Recently I was lucky enough to chat with Antoniette Pacheco. You may have seen her youtube video where she has an INSANE workout with Frank Medrano (if you haven’t seen it, check it out here). Antoniette is obviously very fit and healthy, with a body that would be the envy of many, but it may surprise you to know that she is not a full-time fitness professional.
She is a working mother with a regular job and a five year old to care for, yet her drive and passion for healthy living means that she is able to find time to work out – hard – all while having rewarding career and being a mother.
“I have a routine schedule for the most part. From 530am to 7am, I’m getting ready for work, and making breakfast. From 7am to 7:30, I get my daughter ready for school. Then I’m at work from 8am-4:30pm. Get home around 5pm, and I help my daughter with her homework. Then I make dinner, and after that, I work out; at home or at the gym.” Antoniette said.
Antoniette hasn’t had it handed to her though. When she was pregnant with her daughter she was at a high risk of miscarriage from the fourth month into her pregnancy. From then until delivery she was confined to a bed and told to rest. Even walking a mile could have sent her to the emergency room.
After her daughter arrived, Antoniette realised she had gained over 60lbs (27kgs). “I had a lot of work to do that I had never done before. I never had to lose weight before. I actually had to care about my nutrition, where I never did before. On top of all the weight gain, I had an emergency c-section to recover from, and that left me at the very bottom of fitness”
Antoniette had always been active, participating in basketball, gymnastics, ballet, martial arts and even a police training academy in high school to prepare for a career in law enforcement. She then joined the Marine Corp straight out of high school, but her weight gain and drop in fitness level meant that losing the weight and getting fit again would be harder than any of her previous fitness goals.
“I didn’t have someone yelling at me to do drills, or to run 10 miles anymore, so I had to research all types of athletics circuits and motivate myself to do whatever I needed to do to get strong and fit again. It always has, and always will be my lifestyle.”
The result is that Antoniette realised that to lose the weight and recover from her surgery, she had to take a different approach to health. Instead of relying from Fat Burners, she had to consider the best way to get fit again while recovering from surgery and also taking on her new role as a mother. The first thing that had to change was her diet.
“Nutrition is VITAL to your health. I can’t even stress how important it is to eat clean, and eat according to your goals. When I had to finally start eating healthy, it was so difficult. I had THE worst diet growing up. All the soda and junk food I could stuff my face with. Changing my eating habits made all of the physical change in the world! I was leaner, and felt healthy. You really can’t out-train a poor diet.”
Balancing good nutrition with her busy lifestyle is still a work in progress, but having a plan set out and managing your time effectively is the key to having the time to look after yourself.
“It’s very important to me to stay as organised as possible. In order to reach a goal, you have to stick to the plan. Food prep is important, and when you’ve been doing this for a while, it’s so routine that it’s not hard to stay on track. Most of the things I cook I put in the oven, so I just season it, then put it in there while I do other chores around the house. “
“ We focus so much on the well-being of our children and those around us, that we don’t focus on the one, most importing thing that will help us function; our own health. It’s not even about having the ‘perfect’ body, but having the healthy lifestyle that will make you a happier person, and a positive influence to your children.”
Her daughter is a big reason for her motivation: “She’s the reason why I gained all the weight, but she’s also the reason I became so aware of living fit and healthy. She also embraces a fit lifestyle with me. She’s 5 years old now, but even when she was around 1 years old, she would workout with me. Now that she can talk, she tells me every day that she wants to be strong like me, and always challenges me to push ups, or a run, or something. She keeps me motivated. “
As we all know, motivation is probably the most important thing when it comes to general health and fitness. The best training program, the best nutrition plan and the best time management won’t help you, unless you have the motivation and drive to follow them, even when unexpected obstacles are put in your way.
This is probably the most important thing to understand about Antoniette, she’s not any different to the millions of other people out there trying to find a career and family balance. The exceptional thing is her dedication to a healthy lifestyle and her ability to apply herself to the routine that she has set out for herself. Despite ongoing injuries, a heart arrhythmia and long-term scoliosis, she finds a way through it.
“No matter what the injury has been in my life, I always find ways around it. Sometimes I get depressed because I have to “take it easy” or I have to put off certain goals until I get better, but I always focus on what I CAN do, instead of what I CAN’T do. “
She keeps variety in her training, from bodybuilding, calisthenics (street workout), athletic training, yoga and probably a good pre-workout and post-workout regimen. Her focus is on having a healthy and fit lifestyle and being a good example to her daughter.
Antoniette has achieved what many people want, a healthy lifestyle, a rewarding career and being a good parent, but her goals don’t end there. “I want to own my own business in the fitness industry. I love motivating others, and with the full time (non-fitness related) job, I can’t spend as much time sharing my passion, other than through videos and pictures. ”
With her drive and passion, it’s only a matter of time before she achieves this goal, and is once again looking for the next challenge.