Fitness guru, former Miss Universe contestant and mama of one, Chontel Duncan, is on a mission to help mamas find their fitness mojo.
Known as the ultimate ‘transformation specialist’, Chontel is the founder of HIIT Australia and reveals why looking after your mind, body and soul as a mama should be a priority.
Who is Chontel?
I am a carefree and fun-loving mama. I enjoy helping others, pushing myself and being a realist.
What inspired you to begin fitness training and helping others?
I started to get into fitness and health when I was younger, and loved seeing the results. As I trained more, it felt natural for me to give guidance to those looking for advice, and so I started training others. I love it. The return I receive in helping change someone’s health is remarkable. The life I am living feels like a dream come true.
How do you approach fitness for modern mamas?
When you become a mum, your focus automatically turns to your baby, and you can end up putting so much time and attention into making sure everyone around you is cared for that you can end up neglecting your own needs. I believe modern mums need time to themselves, and fitness is a part of that. When you complete a fitness session there’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment, with the benefits knocking on to everyday life.
What do you love most about training others?
I love to see everyone succeed – this motivates me every day.
What’s your mission in life?
To forever do good in the world. I know I can’t change the world, but if I can make a living from helping people, I will feel extremely satisfied with my actions.
You juggle your business with being a mum to Jeremiah. How do you manage that?
Every day is different when you have a baby, and this is something that initially took me a while to accept. The second I accepted it however, I found balance and structure, and felt like I could juggle everything so much better.
How has motherhood changed your life?
Before motherhood, life was full of time to do things whenever I wanted. But now with a little one, it’s all about preparation, planning and management of time. I never get home from work and sit down, or go and have a shower. I get home, do multiple trips back and forth from the car, cook Jeremiah’s food, run the bath, settle him to sleep, pack his things and my things for the following day, clean, check my branch reports for the day, cook myself dinner… the list goes on!
You are in great shape! What is the secret to your success?
I make fitness and health my priority. Without exercise and good nutrition I don’t feel myself – I don’t sleep well, I have very little energy, I’m not patient and I’m not as positive as I am when I am looking after myself.
Is there ever a time when you don’t feel like training? And if so, how do you motivate yourself to get going?
Yes, I have ‘meh’ moments! I quickly snap out of them however because there is no way I can manage a business, team, clients and my family feeling that way. Even though some sessions may not feel as amazing, or my head may not be in the right space, I know that I’d rather be in the gym then feeling ‘meh’ on the couch.
Have there been any key turning points in your life, or things that have shaped you?
Having an unhealthy lifestyle growing up has created my big push towards my fitness goals today. Seeing what bad environments, drugs and a poor attitude does to people has me running in the opposite direction.
Do you think the messaging surrounding body image needs to change? If so, how?
Yes, I think that society tends to judge a book by its cover far too easily today. ‘Healthy’ isn’t abs, great biceps and a 10kms run. Healthy is feeling positive, eating a variety of foods, moving your body and possessing inner confidence. I still see and hear people having unrealistic, unhealthy goals. But I make sure in my training that I lead by example.
What’s your number one fitness trick?
Be your own motivation and inspiration. Otherwise you can beat yourself up when you see others achieve things.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what have you learnt from it?
I chose to fall pregnant at one of the busiest times of my career, but I have learnt that life is better when you are at your busiest!
Biggest piece of motherhood advice?
Follow your instincts. No one knows how to parent your baby better than you. Listen to everyone else’s advice, but only take in what works for you.
Top fitness tips for new mamas
1 // STAY ACTIVE
Get outside and walk with your baby the second the doctor says you can. Fresh air for baby and mummy is SO beneficial. Pushing a pram up and down hills is hard work and is great to get blood pumping through the body.
2 // PREP YOUR MEALS
Prep your meals for the week. As a new mum you will run short of time FAST and therefore meals can soon become unhealthy snacks.
3 // AIM FOR STRENGTH
Aim to get strong, not fit. Strength is what I found I lacked after having Jeremiah, and when I felt it coming back it was the most empowering feeling.