Sarah McGill (@sarahfmcgill on Instagram) is a marketing coordinator in the natural & organic food industry by day and an indoor cycling instructor by night. She’s obsessed with all things wellness, beauty and Bravo TV. Here, she chats with fit mom Jennifer Gelman.
You might know Jennifer Gelman from Instagram, where she’s better known as @bwmcfitness. She regularly shares at-home pre- and post-natal workouts that often feature her four adorable sons. The Hong Kong-based fitness influencer inspires busy moms everywhere to find time to focus on themselves. Gelman is living proof that focusing on fitness goals while raising kids is possible.
Gelman recently chatted with Lively about how she got started in fitness, her advice to new moms everywhere, and what she always keeps in her gym bag. Keep reading for her interview.
Lively: What sparked your fitness journey?
Jennifer Gelman: Before having children, I was very active. I swam competitively in high school and college and loved biking and running. I often competed in shorter distance triathlons and running races, including my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon.
Due to my passion for fitness, I didn’t think I would struggle to make time for fitness once I became a mother. I quickly learned how difficult it was due to the constant demands and low energy level that came with newfound motherhood. But I was still determined to find a way.
Before I had my first son, I regularly went to the gym to participate in spin and yoga classes. I thought I would be able to continue this routine with the help of the gym childcare. Unfortunately, this became too stressful because the babysitters would often come to get me during my workout. I eventually found myself looking over my shoulder every few minutes wondering if they were coming to find me. It didn’t make for an enjoyable workout! When we moved abroad, gym childcare was not as readily available. Therefore, it was time to get creative with my workouts!
L: What does the ‘BWMC’ in BWMC Fitness stand for?
JG: I developed BWMC Fitness by combining my three passions: Education, fitness, and parenting with the goal of “finding the athlete in every parent.” BWMC stands for Baby, Where’s My Coffee? This phrase came about when my husband and I were living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with our three boys who were 3 years old and younger. Each morning I would go from room to room helping my boys with diaper changes, finding sippy cups, getting dressed, nursing, the list goes on. And I would inevitably lose my coffee along the way. I would find myself saying to my youngest, “Baby, where’s my coffee?” This phrase stuck, and I felt it symbolized so many things for me as a parent, including the need for coffee in order to run on such little sleep and the importance of keeping a sense of humor within the chaos of raising a family.
As a parent, I need more energy, stamina, endurance, and strength than ever before. Making time for fitness has given me these things, and it also helps me take better care of my family. I know how hard it can be to make time for fitness, but I also know that with a little creativity it is possible and powerful!
L: How do you find the time to work out?
JG: I like to squeeze in what I call “snack-size” exercises, which are quick, achievable workouts that can be done at home or on the go. A 10-minute workout can be a great starting point because every minute counts, and I truly believe consistency is the key to success. Prepare for interruptions and workouts to be cut short with a family. Some days will be easier than others, but if you keep it fun, you’ll keep doing them.
L: What’s the best part about your family being involved in workouts?
JG: The best outcome from this type of fitness has been the affect it has had on my children. They are constantly coming up with their own workout ideas for us to try together, and my two oldest boys have also started recording their own workouts for fun.
L: Do you have a favorite total-body workout that’s quick and effective?
JG: I enjoy burpees, planks, squats, TRX, handstands, and wall exercises. I am constantly coming up with new workout ideas, and I look for inspiration from everyday parenting moments. Since there is always so much to get done in a day, I am a big fan of combining fitness with everyday activities with my boys, even while doing laundry in order to make the never-ending process go by faster! One of my favorite go-to full-body workouts includes TRX training.
L: Do you have any advice for new moms looking to start working out again?
JG: To all the mamas wanting to know how to get through the day and how to make time for their health: You will get there. Give yourself the time you need and keep pushing.
To the mothers who can’t find the energy to be as active as they want to be: You are not alone. To the mothers who are struggling to stay on top of the demands of parenthood, work, and life: You are not alone. To the mothers who have days they are wiping away tears because they feel like they are in the trenches: You are not alone. Motherhood is hard – so hard that I wonder how I had so many babies. But even on the hardest days, every part of me knows it is worth it. I remind myself that it’s hard because it’s important.
I didn’t bounce back after my pregnancies. It was probably closer to a crawl, but that was okay because I was moving forward. Motherhood requires strength, energy, stamina, patience, and endurance. And taking small steps every day has moved me toward progress – not perfection – and to have confidence to take on the day. We are raising the future, but we can’t do it without taking care of ourselves as well.
Although we don’t all share the exact same experience on this journey, there are many common threads. We are in this together. Parenthood is quite a journey, but if we pace ourselves, and cheer each other on, we will make the climb a great one.