In our series Fit Chicks, we chat with female fitness bloggers and trainers from all over the country. Equipped with their collective experience, expertise and practical tips, you’ll be happy to know that a healthier lifestyle is right around the corner.
Name: Caroline Foster, 28
Business/Blog: Fit for His Glory
Location: Nashville, TN
Caroline Foster fell in love with being active in high school and has been mastering workout videos ever since. As a marketing manager of Red Bull Energy Drink, a new mom, and a business owner, Foster stays busy and tries to find the balance in all of these commitments while still having complete joy. Paste Health talked with Foster specifically about how motherhood impacts health and fitness.
You say on your site that you’ve loved working out since high school. Can you talk a little bit about that journey?
Caroline Foster: I can’t get the conversation out my head the time my mom said, in the most loving way possible, “You’re gaining some weight.” It was my junior or senior year of high school and I was getting a bit older and I started gaining some weight. Probably too many cokes at school and unhealthy cookies. In high school you don’t really care what you’re putting into your body or think about it all the time. Even though we ate really healthy at home, I would go to school and eat whatever I wanted. My mom suggested maybe walking on the treadmill. I kind of did that for a bit and then when I graduated from high school, I had this mindset of, “I’m not going to go to college and gain the Freshmen 15.” I started going to Curves, which is funny because it’s a gym geared towards older women because it’s pretty low impact. But it was perfect for me in that stage of life and my grandmother went there, so I decided to just go with her. There’s no one way to get healthy and fit. There have been different seasons where different things have worked for me and from starting off going to Curves, to doing printable workouts off the internet, then I started going to Gold’s Gym and doing group classes there. Now I work out at home every day. During that time is when I started to develop passion for fitness and learned what worked for my body. Everyone’s body is a little different and going to react differently to different things.
Describe the moment you decided you wanted to start “Fit for His Glory.”
CF: When I started Fit for His Glory, I was about a year into my marriage. During the season of being engaged, it was kind of an unhealthy season for me in terms of how I looked at myself and compared myself to others. I got really obsessed with this “I want to be skinny” mentality. At the time, I was following a lot of Instagram accounts and I was just comparing myself to those people. So I lost a lot of weight and was probably the smallest I’ve ever been; but what I realized was that I was really unhealthy on the inside. I was so consumed with looking a certain way that I would pretty much do whatever I needed to do lose the weight. I was counting calories like crazy, and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just became consumed with it because I wanted to look a certain way on my wedding day. So the second I got married and started eating normally again, what happened? I gained the weight back. It was during that season after getting married and having this “aha” moment of, “Caroline, you’re so obsessed with how you look and not wanting to be healthy.”
I read “The Daniel Plan” by Rick Warren and that was life changing for me, that one and “Made to Crave” by Lisa TerKeurst. They’re both incredible books. It was the first time I realized that God’s word has something to say about being fit and healthy and I want to do it to be a good steward of my body and be healthier to do whatever God has called me to do, whether that’s taking care of my family better or doing my job better. I don’t want my health to ever keep me from being able to do something. It was a mind shift for me. It was an “aha” moment of saying, “I want to work out and be healthy because I want to be the healthiest version of myself, not just be skinny.” From that, it snowballed into wanting to start a blog and Fit for His Glory was born from that. The biggest thing for me was that I didn’t see a lot of people speaking truth when it comes to health and fitness. I saw a lot of compartmentalizing things—fitness over here but they didn’t see how it affected all the other parts of their life. I wanted to be a real outlet that spoke truth to them that was authentic, not just persona of being perfect. The goal is to help people get fit and healthy but bring glory to God in that.
You’re not only focused on helping women grow physically and spiritually, but also grow in their businesses. Can you talk a little bit about Team Equip and why this “mompreneur” idea is important to you?
CF: When I launched Fit for His glory…I love fitness, but I love women. I love community and love seeing women soar, achieve whatever it is they want to achieve and just have freedom in their life. Through my experience working full time in marketing, then my husband and I having started a few companies, there have been a lot of key learnings for me that I love to share with people. I try to be very open and honest about my business in every aspect of it. Team Equip is made up of 35 other fitness coaches, and I basically just get their fitness businesses going. The purpose is a duplication effect. I can only work with a certain amount of people because I want to help people get real results, so I can’t take on 50 people at one time—10-15 is my sweet spot. That’s a way for me to train them and help them run their own fitness business and kind of go and do what I’m doing. It’s that effect of helping them help more and more people.
Team Equip is made up of women who are really similar to me. I’m a firm believer that if I’m going to bring someone onto my team, I need to be able to work with them in every aspect. They have the same goal of pointing people to Jesus and sharpening one another, and that’s what we’re all about. We’re constantly having trainings. I’m teaching them everything I know and I’m learning. There’s no comparison. It’s all about cheering each other on because we ultimately all have the same goal. I’m really passionate about seeing women succeed and cheering each other on. I have my business basics tab on my website where I do posts about things I’m trying because I think it’s cool to be real and authentic. So many people have done that for me and I just want to pay it forward.
You obviously just had a little baby girl, she’s so cute! How did you maintain a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy?
