Ready to claim her pre-baby body back, Fitmark Ambassador Stephanie Cole got hooked on lifting weights once she got over the intimidating free-weight section! (We’ve all been there.) But the challenge was just what she needed to stay committed. Now she’s rocking her own business and looking forward to her next competition.
Fitness has always played a major part in Stephanie’s life and she’s no stranger to training and competition. She told us:
Fitness began at an early age for me, and has been a lifelong love. I was a D1 sprinter, a cheerleader in high school and after college I discovered yoga, which quickly became another component of my fitness lifestyle and continued through both of my pregnancies with my sons.
As a new mom at the time, Stephanie had new priorities and working out took a backseat for a while, quickly followed by motivation! She told us:
When my youngest was a few months old, though, I realized that I needed a change. While I was eating very well, I was also in the trenches of momhood – spending too many days in yoga pants (sans the yoga), not sleeping nearly enough, and I hadn’t lifted a weight in ages. I was proud of what my body had done, but I was ready to reclaim it for myself.
It’s one thing to make the decision to get your pre-baby body back, but it’s quite another thing to actually put it into practice. Stephanie found a way. She told us:
I’m the type who needs motivation, and paying money for a gym membership was motivation enough to force me to actually go. I started venturing further away from the ellipticals and closer to the free weights. Talk about intimidating! Once I got over the fear of looking weak or silly, I started to really love lifting. It became a challenge for me, and I began to feel like my old, athletic self.
From Motherhood to Stage Sparkle
Lifting weights and getting back into the gym was the spark Stephanie needed. But always an athlete at heart, she wanted to push herself to the next level. She told us:
About 10 months in, I needed a new challenge, so I hired a coach and entered an NPC bikini competition. After only 7 weeks of prep, I strutted that sparkly bikini across the stage and managed to place in the Top 5. From that point on, I had a renewed sense of encouragement and drive. I plan to compete again later this fall, and plan to work toward an IFBB pro card in the coming years.
Bitten by the Fitness Bug
With a degree in pre-med biology and a passion for physiology, Stephanie is “in the middle of obtaining her NASM certification.” She told us:
Whether I choose to train or coach in the future is undecided, but I want to gain a greater understanding of how my training affects my body and how to improve my progress.
It’s this passion that has driven Stephanie to her next challenge with the recent launch of her website @ stephcole.com – just a girl trying to balance fitness, nutrition, kids and a sparkly bikini! She told us:
I run my own print company but am also a full-time editor (my dream job), so that was an obvious segue into starting my own blog – I plan to publish workouts, recipes, nutrition tips, and more, as a free resource for others who are interested in how to balance fitness with their everyday life.
Single Mom Meal Prep
Some of those nutrition tips will feature meal prep, naturally! – but from a single mom’s point of view. Here’s some meal prep advice that Steph shared with us:
Meal prep is so important to keeping on track. As a single mom, business owner, employee, and fitness aficionado, I know full-well how easy it is to get caught up in the day and grab the nearest snack on your way out the door. Something as simple as prepping your meals each Sunday night can transform your progress entirely. If you have the time, you can make elaborate meals in bulk — if you’re short on availability, just grill some chicken (or cook it in the crockpot) and steam some veggies. That way, you can use those to create a fun salad or wrap for lunch when you have the time, or just make a simple meal of chicken and broccoli when you’re running out the door. I use my Fitmark containers to have portioned meals at the ready in my fridge… I simply grab one and go! If I’m going to be out of the house for hours, I’ll pack a few meals, a protein bar, and maybe a banana, toss it all in my Fitmark Shield bag, and it stays fresh all day. There’s no excuse.
Fitmark is with me everywhere I go. I use my Shield to carry my meals (and often, my kids’ meals!) in refrigerated style. The pockets are super convenient, and it holds everything I need for a day out. I recently used it to travel back home, and the suitcase strap made life SO much easier — I packed all of our food for the entire day of flights, snacks, and even water bottles, slipped it onto my suitcase handle, and we didn’t have to settle for unhealthy, overpriced airline food.
My Transporter Duffel has been my everyday gym bag for the last year, and I love it. It has enough pockets to separate my stuff, a huge interior for a change of clothes and my gear, a removable meal/cooler bag if I have a long training session planned, and even a nifty shoe bag (which comes in handy a lot. I can’t stand for dirty tennis shoes to touch my clothes!). Fitmark makes my fit lifestyle so much easier.
Memories are more important than macros
While Steph is committed to her fitness and nutrition routine, she makes allowances for some of life’s memorable moments. She says:
Occasionally, you’ll destroy your diet by enjoying a family meal out (with dessert!) Sometimes, your kid’s soccer game will win out over an hour at the gym. And you know what? That’s a good thing. We all have goals, and we should be working hard every day to meet them. But don’t lose sight of the really important stuff in the process.
Thirty years from now, your Instagram post won’t matter– the memories will be of sharing a piece of pie and coffee with your grandma, or skipping cardio to snuggle up and watch Saturday morning cartoons with your kid. That’s the really good stuff. The key is balance. You can’t expect to lose weight if you’re grabbing doughnuts with friends every week, and you can’t skip the gym every time there’s a chance. But if you kick your butt in the gym each day and stick to your diet, you can take advantage of those special occasions and still reach your goals.
You can find Fitmark Ambassador Stephanie Cole on Instagram @stephcolefitness
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team