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MAY 10, 2024

Mother’s Day Special - Balancing Barbells and Baby Bottles: Laura Green’s Journey of Strength and Resilience

Explore an extraordinary journey from competitive bodybuilding to motherhood that highlights the resilience and strength in balancing personal fitness goals with the demands of raising a family.

Read time: 6 minutes

Every Mother’s Day, people around the world celebrate someone special and important in their life. So, today we thought we’d shine a spotlight on a specific individual’s journey into motherhood, as well as all the trials, tribulations, and success that came with it. Because, frankly, Laura Green’s journey through fitness and motherhood is nothing short of extraordinary.

From her entry to competitive bodybuilding, to juggling the responsibilities of being a new mom with a preterm baby, Laura’s life showcases the real challenges and triumphs of staying fit while raising a family. And her story serves as a powerful reminder of what it takes to balance personal goals with caring for loved ones, providing inspiration and practical insights for anyone trying to do the same.

  • A Foundation in Health and Movement
  • Transformation During the Pandemic
  • The Role of a Coach vs Personal Trainer
  • Overcoming Challenges and Strength in Motherhood
  • Charting New Goals: Laura Green’s Journey from Motherhood to Photoshoot Prep
  • Setting Sights on Natural Body Competitions
  • More Than Just Numbers: A Body Composition Journey
  • A Year of Transformation: From Photoshoot to Bulking Season
  • Balancing Act: From Competitive Bodybuilding Back to Maternity
  • The Reality of Competitive Bodybuilding as a New Mother
  • Embracing a New Pregnancy with Caution
  • A Change of Environment and Routine
  • Reflecting on the Bigger Picture of Healthy Motherhood

A Foundation in Health and Movement

Laura’s journey began long before she became a mother. From her early school days, Laura was always drawn to physical activity, particularly dance. Her love for movement led her to a drama school where body conditioning and an acute awareness of movement were at the core of her training. In later years, this would prove foundational, not only to shape her physical capabilities, but also to instill a deep understanding of the importance of physical health.

Flash forward to 2013 and Laura's fitness journey took a new turn when she followed her mother’s advice and ventured into the world of gym workouts. It was here that Laura discovered a new love for health and fitness - one that would later support her through one of the most challenging and rewarding times of her life.

Transformation During the Pandemic

The global pandemic brought many challenges, but Laura used the time to work with her partner to adapt remote workouts during the lockdown and maintain her fitness regime from the safety of her home. A familiar story for a lot of us! But for Laura, this challenge also came with a unique opportunity. See, she won a month of free coaching with Ella Crouch - a competitive bodybuilder known for her rigorous approach and insightful coaching. And from there, the pair set to work on the possibility of competing professionally.

With training going well, Laura received life-changing news: she was pregnant. Now, every active parent knows pregnancy presents all kinds of unique challenges and trials. And figuring out the safest way to keep working out is absolutely among them. As such, Laura started working with Victoria Mandi, who specializes in prenatal, antenatal and postnatal fitness. But this was more than just about staying in good shape, Laura wanted to be as prepared as possible for childbirth, while staying healthy, and ensuring the wellbeing of her baby.

The Role of a Coach vs. Personal Trainer

Laura’s experience highlights the crucial difference between a personal trainer and a coach. While personal trainers focus primarily on the physical training sessions, a coach will assess your overall body conditions and goals to create a personalized plan encompassing training and nutrition.

Overcoming Challenges and Strength in Motherhood

Despite all precautions and the benefits of an active lifestyle, Laura faced an unforeseen challenge. Her daughter was born prematurely at 30 weeks in June 2021. In truth, every birth is challenging, nerve- racking and a testament to a parent’s fortitude and resilience. But there are simply developments that you can’t prepare for and you have to put your faith in doctors and medical professionals to weather you through any early turbulent times.

It’s important to note that there can be many causes for premature birth. But there is very little evidence to support the idea that exercising during pregnancy can bring about preterm birth. But many studies have shown this is incorrect. And, in fact, staying active likely played a crucial role in Laura’s ability to manage this difficult time.

7-8% of pregnancies result in preterm birth or prematurity without prior incidents. Naturally, that figure rises in the cases of previous premature births (to around 14-16%) and underscores the unpredictability of pregnancy and the importance of preparedness and health awareness.

Charting New Goals: Laura Green’s Journey from Motherhood to Photoshoot Prep

So where did that leave Laura? Her daughter had arrived early but her workout schedule needed to start up again. Not only as a way to get her body in better shape, but to give her the opportunity to recover mentally and physically. And that meant getting back to the gym, and setting new ambitions that would redefine her approach to fitness and self-care. But it all started with a photoshoot.

Setting Sights on Natural Body Competitions

Having given birth, Laura reconnected with her coach, Victoria Mandi (Vic), to chart the next steps in her fitness journey. Their initial task was a photoshoot, not just as a confidence boosting commemoration but to assess Laura’s post-pregnancy physique. This baseline would help them craft a meticulous plan aimed not merely at weight loss, but at maintaining muscle mass while stripping away fat.

