I’m excited to start off the new year with this interview with Rachel Thomsen.
Rachel is a stay at home mom with two young kids who has committed to live fit so that she can be there for her family.
In this interview Rachel shares:
- How she is able to workout at home with young kids,
- How living fit has made her feel confident, empowered, and energetic, and
- How to balance eating healthy and enjoying her favorite foods!
Molly: Tell us a little about yourself…
Rachel: My name is Rachel Thomsen. I live in rural Iowa with my husband (Kyle), my two kids (Grant, 2 1/2 years old, Kaycie, 5 months), and two labs (Toby and Buzz).
My husband farms, and I am a teacher turned stay at home mom, as well as a health and fitness coach.
I love both watching and playing sports, spending time with family and friends, and TV shows such as Friends, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and Big Brother.
Walt Disney World is my favorite place on the planet, and I always look forward to my family’s trip each year!
Molly: What do you enjoy doing for fun?
Rachel: Some of my favorite activities include playing sand volleyball, basketball, boating, snowmobiling, and spending time with family.
I feel very fortunate to be able to live very close to both my husband’s family as well as my own!
It’s fun having our kids grow up with two sets of grandparents close by!
Molly: What is your favorite part about being a mom?
Rachel: I absolutely love being with my kids during the day! I get to teach them easy things like colors and numbers, as well as show them right from wrong, teach them life lessons, and offer a safe and loving environment for them to grow up in.
Some days, being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but then they give you the sweetest smile and you know that it’s all worth it! 🙂
Molly: What does your typical workout look like?
Rachel: My workout changes based on my goals.
I am currently on my second postpartum journey to getting my body back after baby. I just finished a 90 day program that combined weight training with cardio-kickboxing and HIITs.
It was a great way to burn fat and tone up at the same time! These workouts were a little longer than my typical workouts.
I spent about 30-40 minutes on strength training and 15-20 minutes on HIITs three times a week, and then did my longer cardio-kickboxing workouts on alternating days. Those workouts ranged from 30-55 minutes.
Now I just started a mixed-martial arts inspired workout that focuses on getting a strong core.
We all know what it’s like after having a baby: it doesn’t matter what the scale says, your body just doesn’t look quite the same as it did pre-baby! I’m excited to take the time to focus on strengthening my powerhouse. Having a strong core makes not only workouts easier, but it makes LIFE and functional movements easier as well!
The workouts range from 27-47 minutes, and are made up of boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai knee-elbow combinations, bodyweight training, and cardio spikes.
Molly: How do you manage exercising at home when your kids are not cooperating
Rachel: I’ve done a lot of experimentation with working out with my kids in the same room, and I’ll admit that some days are not easy!
It all boils down to being prepared and setting your expectations low.
We can’t always control when our kids are suddenly going to need a snack, a drink of water, or feel the need to crawl through our legs while we’re doing squats, but we CAN control our mindset and our attitude towards them.
If we don’t expect much, we won’t get frustrated with them.
Be patient, and talk to them while you workout! That way they know you aren’t ignoring them, and don’t feel the need to lash out to try and get your attention.
I’ve found that it also really depends on timing and temperament. I like to try and do my workout right after both kids have had breakfast in the morning. At that time of day, both are well-rested, have full tummies, and are generally content.
I also make sure that one of Grant’s favorite cartoons is on TV, and that I have several stations lined up for Kaycie, such as the bouncer, swing, floor space, and activity center.
That way if she starts fussing, I can quickly move her somewhere to give her a different position and point of view. I always make sure she can see me!
Molly: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a stay at home mom?
Rachel: The best piece of advice I have ever received about being a stay at home mom is that it’s not my job to make sure my children are perfect or that they behave a specific way. It’s my job to make sure that they feel safe, secure, and loved no matter what.
When your kids trust you and feel your unconditional love and support, their behavior will reflect that. Your kids will grow up feeling confident in who they are, and will be less likely to follow the crowd as they get older.
