Balancing Motherhood and Bodybuilding - The Inside Scoop from Fitness Coach Sophie Maree

In light of Mother’s Day we thought it’d be a great opportunity to interview one of our community members and find out about her journey with bodybuilding and becoming a mother. 💪🏼

Introducing Sophie Maree Hull.

Sophie is a mother and an online health and fitness coach from Melbourne. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science as well as a Diploma in Nutrition. Not only is she a bodybuilder, but she is also a powerlifter.
“I love both sports, but bodybuilding has my heart.”

Sophie currently competes in the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Federation) in Australia.

How did you get interested in bodybuilding, and how did you get started?

I started bodybuilding back in 2018, however my fitness journey started much earlier than that. Back in 2012 I was extremely overweight, which was obviously very unhealthy. I started making some changes and went to the gym. This made me realise I had quite a natural strength which I leant on and the results showed quite quickly because I was very dedicated. Over the years I’ve had ups and downs with things that have taken me away from the gym but ultimately I’ve been addicted ever since I went in there and picked up my first dumbbell.

How do you balance between the demands of being a mother and bodybuilding?

I had my son Hunter back in 2021 and I was training throughout my entire pregnancy. I was even training the day I gave birth. He was born a very strong and healthy boy. After I had him, I did go on a journey to “get my body back” however I believe your body never actually leaves, it’s just temporarily doing something else. Pregnancy was a bit hard for me mentally as I had to put aside my physique goals, however it taught me a lot about myself and the journey with health and fitness.
I did a show back in 2022 when my son was only just over a year old. Prepping with a baby is next level. When you’ve got a child who doesn’t sleep through the night and is very demanding of your attention and time it does make things quite hard. However I was determined to get back on stage and represent all mums and show them what was actually possible when you put your mind to it.

How do you manage your diet and nutrition to support your bodybuilding goals while also meeting your family’s dietary needs?

I find that managing my diet is actually relatively easy because I prep all my meals ahead of time. My son is still very young so he doesn’t eat what we eat as of yet so we do make him separate meals. However at dinner we do try and sit down to eat together as a family. Everyone is just eating their own prepared meals. I even prepare my dog’s meals.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a mother and a bodybuilder, and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I probably face is time. I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. What I do to combat that is I try to manage my time effectively. In my calendar, I have everything laid out down to the minute to make sure I’m not wasting time with things.
My son does go to daycare twice a week and to my mother in law’s place once a week as well so that this can free up some time for me in regards to work and also catching up with the household (cleaning, cooking, washing, meal prep). 
It all comes down to managing my time effectively, getting up early in the morning and making sure I get my cardio and steps in before everyone in the house wakes up. Also trying to get to bed early to ensure that I’m getting those 7-8 hours of rest each night.

Who/Where do you draw inspiration and motivation from and Why/How?

I actually motivate myself. I look back at the person I was in the past and see how far I’ve come since then as well as the things I’ve achieved so far and what I’d like to achieve in the future. Actually being able to inspire others also inspires me. When I get messages from people online or when I see people in person that recognise me and they let me know that my story has affected them, that in itself also motivates me and pushes me to keep going.
I think your motivation needs to come from within, if you focus on external factors all the time like having a certain physique or looking a certain way, that’s only going to take you so far.

“You need to find your internal reason. Your internal why.”

How do you manage to find time for both training and family obligations? What does a typical day look like for you?

Sometimes I look at my day and think how did I get all that done. I don’t know. But like I said, my son is in daycare 2 days a week and is at my Mother in Law’s for another day, so I have 3 personal days to myself where I can get everything I need to get done, done. 
A typical day for me looks like waking up at 6:30, and getting my cardio done. Followed by eating and meal prepping before getting my son up. Then it’s time to train and sometimes I do bring my son with me too. After the gym we’ll either go home or head out for lunch and then run some errands. Once my son goes for his nap, this gives me the opportunity to get some work done before waking him up for some more food and activities. If the weather’s good we’ll go out for a walk at the park and get some steps in. Then finally as the night rolls around we’ll organise food for the next day, have dinner and go to bed. It’s pretty much the same thing day in, day out. 

What advice would you give to other mothers who are interested in pursuing bodybuilding or fitness goals while raising a family?

My number 1 piece of advice would be to get organised. A huge factor here is time which is the thing that I face and what my clients have also mentioned that they struggle with. I recommend getting some good quality gym equipment from World Fitness and set up a little gym at home. All you need is a few dumbbells, some bands and a little bit of equipment and you’ll be able to have a full workout in the comfort of your own home when your kids are napping or asleep during the morning/night. Some gyms do offer services where you can bring your kids along and they can stay there while you train, however this isn’t offered at many so you may need to travel a little to find them. If these facilities are not easily accessible, personally I do utilise daycare twice a week and also have my mother in law helping out. 
There are plenty of different options for you, even if it means just training with some equipment at home or going out for a walk. Just make whatever it is  a part of your lifestyle and I believe you’ll be able to reap the benefits from that.

If you’d like to keep up with Sophie and are interested in her online fitness coaching services, you can get in touch through her handle @sophii_maree.

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