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  • Ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all age. Welcome to the get up and

  • dad podcast. The show where we interview interesting parents doing interesting

  • things. This could be anything from a super duper

  • tech dad to busy business mommy blogger.

  • Today on the show we have the amazing Zara Dawson. Who is Zara Dawson? She is

  • competitive female bodybuilder, two times Northern Ireland competition winner,

  • she's a fitness biomechanics trainer, she has setup and run her own fitness

  • club but most importantly she's a mum. So Zara, thanks for joining us on the show.

  • Can you first of all start off by telling us how many kids you have and how

  • old are they? So I am the mum to one gorgeous little ginger princess.

  • She is called Amber and she is four years old.

  • Okay, I think I saw on your

  • profile you refer to her as a bit firey. She is, definitely. I know people say it comes, it's all

  • wee girls but definitely I think it's in the the redhead and there's definitely

  • like a crazy temperament. I have a redhead as well. Well, how's yours?

  • They can be angry. Very, very.

  • When your kids grow up, how do you want to tell them what you've done and what

  • you've done with your life? Well I know like myself I've, the last few years, been

  • very challenging you know so managing your own business and being a mom at the

  • same time and I think that like when Amber's older I'll be able to tell her that you

  • know that I worked very very hard to ensure that we got to the point that we

  • are at now and it's actually really kind of rewarding at times that Amber, now

  • with her being four that she's actually nearly in the understanding

  • that you go to work to make money or you know and that's why we have nice

  • nice things or you know that we've got you know a lovely home and she can have

  • nice clothes and I want her you know to truly appreciate that's everything

  • that we done was for her and even at times that you know she's maybe been

  • awk mummy, you know don't we go back to work again. Let's just stay with me

  • that I know that deep down she's saying look I know you have to go and you

  • know even though she only is four and I think with her having that mindset

  • now that when she gets a bit older she'll say look you

  • know, I know yous done what you did and that she will be

  • grateful for it. Yeah, I mean for me like I always kind of see that you

  • kind of have to lead by example because you have to make yourself happy as well

  • and show that to your kids so that when they grew up I mean they have to be

  • happy too. Yeah. That's important you know. I'd agree with you on that because

  • even, like, my actual past I actually graduated as environmental health

  • officer, not anything to do with fitness but I, you know what I mean, I wasn't actually

  • I thought I was thinking this is what I want to do you know and I think that's

  • you know as you're saying lead by example that when Amber grows up she'll be

  • like do you know what you changed and you're doing something that you're

  • really passionate about and yet was challenging but you did it for a

  • reason and it all panned out okay. Brilliant, and I mean how did that

  • transition happen from environmental health officer to fitness. Um started with

  • a degree environment health, got my first job - was working up in Newry and Mourne

  • district council, was there for a couple of years and during that

  • timeframe I started getting really into the gym and then that's when the

  • bodybuilding started to happen so while I was working I was an officer I was

  • like competing and loving being in the gym but then when I went off for

  • maternity leave with all the council's amalgamating together so they were

  • making the super councils and any temporary workers got let go and I

  • unfortunately was one of them and when I was all for her I'm

  • trying to leave I was like what am I going to do is I don't really want to go

  • back to environmental health. I don't want a nine-to-five job and at that

  • point I had done my Fitness Instructing in the year before and and I thought you

  • know I'm just gonna work in the gym. I'm gonna you know do a few hours

  • and you know means I'm gonna be at home more and and then I wasn't

  • expecting it to kind of kick off the way it did and I was very very fortunate

  • that my bodybuilding background kind of gave me the extra edge that we push that

  • all of a sudden I was just flat out and here I am for nearly four years later.

  • Brilliant, Brilliant. Can you kind of explain to me how that how that journey went

  • from bodybuilding to where you are now. I remember seeing

  • on one of your posts it was like year one. Yeah. What was that, how did that go?

  • Year one and was my husband actually, well it wasn't my husband at the time, took me

  • for a date and we went to the Ulster Hall to watch

  • one of the shows and I'm remember sitting in the audience thinkin what are these

  • people have got no clothes on but at the same time I was thinking that's amazing.

