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Mamas with muscles

Some people might find it hard to believe these two, fit, fabulous, strong women are moms! Not to mention hardworking business women! Kate and Karien inspire other North Coast mothers, showing them that it is possible to find a balance between motherhood and fitness.

Kate Koen 
Not only is she a mom of two boys (Joshua, 11 and Matthew, 10) but 36-year-old Kate, alongside her husband Tyron, owns and runs Ringside Boxing Gym and their popular 12-week body transformation program called Shed That Spread in Ballito. Apart from taking care of the day-to-day running of their businesses, Kate also loves competing in the IFBB fitness bikini shows across the country from local competitions right through to provincial and national championships. She placed third in her category at the South African Championships in 2018 and goal for 2019 is not only to wear her provincial colours again, but also to represent South Africa at Worlds.

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Tell us about your fitness regime.
I consistently eat a healthy, balanced diet consisting of primarily protein, green veggies and complex carbs. I like to do a number of different types of training, from weight training using compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and various other lifts to boxing and the dynamic training programs we do at Ringside. I also enjoy doing trail runs with my friends from time to time. 

How do you juggle your fitness and job with motherhood?
A friend of mine once told me something that still rings true… “if you want to, you will”.  That little phrase has stuck by me through the challenging times when it is easy to use your label of ‘mom’ as an excuse. Discipline is key. Prioritising time to train and eating correctly is essential. In the same way that you make time for your children and husband you need to make time for yourself.

How did your body change after you became a mom?
Like most moms, I gained weight during and post pregnancy. I also had the ‘I just had a baby’ attitude, and made up every excuse as to why I wasn’t losing weight. The honest truth is though, if you set yourself a goal and knuckle down, it is achievable. I think my biggest struggle was my mindset. Both my pregnancies were really difficult with a lot of time spent on bed rest. My emotions, hormones and everything in between were wreaking havoc on my life. Once I started exercising I definitely noticed I was feeling better and, coupled with making better food choices, my body started changing and so did my attitude.

What are your tips for moms looking to get back into shape and build some muscle?
Make time for yourself.
Eat healthy, wholesome foods consistently.
Don’t focus on the scale
Find something you enjoy doing and exercise!
Set goals: short, medium and long term.

Karien van der Wal 
Forty-one-year-old Karien has earned her Protea Colours in bodybuilding, is a two-year-running IFBB SA Champ, a USN ambassador and a lifestyle model – all while being a full time personal trainer, wife to her husband of 17 years and mom to her two teenage children (Kieron, 16 and Kezma,13).

Tell us about how you stay fit.
I prefer weight training above all else. It’s my passion. I also enjoy running on the promenade and enjoying the fresh ocean breeze. I never really enjoyed cardio until we moved to Ballito earlier this year. I also train some of my clients at Ringside Boxing Gym and enjoy doing sessions with them.

How do you juggle motherhood with your fitness regime and motherhood?
It isn’t as difficult as people make it out to be. Most people use their kids as an excuse. If you think about it, you only need to use one percent of your day . . . 60 minutes. I train in the mornings when my kids are at school and I’m finished seeing my clients. I know I have it easier than other full-time working moms, but if you really want to do something you won’t look for excuses but rather solutions.

How did your body change since becoming a mom?
Well, I know you should only put on about 12kg… but I put on 24kg. Luckily, I read an article about drinking gelatine every day to help with skin elasticity – so I never got any stretch marks. I did pick up fat and cellulite. I only started training after my babies were about six and nine months old.

What are your tips for moms looking to get back into shape and build some muscle?
Do your workouts around your kids’ routines.
Don’t double cook – change to a healthy eating plan for the whole family.
Take one day a week to prep food. Prepare things like rice and mince and chicken fillets and freeze them. You can defrost as needed for different meals. It saves a lot of time cooking food – especially dinner when you want to relax after gym and not have to worry about cooking.
When there’s no other way, train at home and make it a fun activity your kids can join in with you.
Get a gym partner, trainer or someone to help you. It’s easier when you are held accountable for being somewhere at a specific time.

Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport

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