Interview with a Fellow New Mommy: Kim Lyons.
According to her website, Kim Lyons' goal is to "help the world become a healthier place ... physically, mentally, and emotionally." I can subscribe to that. Trainer from the Biggest Loser and national fitness guru, Kim gave birth to her son, Jake, about four months ago. And I can attest to the fact that the girl has gotten herself back into shape right quick - I met up with her at the TCOYD conference in Providence a few weeks ago and she looks like she bounced right back.
Kim agreed to chat with me about fitness, pregnancy weight gain, and coming back from the post-partum body changes. (And now I feel even more inspired to get my rear end in gear!)
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Kerri: As a prominent figure in the fitness world, how did you deal with the weight gain of pregnancy, both physically and emotionally?
Kim Lyons: As a trainer, I have a simple straight forward approach, No Excuses, period. I have heard them all, too tired, not enough time, this or that hurts, no money, etc. Bottom line, I will find time in your schedule, I will energize you with exercise, I will work around injuries, and I will give you thousands of exercise you can do for free with out a gym! I simply do not entertain any excuses.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited. It not only explained my odd cravings and complete zombie state of mind but it explained my “less then aggressive” workouts. I’ve spent 15 years learning to listen to my body and for weeks my body had been screaming “slow down”. There really was no pushing through. I’ve been tired for workouts many times before and managed to still get in an intense workout. This was different and as soon as I saw the results on that little white stick it became so clear.
I never thought of pregnancy as a challenge. It was going to be simple, I’d just go about my normal routine and I’d have a little basketball belly. All of the sudden, my hormones were a bit off (I cried about folding laundry), the scale went nuts (I gained 10lbs, not 3lb, in the first trimester), and the comfort level of my bed took on a whole new meaning! I quickly realized that, more then ever, I was going to have to crack down with my own motto and make a no excuse plan for myself.
That plan included mentally accepting the massive changes that were going on in my body and coming up with an exercise and nutrition game plan! My workouts needed to be short, effective, and accommodate for the changes in my body. My nutrition was no longer about maintaining a six pack, instead, it was about supporting the little life inside me. My little bionic body was no longer selfishly mine to beat up with daily workouts and a strict low calorie diet!
I truly thought it was going to be easy, but the truth is, there were many times when I looked in the mirror and cried. I felt so guilty for being so vain about my six pack, perfectly sculpted arms, and tight little buns. I have spent the last 15 years of my life studying the human body and how to get anyone, big or small, into top shape. For the fist time in my life, I was faced with a new challenges, I wasn’t in 100% control of my body. It wasn’t all about me anymore!
My vision of just gaining a little basketball belly was replaced by the mirror image of my arms smoothing out, my hips widening, and my boobs taking on a life of their own! The closet became my worst nightmare!
The good news is that as I settled into the pregnancy, I took on a new frame of mind. I decided to really embrace the daily changes going on in my body and follow my own no excuse approach. This workout includes a few of my favorite moves to help you keep your body in shape during your pregnancy, prepare your muscles for lifting and carrying your new little baby, and having a great and healthy body in the years to follow.
The most challenging part of exercising while I was pregnant was the extra weight and the lack of flexibility in my mid section. Everything became awkward and difficult, even simple daily movements. Reaching down to pick something up no longer was a simple thoughtless movement, instead I had to think, wide squat-like stance, toes out, not to fast, sit back in the heals, and keep the abs tight as possible to support the back.
I gained 30 lbs during my pregnancy and I felt everyone of them as I walked up and down the two flights of stairs in my house. Walking became great exercise where before I never huffed or puffed or broke a sweat on a daily walk.
Most enjoyable part was that during my pregnancy I took the time to stop and smell more roses! Literally!! Usually I exercise with such focus and intensity that I don’t take time to slow down and smell the flowers. While I was pregnant I went on walks with friends, spent quite days in my home doing these exercises between errands and emails, and even worked out at the same level as some of my beginner clients. Once I set my mind to except slowing down, I really enjoyed it!
Kerri: Babies are a lot of work, and taking care of them takes up a good chunk of our days. As a new mom, did you find it difficult to work in working out into your schedule? What helped you get back into shape so quickly?
