You’ll recognise her from being the first comment on every single Facebook and Instagram post… she’s my no. 1 fan but ALSO my biggest inspiration and star client! Presenting: Mama MPWR and her journey from fitness-phobe to feeling fab!
Can you explain a little about your previous relationship with exercise and your body?
Very much on and off! I’ve always held a lot of self-doubt when it comes to fitness - I think it stemmed from hating PE at school because I got out of breath so easily (though now I look back I was probably asthmatic!) So I always avoided anything high intensity because I believed I wasn’t fit enough to even start. Over the years I tried various things - videos, DVDs, Youtube videos and diet clubs - but my motivation was ONLY ever to lose weight. I never really thought of exercise as something I could enjoy!
I’ve always felt I needed to be slimmer - growing up, I had a best friend that was naturally thinner and I always felt ‘big’ in comparison (even when I was at my smallest). I remember my mum once telling me the measurement for the ‘perfect figure’, as set by ‘Miss World’ - and I must have just internalised that belief! I remember my mum’s constant dissatisfaction with her body too, which was so sad because she was so loved for everything she was, completely unrelated to the way she looked! I wish she could have recognised that worth and I'm glad I've started to understand the distinction myself.
What instigated your shift toward your new mindset?
I think the very beginning may have been a ‘30 day’ plank challenge that I began once a few years ago. It built up slowly until I was eventually holding 5 minute planks! I remember what an achievement that felt, and for the first time, I had some confidence in my fitness ability, which encouraged me to keep going! After that I started cycling - first indoors, where my focus was always calorie burn but then I moved outdoors and it changed! I fell in love with being outside with nature and feeling so free, which helped me keep going without it feeling like a chore. I then suffered a back injury which frustratingly stopped me in my tracks BUT it was definitely the gateway to force me to tune into my body more, and start to feel the strength and mobility that was needed to recover from the injury. Now I feel stronger than ever and having that freedom of movement is what I’m hooked on!
How did you go about building up these new habits?
For me, it started with mindfulness. I’ve recently discovered meditations and affirmations that have had a huge impact on cultivating a healthier, happier lifestyle! My go to is a ‘Power Thoughts’ meditation that uses affirmations for confidence and courage and that has definitely enabled me to take on this new challenge. Physically, as I said, after my back injury I had to really connect to my body to give it what it needed. I started slow and small with stretches and gentle strengthening exercises that weren’t too overwhelming and became so much more aware of the muscles working - learning to trust my body again. I then joined in with the MPWR lockdown Zoom classes, which gave me great confidence because I felt like I was keeping up with people I viewed as ‘fitter’ than me! Since then I’ve carried on with the MPWR membership - planning my sessions each day - listening to my body and building the workouts around what it needs (I love that the membership allows you to do that!).
Why does this time feel different to past ‘fitness’ attempts or ‘health kicks’?
I can actually FEEL IT! I’m not obsessed with checking for changes in the mirror or on the scales because I feel stronger, tighter, more mobile, more energised and so much more confident. This time it feels sustainable too, I’m motivated to continue because I want to and it makes me feel great - there’s no sacrifice involved! I’m more intuitive in how I move and how I eat so it feels like I'm caring for my body, not punishing it - which has also helped me find much more acceptance with its appearance.
‘I am creating new habits that support my personal and spritual growth.’ - one of my favourite affirmations!
I’ve also gained so much more understanding of my body - I love the explanations and analogies in the workouts because I know exactly what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. It gives me more purpose!
What advice would you give to others that wants to make this shift?
Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose! Start small, don't overwhelm yourself. Trust your body - put some faith in yourself, and most importantly, be KIND to yourself. Use your favourite music to get yourself up/motivate you or to chill out. Try practising mindfulness (in a way that suits you) to help cultivate a healthy mindset alongside it - here’s the link to those Power Thoughts if you want them! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bRqKmjMgms