Ali Finlay proves that new mums CAN get their abs back

Ali-Finlay- after photo - October 2012 winner BodyBlitz - Women's Health & Fitness


Starting my 12-week challenge with a three-week-old and a 16-month-old, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had just watched my body grow week to week and it was now time to lose it week to week! My goal was to not only lose weight, but to add on muscle. I wanted a total body transformation.

My journey came down to three stages:

Mentally I had finished the challenge before I started. I had planned my workouts, my meals, my weekly weight loss. I knew my obstacles (newborn, toddler, time, sleep deprivation, breast feeding, energy) and worked out solutions before they caught me off guard. I needed to be realistic; I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the gym more than three times a week and I only had about an hour once I got there. I focused on intensity, supersets and intervals. At home I needed to be creative. I ran with a pram and walked as often as I could with either my toddler in a backpack or my baby in a baby carrier.    

I once read, “if you have a strong enough reason why, you can achieve anything”.  For 16 months I had been putting off my dream of becoming a personal trainer, plagued with self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Who wants to be trained by the out-of-shape new mum? I’d love to work with new mums to help them get back into shape, but that meant I needed to be in shape myself. I ended up writing up a 12-week health and fitness journal to get me through. It started with my before photo and my ‘vision page’, which had everything that I was going to accomplish. I had my long- and short-term goals written out and checked them off weekly to make sure I was on track. My biggest challenge was focusing on my measurements and not my weight loss, which was painfully slow at first as I gained muscle. I had to believe that I was succeeding when I couldn’t see it daily in the mirror.

Ali Finlay -Before photos - October BodyBlitz winner - Women's Health & Fitness

Twelve weeks, 84 days, 48 workouts, but it all comes down to TODAY.  I had to give up my ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll get back on track on Monday’ mentality. I realised that it all comes down to today – what I eat today and the workout I do today is going to dictate how I feel and look tomorrow. My mantra became ‘all I have is today’, which I will continue to live by.  

Lessons that I learnt along the way:

  •     Getting in shape is simple, it just takes a lot of work
  •     Write it down! My journal kept me on track and accountable
  •     It’s okay to take time out and focus on my health and fitness
  •     The more I exercise the more energy I have
  •     You need to eat to lose weight
  •     It is possible to see your abs again after having a baby
  •     Babies can create a great workout; as you get stronger, they get heavier
  •     Intervals and supersets can work wonders
  •     I have enough obstacles in my life; I don’t need to become one of them

Monday: Weights (supersets) and 15 minutes of interval running (60 seconds on, 60 seconds off)
Tuesday: 60-minute walk with the dog and either my toddler in the backpack (13 kg) or baby in the baby carrier (6.5 kg)
Wednesday: Weights (supersets) and 15 minutes of interval rowing (60 seconds on and off)
Thursday: 60-minute walk with the dog and either my toddler or baby
Friday: Weights (supersets) and 15 minutes of interval running (30 seconds on and off)
Saturday: Six-kilometre run (with or without a pram)
Sunday: Rest

7:00am: Oatmeal
10:00am: Fruit and nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts)
1:00pm: Meat, brown rice and vegies
4:00pm: Cottage cheese and yoghurt
7:00pm: Meat, salad and vegies

Thank you to WH&F for the motivation and inspiration and for getting me to where I wanted to be in a matter of 12 weeks. In three months I went from not being able to see my toes to seeing my abs for the first time. I now have the confidence to finish my personal training certification and hopefully I’ll be helping new mums complete their own 12-week transformation very soon.

Think you could take on the 12-week BodyBlitz challenge? ENTER TODAY or browse more success stories.