Kim Lyons: I do find it challenging, new moms don’t have much time for themselves and when there is some down time sleep and other “to-do’s” tend to fill the time. However, at the end of the day we make time for the things that are most important and that is exactly what I had to do. I allowed myself to be flexible with when I got in my workouts, but I didn’t allow myself to skip them. I began slowly with 30 mins min exercise a day. Some days I was able to get in a bit more. I think a lot of women feel guilty asking someone to help out while they go work out, but it’s so important for mom’s to make time to exercise. It cannot only help with self esteem, but it can also help women avoid post partum depression.
Of course being in the public eye and returning back to work about a month after having Jake was a huge incentive! I have had so many women over the years say “wait until you have kids” or “you obviously don’t have kids” and I wanted to prove to everyone that you can do it. I had someone say that to me at a conference not long ago and I was so happy to say, “Actually, I have a 3 month old baby.” Her face was priceless. It’s not easy, but I don’t except excuses from my clients and I sure the heck wasn’t going to allow myself to make excuses!
Kerri: My husband and I are excited to make playing and running around a part of our daughter's upbringing. How do you plan to instill the values of physical fitness and regular exercise into the life of your child?
Kim Lyons: I want Jake to see exercise as fun. I grew up playing outside, climbing trees, playing tag, and playing sports. Now it seems kids just sit around and watch TV, sit on the computer, or play video games. Our food is getting worse and our kids are becoming less active. I don’t care if Jake is a super athlete, but I’m going to make sure he finds something active that he loves. I’ll expose him to martial arts, gymnastics, soccer, football, baseball, and anything else he wants to “play”! We’ll spend weekends and free time riding bikes and going for hikes instead of sitting around eating fast food!! Kids learn everything from the examples their parents set!
Kerri: What advice do you have for someone who is looking to achieve a new level of fitness? Any inspirational tips or suggestions on how to make fitness a priority?
Kim Lyons: Achieving a new level of fitness requires total commitment and consistency. It’s important to find things that you enjoy whether it’s in a gym or not. It’s also important to have a support system. Find friends to help hold you accountable, put dates on the calendar, and set goals!
Kerri: You work closely with the diabetes community, with appearances at the TCOYD conferences and other diabetes outreach events. What made you get involved in the diabetes community?
Kim Lyons: While working on The Biggest Loser I saw the impact that exercise and proper nutrition can have on people with diabetes. However, most people that have diabetes or are pre diabetic go to the doctor not to a trainer! Don’t get me wrong, they need to go to the doctor, but it is a trainer that can help get these people moving and eating properly. I saw a huge need for some help in the diabetic community and I have really embraced them. I am so passionate about helping people live healthier, happier lives.
Kerri: What kind of difference are you looking to make in this community?
Kim Lyons: I want people to see that diabetes is not the end of the world! With proper exercise and nutrition it is totally manageable. My goal is to help educate people about the common complications of diabetes, primarily pDPN [diabetic nerve pain]. pDPN can be very painful and many people give up on exercising. However there are so many ways to treat pDPN and exercises that they can do. I’m involved with the “Take the Next Step” campaign and travel around showing people these exercises. You can also see them on line and read all about pDPN at www.diabetespainhelp.com
Kerri: Through your experiences with the diabetes community, have you learned anything about this disease that surprised you or changed your previous perceptions?
Kim Lyons: It surprises me how many people with diabetes don’t take care of themselves. We only get one body and one life and I just want to help people learn how to manage there diabetes and get back to doing things they love. There is so much information out there, it can be overwhelming, but at the end of the day if they take one step in the right direction it could save their lives.
Kerri: Any other thoughts you'd like to add?
Kim Lyons: I have an incredible on line training website that embraces all elements of living a healthier lifestyle. We help everyone from all over the world and have an incredibly support group of trainers, challenges, retreats, prizes, live chats, and a daily video blog from me! It’s really fun and amazing to see how much people love it and are achieving incredible results. The site is www.FastTrackToFatloss.com
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Thanks, Kim, for both the information and the inspiration. And your kid is a cutie - does he like older women? Like almost six month olds?