  • The following year we went to support a friend and Italy who was competing in

  • the same show but it was at the world level and that's when he proposed to me

  • then. Then the following year we're background in Northern Ireland and

  • I actually was competing and that's the first year that I won

  • and then we got married. Next thing you know 12 days later, we were having a

  • baby and it just kind of went quick so then I had her and then within nine

  • months later I was back on stage again and I regained my Northern Ireland

  • title. Where were we after that, I competed that whole year and it was a

  • hard year like I don't know I think it just felt like I wanted to prove it to

  • myself and I've done the few shows that year but she was small and then all of a

  • sudden I was like I'm done with this but lucky enough they kind of said they

  • actually like you know we'd really be interested in you coming aboard as a judge

  • so kind of the last few years I've been doing that. Awesome, brilliant. I'm like

  • what was it like going from yeah I mean when you're pregnant obviously your body

  • the way it goes I mean how difficult was it going from like from the first time

  • you want to the second time you may be one very to different experiences and

  • obviously like pre baby and your I was younger my body hadn't gone through as

  • much and even like things for like for a bodybuilding show it's about

  • obviously it's your physique, you know it's how you I well the bass that can be

  • and I had had a baby you know and my skin and everything had changed and you know

  • that, trying to get into the same shape again, even though my body had changed

  • was was so much harder but it was really strange because

  • I had never intended to compete again you know when she was I suppose she was

  • for six or seven months old. I kinda was my new found PT business

  • that like I started getting into really good shape really quickly but it was

  • because I had that on the sideline and it kinda just happened and I never, I

  • think that anyone who is trying to get into shape after having a baby it

  • wouldn't be as quicker as as natural as that because that was my job and that's

  • why I made it easier so any other lady who's maybe be thinking well how did you

  • do that so quick you know it was it was hard but I was doing you know exercise

  • and then my PT business on the side so there was like, I was doing

  • double and nearly which isn't normal or recommended really but yeah. I mean

  • no it's great to see because and for me get up and dad is almost like your

  • whole life changes in you have a baby but and you almost kind of lose

  • something but yeah for me get up and dad is kinda like you still want to keep

  • everything and still keep parts of yourself and it's great to see you've been able to do that.

  • Yeah I think people do lose identity very quickly you know so you have to like keep those wee

  • interests that you had and that's why I think I felt like I had something to prove to

  • myself and I'm glad I did it but it's behind me now. So what would you say is

  • your favourite get up and mum thing to do with the kids? What's the one

  • thing where you go you know what, tough day I'm away here. So what's funny, and

  • I look at my sister's one of those people who gets up when like

  • they're like right what are we doing? We're going for this big drive, we're doing

  • this and I go that actually just makes me tired thinking about that. We have

  • quite hectic lives, you know like I work long hours and unsociable ones and my

  • husband is self-employed as well so our house was very, you know, the business is

  • like a big drive, we actually just love how to do nothing you know so see on a

  • morning that I can say Amber is always asking right what are we doing today or

  • where am I going you know and she's checking to say well I'm going to

  • nursery today or I'm going to see nanny and I love being able to say nothing.

  • It's just me and you and she'd be like you know what are we going to do and I

  • love just being able to not have to rush out the door you know just to be able to

  • sit in our jammies you know and I can

  • sit with my coffee I me and her can sit and snuggle on the sofa while she's

  • watching one of her youtube channels that she's addicted to and I love that

  • and then if we think well she she loves going swimming

  • you know wee things like that, nothing too far away just kind of staying

  • round the house. Just spending like good quality time with like

  • the stressful push of having it right you know. I know it can be stressful

  • sometimes just trying to get somewhere on queues just this is put me over the

  • edge. So what are you highly interested in right now? What are you,

  • what's kind of interesting you're right now with like hobbies or business? Hobbies,

  • business, life, kids, anything. You know what, like it's really sad that I don't

  • actually really have any other hobbies apart from kind of work and like family.

  • There's never really a smooth there's not really a lot of time and to kind of

  • fit anything else in. I'm quite like simple that I just quite like the

  • relaxing side of things but with myself is that, I have through my whole like

  • fitness journey and with work and that going from the bodybuilding side of

  • things to where I am now, what I would be interested in mostly in is like keeping

  • myself fit and mobile you know. Being a bodybuilder I wasn't really that mobile

  • like you're really stiff and rigid. What do you mean mobile, trying to get out of the house? No, so like you lose your

  • flexibility. Okay. You know so we talk about how mobile body are around your

  • joints and like been able to comfortably do something with like something feeling

  • oh it's really tight. So I have like my body's changed and yeah I'm not in

  • the same good shape that I was in then, but I feel so much better and that would

  • be a real interest of me and I love that's why I went and done the

  • biomechanics diploma and clear because it's all like assessment of your

  • shoulders, hips, knees and feet and it's made me, like it's kind of like rebirthed

