructor that you go to the gym and get beasted by.
You have to be so self-motivated and disciplined – I thought I would struggle with it being online and not having that personal face-to-face contact.
Had you ever done weight training in the past?
No, never! I used to do body pump before having the twins, but that was it.
I have always been more into cardio – I play netball twice a week, which I have done since I was at school.
Did you think the online training was going to work for you?
No! In my head, I was thinking “it’s not going to work, I need someone to meet me at the gym and put me through my paces”.
I didn’t realise how much contact I would have with Matt, and that was the key to me getting stuff done, sticking to the plan and pushing myself harder than I ever have.
What was your diet and exercise routine before starting with UP?
Diet – Well, dinner was always generally healthy – meat or fish with lots of veg and salad. Breakfast and lunch – pretty non-existent.
I have a very busy life – three kids; Daisy is 12 and about to finish her first year of high school, and the twins Pearl and Luna were two in April.
I would generally feed everyone else before myself and then get swept up in stuff indoors. I would pick and graze and I had the worst sweet tooth! Grabbing a biscuit here and there or finishing the kids; leftovers!
With regards to exercise, I would do the odd class at the gym and I also play netball two or three times a week.
How did you find it to begin with?
Tough! I had years and years of bad habits to break. But I knew what I wanted to achieve and I knew that I had to stop making excuses.
I was not good at finding time for the admin – filling in the trackers and sending updates to Matt – I think this (and Matt will probably agree) is what I was worst at!
How did your trainer help you throughout the process?
He was incredibly supportive. Not a day went by when he wasn’t in contact. Sometimes we would talk over email twice or three times a day, depending on what was going on.
He would tell me precisely what I needed to do to achieve my next goal, he gave me lots of tips and pointers – especially with food, telling me ways to keep it varied and exciting.
The exercise plans he put together for me were excellent – and most of all, for the first time ever, I actually enjoyed going to the gym – it wasn’t boring.
As soon as I could see changes, it gave me the motivation that I needed.
What was your motivation throughout the process?
Ever since I had Daisy, I had made excuses “I’ve had a baby” (I even used this excuse when she was 9!)
Then it was “oh I’ve had twins” and in complete honesty, I hadn’t been happy with my body for a long time.
Once you’ve had kids, more or less everything about your body changes, and even though I am so proud of my body, for carrying three beautiful babies and for being good to me, it didn’t look how I wanted it to.
Winning the transformation was the kick start that I had needed for years.
I knew if I put my mind to it, I could get the body I wanted – I knew that I would have to make time to do it – but I knew long term, these were the changes I needed and wanted to make.
I want to be a good role model for my girls too, so they motivated me – I want to show them that you can be anything you want if you put your mind to it; that you can achieve things that you may have once thought were out of reach or impossible.
I want them to know that hard work pays off and that you get out of life what you put in.
How did you find the ‘online’ aspect to the training? Was it difficult?
After a month or so, it was fine – initially, it took a while to get used to. The constant contact is what makes it work – that is imperative. The daily emails from Matt, the weekly check-in and updates, the fortnightly photos – communication is key.
You need to make that relationship work, even though it’s only going to be for three months, you need to be on the same page constantly.
How did you manage the training and diet around your usual day?
With good planning! I would train on the days the girls were at preschool, I would go to the gym straight from drop off.
We have a spin bike at home so I could get my HIIT sessions in on this either whilst they were having dinner or in bed.
Food wise, prep is key – getting up a little bit earlier to have my breakfast before the kids are up and taking care of myself first.
This was probably my biggest challenge as I have never been a fan of breakfast and now it is probably my favourite meal of the day!
What did you find the most difficult?
Eating four meals – I struggled with this, it was just too much to eat for me – even on training days. But, after speaking with Matt he said to replace one meal with a protein shake. I did this, and it was so much better. I was still getting everything I needed, it was just more sustainable for me.
What did you find the most rewarding?
Change – as soon as I saw weight coming off, it spurred me on.
As soon as I saw noticeable changes in my body, and started getting compliments on how well I was doing – It was amazing! I finally knew what I was really capable of achieving.
Any advice for other mothers out there who are wanting to get in shape themselves but struggle to find the time?
Before starting the programme, I made excuses – ‘I have no time, I have three kids, a house to run, a dog to walk, a job in London to go to, a business to run, a food shop to do’ …the list is endless!
But I knew that if I wanted to get that body, I would have to make time. I actually have more spare time than I think I do! I just had to plan things a bit better – I would do my food shop online, that gave me a hour or so back – get Daisy to walk the dog, another hour … work with Mark and schedule that time for me to work out in with our lives.
If I knew I couldn’t get to the gym, I would get the babies in the pram and get out for a long walk.
It’s made me realise how important having that little bit of time for myself is, and how therapeutic exercise is!
It is so good for your mind as well as your body. I’m lucky that all my kids are good sleepers, evening getting up 30 mins before they do to do something (like 20 mins of HIIT) is fab, and it’s a great way to start the day.
I think it is easy to put things off, if you want it, it is achievable; you just have to take the first step.
How has having a personal trainer helped you compared to trying to get in shape by yourself?
It wasn’t just myself that I was letting down, there was Matt and I wanted to make you guys proud as well.
I wanted to show other mums and women like me that it is possible with a busy life.
If I hadn’t have had my trainer, I would probably still be eating Galaxy for breakfast and moaning about not looking how I wanted to!
What have you learnt from Ultimate Performance in terms of diet and training?
How to be disciplined and self-motivated, that you only get out what you put in and that you leave your excuses at home.
I’ve learned that communication is key, that documenting your journey is so important (for yourself and others) and to inspire.
That weightlifting is for girls – strong is the new skinny! How to balance my meals with the right foods and portion control.
Would you recommend UP’s online personal training and why?
100%. For me, it has been life-changing, I have made the first steps in getting the body I never thought I could have, but always wanted.
I think a lot of people are put off of online training as it doesn’t seem as personable – like I did, but the levels of communication and the plans that are set, it’s a no brainer!
What are you going to do differently going forward to look after you and your body?
I am going to keep up with the food plan and the exercise – I am enjoying it, and after 12 weeks – I have created habits that I don’t think I would ever change.
For me, it will be about balance now, I may treat myself at the weekend and not be as strict .. but for me, this is just the beginning.