Now, for those who don’t know, competitive bodybuilding isn’t just a case of getting in shape and walking out on stage; there are in fact waves and phases based. Meaning the window for intense competition was narrowing, as Laura also had her sights on getting married and having another child. This presented a fork in the road: act now or delay.

Fueled with a sense of urgency, Laura decided to pursue a fully natural bodybuilding schedule. This path essentially steered her clear of performance-enhancing drugs. And the reason Laura chose this route was to avoid any potential health risks that could complicate future pregnancies, thereby prioritizing her long-term wellbeing and family plans.

More Than Just Numbers: A Body Composition Journey

This invigorated return to the gym was about reclaiming Laura’s pre-pregnancy body as well as carving out time for herself amid the demands of motherhood. As such, the initial focus wasn’t on scale but on body composition. So, working closely with Vic, the pair crafted a diet plan that supported breastfeeding while effectively reducing body fat that had accumulated during and after her pregnancy.

A Year of Transformation: From Photoshoot to Bulking Season

The planned photoshoot took place in May 2022 and marked a pivotal moment in Laura’s journey. It served as both a tangible display of her progress and a springboard into her next phase: winter bulking. Naturally, this phase was challenging. Laura was building muscle and size, but for a new mother, that feedback doesn't always feel positive. Society often reserves praise for weight loss, not for gaining muscle, which can be demotivating.

However, Laura navigated these waters with resilience and her eyes on the prize - supported by a feedback loop constructed with Vic that focused on her progress and health, rather than societal approval.

See, the cycle of "bulking and cutting" is a familiar routine in the world of competitive bodybuilding. For Laura, this involved rigorous adjustments in her diet and training regimen, shifting between gaining muscle during the bulking phase and losing fat during the cutting phase. But we’re sure you’re more than familiar with that.

Each phase was crucial in sculpting the muscle definition and body shape she was after, particularly emphasizing a Wellness X-frame: characterized by glute and quad dominance and well-defined shoulder caps.

Balancing Act: From Competitive Bodybuilding Back to Maternity

In May 2023, Laura's dedication and hard work culminated in significant achievements at prominent bodybuilding competitions with a focus on shape and wellness respectively. At NFM UK, Laura secured a 1st place finish! Shortly after, at Fit-X, she earned a silver medal, reinforcing her confidence on the competitive circuit.

Her success continued at PCA Universe, where competitors from across the world gather. For a first timer, that’s quite a daunting prospect but Laura managed to qualify on the first day and impressively placed fifth on the second, marking her presence on the international stage.

The Reality of Competitive Bodybuilding as a New Mother

Now it’s time for a few home truths. For all the mothers reading, despite the accolades and medals, the reality of maintaining such a high level of competition as a new mother is no easy feat. The demands of competitive bodybuilding are intense and call for a regimen of diet and exercise that is incredibly hard to sustain year-round - especially when balancing family life.

Laura found that the need to manage a reduced calorie intake and substantial workout commitments significantly affected her mood and overall personality, aspects crucial in her role as a mother and partner. Yes, it was absolutely worth the effort, but the wellbeing of her daughter’s upbringing would always take priority.

Embracing a New Pregnancy with Caution

Riding high off her victories and success, what new goals would Laura set herself to? Well, life has a funny way of derailing what you thought you may want to achieve. Thankfully, in the best way. Because Laura found out she was pregnant again.

The news of her second pregnancy prompted Laura to reassess her fitness routine and consult healthcare professionals, particularly to manage the risk associated with preterm/premature birth, which stands at 14-16% for those with a history. Heeding medical advice, Laura made the tough decision to step away from weightlifting during her pregnancy, opting instead for a regimen that included extremely reduced weights, cable work, yoga, and swimming to maintain fitness without putting undue pressure on her cervix.

A Change of Environment and Routine

Adapting to her new fitness routine, Laura has switched gyms to find a setting better suited to her current needs; i.e. a place with supportive bodywork facilities and a good pool. This change required her to acclimate to a new environment and a dramatically different training pace - which was a culture shock for someone accustomed to the intense atmosphere of competitive bodybuilding gyms. And as Laura’s pregnancy develops, her focus will shift from maintaining her competitive edge to preserving muscle mass and ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Because the truth is, the stage will always be there. What’s more, with her competitive spirit far from snuffed out, Laura realistically anticipates that her return to competition will happen. But probably not before 2026 at the earliest. This will allow her to pause and reorient focus, placing increased value on the wellbeing of her growing family over the pursuit of medals.

Reflecting on the Bigger Picture of Healthy Motherhood

Laura's journey underscores that the true measure of success isn't always about accolades or the perfect fit of clothes during a bulking phase. Instead, it's about making informed, health-conscious decisions that ensure the safety and wellbeing of both herself and her children.

So, as Laura looks forward to her next chapter, her story remains an inspiring testament to the strength and resilience of a mother navigating the complex world of competitive ambitions and family priorities.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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