By Lisa Quealy
How do I do it? I just do…
I competed for the first time 10 years ago. I had just finished my masters degree, was working in a research lab and at a dance studio, and had few other responsibilities. I had all the time in the world to meal prep and work out. Life took over and I stopped competing. I got a “big kid job,” got married, and had two kids. To say I put myself last would be an understatement.
About a year ago, my aunt competed for the first time. Hearing her talk about competing gave me the stage bug again, but I had no idea how I was going to swing it with all of these grown up responsibilities. How was I going to find time to work, take care of my kids, spend time with my husband, and still manage to get to the gym?
I just did it, and it’s working out great! My typical weekdays look like this:
- Wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for work
- Kids get up around 6:45 a.m. I hug and kiss them before I leave for work (my husband does breakfast, any drop offs and he’s with them during most days)
- Get home from work at 4:30 p.m. and do family time until the kids go to bed
- Rush to the gym at 8 p.m. so I can get in my lift and cardio before they close at 10 p.m.
- Come home, shower, and meal prep for the next day
- If it’s a Thursday or Friday, I often bake, and decorate cakes and cupcakes, after I meal prep as I run a small bakery on the side.
Is it the busiest schedule? No.
Is it tight? Yes.
Do I get tired? Yes.
Is it worth it? Absolutely!
I have found so many benefits in this new lifestyle and they are influencing my children as well.
I have much more energy and feel better about myself than I have in a long time because of all the healthy foods I’m fueling myself with.
My two daughters see me exercising and filling myself with good food, which makes them think about what they are eating and doing. My four-year-old knows why protein and good carbs are good for you. She and my two-year-old love the idea of exercising and being strong.
On more than one occasion, they’ve put together their own “workouts” that their “coach” told them to do to make their muscles stronger. And they both know how to flex their abs.
They ask questions about why I don’t eat certain things and I’m very honest with them. I tell them it’s “not on my plan” and/or it “isn’t something that’s going to make me stronger like some other foods will,” but they also know that I enjoy treats once in a while.
As someone who struggled with body image through most of my life, I can only hope that this positive relationship with food, exercise, and being healthy that they see stays with them. My husband is also incredibly supportive.
We work together to make sure that our schedules allow time for both of us to work out. When he makes dinner (which is most nights), he always includes things that are on my plan. And most importantly, he constantly tells me – if it makes you happy, do it!