Amy grew up in Canmore, Alberta and now lives in Calgary, Alberta. She has a private nutritional consulting business called Jump Start Nutrition, and is raising 6 year old twin girls, Jasmine and Natlie (pictured here at their first triathlon!). She is a superstar trail runner and also rips it up on the road from time to time. The rare time our schedules fit, she makes a great training partner. Here’s what she had to say about balancing family, work, and her passion for running….
1. Can you tell me a little about your athletic/competitive background before becoming a mom?
I started running in high school for the cross country team. That took me through to running for U of A and Mount Royal while I was there, which was a great experience all round. It was hard to balance full time school with working and training though and I remember being pretty tired. Plus eating on a university budget and trying to compete at that level is always less than optimal but that’s the way it is!
2. What has motivated or motivates you to keep setting athletic and/or competitive goals since becoming a mother?
I’m not sure that it’s a choice anymore. It’s just a part of who I am. I like to change it up and I race so that I have goals in mind when I’m training otherwise I don’t know that I would get out of bed on those early morning runs in -20! I guess to some extent it’s become part of who I am and I love the running community and the people I’ve come to know through it.
3. How do you balance training and/or racing with raising twins?
I think I’ve had to learn to let go. To accept that sometimes my house isn’t as clean as I want, that the grass didn’t get cut when it should have. Plus you have to learn to multi task, as so many women do. I usually remember to do my makeup as I’m pulling into the office. A lot of my social time has become time with friends who run. It was funny the other day I had breakfast with a running friend and I got really annoyed that I had to go for my run first and then meet up with him and that we couldn’t just do our visiting while running. Yikes! 🙂 He had just done a 55k run the day before and needed a day off.
Now that the girls are in school it makes training a little easier but honestly I’ve used the chariot with them for most of their lives. I just had to get more and more creative with the things I gave them to keep them busy once they wouldn’t nap in the chariot any more! Now that they are a combined weight of 90lbs it’s a little less realistic to run with them but it still happens when I’m desperate!
4. Did you train during pregnancy? What was your approach?
I ran up until about 5 months and then when I popped I had to stop. Shortly after that I was put on bed rest for 2 months and that’s when I took up swimming as I could do it as long as I was horizontal! My approach was that I had always run and so why would I stop doing something that my body was already used to? I figured if I could conceive twins then I could continue to exercise moderately as it made me feel good about myself. I just had to slow down a bit. I was hungry ALL the time though!
5. Any advice you would give to other moms trying to stay active (or even competitive) while balancing life with kids?
I guess if you’re competitive I would suggest that you treat it like a job, because it is. It takes a lot of time and effort and planning and eating properly. If I wanted to give other moms advice it would be that you deserve at least 1-2 hours to yourself a day and if running is the thing that makes you feel good, then do it. And find other moms who understand you and that you can run with. It has been really important for my kids to see that I have a passion that I am willing to dedicate my time to. I always thank them for letting me go for a run and giving up mommy time. It’s pretty hard some days but I always come back feeling better and that makes me a better mom!
6. You work as a holistic nutritionist, what does that mean?
A holistic nutritionist is trained in various holistic modalities. Essentially it means that you treat the person as a whole package vs just analyzing their diet. Food is never just about the food, especially for women. There is always a story and because food is so integral to our lives, a choice we make every day at least three times a day, it carries a lot of meaning. I work mainly with whole foods whenever possible, some supplements but I absolutely LOVE my job and in the past few years have really learned a lot more about auto-immune and chronic conditions and how to address them and alleviate some of the symptoms through balanced nutrition. Nutrition is so foundational to health, even the docs tell me that. But they figure everyone is too busy and just wants a pill. Having been in nursing before, I would way rather empower individuals to take their health into their own hands than give their healing power away to a pill or a doctor.
7. Do you have any tricks to encourage your daughters to eat healthy?
I don’t know that there are tricks. We talk about where food comes from. We go to the store together and talk about what foods are on their level vs on mommy’s level. It’s really about balance. The Weston A Price foundation is a great resource for parents. Kids actually need a lot of good fats and proteins to grow and develop properly so “healthy” is very different for kids than it is for adults. If there is one “trick”… it would be that when kids prepare the food with you they just love to eat it. Because they own it a little more.
But essentially, kids are attracted to foods with lots of flavor and nutritional value. They tend to gravitate towards those foods. So if you’re feeding them fruit and veg that has traveled thousands of miles, was grown in depleted soil, it won’t taste good. To anyone. It’s worth the investment to go organic and as local as possible. And plant a garden. I know we have a short growing season but it really connects kids to where food comes from!
8. What is the next big event you are training for?
I leave for Trans Rockies in just over a week. That has been my goal race for the year.
(Note: The Trans Rockies Run is a six-day stage race taking place Aug 21-26 in Colorado. Runners race in teams of two and cover 119.5 miles (192.3km) with 20 800 feet of elevation gain! Find out more and follow the race at www. transrockies.com)