CF: I went into being pregnant thinking, “I’m going to be so fit and not gain a ton of weight.” While some of it remains true, I didn’t miss one work out from being pregnant. I still worked out five days a week. I had my typical rest days, but I didn’t miss one workout. That was honestly huge for me. Sometimes it’s really easy when you’re pregnant or especially having morning sickness to say, “Oh I feel bad so I’m not going to workout,” but when you start saying that, the more workouts you miss, the harder it is to come back. I always say don’t miss more than two days because after two days of not working out, it’s harder to come back after three. But for me, that was huge and I stayed on top of it. I listened to my body. When I was really tired that day or felt sick, I might not do some hard-core cardio. But I kept moving and that was key for me.
Now that I’ve gone through pregnancy—that was my first baby so I had no idea what was going to happen—my post-partum results have gone so much quicker than I thought they would. I still have a long way to go, but considering it’s only been three months since I was released to work out, it’s come off a lot quicker than I thought. I believe that staying fit and healthy and working out really helped me. Another aspect to that is that I gained a lot more weight than I thought I was going to. I was eating healthy, I was doing the same things, but my body just needed the weight for whatever reason. That was a big learning experience for me: let your body do what it needs to do. You don’t need to have this body shame because you are carrying a child. I see so many women doing that, like, “Oh my gosh, I gained 25 pounds.” I ended gaining 45 pounds! My goal was not to gain more than 25 pounds, I think. I could have starved myself and I would have gained weight. Just listen to your body and keep moving and eat healthy. Remember you’re caring for a child, your body will change, it’s not going to look the same anymore, but it’s worth it.
What have been some challenges and rewards as you continue living a healthy lifestyle post-pregnancy?
CF: Since being pregnant, it’s been cool because since I lost the initial weight in college, I’ve never really struggled with getting the weight off. I better understand moms and better understand what that’s like of trying to get the weight off, because it’s hard. You’re so busy, and if you’re working and have a family, it’s hard to be fit and healthy. When you’re staying at home or maybe doing fitness full time, it’s a lot easier. Sometimes I think we forget that it does require sacrifice and it does require consistency. I’m not into quick fixes, like dropping five pounds in one week and then gaining it right back. The best results come over time when you’re consistent and disciplined. There’s so many things we can learn about ourselves through that, as well. Breast feeding has definitely helped with losing that initial weight. I only have about four more pounds to go before I get back to the pre-pregnancy weight. One of the challenges is that your body does look a lot different. I’ve got really hangy skin on my stomach and all these stretch marks. But I have to go back to what it’s about. Is this about how I want to look in a swimsuit, or is this about wanting to be healthy and run around and chase my daughter? It’s about keeping those things in check and not letting yourself get so consumed by what you see in the mirror, but remembering while you’re working out that you carried a child for nine months, so it’s probably going to take nine months to get it off and get yourself back to where you were. Give yourself grace.
You’ve got lots of yummy recipes on your website. Do you have a favorite?
CF: There’s a summer smoothie that I drink every single day. I fell in love with it last summer and drank it all winter even though I called it the Summer Smoothie. It’s so good and it’s got blueberries and Greek yogurt. It’s so yummy and it’s packed with lots of nutrients and I have it every morning. It’s a good way to start my day and it gives me protein and tons of superfoods. My body is getting what it needs, and then hopefully I won’t have these weird cravings throughout the day for things I don’t need.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for new moms who want to start living a healthy lifestyle, whether that’s trying to pick up where they left off pre-pregnancy or trying it for the first time, but are a little overwhelmed to do it?
CF: Number one, just start moving. Just start doing something, even if it’s pushing your child in a stroller around the neighborhood. Make fitness fun. You’re not going to do something every day that you hate doing. You want fitness to bring joy to your life, not something that makes you miserable. Obviously there’s going to be times where you have to push yourself and you’re going to be thinking, “Ugh, this is horrible” but it still needs to be something you enjoy. Just start off walking around with your family. I love that because, side note, men love to talk shoulder-to-shoulder. So if you want to have a great conversation with your husband, go on a walk. We love walks because it’s a time for us to put our phones down, breathe in some clean oxygen, and enjoy each other. My second thing is to find your soulmate work out that that you look forward to—not something you dread. My third thing is find something that fits into your lifestyle and your season of life. For me right now, working out at home and doing workout videos is what works for me. Right now I’m doing a workout called T25, which is a 25-minute workout that I love because it’s easy, I can do it, get it done during nap time and I’ve still got an hour and a half of nap time where I can get other stuff done. I love going to the gym and taking classes and want to go back to teaching classes again. But right now, I know I’m in this season and embracing it. Find what works for you.
What are some of your goals for this year?
CF: A big goal for me is to feel the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever felt. That’s not something I’m looking to do in two or three months, but if by the end of year I could say I feel that way and my body feels that way, that would be awesome. I’m not putting a number on that because I don’t want to put pressure on myself to look a certain way. Ultimately my goal for this year is to slow down and embrace it because life goes by really fast. Once you have kids, you really realize that. I’m sure moms reading this can totally relate. There’s this song my friend Steve Moakler wrote called Wheels, and he basically says in it that life’s just a set a of wheels and it’s just spinning by. That’s how I feel in a lot of ways. While I want to be fit and healthy and take care of myself, I don’t want it to consume my life. I want to be able to enjoy it and embrace it. Just enjoying this first year of motherhood is really important to me.
McGee Nall is a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia. She was probably eating Nilla wafers and Nutella while writing this.