  • my ideas. Well what is exercise again what is movement and I'm always

  • sitting thinking of weird and quirky ways that like I can get people moving

  • without realising and that they're actually helping themselves, you know,

  • it's like a more fun way to do things. What do you mean like the getting them

  • to exercise without exercising? Yeah like you know like it's silly

  • things like you know getting them to rotate in a certain way or picking up

  • a ball and move it to certain places and they'll be like what's this doing it's like

  • well you're using all the functional movements that you would during the day

  • like you know when you're reaching into a cupboard or doing this and it's

  • those kind of things that we should be doing you know so before when I was doing

  • body building you were doing, you know, strict movements in a pattern that

  • probably doesn't mimic everyday life, you know, if you're pressing something up

  • above your head constantly that's not really what you do every day you kind of

  • maybe do this or across the way so it's kind of those things are really

  • interesting me at the moment and that I've got big plans and the next six

  • months of how I'm gonna bring that all in. So what do you think you've

  • learned from what you've been doing, how you're gonna teach your kids or what

  • have you learnt from what you do and that you really want to teach your kids?

  • And this could be a business perspective, body building perspective, you know,

  • anything I think is a chat to you on like kind of like a healthy perspective

  • or so going on what I was already touching about, you know, body building is

  • a certain mindset and and I'm not, that's not my focus anymore and I said because

  • I'm working with people you know on a daily basis, a lot of them are parents

  • and you hear by different and situations they're going through were like you know their

  • children are worried about their weight or you know cause maybe they're

  • you know, they're more on the obease side of and the spectrum or the other side

  • and it's actually really sad you know and I'm sitting thinking like is that

  • like I don't remember being like that when I was that young and I

  • Cause Amber like knows that I work in a gym and like sometimes she's got to

  • come in the odd time you know she came in with daddy and she's got to sit and

  • pick something up and she's starting to understand, you know, what

  • exercise is and I'd be like right come on Amber, we're going to do some squats

  • and I want her to have that in her head that like being healthy is really

  • important and one funny thing that we have in our household is that like

  • we would squeeze each other in the hips and like, you know what, we call it

  • our fatties because I want her to you know feel comfortable that it's okay

  • to have like you know wee wobbly bits you know and just to be normal because

  • like a lot of, a lot of people are too much worried about their self-image

  • especially parents and if that's the role model for their children like

  • that's, that worries me so I'm kind of so I want I'm just trying to teach her that

  • and she can have fun you know with me doing exercise and that hopefully that

  • she's gonna follow and behind me and do the same and not like take it too

  • seriously. I don't - I'm not saying I would never promote

  • bodybuilding because I do because I love it but I would rather her, you know, think

  • the way I'm thinking now, that like movement is for just like function

  • and that daily life you know making sure that you're fit and healthy. See in

  • terms, would you find that a lot of parents, you would find yourself talking about

  • that to a lot of parents. Do you know it's probably - Especially if they're clients maybe

  • that you're working with. I would never like if the client is confiding to me

  • about like their own children, I probably wouldn't comment on it because I

  • don't feel like it's maybe my position to because I'm not like trained in

  • that kind area and because that would be like a big nutrition side but what I do

  • find is that a lot of parents are sending to me is there anything that my kids could

  • do? Could they come to this class? Or could they, you know, do you know of

  • anything at in their age range in the area? And there's really not, yes kids do

  • exercise in school but obviously once they get up to a certain age drops off.

  • These age range of kids, are they maybe younger kids or maybe older like 11

  • plus? Probably 11 to 16, that really, really kind of hard time when

  • things change because you know they start to head teens and they don't

  • really care. I know my nephew over in England like my sister is like he just

  • doesn't want to do and I think I've tried everything you know he just wants

  • to sit and sit in the floor playinh Lego or on his iPad and like I'm sure you know

  • yourself like when we were that age it's like you're out running around you know and

  • we don't have thatnow and there doesn't seem to be enough for kids to do.

  • I know there is teams and like football clubs but

  • maybe a lot of kids don't fit into that you know and I have so now I like I'm

  • actually getting a lot of mums bringing their teenagers with them and

  • they're doing it together and it's lovely to say because they're actually

  • encouraging each other or it actually sometimes there's been some of the elder

  • teenagers said look I'm coming and I really want to get mum in you know so

  • it's actually the young ones bringing the older ones in which is just

  • fantastic. Brilliant, so what age groups would you be working with then? Well

  • primarily like my my normal clientele would range from 18 up to about 50

  • but I do have some plans coming ahead that that will be incorporating

  • a slightly younger age range and from that 11 to 16 bracket. Okay brilliant, and

  • you know you really busy, you know, you've obviously did loads and you're still

  • working away. I mean how do you