No Excuses

“Pushing past comfort is important, and this is where we realize we are capable of more. I truly believe the discipline that comes from training can be carried through in life, faith, nutrition, education, and being a good example to others.” -Kate Wadle-Ledyard

The other day I was in between work and watching my newborn son while my wife got a chance to step out and run an errand. Thanks to a pacifier and some lullaby tunes, he quickly dozed off; because of the Zs, I thought it was a perfect time to squeeze in a workout! I was wrong. The boss called, a/k/a he started crying, and that ended that idea. It then dawned on me: I need to find some of the busiest people I know and pick their brain on how they fit fitness into their day. For, if they can do it, anyone can. No excuses, right!? Que, Kate, mother extraordinaire and one freakishly strong gal!

A very brief background on Kate: she is a mother of 6 children (yes, 6!), and they’re all under the age of 16. Let that sink in. Can you say busy? Kate also personal trains and runs her own bootcamp. So she’s a working mama, too. Oh! One more thing… Kate has had 6 c-sections; therefore, she essentially had to start from scratch 6 times! (She also had one other surgery that made her reset, but I think you get the picture.)

I asked Kate a few questions to better understand how she works fitness into her hectic life. This is what I gathered:

Question: You have 6 children, and you run a bootcamp (is there anything I'm forgetting?). How do you have time to work out? Or more importantly, how do you make time to work out?

Answer: Yes, I have 6 kids; all were born via c-section, too. And, yes, I run a female bootcamp, and I have been training people since 2002; the bootcamp has been running since 2005. Ahh … the classic question, “how do you have time?” I make time. Just like I make time for prayer, I have to make time for my workouts. When having young kids, I typically wait until naptime because I don't like distractions when I work out, and the older kids know to leave me alone when the music is blaring and it looks like mom is dying – HA! I try to make it the same time each day so it can be a routine, but that schedule changes as nap times change.

Question: What's your motivation to remain fit? In other words, what's your "why?" Why do you do it?

Answer: Why?! I think I was given a gift because I love it; I love the challenge. It also provides me great sanity to get through my day, which let's face it, can be rather brutal raising 6 sons. I also want to show my sons that working hard is important and that taking care of our body is important. Pushing pass comfort is important, and this is where we realize we are capable of more. I truly believe the discipline that comes from training can be carried through in life, faith, nutrition, education, and being a good example to others.

Question: 7 surgeries. Did you ever get discouraged? If so, how did you fight through the discouragement and bring your way back? (Over and over again.)

Answer: Yes, I have had 7 surgeries – 6 of them were c-sections, and the last one was an umbilical hernia. The comebacks were never easy; it was very frustrating starting over again and again, and this last one has been very difficult. I lost half my blood during the emergency c-section. I’m lucky to have been in the hospital, or I would not be here today; I would have bled out. For the most part I enjoy the challenge of the comeback. I enjoy working my way back up the ladder. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t both hard and discouraging because I feel like I have lost training time. And then, when you have to start over, just getting back to where you were, well... It is quite the process and you have to find the internal motivation to keep going – one day at a time – knowing that every day is not going to be amazing. Thankfully, most of my potential has returned after every child; it just takes a lot of work and patience. I get many compliments, "wow, I can't believe you have had 6 kids. etc. " But most of these people do not know how hard I had to work. It requires great discipline to keep going each day.

Question: You always listen to the doctor's orders, right? And assuming so, how long were you usually out before you got back to your "old self?"

Answer: ALWAYS follow the doctor’s orders. My doctor is well aware of my workout routine. With having had placenta previa during my last pregnancy – which was rather terrifying – there were concerns with lifting; so I could not lift heavy at all. But thankfully my heavy and other peoples’ heavy were not quite the same. And! I was the strongest I have ever been with my last son! The day I went in to the doctor, I was doing 165# squat cleans for reps! So I was quite discouraged when they said I could not lift heavy anymore. It broke my heart, but my baby’s life was more important than lifting. My “old self” … well, I would get back to pre-pregnancy weight rather quickly, roughly 2-3 months. I did not nurse, but I pumped for 8-12 months for each child, and I shed weight rather quickly. I really had to focus on eating a lot to maintain my workout intensities, too, because pumping takes a lot out on the body. I would say it took me 6-8 months for before I was competing at a level I was before.

Question: What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to busy mamas (and daddies), or just to busy people in general – when it comes to remaining fit?

Answer: You have to MAKE time for YOU. When you are a mom (or dad) you do everything for others; unfortunately, you often forget about you... We have to make time for us, for our prayer, for exercise, and for our spouses – our spouses can get lost in the picture, too. Carve out 10-20 minutes a day to start and if you have more time, then great! I try to allow for an hour, but I have to do a lot more mobility now, being older and stiff. (Although I should have been doing it all along!) Nearly all of my clients have not lifted at all before coming to me and now they are all lifters! I think so many women still believe they will get bulky, or they get scared of the weights. I lift because I want to be strong, and I know my metabolism starts dropping at 30 and I don't want me bones to be weak when I am older. Lifting is very important for our metabolism and our bone health, especially in women. I don't focus on one-rep maxes anymore; I don't have to prove anything to the world. But I still love lifting heavy, as long as I’m doing it safely.

Question: What's the most difficult workout you've done? What's your proudest fitness-related moment?

Answer: My proudest moment was probably my 355# deadlift, which was two weeks before I delivered my 5th son. Most difficult workout: wow … Kalsu was pretty tough, but I also secretly loved it. I don't know if I have one in particular that has been the hardest. I will tell you that every workout I do makes me nervous because I want to do well and I know it will be hard. I don't settle for easy workouts unless it is an active recovery day. Anything involving my weaknesses, which are many, definitely makes it harder, but I try to work on my weaknesses often!

Comment: Please feel free to shed light on anything else you feel is important or should be shared.

Response: I LOVE your facebook page and the information you provide! I think the most important thing regarding all of this is nutrition! If you are putting in the work, then you have to fuel your body appropriately; don't treat it like a trash can. What we put into our bodies is what we get out of them. That does not mean go to extreme levels and do crazy diets, because there are so many out there that promise nothing long-term because no one can stick to them long term. It makes me so sad. We can all find that balance of eating what we should and what we enjoy.

So there you have it. Kate. One of the hardest working mamas on the planet. The #workingclass mentality runs through her veins. I know that the next time I get bogged down or discouraged, I will just think of my friend – mama of 6! Kate, thank you for taking the time to indulge us!

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Jason Harle