Former Olympic athlete Sally Gunnell, 45, is mum to Finley, 12, Luca, 10 and Marley, six. Here, the sporty mum of three talks family fitness, being outrun by her fast-growing boys, and why playtime with her gold medals has left them a bit battered...
Your boys are growing up fast, are they on-the-go or couch potatoes?
'They're really active, and are always ready to head out on bikes or to play football. Finley is about to turn 13, so he's quite fond of the odd lie-in and loves playing on his Playstation, but my middle son, Luca, is very full on, always dashing about.'
What sports and activities do you do with the boys?
'I've got three quite different ages to keep occupied, so I make sure we keep days out and weekends varied. Bikes, cricket and football are some of our favourites, but the key is to do lots of different things so they don't get bored. That's why I'm involved with the Adventure in the Alps, Fun for the Family Fitness Retreat. It's a holiday with loads of different activities for every age to keep everyone happy.'
Do you miss training and competing in athletics?
'No! I'm really happy being a mum and choosing what activities and sports I do, and when I do them in my own time. When I was training it was full on, six hours every day, now I keep very active and run a lot, but it's on my terms. I do something nearly everyday and still feel the benefits - I'm less grumpy with the boys and much more productive during the day if I've been out in the morning.'
How has your body changed since you stopped training and became a mum?
'I'm not anywhere near as fit as I was. In some ways competing was a job, and then I stopped doing that job, and my lifestyle changed. I love that I now have free range over what I eat and drink, and like everyone, I have good days and bad days about my body, but generally I'm happy with my shape.'
How did you find pregnancy and seeing your shape change so much?
'I actually really embraced the weight gain, and as I fell pregnant with Finley just after retiring, it was almost like my pregnancy filled the void left by not training every day. As I was so in tune with my body and shape from training and competing, I was fascinated to see it change so much beyond my control. I loved it.'
Did you find it hard to lose the baby weight after having your three children?
'Each time it got harder and harder to lose it, especially by the time I had Marley as I was absolutely huge during my pregnancy with him. After each baby it took me about a year to lose the weight, but after my first, my body was never the same again. Even now, six years on from having my youngest, I could do with a tighter tummy, but that's just how it is.'
What tips would you give new mums who want to shape up?
'Number one is take your time - it doesn't happen overnight, despite what celebrities say in magazines! The easiest thing to do is to find activities you can do with your baby, or at home. I got myself a buggy that I could run with ,which I loved, and it was an easy way to exercise with my baby in tow. Try and cut down on rubbish too, as it does help beat the bulge. Although I'm one to talk as crisps and dip are my downfall in life!'
Are the boys aware of your Olympic achievements?
'Not really. Well they're certainly not fussed! To them I'm just mum. They've seen me on videos but that's about the extent of it. Plus, Finley and Luca can outrun me so they don't see what the fuss is about! They drag out and try on my gold medals sometimes, putting them on, throwing them off. No wonder they're a bit scratched and battered!'
What's your involvement with the 2010 London Olympic Games?
'I'm a British Olympic Association Ambassador for the games, so I've been doing the rounds promoting them. There's real excitement about 2012 which all three of my boys really feel.'
Which events are you hoping to see?
'I've applied for swimming, BMX, triathlon, gymnastics and of course, athletics. Just waiting for that email like the rest of the country to see if I have any...'
Join Sally for a Family Fitness Retreat with Adenture in the Alps, offering a range of activities including kayaking, tree climbing, yoga, mountain biking and zip-wiring from August 20th-28th 2011. For more information visit adventuresinthealps.com.
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