My Workouts are my Saving Grace: Alice's Story
I got to sit down with one of my amazing Online Fitness clients, Alice Pfeifer Hanov and chat about how she fits in a full time job, 3 kids and race training. She admits it's not easy but that taking care of herself first makes her a better Mom and wife. Read more of her story below.
Alice, you were the first Online Fitness Coaching client I ever took on. Thanks so much for putting your faith in me and a really unique type of service! Tell us a little about your Fitness Journey with My Fit Coach since day 1?
I have to start by saying “Thank you Kim!” You have truly been amazing for me since I started in October 2015.
I was the guinea pig for online training because I am a crazy, stubborn person (I blame my German heritage) who just does the workouts, as I am told to. I agreed to do it for a few reasons:
I have three kids, and every time I had a baby I ran a different, new, comeback race. With my oldest it was my first race, and it was a half-marathon, my second brought out the marathon, and with my little guy a 25k trail race. Kim came highly recommended by my physiotherapist, right when I needed to do something different but needed the person to understand the mom balance.
"What I love most about online training with Kim, is that she understands the busy mom life and adjusts your plan around this."
She also keeps changing things around so that I never get bored, she listens to what my physiotherapist says (she’s real life friends with one of my two physiotherapists) and removes things I shouldn’t be doing, and when I told her I hate squats, they showed up in every workout. She’s sneaky like that, and I appreciate sneaky. My journey with My Fit Coach, led me to feel better about my post baby body, to fit into my bridesmaid dress last year, and to strengthen my hip and core so I don’t reinjure myself, like I did training for my marathon.
You’ve done a really great job at keeping up with the workouts since we started. Why do you think Online Fitness has worked so well for you?
I joined Online Fitness Coaching after my trail race when I wanted to try something different. Having run many different races, I know how to follow a plan, and am stubborn enough to do what I am told even when I don’t want to. I actually really enjoy working out, but don’t want to do the work of figuring out a balanced cross training regimen to go with my race training. Kim does that for me!
"She finds the right balance of multiple muscles groups, strengthening my weak runners’ butt and mommy core, and making sure I do not get bored."
We’ve had about 12 different training plans since I started and are always mixing things up. I also love that the workouts vary in length, so if I know one evening has gotten crazy I can move the shortest workout to that day to make it work for me.
I know that life hasn’t always cooperated with your fitness goals. How has fitness kept you going during some difficult times?
My workouts and runs are my saving grace. I lost my step-mother suddenly a little over a year ago, and I managed my workouts through that and kept it up as soon as I got home from the funeral. I have also been suffering with depression for probably about two years now, and it got worse after her death.
"Working out helps give me purpose and I feel like I am more in control of my feelings"
I also have a bit of temper and when I get to finish a long run I feel like I can handle the chaos of our household much better, even if I’m crazy tired from running 10 miles. It lets me plop on the couch with my kids without feeling guilty.
Even right now, I wrenched my back about a week ago and can’t move very well, but all the motions that I did for Kim are completely fine, just the other motions not so much. Guess we’ll be doing a lot more dead bug and leg lifts when I’m healed and ready to come back to it.
You regularily do your workouts at home with (or kind of with) your kids. How has your active lifestyle affected your family’s health for the better?
My kids are hilarious. We have weights from 2.5lbs through to 65lbs for my husband. We bought the 2.5lbs ones just for the kids, and they are always copying us.
"Our kids also have just learned that working out 5-6 days a week and parents taking time for themselves is just how it is"
They also ran their first race last year, and it was so cute to see how different their personalities are and how that came out in their training and running. I have a speedy short distance runner, and a slow and steady cross country kid. Or at least I will when they are old enough to participate more. We also eat a really healthy diet, and focus on balance over the week in everything rather than good and bad foods. But I love when they say something is or isn’t healthy and go for the healthy option!
What is your favourite type of workout?
Well my runs, since I really am a runner first, but if we are strictly talking about strength, I love burpees, pushups and tabata workouts. Yes I actually love burpees. I have a lot of bouncy energy so throwing myself on the ground is fun.
Ok now be honest…your least favourite workout or exercise?
Least favourite would have to be Bulgarian split squat. They made me cry because they never got easier! Thank you to my physio for telling you I am not allowed to do them ever again with my lower back problems! After them, lunges. I really hate lunges. My legs hurt enough after runs and those just KILL me!
What is your biggest challenge for you when it comes to healthy living and how do you work around this?
Besides dealing with my temper tantrum back? Like so many moms time is a big issue for me. I work full time, cook from scratch every night, and my kids are in a bunch of activities, but I fit my workouts in where I need to. In the summer I run outside as soon as the light is there, like 5am runs when I was marathon training, or I do late nights in our basement.
Ok let's get real. its 6pm and your children are starving. What’s your go to easy recipe on a busy weeknight?
I actually meal plan. I have a 3 week rotation on my fridge so I know what to cook and make sure there is the food in the house. It includes things my kids love, like Sunday pizza night, and Thursday breakfast for dinner every week and the rest move around. But when my kids are starving and then need to eat, I usually break out a freezer snack I've made and some fruit to hold them over while I make dinner.
Alice you’re a busy working Mom of 3 who manages to workout (and is training for a half marathon) 5-6 days a week. What piece of advice would you give to stressed out mamas who are struggling to find time and energy to do the same?
1) Know you deserve it and lose the mommy guilt
(I am a MUCH better mom when I run – to the point that my children will tell me I need to go for a run when I get moody).
2) Get your spouse involved with a hobby.
My husband does body building. We both need to workout 5-6 days a week. We pick our rest days on opposite days so we can tag team the kids and decide who works out first based on who has the harder workout, and I sweat/smell less during a workout than him.
3) Make it a priority for you.
I have a type ‘A’ personality. I know I feel accomplished when I see lists crossed off. I love data and tracking things to see the improvement. I record everything and seeing that keeps me going. I also rewarded myself along the way. When I hit 1,000km run I got new shoes, at 2,500km a Garmin running watch.
My final advice for everyone would be, remember that big changes take time. I had three babies, and had to get back to working out after number 2 and 3 (I only started running after I gave birth to my first daughter) and seeing how slowly it came back was literally torture!
"This is a life journey, and you need to make changes that will stay with you, and for most people slowly making little changes that turn into big changes is the way to go!"
Right now my back is so bad I probably won’t be working out for a few weeks, but rather than being upset, I am hunting for races in May and June that I could run if I don’t get back to my training plan in time to run my April Waterloo half marathon. I’m not about to give up and I know as soon as I am ready to get back to it, Kim will have a “back recovery program” waiting for me to crush!
Thanks so much for sharing your story Alice!
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