Molly: What is your all-time favorite healthy meal?
Rachel: My favorite healthy meal is actually fairly boring! 😉
A staple meal at our house, especially in the summer, is to have marinated chicken breast, asparagus, and sweet potatoes all made on the grill.
It’s so easy, filling, and delicious.
Molly: What is your strategy for eating healthy?
Rachel: When it comes to eating healthy, I try to avoid putting too much pressure on myself.
I know what’s healthy and what food I should be eating, but I also have come to the conclusion that I’m human and I’m going to eat things like chicken wings and chocolate from time to time! 😉
I’ve learned to practice balance in my everyday eating because if I force myself to cut out everything I shouldn’t have, I tend to rebel against the process and go back the other direction. I strive to live by the 80:20 rule on a day to day basis.
Molly: What is your best piece of advice for a busy mom who wants to stay fit?
Rachel: Preparation and self-discipline are key!
If you are a busy mom, you need to make sure that you are meal planning and prepping your food ahead of time.
Having healthy food options on hand means you are staying out the fast food drive thrus, and you are filling your body with the fuel it needs to get through the day and your workouts.
You also need self-discipline.
It is hard to workout and eat right when you’re busy and exhausted, but if you can practice self-control and do what’s hard when you don’t feel like it, you’ll get results and build up momentum for yourself and your fitness journey!
Molly: How have friends and family best supported you to have a healthy lifestyle? What is not helpful?
I am so lucky to have family and friends who recognize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle!
My husband is extremely helpful with the kids. He watches them when he can so that I can get an effective workout in.
I also have a lot of family and friends who value healthy eating. This makes social gatherings so much easier, and allows me to stay on track with my goals.
However, there are always going to be people who try to get you off track by tempting you or telling you that you don’t need to watch what you eat.
They are mostly saying it out of guilt because they wish that they could be strong like you and make healthy decisions!
Stick to your guns and do what’s best for YOU. Don’t worry about what other people say.
Molly: Your Instagram says, “Progress, not perfection.” What does this mean to you?
Rachel: Living a fit lifestyle isn’t something that happens overnight.
It takes time to grow and develop new, healthy habits. I don’t expect myself to eat the perfect diet or to never skip a workout.
I’m going to have slip ups. I’m human!
Yet, I’ve committed myself to this process: to living an overall healthy lifestyle, and to helping others do the same, in spite of our imperfections!
Molly: What is your favorite motivational quote?
Rachel: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” –Walt Disney
I love this quote so much because it inspires me daily!
Anyone can talk about what they want to accomplish, but until you put those words into action, you’re never going to achieve your goals.
Molly: How has living fit helped you feel great?
Rachel: Living fit has shaped me into a much happier, more confident person.
For so long, I would try to lose weight only to be disappointed by a scale that wouldn’t budge and clothes that seemed to be getting tighter.
Figuring out that I need to pair healthy nutrition with structured workouts has gotten me results. Not only physical results, but mental and emotional results as well!
By getting physical results, I proved to myself that I can do hard things! I can set goals and reach them.
I became confident, empowered, and energetic.
I am the mom my kids deserve because I take care of myself first. You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.
Molly: Any other advice or stories…
Rachel: You don’t have to do it all at once!
As I mentioned, living healthy is not something that happens overnight.
Start by cutting out just one thing from your diet for a while: pop, coffee creamer, chocolate, chips. Once you master that, move onto the next item. Start slow.
If working out isn’t your thing, find something that you ENJOY doing! Set a goal to be active 2-3 times a week at first, and then build up to doing more.
If you’ve never worked out before, don’t expect to start working out 5-7 times a week. You’ll burn out and ultimately end up quitting. Again, start slow. 🙂
Finally, don’t do this alone! Find someone to support you on your journey!
If you need someone, please contact me. I would love to help you reach your goals!
Molly: How can we connect with you and follow your story?
Are you a fit mom or do you know a mom that inspires you? I would love to share your story! Nominate yourself or another mom by commenting below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🙂