What is a Mamalete?

Mamalete: A mother. An athlete. Inspiring her family through the goals she sets and achieves.

After reading posts from the blog Run Gia Run, I discovered a little video link on her blog, describing and outlining the definition above, and how active moms are influencing their children to always go for your goals, even if they may seem daunting. The idea came to me to interview a Mamalete.  An individual who lives an active life and is setting a strong example to her children. Melanie Banner immediately came to mind over at http://www.happybeinghealthy.com. She embodies the above definition of what a Mamalete is. Melanie is crazy-busy raising her five children, but manages to make exercising a major priority in her life and makes the time to fit in fitness, although she has so many commitments. Between cooking mouth-watering recipes which she shares on her blog, dance lessons, soccer lessons, story time and bedtime routines, drop-offs and picks ups from preschool and elementary schools, baking insane amount of treats for her church and community, and working out hard at her gym, Melanie manages to do all this with a smile on her lovely face. Recently, Melanie revealed to her readers that she is expecting baby number six!  Judging from her time-management skills, support from her husband Kevin and love for family, I get the feeling she will still be able fit in fitness in her life….all while baking cookies for the PTA, and cleaning her house simultaneously. I asked Melanie a few questions about her time-management tips in hopes of helping those busy mamas who want to include working out in their lives, but feel there is never enough time.

Me: Hi Melanie. First, congratulations on your new addition. Do you plan to continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy?

Melanie:  Thanks so much!  Yes, my hope is to stay active throughout the entire pregnancy.  I took a few weeks off at the beginning of the pregnancy because I was so sick, but now that I’m feeling better again (yay!) I’ve been trying to exercise regularly.

Me: How do you think your passion for keeping fit has positively affected your children’s lives?

Melanie:  My children sometimes moan and groan when I encourage them to eat healthily or introduce them to my newest “healthy creation,” but I know deep down they are grateful.  My older kids often ask my opinion about different healthy or not-so-healthy food choices and they’ve even come up with some of their own “healthy creations!”  My littlest kids also get so excited to eat fruits, veggies and drink water because it will make them “strong and healthy!”

I also love to exercise with my kids.  They love to go on runs with me or ride their bikes while I run.  I encourage my kids to be active and to keep their bodies strong and healthy.

Me: Life is so busy, especially when commitments of parenthood are a priority. How do you schedule your workouts when you are always so busy with your family?

Melanie: Life IS so busy and I’ve learned I definitely have to prioritize.  I know I HAVE to make my workouts a priority or they just won’t happen.  I could find a really good excuse every single day why I can’t exercise.  There are always so many other things that have to be done.

At the beginning of each week, I like to look at my schedule and decide when I’m going to exercise.  I schedule it on my calendar and then I stick with it just like I would any other appointment.  Once I’ve “officially” scheduled a workout, it almost always happens.

Me: I recently saw the photo of you and your middle son working out together. Do your other children join in too?

Melanie:  My 10-year-old middle son is definitely my most active child.  He really enjoys running or riding his bike with me.  He also likes to run on the treadmill and lift weights (he lifts very light weights) with me at home.

My other kids like to exercise with me too, just not as often.  We like to go on family bike rides together or go to a field or playground and run around.  I used to push my two youngest kids in the jogger and then stop at the park on the way home and play for a bit.  They LOVED that, but they are too big for the jogger now.  Sigh.

Me: I know that you are pretty strict and dedicated to clean eating. How do you stay so strong when baking all those yummy treats and cakes for birthdays parties and family gatherings?

Melanie:  It is SO HARD and there are plenty of times when I’m not strong and I enjoy a bunch of treats.  However, I’ve learned that eating well and sticking with a healthy diet is 95% mental!  I like to set clear and concise goals and then make sure I stick to them.  Once my mind is made up and a clear goal is defined, it’s much easier to resist tempting food and treats.  I’ve also learned to not let myself get too hungry.  If I’m hungry and tempting food is around, I fall apart.

I still allow for my favorite foods and treats sometimes, but they are definitely not a part of my everyday life.

Me:  What kind of suggestions would you have for a mom who is feeling over-whelmed with a hectic schedule?

Melanie: I can definitely relate to feeling overwhelmed!  Whenever I feel stressed out or when life gets too hectic, it really helps me to write things down.  I love to write out my goals and my to-do lists.  I also like to evaluate my life from time to time and cut things as necessary.  I’ve definitely learned to say “no” and to “pick and choose” the things I’m going to do in my life.

There are always a million things I wish I could do, but I’ve just learned to do the things that are most important and let the other things slide. 

Me: Thank-you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. I think that you would inspire moms everywhere and you’re a Mamalete extraordinaire! I am not a parent, however I truly believe that it is the hardest job on earth.

The Banner clan gets colourful. Before and after the Colour Run. Love it! 

Our family before and after The Color Run(3)To find recipes, workouts and general musings of a fit mom who is always on the go, be sure to head on over and visit Melanie at www.happybeinghealthy.com

Resource cited: Visit http://www.rungiarun.com/mamalete/to find out more about the Mamalete movement and learn how busy moms are taking control of their health and well being while inspiring their families.


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