As moms, we often put ourselves last. Our kids always come first, and we are pretty ok with that! But as we all know, there comes a time when we are physically and mentally exhausted and ready to make changes that put our health back on track. And I don’t know about you, but I really love taking my inspiration from real moms. That’s why we are so happy to have Sia Cooper, of Diary of a Fit Mommy join us today on Life As Mama! Sia has helped women all over the world through her workouts and encouraging content. She’s here today to tell us a little more about how she came to be the fit mom that she is today, and how you can be too.
1. You’ve helped thousands of women get fit and strong with your workout guides, you run a popular blog, and currently have over 670,000 followers on Instagram. How did this journey begin for you?
It all started in 2010 when I was overweight and in a deep depression. I was surviving off junk food, alcohol, sugar, and cigarettes. My weight began to climb and I knew I had to change; I was twenty-one years old but had the energy of a hundred-year-old! After watching the documentary FOOD INC—an exposé about our country’s corporate-controlled food industry—a lightbulb went off for me. I immediately went to my pantry and threw out all of my junk food and made a clean eating list to grocery shop with. I turned my life around, and started dropping all of my bad habits. That year I started a blog to document my new lifestyle and keep myself motivated. I started gaining followers, and more and more of them were asking me if I would share my personal plan. Over the next few years, I decided to become a personal trainer and to create a tailored fitness plan based on the strategies that had helped me transform my life. And that’s how Diary of a Fit Mommy began.
2. How does your background as both a nurse and personal trainer influence the fitness and nutrition programs you create and the advice you give to clients?
There are so many “fitness experts” out there who have little to no actual training, which is like playing with fire because they could truly hurt someone. My nursing license comes in handy because I feel comfortable working with people who have various health issues because I’m able to understand their conditions and respect their limits. But having a certification in personal training is a must when creating workout programs because it’s not as simple as just outlining a bunch of exercises. Putting together a safe and effective workout plan is painstaking, it has to be carefully planned and take into account the way our bodies work.
3. In addition to being a fitness entrepreneur who maintains a huge presence on social media, you’re a mother of two young kids. How do you find the time to work out?
I make time whenever I can. The whole purpose of my program is to cater to busy moms and other busy woman trying to balance work, life, and wellness. I’m the expert at squeezing in workouts wherever I can: while doing chores around the house, when my children go down for a nap or after I drop them off at daycare.
4. What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up when my kids decide it’s time! My husband is retired Air Force and he now works for me—helping manage finances and the website, as well as taking the lion’s share of the photos—so it’s a team effort! He helps me get the kids fed and dressed. My son is in daycare, which is great because we want him to have social interaction and to learn new things every day. My daughter is home with us for the moment but will be joining him soon. After breakfast, I answer emails, work on blog posts, curate my Instagram, and do other DOAFM stuff. After that, I get my workout in and I go to town to run any errands that I need to. After lunch, I grab my son from daycare and go take him to do something fun or bring him home. I’m blessed that my husband is now home with me because for the first three years I was running my business, this wasn’t the case. I was alone running a business and watching two kids.
5. What’s your advice for moms who are exhausted, stressed out, and struggling to find any time for themselves? How can they make their health a priority?
It’s all about having the right mindset and giving yourself permission. So many moms don’t allow for the time they need to take care of themselves because they feel they’re being selfish if they do so. I ask my husband to take the kids if I need some time to myself, or take some time after they go to daycare. Sometimes, I will put on a movie for them and take a bath. You have to learn to put yourself first sometimes to keep harmony in the home.
6. You’ve gotten a bit of backlash in the past for posting pictures of yourself looking super fit during and just after pregnancy. Do you feel social media can increase pressure on women to look perfect at all times? And what would you say to those folks that respond negatively to seeing super fit moms?
Of course it can, but my intention is never to make anyone feel bad; rather my hope is to inspire people. As a trainer, being in good shape and looking fit is my job, if I wasn’t, people probably wouldn’t come to me for advice! The number one misconception I deal with is that it’s somehow vain or selfish to be a fit mom, but I think it’s the opposite. It’s a joy to be able to take care of yourself and to value your own health. And when you’re healthy you set a great example for your kids and your friends and family.
Check out more of our mom-friendly workouts posts!