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Mother's Day Featuring Bonnie From Coach's Oats

Bonnie aka Mrs. Coach.
Happy Mother's Day everyone! Today I'd like to feature a fit mom that inspires me. 
We all know how hard it can be to balance our busy lives with our health and fitness. I think that Bonnie aka Mrs. Coach's Oats does an amazing job at this.

Bonnie has always made fitness an important part of her life. As a teenager she competed in gymnastics and swimming as well as worked out on a regular basis. In college she competed in swimming and was also in the dance program at University of Illinois. She even ran a marathon less than 6 months after finishing collegiate swimming. Amazing. She then continued this active lifestyle throughout her adult life, even after kids. We all know how tough that can be. Bonnie competed in triathlons until she got pregnant with her oldest son Nolan.  After having her second son Calvin she began teaching pilates and spin classes. The part of her fitness story that amazes me most is that Bonnie began competing in fitness and figure competitions after turning 38 and went back to competitive swimming at 43. So inspiring. It really says to me that we can do anything we set our minds to!
Today Bonnie continues to teach fitness classes plus train and compete in swimming. She also teaches core training with high school swimmers. She's a full time mom who helps run a growing business, Coach's Oats. I've asked Bonnie to talk a little with me about how she balances it all:

"Fitness has always been a part of my lifestyle.  As a teenager, I enjoyed
working out regularly and trying different athletic activities. Since Nolan
and Calvin were born, balancing work, marriage, motherhood and training has
been a challenge. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a supportive family
and flexible work schedule. I also believe that demonstrating healthy habits
are important to our children. Our sons are physically active (competitive
swimming) and eat a proper diet to obtain their much needed nutrition.
Exercise not only keeps my body strong, it also provides time to relieve
stress so I can have better focus and energy when facing the demands of
family and work."

You mentioned exercise as stress relief. Running is absolutely my therapy...what is your favorite workout when you're feeling stressed?

"Exercise has always been a stress relief for me. My husband will attest that I'm much calmer and easier to live with when exercising regularly. I really don't have one favorite workout to relieve stress. I try to keep my fitness routines fun so working out is something I always look forward to and not just another task to complete in an already crazy day. Often I implement different exercises, equipment etc. to mix things up. Training to music is very motivating so I'm continuously putting together new playlists for my ipod. Often I look forward to a stress relieving run because it will be an uninterrupted opportunity to get my heart rate up and listen to my new tunes. While working out alone is enjoyable, I also look forward to the social aspect of exercising. Over the years, I have developed wonderful friendships at Meridian Health Club where I teach and FAST Masters Swim Team. I also coach core training for the teenagers a FAST Swim team. The talent and drive of these young athletes is quite inspiring. Having people around you that are motivating is so important. All these attributes of fitness can keep you energized."

You're busy, like all moms these days, what are your strategies for fitting fitness and healthy eating into your hectic schedule?

"Fortunately I am blessed with a supportive husband that allows me the flexibility to fit training into a hectic schedule. Three mornings a week I train with FAST Masters Swim Team at 6am. By 7am, my workout is over and I can face the day. Teaching classes keeps me accountable to staying fit and makes exercise a part of my weekly routine. Other times throughout the week, I may squeeze in a run or some other type of cardio. I prefer exercising early and continuing on with the day without worrying about how to squeeze in another activity. Everyone has to make their schedules work for themselves."

A lot of moms struggle with getting their kids to eat healthy, do you have any favorite family friendly recipes you can share?

"As for recipes, well.... Coach's Oats of course! Actually, my family would chuckle if they knew someone was asking me for recipes. I love cooking for my family but we eat very healthy and basic. My sons have swim team practice everyday until 7pm so dinner consists of simple healthy meals prepared quickly and easily. I don't buy junk so it is easy for my family to maintain a balanced diet because for the most part, there are only healthy choices at our home.

Remember moms, you are setting an example for your children. Stay focused and your family will watch you demonstrate how fitness can keep your outlook on life positive and balanced. I also recommend setting realistic goals. Every year I set new challenges for myself whether it be competing at a Masters Swim Meet, Ocean Swim 10K, triathlon or whatever. Your family will watch you how you set goals, train and achieve your mission. Keep up the great work!"

Thanks Bonnie! You completely inspire me.