23W Spotlight: Michaela Woolf

By Ange

Modern day motherhood looks very different to our grandmothers… In this Instagram age of perfection, mums are under increasing pressure to do it all, make it look effortless and look fabulous at the same time.

When it comes to finding time for fitness and exercise amongst the myriad of other expectations, mum guilt is real!

Starting, finding time and putting yourself out there  can be HARD.

We are so honoured to be able to share Michaela’s journey as she celebrates her achievements and realisation that success comes in different forms and progress goes beyond your magical scale weight.

How long have you been working with 23W?

15 months.
What got you started on this journey?
Low self esteem and loss of self identity after having my children (Hudson 3, Twins – Mila and Scarlett 2)
What was your biggest challenge(s) at the start?
First challenge was being afraid of starting – I was worried I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough. Hind sight hey?! The Mum’s and bub’s program is tailored to ALL fitness levels. Second challenge was finding the time within my (the kids) routine to get out of the house and train. Having the Mum’s and Bub’s program (and Jenny) made this possible. Even as the kids routines change I have managed to make it work. And my final challenge which I still sometimes face is the guilt. The guilt of doing something completely for me. It made me feel selfish at times. But what I have since learnt is that you really can’t pour from an empty glass.
What was your goal?
To get back to my pre baby weight.
What result did you achieve?
I’m still 2-3kg off my pre baby scale weight but what I’ve learnt is that the scale weight is not the be all and end all. It is about how you feel, how well you move, how much energy you have, how your clothes fit, your confidence, how you look….list goes on.
How have you changed?
I’m learning to deal with my body confidence issues. I’m learning to accept that my body now (3 kids later) is not the same as the one I had in my mid 20’s. I’ve learnt to love exercise. I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined I would love training as much as I do now. It is my out for everything. My me time.
What were your biggest challenges going though the process?
My battle with calorie counting and deficits. I become obsessive. I become flat/moody/angry. With 3 young children my priority – I can’t afford to be this person at the moment. I’ve learnt that intuitive eating is better suited to me. I’m by no means perfect but I’m willing to compromise those few extra kg’s and that little bit of body fat as a result. I’m still conscious of protein and calorie intake but I don’t obsess over it. I am however very conscious of ensuring I’m moving my body throughout the day. I’m learning to push myself in the gym – to lift heavier – to move faster – to move better.
What were your learnings?
That lifting weights and eating a high protein diet will not bulk you up. That straight cardio and traditional dieting is not a sustainable weight loss mechanism for me. I lose motivation, drive and it becomes a chore not to mention the burn out. I’ve found a balance that works for me. I love lifting, I love boxing, I love HIIT and I love eating.
How would you describe your journey?
A slow roller coaster full of lots of ups and downs. Over time through patience and consistency I have come to the realisation that this is not a short term goal for me this is a long time commitment to my health – both mentally and physically. Who knows maybe in a year I will have shed those couple of kg’s?!
What was it like working with the 23W and the other girls in the community?
I don’t think I can put in words how grateful I am for the 23W team and community. After suffering pre/PND they brought me back. They helped me feel like me again. I found myself. They are such an inspiring and motivational bunch of women. They have guided me through so many challenges within my daily life.
What is next for you?
Keep doing what I’m doing. I want to remain consistent and continue to enjoy exercise in the manner that I do. I can’t wait to get back into the gym post ISO life but in the interim I’ll just keep training online at home
Is there anything that you really want to say?
Thank you Ange for creating 23W. Your dreams have helped me in more ways than one. You are such an inspiration. And thank you Lucy for pushing me to join. I never would have found this space (or possibly even me) without this community.
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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