It's easy to caught up on the time vortex that is social media. We're all guilty of doing that robotic rolling finger dance, taking in an endless array of the very pretty and the VERY styled. But sometimes you stumble across an account that you can really connect with. You might be on the same journey, or into the same things or perhaps you just like the cut of their jib...whatever it might be...when you find that little spark and make that connection, you become Engaged. Connected. Inspired.
This is exactly the case with my interviewee today, Monica Hyne. Twin mummy, Fit chick and the recent Grand Champion of the 12 Week Maxine's Challenge. I came across her Instagram account by chance. It didn't take long for us to start double clicking away on each others' posts and a little social media friendship was formed.
Of course, I became invested in her journey, cheering her on from my iPhone screen and was absolutely wrapped when she took out the Grand Champion prize...not surprising really when you see her before and afters (below)!
After her feet touched back to earth from the big announcement, I shot Monica a message and asked her if she'd be interested in being interviewed. She has most definitely 'found her fit' and I thought she would have some fantastic insight into being a busy working FIT mama. And I wasn't wrong, not only is Monica totally dedicated to her health and fitness but her honesty in this interview is raw and will hit home to many of you.
This woman is Me, she is You and she is proof that you can make serious changes if you plan to do it. Check out Monica's story here and don't forget to give her follow over on the Gram, @monicahyne:
Q1. For my readers who don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm 30 years old from Melbourne and a proud wife to Ashley and mummy to my twins Sophie and Scarlett (2years old). I am passionate about health and fitness which actually started from pole dancing about 10 years ago. I found the gym intimidating and honestly didn’t know what I was supposed to do in there. I wanted to try something different from pole dancing, where I had created some amazing friends who are like family, and we started doing boot camps on the weekend which was a lot of weight training and then that got me to the gym where I absolutely love it!
I still don’t think I know what I'm doing half the time but I still love it! Besides working out 5 days a week, I'm working part time at ANZ as an Executive Assistant and then home with my girls when I'm not at work. It’s always crazy busy in our house but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q2. How did you find out about Maxine’s 12 Week Challenge?
So 4 years ago when my now husband and I got engaged we were watching TV and the Max/Maxine's challenge popped up. We watched it for a while and then looked into it and decided we would both give it a crack. He was always at the gym from when we met and me well I just started the boot camps and wanted to ramp up my training. In between wedding, honeymoon planning and working full time in the CBD we trained and meal prepped together. I must admit we didn’t follow the program 100%, I'd probably say 80%, as we were both already in great shape we just wanted to build muscle and well look good for our Europe honeymoon haha!!
So that challenge wasn’t “successful” in such but I tried it again when the twins were 9 months old, I wanted to get my fitness back as I was so weak from my pregnancy journey. I had never felt so tired and weak. Well the twins won that battle I lasted a whole 4 weeks before throwing in the towel. I just couldn’t keep up with everything. So this brings me to challenge number 3. Third time lucky and I am so incredibly blessed that not only did I finish it, that on its own is an accomplishment, but I was crowned GRAND CHAMPION! That is still mind blowing to me!!!
Q3. Was there are defining moment that made you want to commit to the challenge?
So being aware of the challenge as I've attempted it twice before, I knew it worked, it was hard and you have to commit. The defining moments to make me commit this time around was my progress photos. My very first photo I took at the start of the May challenge blew me away. Some people might not think I was very “big” but I've been a small frame my whole life and I know the scales don’t mean anything but they were saying a lot to me.
I was as heavy as I was when I was pregnant and about to give birth. The back photo was the biggest shock to me, I thought that I still looked like the old me, but I was someone else. I barely ate, I survived off coffee til 2pm when I would then have lunch which was always something easy and not nutritional, and then chocolate and treats followed by a lot of wine!! Doing this for 1.5yrs did some damage to my body and self-confidence.
I wasn’t happy, I was always tired, grumpy, not motivated and just not myself. I just woke up, as cliché as that sounds, and I wanted to change. I wanted the old me back! Not only my body, I honestly didn’t know what to expect after carrying the twins but I just gave it all I had and didn’t want to fail the third time.
Q4. Tell me more about your 12-week body transformation. You succeeded in getting into your best shape. What did you find the most challenging? And what came more easier to you?
So the most challenging thing was staying on track with my nutrition. My girls are still young and unable to eat the foods I was eating day in and day out and my husband also was a bit over the meals by the end. Hand on heart I didn’t slip up on nutrition, I didn’t want to do that to myself. SO I had to be super prepared, late nights, early mornings making sure all meals for all of us were prepped and organized so we couldn’t fail come morning.
My training was super early 4.30am wake ups to be home by 6am before my husband left for work. This was super difficult especially in Melbourne winter! But it ended up becoming second nature and a part of my routine. Why so early you might think? Well I am a morning person, not 4.30am but at least 6.30/7 and because my husband works early and his finish time is never the same, I knew once he and I both come home from work it's family time, then the girls go to bed and its clean up time and prep time for the next day, and catching up on the Bold and the Beautiful haha!
