23W Spotlight: Debbie Lever

By Ange

Want to know what most new mums want?

A full night’s sleep, a large coffee and to be surrounded by a group of other women who get them!

Unfortunately, we can not do much about the first wish, but 23W is about creating a training environment where new mums can feel strong, empowered and supported through the new demands of motherhood. We employ a shared care nanny during all MOM times to ensure mums can focus on their training and time to move. 

The incredible Debbie joined 23W as we moved out of lockdown and was our Spring 2020 challenge winner. We are so honoured to be able to share Debbie’s postpartum story…

How long have you been working with 23W?

4 months.
What got you started on this journey?
After the birth of my baby, I wanted to get back in to exercise safely and building a strong foundation again. I have been casually doing pole dance over the last five years, and post birth want to build my strength back before getting back in to dancing as well.
What was your biggest challenge(s) at the start?
Mentally, being able to put my health and wellbeing first before my bubba for a few hours a week – ‘The Mum Guilt’, and then physically getting used to a body that moves and feels very different post partum
What was your goal?
To feel confident (and fit) my bikini at the beach again! I also wanted to be able to do 10 push ups.
What result did you achieve?
I gained 1.2KG of muscle and lost over 8 kg of fat over the challenge time, but more importantly I have dropped a pants size, and fit my bikini again, and am up to 8 pushups on my toes
How have you changed?
I am already stronger in my upper and lower body before pregnancy based on my lifts and feel much more confident in wearing clothing other than baggy tshirts and tights again.
What were your biggest challenges going though the process?
Getting enough sleep, and getting enough protein. My darling baby was going through a rough sleeping period so my sleep was very broken. I also learnt about macros and flexible dieting, and changing my meals around to have higher protein portions at breakfast to keep me satiated through the day. The other challenge was environmental, due to COVID lockdowns, very few people had met my baby, so lots of social events were on the cards, which i learnt to preplan calories for. I love that the Mum classes removed the barrier of time/daycare for me, so no excuses!
What were your learnings?
Consistency is key. Planning for ‘breaks’ was also really useful to avoid any feelings of guilt. I am also a much happier and healthier person already, which makes me a more resilient and engaged mum too! I used the challenge planner a lot to set SMART goals and micro wins/rewards too.
How would you describe your journey?
I feel as though my efforts to be consistent have been rewarded, as this is the most success I have had with fat loss in over 5 years despite training with a Personal trainer in a commercial gym previously. We are also a few weeks past Christmas and my scale weight has dropped further so I know the programme works and will be successful long term!
What was it like working with the 23W and the other girls in the community?
I wish I had found 23w sooner! This is the first place I’ve felt confident and safe attempting a chin up in my life! The other girls are all so motivating, and I love that we all encourage each other to lift heavier or go harder when needed. I also really like that I can go at my own pace through work outs whilst still being pushed and the trainers proactively provide postnatal alternatives. One of the struggles I have had in the past with group training is being too intimidated to ask for an alternative exercise so I just stopped going. I love knowing that my baby is looked after by the amazing nanny when I exercise and that if I have limited mental energy, I don’t need to remember a work out or my weights for heavy lifts as its all recorded. I’m also always learning from the coaches new ways to target the same muscle groups which keeps the group classes interesting.
What is next for you?
As I want to start dancing again, I would like to reduce my scale weight further (as its all body weight lifting), and be able to do an unassisted chip up!
Is there anything that you really want to say?
Thank you so much for creating such a welcoming space with so many opportunities to learn, and feel body positive again!
If you are a busy mum get in touch! Our mums on the move trial pass is incredible value; $29 for the week which included our shared care nanny!

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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