Member of the Month: May 2024

It's Member of the Month time!

One of our favourite things to do at Parkwood is celebrate YOU, our fabulous members! 

This month, the award goes to Jen!

Below are some words from Jen:

"I’ve had body image issues for most of my life. I was quite worried about gaining weight in my first pregnancy, and then wanting to lose it quickly was really hard and not obtainable. I felt a societal pressure to “snap back”. I came back to the gym within 3 weeks but I should have waited longer. I focused a lot on cardio, when I should have been strength training. It took a year to get back to a form of my previous self, but it was really challenging, and I was exceptionally hard on myself. I frequently compared myself to others and felt frustrated with my new body. Receiving occasional comments about my weight loss initially upset me, but then encouraged me to reflect on my journey towards improved health and well-being. Through this experience, I am learning to prioritise self-acceptance and inner confidence over other people’s opinions and perceptions.

I have since had my second child, my daughter, in May 2023. My son is just about to turn 3. Over the course of both pregnancies I have gained and lost a total of over 40kgs. The biggest thing I’ve learnt from having my kids is that I now genuinely respect and am in awe of my body, and what it has accomplished over the last 3 years. Growing tiny humans, giving birth and then caring for them is something that you can’t fully prepare for until you’re in the thick of it.

My second postpartum recovery was so much better than my first for many reasons. Mainly because I was determined to not be sucked into the postpartum snap back mindset. I found a fantastic app that had a postpartum routine that got me back into the gym when I felt ready, which was 6 weeks post birth. I felt genuine happiness the first time I was back in the gym, and not as though I had to be there. It got me feeling stronger initially and helped strengthen parts of my body that really needed work, as well as giving me back my confidence to be in the gym.

Three months postpartum, I was back to Personal Training with Nat. Nat has been incredibly supportive since I began training with him, but especially through my pregnancies and postpartum. He has never pressured me to lose weight, or to do things I haven’t felt comfortable with. He has been a constant source of encouragement and positivity throughout this time. When he has seen me struggling to stay positive, he encourages me, tells me to take a break from the numbers and to be kind to myself. He and Chris made me temporarily break up with the Boditrax machine, as I was beating myself up over the weekly weigh-ins and lack of progress I was seeing. We all need people in our corner to cheer us on, especially when we are down and not seeing the bigger picture and long term progress. I know that weight loss is primarily down to the individual, but I also believe that you need people to support you along your journey. Find your people and you will be more successful in the long run.

My postpartum journey won’t be like anyone else’s, and that is OK and something for all mums to remember. I come to the gym for my own sanity and mental health, not necessarily to lose weight. The gym helps me get some alone time so I can go home and be the best mum to my kids. I am so grateful to have this space and the kind, supportive staff who work at Parkwood.

To all the mums going through this process and navigating life with a new body, a new sense of self and identity; remember to be kind to yourself. Postpartum is not easy. We need to give ourselves the time and grace to heal and embrace motherhood, because it really is hard work!"

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