Sister Act Fitness decided to do a spotlight on one of our followers, Julie Heppner. Julie is an incredibly fit mom who balances working, being in a band, singing in a choir, working out, being a wife and a mother to a busy 18 month old daughter. She inspires us regularly and we thought we would share her with our readers.
What was your workout like before your daughter was born? While pregnant? Post pregnancy?
Before my daughter was born I had a lot more freedom, time, and spontaneity when it came to working out. I was training 6 days a week in triathlon, with double workouts 3 days a week. My life was swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, repeat, and at the time, I loved it. I like to throw myself wholeheartedly into things and I was really passionate about training and racing. Shortly before becoming pregnant I was faced with a knee injury that stopped me from running, so I didn’t run at all while I was pregnant, but I still went to the gym 4-5 days per week. I mostly did classes, usually superset weight training, bootcamp, and step, as well as free weights and body weight exercises in the main gym. I played a lot of tennis and swam frequently. I also hiked a lot and did prenatal yoga. I had a wonderful pregnancy as well as labour and I owe a lot of that to staying active. After I had my daughter, my workouts definitely changed. I started running again about 6 or 7 weeks after I had her, and would push her in the stroller. I did a 5km fun race when she was 3 months old but unfortunately my knee injury returned and as of now I haven’t gotten back into running. I try to get to the gym at least 2-3 times per week, and find classes the easiest to get to consistently. They are very challenging and I can really start to see improvement when I make it there 3 times a week. I am a registered nurse and work 12 hour shifts, so I am limited in the amount of days I can get to the gym, but I do my best to go on my days off. Luckily there is childcare there so that makes things much easier.
What is your most memorable fitness moment?
Crossing the finish line of my first half Ironman. It was an incredibly challenging race, especially the last 3 or 4km of the run portion. I wanted to give in and walk the rest but my training partner pushed me to keep running and I am so thankful for that support! I finished in a much faster time than I expected, which was a nice surprise, but just finishing the race was a huge moment for me. I use that as an inspiration for all areas of my life when I need a little push to try something new or take on a challenge and it will forever stick with me!
Top 5 songs on your workout playlist?
I’ve never really been one to listen to my own music while working out… I usually do classes, or when it comes to running, I always ran with other people and just socialized to pass the time. One song I really love to work out to is Right Here Right Now by Fatboy Slim.
Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Favourite post workout meal?
I always have a protein shake with frozen berries, protein powder, hemp hearts, water and a bit of full fat coconut milk. That ties me over while I prepare some real food. A favorite would be fried eggs, toast, and ham. A big challenge for me has always been getting that shake in as soon as possible after my workout to avoid a crash, so if I’m organized enough I’ll make it before I go to the gym and just bring it with me.
What inspires and motivates you?
I just want to be as healthy and active as possible to be able to enjoy my life ahead with my husband and daughter. I love the outdoors and being active and that is such a big part of my life and a huge part of my self-concept.
What is your favourite recipe?
My cheat meal I could not live without is…?
Honestly I don’t do cheat meals. I’ve never been able to restrict myself completely and not have a cheat each day. I try to eat well but don’t get upset with myself if I have a treat here and there. I love food and when it comes to treats I try to focus on portion control instead of restricting. But my favorite big time cheats are cinnamon buns and brownies… anything densely caloric really!
What do you normally feed your daughter?
Kids are tough. My daughter can be really picky and even the things that she normal likes get thrown to the dog on a regular basis. It is a constant challenge to get nutritious food into her, and you have to be sneaky sometimes when it comes to veggies! She eats organic mac and cheese quite a bit, but I make it healthier by making the sauce with greek yogurt instead of butter and milk, and add in some veggies and lean protein as well. The tough part for me is not eating that for lunch along with her. Although sometimes things get so busy that that’s what happens, and I’ve learned to be okay with that.
What fitness advice would you give to new moms?
It’s important to be flexible and try to sneak in mini workouts throughout the day. There are so many ‘one song workouts’ online now that you can sneak in 5-10 minutes a few times a day and start to see results that way without going to the gym. There are a wealth of body weight exercises that can be done without equipment that can be fit in when the kiddos are napping. With a million other things going on, exercise can fall by the wayside so it becomes even more important to set smart goals for yourself to help ensure success in whatever workout regime you take on. And lastly, recognizing that despite your best efforts, you may not get regular workouts in for a while is an important thing to come to terms with. Don’t beat yourself up!! Chasing a child around all day does burn a lot of calories in itself.
What was one of the most significant challenges you faced after you had your daughter?
Obviously during pregnancy, and for a long period after, there are major changes to the shape of your body. The most significant challenge for me was discovering a new way to see myself, and to have a positive self-image despite seeing many changes to my physique. It took months and months for me to feel sexy in my skin again, and in fact I didn’t feel that way until I took the plunge and signed up for a boudoir photo shoot. Even while the pictures were being taken I was worried that my post-baby tummy ponch would be all that you’d see in the prints. The day I got to see my proofs was life-changing for me, as for the first time in a very long time, I felt good about my body again. I was not the same as it had been before I had my daughter, but I began to see the changes as a celebration of the beautiful little life we had created. We are so critical of our bodies and we forget sometimes that despite the importance of keeping them healthy, they are just the vehicles that we use to experience life, create relationships, and make memories. A positive self-image and self-concept just make the adventure that much better.
Last question: Favourite thing about Sister Act Fitness?
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The boudoir images are taken by the amazing and talented, Carolyn Carson. http://www.carolyncarson.com