The things that came a bit easier for me was the training component. As I have trained before I knew a lot of the “moves” and concentrated on my technique and slowly increasing my weights. I still had to YouTube most things as so many things have different names and variations but that was the easiest part for me which still was time consuming to read up about and remember when your rolling out of bed and what you have to do haha!
Q5. Probably what every mama wants to know is, how did you fit it all in?
Honestly I don’t know? I just thought, man I'm tired ALL the time, when people ask how are you and we say good? Deep down I'm saying tired haha but we're all tired, ALL the time! So I thought why not still be tired but feel amazing? I sacrificed my sleep to train as I didn’t want to miss out on family time I think that is super important. Finding the time to do this was my main reason to succeed as well as being supported by my family and friends.
Without them I wouldn’t be here today writing this to you. I live by my diary, I know what's happening most the time and don’t get me wrong I'm an Executive Assistant and sometimes stuff just happens unexpectedly, illness, lack of motivation, family emergencies, anything and everything happened to me while on this challenge and I just had to push harder and make every session count.
When I was at the gym I gave it 110%, when I was home I was home, when the girls were napping I was cleaning and food prepping. I found prepping in one big hit was hard I couldn’t do it all but slowly during the week little by little two days ahead I would be prepped. I did sacrifice a lot of mothers groups and play dates, mainly being back at work I only have a couple of days a week to be home with the girls (pictured below) and also do the washing and house duties.
Q5. You documented your journey extensively on Instagram. Do you think that motivated you more?
110% YES! I feel that it made me super accountable and motivated me to keep progressing. I was sent so many messages of encouragement and questions about the challenge during and after and its just kept me going. Some people are super private, for example my husband. He doesn’t have social media, doesn’t believe in it. Then you have me, it’s in the top 5 of my morning routines to check IG! Now that the challenge is over I don’t have 12 weeks to transform anymore but I have my whole life to do so. I know I'm still inspiring other people out there and that just makes me so proud and blessed so I am keeping it up!
Q6. You’ve attracted a whole lot of inspired followers. But who do you look up to on social media?
I feel super blessed to have inspired so many people I am humbled with the amount of love and support I have received. My big Inspiration on Social Media is the biggest babe I've looked up to since I started my IG, she was the first fitness model I started following and feel SO very blessed to have met her more than a few times and call her a friend is Sophie Guidolin. She has come so far in her life, and our recent bond over our twin pregnancies was truly amazing. Sophie reached out to me while I was on 12 week hospital bed rest so often to check up on me and I was her inspiration during her twin pregnancy. Since then we have trained together and our gorgeous girls have had a play date. She is truly amazing! Love you Sophie x
Q7. Do you have a favourite exercise?
I do have a couple! I love chin ups! Only because I couldn’t even do half of one and now smashing out 8 and wanting to increase to 12 by December!! Then comes Squats and Deadlifts!
Q8. What’s your favourite recipe to meal prep?
I absolutely loved the Green Bean Chicken Stir fry recipe on the Maxine's Site. So easy, so tasty and really took away the cravings for spaghetti especially if you put some Zoodles into it to! Second favourite was the Beef Winter Soup, I've made so much of that and it’s a real winner with the family!
Q9. What advice would you give to someone wanting to make a big change to their health and fitness?
Go get it! Stop thinking about it and go!!! For those getting back into it will know the basics and just need to start from scratch again, yes it HURTS like hell but it's worth it and you know how rewarding it is. For those just starting out, GO FOR IT! Look into local gyms, they have crèches, classes, and book in with a PT to demonstrate to you technique. It's so addictive once you start and then you start seeing results you will just keep going. You can't eat healthy for a week and expect abs, trust me it doesn’t work! It's pure long hard commitment. Even in 12 weeks you can’t achieve everything, your cravings for sugar don’t vanish, you’re going to eat birthday cake again, or have a champagne or two… but it's about balance and lifestyle. You eat rubbish and don’t train? You feel like rubbish! You eat a well-balanced diet and train, you will feel AMAZING!'
Q10. What does the future hold for you? Do things like competing, fitness modelling, or becoming a PT interest you?
The big question… I would love to compete in a fitness competition or four that has been a dream since my first Maxine’s challenge! I was asked why I haven’t done so already and well truly I'm not ready. I've lost 10kg and look amazing and super happy but I'm not stage ready. I'm not confident enough to walk up there and strut my stuff, there is a lot to learn about posing I have no idea where to begin with that sooooo although I'm not currently in comp prep...I am! I have a coach and we are working towards gaining muscle and maintaining my current shape. So watch out 2018 I will rock a stage or two and bring a better, stronger and confident body on that stage!!!
I also do want to stay in this industry not just for training but for me, but I love love love inspiring others so looking into the PT world but not your everyday PT. I want to learn a lot about nutrtion and the science behind it all I find that truly fascinating. We shouldn’t be afraid of foods and to eat certain foods, so I want to make women and men out there be confident to eat, train and live a healthy happy life!
Thanks for reading x
Do you know someone in the fitness game who is super motivating and inspiring?
Or perhaps you would like your gym or fitness class road tested?
To be featured in an upcoming blog, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org